July 7, 2010

Inside The Bloggers Unwashed, Unshaven, Studio: Iowa Edition

So, we're now into the October portion of the schedule for our summer preview series and boy, does October start out in style with a showdown against an Iowa squad which I believe requires no introduction. We hope you enjoyed Galen's TMI from Monday, which deserves the utmost of props for the 1980's G.I. Joe cartoon reference ("Knowing is half the battle").

This week's edition of ITBUUS features a lovely little Q&A session with Eric from Fight For Iowa. I trust that you know how these things work by now and if you don't..well,you'll learn rather quickly...

LBU: Formalities first: How was "Fight For Iowa" conceived?

FFI: First off, the name of the blog is a simple reference to the Iowa Fight Song…so nothing overly clever there. I started Fight For Iowa in the spring of 2009 in the midst of spending much of my free time scouring the internet for any small piece of news on the Hawkeye Football program. I wanted a place to share what I had read and provide my own thoughts, as well as a creative outlet. Thus Fight For Iowa was born.

LBU: So, now that pundits everywhere are expecting Iowa to be Ohio State's direct challenger to the Big Ten throne, how do you see the Hawkeyes handling their unfamiliar roles as 'favorites?'

FFI: While it’s a newer role for the players, I think the coaching staff knows how to handle it. The last time expectations were anywhere near this high, Iowa was #11 in the preseason of 2005, things didn’t work out so well (Iowa went just 7-5 that year), but Ferentz and Co. has proven that they learn from their mistakes. The 2003 Orange Bowl against USC the team was so happy to be in a BCS game they were underprepared and unfocused. The Orange Bowl played 6 months ago went drastically different.

As for the players, I think there is a good leadership group that is keeping a level head and is trying to avoid the hype. They are at least saying the right things: “If we take a second to feel like we’ve arrived or whatever, we’re going to get beat in those games,” “We’re not worried about the Orange Bowl win. It was a great season, but it’s in the past. It’s not going to help us this year,” etc… What I think is really going to help though, is that last year featured a ton of close games. Iowa could have very easily lost to Northern Iowa in the first game of the year needing 2 consecutive block field goals to win. The Michigan State game was a close call and for 3 quarter against Indiana, Iowa looked terrible.

Iowa knows how to perform in the 4th quarter. We know all too well, dammit.

The team knows that their margin for error is slim, and more importantly knows how to perform in the 4th quarter when the game is on the line. And, unless the offense really takes off this year, or Ricky Stanzi figures out a way to reverse his trend of keeping both teams in the game at the same time, there are going to be plenty of close games this year too.

LBU: Fill in the blank on this year's asinine Kirk Ferentz rumor: Kirk Ferentz is a candidate for __________

FFI: I read somewhere a while back that he’s going to be the new Cleveland Cavaliers coach if LeBron stays (that was prior to Byron Scott getting the gig). I know Bob Bradley wants to remain the coach of the USMNT, but why not take Ferentz? He already has experience coaching an ultra-patriotic athlete. Love it or leave it.

(Kirk Ferentz and Ricky Stanzi's patriotism may be just what USA Soccer needs to get over the hump...LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT.)

LBU: Time for a basketball question: Do you see Fran McCaffery as the one who can lead Iowa's hoops squad back to the glory days experienced under Tom Davis, or will resemble more of a Lickliter-lite?

FFI: I wasn’t sold at first. He was a successful mid-major coach I’d never heard of…and that didn’t work out well with Lickliter. But after learning a little more about McCaffery, I’ve found him to be quite opposite of Lickliter in most every way. He runs an up-tempo, pressing, exciting style of basketball in which the team actually, ya know, scores some points.

He is engaging with the media and fans, and has a slick website to help re-excite people about Iowa Basketball. He is also engaging with the players, which I think was ultimately Lickliter’s biggest fault. I think the kids are really going to want to play for McCaffery. So basically, McCaffery has quickly won me over.

LBU: Do you believe in [fellow Iowa bloggers] Black Heart Gold Pants' theory that Joe Paterno is collaborating with Double-Agent Communist Singer Men?

FFI: Now that we’ve learned that Sexy Cop is actually Sexy Russian Spy, I don’t know what to believe any more.

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