You will get nothing and like it, Orange-Man.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

High School Highlights, volu WHAT THE FUCK

(thanks to Jeebsy for his help in getting me through this post from an emotional standpoint. This was rough)

One of the recurring themes that we at THC will be featuring this year is "High School Highlights," where we harness the power of the Youtubes to bring you a sneak peek at up-and-coming talent. I've never seen a bad one. You're either knocked out by the sick athleticism or endlessly entertained by the horrible quality of it. There's also the music. You generally know 5 seconds in if it's going to be awesomely good or awesomely bad. On rare occasions, you get both. That's what we're dropping on your ass today. This is a video from hot off the presses recruit Tony Cornelius. It's got athleticism, terrible music, and that's not all.

As a bonus, it's also got a snapshot of him standing naked in front of Aunt Millie's shower curtain. It's like a dirty little porny easter egg (do porns have Easter eggs?).

The link to the video is HERE. If you click on his username, PRIMETIME4, you get taken to his youtube page where he's got all his videos and shit, as well as a, well, unusually candid background image. Now, for those of you who work, we're not going to post the exact image straight up; you shouldn't have to fight for your job with arguments like, "but the high school kid has boxers on if you look hard enough!" In return, we'll link to the image and post a preview that's actually a thousand times more terrifying.
(click for unedited weirdness)

Our stance has already been set: We will not get you fired, but we will let Pat Harty haunt your dreams. That's just how it is.

Now, look. We're not here to judge Tony. He obviously thinks very highly of himself, and we certainly wouldn't want an insecure tailback. The choice he made to put this picture on the internet, though? Questionable. We would recommend removing it. For everybody's sake.

Welcome to the Hawkeye family, Tony. Now put some pants on.

(Oh, and Jeff Reed: the ball(s) is in your court.)

"Passive zone coverage in the front, blitz in the rear" doesn't have the same ring to it

More hat tips, daps, mean mugs and shoulder shrugs to Brian at mgoblog for unearthing this picture of J Leman, which somehow is not a photoshop:
All-conference linebacker, all-world hair.

There's so much about that picture that's mind-altering, not the least of which is the notion that "J Leman" is a white guy. Meanwhile, I'll be spending the next week scouring Goodwill locations in the southern half of Illinois looking for a tie like that. Holy Motherfucking God.

The rest of Brian's post is a preview of Illinois, and it's predictably awesome, so go--go read it now. We'll cover Illinois during the season with about one-tenth the information and one-one-thousandth the integrity.

Fuck it, I'm making J Leman my cell phone wallpaer. Glorious.

Being a reporter doesn't mean tossing your critical thinking skills out the window

Two articles available today about the Big Ten network: One is from the Press-Citizen's Ryan Suchomel, with the unfortunate title of "BTN set to tackle airwaves." It starts off with this wholly unbiased gem:
The Big Ten Network plans to provide fans with all the Big Ten football news they could ever want.
Wow! Neato! The rest of the article is just quotes from a few of the on-air guys, preceded by Suchomel saying what they said, but with different words.
Griffith, a former Illinois player, said Big Ten fans are going to love what they find on the BTN.

"They are going to see stories and features they weren't able to see," Griffith said. "This network has to appeal to the Big Ten fan. They are passionate about all of the games. I'm excited to be a part of it."
Sigh. I mean, what can you say about an article like this? Is it intellectually dishonest? Depends on if Suchomel believes all this shit. Is it lazy reporting? Absolutely. Is it typical of a Gannett paper to toe the "fuck the consumers" line? That's a question for another day (short answer: yes).

Steve Batterson at the QC Times (quickly becoming the paper of record for Hawkeye information), meanwhile, should probably send a thank you card to the sports desk at the PC, because they're making him look awfully good just for pointing out the stunningly obvious: this network is going to take a lot of your money.
Three words of advice when it comes to talking about the current spat between the Big Ten Network and Mediacom – watch your wallet.

As the opening paragraph of a story I wrote more than a year ago when plans for the network were announced, watching Big Ten games in the future will come with a price.

That will not change, no matter how the current impasse between the network and major cable players throughout the region plays out.
From a strict "for the conference and its members" standpoint, this is a noble undertaking. The network is expecting to pour about $7 million a year of revenue into the coffers of each member of the Big 10. How they expect to do that while trying to mean-mug the cable companies into caving in, of course, remains to be seen.

From the cable operators' standpoint... well, good luck trying to get in their mindset. While Mediacom's tussle with Sinclair a few months ago was well-understood, the ESPNU one wasn't. Oh well. As long as cable refuses to allow a la carte channel selection, they'll be a bunch of greedy bastards. Seriously, why charge us for channels we're never going to watch? I imagine plenty of Americans would have a cable lineup similar to mine: Basic channels, Discovery, the ESPN family, TNT, Comedy Central, and Soap Net (don't judge me!). Yet I digress.

Last, the questions remain for the fans: Do you really want to have to pay dozens of dollars a year for shit that's only interesting when it's your own team? How is the channel's programming during the summer months not going to be totally unwatchable? Isn't a march to only subscribe to the channel for 4 months a year pretty much inevitable? Last, if revenue's going to be spread equally, then of that money you're dropping for the network (and its inevitable surrounding tier of channels), lots won't even see the Big 10, then the conference will take its skim, then only 1/11 of it goes to your favorite school. You going to be okay with that while Penn State and Wisconsin duke it out in male field hockey this summer?

Tony Cornelius commits to the Hawkeyes

Tony Cornelius, a tailback from Boca Raton, committed to the Hawkeyes today. While I'm sure there's a specific number of stars arbitrarily attached to his name (somewhere between 1-4), the great news is that is father is The Don Cornelius*.

One can only assume that the Iowa football program will take the opportunity to become the hippest trip in the Big Ten.

They're known as the hit makers, record breakers, party makers. They'll make your knees freeze, your back crack, your liver quiver, and your hip pop and jump out the socket. If you don't dig that, you got a hole in your soul. If you don't dig this mess, you came to the wrong address.

The best part? Goodbye swarm:

...and hello, Soul Train line!

Man, these games are gonna take forever.

*categorically false. you drinking this early? -ed

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Welcome to Historic Kinnick Scuplture Gallery"

On my old blog, I lamented the outright douchiness of the Nile Kinnick statue unveiled to much fanfare last season. Now, it seems, amends are being made. From The ICPC:

For the second year in a row, the University of Iowa plans to unveil a sculpture that delves deep into Hawkeye lore. This year's masterpiece captures Nile Kinnick scoring the winning touchdown in the legendary 7-6 victory over Notre Dame in 1939.

"There is not a larger, more comprehensive sculpture in any football stadium in the country," sculptor Larry Nowlan, of LJN Sculptures based in Windsor, Vt., said of his 20-foot-long by 10-foot-tall by four-foot-deep sculpture relief that includes 11 players.

The piece, to be set into the wall inside the main Kinnick Stadium entrance, is due to be unveiled before the Sept. 8 opener against Syracuse.

Now, if only I can get Carver Hawkeye that 100-foot solid gold statue of Guy Rucker, my plan will be complete.

Your Daily Dose of Newspaper Bashing:

I don't want OPS to have all the fun...

The DMR has given its writers space for "blogs." These are generally used for mindless drivel, usually completed with a question put in boldface type. These questions get to the deep-seeded questions of life, such as, "Are the ISU placekicker's YouTube music videos good?" (Hint: No.) Of course, nobody answers.

Sean Keeler has already been targeted this week, but his "blog" posts from Big Ten media day were truly the greatest sign of where the state's largest newspaper has been heading for years. A quick recap:

July 31: Keeler toes the company line on the Big Ten Network (without mentioning a large number of Iowans likely won't even have a chance to get the network) and tells us Brett Bielema is funny without actually quoting anything within 12 miles of comedic. He finishes by telling us Ferentz is about to speak, then refusing to report on anything El Capitan had to say.

August 1: Keeler does something which is at the same time completely unbelievable and entirely predictable from the DMR. He somehow finds a way to turn Big Ten Media Day into a story about Iowa State. In other words, the ISU-related posts outnumber the Iowa-related posts AT BIG TEN MEDIA DAY.

A quick rundown of the subjects of Keeler's blog posts in the past month:
  • Iowa State - 3
  • Big Ten network - 2
  • Barry Bonds - 2
  • John Deere Classic -1
  • Brett Bielema - 1
  • The Cincinatti Post (which doesn't even exist anymore) - 1
  • The University of Iowa (which does, at least outside of 7th and Locust) - 0
But, to give Keeler a break, maybe he's leaving the Iowa blogging to Randy Peterson. The creepy-looking Peterson (the tan of George Hamilton combined with the hair of Tony Kornheiser) told us on August 3 he would be "blogging" from Iowa media day. He then posted once on the event, just to tell us how he hates media day.

He also writes an inexplicable post on next season's (that's 2008) game against Maine, chastising anyone who fails to see the beauty and grandeur of Iowa throttling a I-AA team. Forget, for the moment, that Iowa played Montana last season without any serious complaint from ticketholders. Instead, focus on the fact that Peterson, like Nancy Clark before him, sets up a straw man and knocks him down; nobody is complaining about Maine yet, if only because we're too busy complaining about having to close against Western Michigan.

Just goes to show: If you want actual blogging on Iowa sports, the last place to look is the state's largest newspaper.

Cedric Everson should play right away, according to Cedric Everson

Here's where Media Day gets fun. The first day's articles are always chock full of blindingly obvious shit like, "the offense will depend on its quarterback and running back!" Really? We're not even going to try the 11-lineman formation? Bullshit!

The real fun happens on Wednesdays and Thursdays. That's when we hear from nutballs like Jon Misch and incoming cornerback Cedric Everson.
"I do want to play this year," Everson said Monday during Iowa's annual football media day. "I don't want to redshirt. Why? Because I think that's just wasting time. You're not going to learn anything redshirting.


Everson was recruited to play cornerback, but he also wants the football in his hands. He amassed more than 4,900 all-purpose yards during high school.

"I enjoy playing cornerback, but I really enjoy kick returning and punt returning," he said.
Oh, to be a kid again. While Kirk Ferentz would probably strenuously disagree with the notion that there's no learning to be done during the redshirt year, there may be some measure of truth to Everson's statement. He may very well not learn anything.

Those of you who follow this stuff way too closely (cough) may remember Everson's odd recruitment. He originally committed to Georgia Tech, then didn't, then committed to Michigan State, then didn't, then signed with Iowa on February 2. Bellwether Dog, your thoughts?
We're with you, pal. Confusion reigns today.

But, whatever, right? A 4-star cornerback is a 4-fucking-star cornerback, right? Well, not quite.

At signing day, Brian from the iconic mgoblog let on that Everson may be more trouble than he's worth:
Cedric Everson. Circus freak who claimed offers from every program in the country, then committed to Georgia Tech. GT later pulled his offer. He committed to State, then decommitted on Signing Day to Iowa. Michigan never pursued him, and even though he may be able to run fast Michigan doesn't have to put up with radioactive nuts like him.
Radioactive nuts? I wish I had radioactive nuts. Who doesn't want babymakers that glow in the dark? I digress. Whether the Jackets pulled the offer or he just decommitted or what exactly happened seems unclear at this point; there was a staff shakeup and it looks as if both parties went their separate ways.

Brian later had this to say about Everson:
he may or may not be a talented kid. I do know that his rumored offer list was almost totally fictional and that the stats he offered up to recruiting sites (10 pr touchdowns as a junior) were ludicrous. Michigan never even looked at him. We may regret that down the line, but he's given a lot of indications that he may be more trouble than he's worth, no offense to the Hawks.
So uh... so that's nice.

Now, of course I'm not going to insinuate that Ferentz and company recruited The Entertainer just on his word; that'd be insane and wildly illogical and, well, that clearly didn't happen. It does seem like he misused the recruiting sites to increase his own notoriety, and that while he could still very well be a great cornerback, we can't know that based on what tells us.

Any lessons you've learned from screwing with everybody, Cedric?
"My dad taught me to always be humble. I wasn't really into the media. I don't mind being in the limelight but not like that."
Cedric then dunked on Shaq, created a perpetual motion machine, and ascended into heaven. Reportedly.

The 40-yard dash is quaint, and that's bullcrap!

Notre Dame Stadium. Joe Paterno. Yes, college football is unmatched in its reverence for relics, long past the point of utility. There is perhaps no better illustration of such strange allegiance than the relatively useless 40-yard dash.

While there is probably some merit to how quickly a college football player can sprint straight ahead for 40 yards without pads on, well, there isn't much. There are, at any given time, about 10 people on a football field who can reasonably expect to sprint 40 yards in a straight line during the course of the game. All 22, however, can be damned sure that their 5- and 10-yard quickness will be vitally important on every snap. A tenth of a second in those first few yards is a metric fuckload more important than a tenth of a second between yards 30 and 40.

The S&C community, of course, is fully aware that the 40 doesn't mean much. So why is it the most recognized combine test?

The answer, of course, is that everyone's intimately familiar with the test. We know that anything over 4.9 is sloowwww, and everything below 4.4 is fasttttt (five t's fast, to be precise). Most football fans and about 95% of the coaching community know that it's not the end-all, be-all of tests. And sometimes, if you're really lucky, one of those 5% joins your conference.

This guy's either going to be awesome or horrible

From the Lansing State-Journal, via the freakishly informative SMQ...

Every college football team has one - a 200-pound starting linebacker with a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, clinically diagnosed hyperactivity, classical piano skills and absolutely no interest in sports.

On second thought, Jon Misch has to be the first.

The article gets weirder after that. The guy learned how to play The Entertainer after 30 minutes of piano lessons (allegedly), watches SpongeBob SquarePants (pothead), and is a kinesiology major. Wait--they offer entire majors based on this guy? ....actually I could see that. The coup de grace is their mention of his slow 4.89 40 time, followed by one of the coaches musing that he looks like "a 4.4 kid." Actually, you know what? I'll post about that 40-yard-dash shit this afternoon.

Obviously, the guy can ball. Let's get that out of the way right now. There's no way in hell MSU is like, "well, we sucked last year, let's get someone who sucks even worse in at Sam. Wait, wait--let's make sure he's small as hell too." That's clearly not happening.

That said... 6'2", 207 is really fucking small. For as much as good technique can help, at some point sheer physics becomes inescapable, doesn't it? Is his technique seriously that much better than everyone else's? It seems like it would take a minor act of Christ for this guy to not end up on his ass a lot this season.

So, let's recap: Iowa's going to be facing a smallish, quirky linebacker who enjoys watching children's programs (don't kid yourselves, WWE fans) on TV? This sounds disturbingly familiar.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Pat Harty wants you to throw up

If it seems like I have an unhealthy obsession with the Press-Citizen's Hawkeye beat reporter Pat Harty, it's because, well, it's hard not to. It's a residual effect: as he lavishes undue attention upon himself as he writes the columns, so must I as I read them.

If you thought his decision to try to bait good-guy Bryan Mattison into selling out Coach Ferentz
was upsetting, however, then you may want to turn away. At the very least, escort your children from the room, and have a vomit bucket ready. Here's how Pat Harty decided to describe the weather at Media Day:

It was so gooey at Iowa football media day that it felt like somebody poured a giant pitcher of lukewarm pancake syrup all over my body.

Yeah. If you don't have a vivid enough imagination to be legitimately horrified by that, consider yourself lucky. I was going to post a picture of someone pouring syrup onto themselves, then MS paint Harty's head onto it, but the result is horrifying enough to get you fired. Friends, we won't do that to you here. We'll merely let Pat Harty haunt your dreams.


Monday, August 6, 2007

"Where Are They Now?" vol. 1

As part of our Iowa Hawkeye and Big Ten coverage, we, the writers of The Hawkeye Compulsion, will periodically visit with icons from Big 10 history and see how their lives have changed since college football.

Our first visit is with former Iowa quarterback Brad Banks.

Brad Banks burst onto the scene in 2002 with a scintillating senior campaign with the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Belle Glade, Florida native quarterbacked the Hawkeyes to their first 8-0 Big Ten season ever as well as a berth in the Orange Bowl. Banks finished second in the Heisman race to USC standout Carson Palmer that year.

Since his graduation from the UI, Banks has parlayed his fame into a successful career in politics. During the 2004 election, his Capitol Hill activism led to widespread campaign finance reform, and he is believed to be among the front-runners for the Presidential seat in 2016, his first year eligible for nomination.

We were unable to get the "Busy B," as he's known among politicos, in for a sitdown interview. Luckily, we contacted him by phone at 515-244-5611, and here's our conversation:

OPS: Hey, Brad! Welcome to the interview from a fellow Hawkeye!

Brad: There are many areas of care that set Mercy apart. One is our 24-hour staffing of pediatric specialists in our emergency center. If your child or other family member has a need, we're ready to help--no matter what, no matter when. On behalf of the thousands of compassionate professionals who call Mercy home, we're proud to be Iowa's health care leader in delivering health care excellence, every day, in every way.

Female voice, probably Brad's secretary or something: The current time is 8:41. The current temperature is 81. Thank you for calling!

We lost our connection with Brad after that, so it looks like one minute is all he's got to spare! Still, it's wonderful to hear that health care is at the forefront of the issues he's tackling. Brad Banks: lifelong Hawkeye, lifelong champion.

Summer depth chart changes, volume 1 of roughly 17,000

The ICPC is reporting changes to the depth charts already, announced at Iowa's Media Day. Here's the meat of it:

• Julian Vandervelde, a red shirt freshman from Davenport, from second string right guard to starting left guard.
• Andy Kuempel to second string left tackle.
• Tyler Blum from second string left tackle to second string right guard.
• Wes Aeschliman from second string right tackle to second string right guard

• Devan Moylan and Lance Tillison will be co-starters at strong safety.
• Harold Dalton moved from starting strong safety to starting free safety. He and Brett Greenwood will be co-starters at free safety.
• Chris Rowell will be co-second string left corner back.

Fair enough. Anyone catch who the actual starter is at right guard now? No? Let's chalk it up to a typo and say Aeschliman is starting. Fuck getting things right.

On the defensive side of the ball, co-starters at both safety spots? I'm not sure opposing coaches are going to let Ferentz get away with starting four safeties at once. You've got to hand it to him, though; it's a bold, innovative approach nonetheless. Here's what the depth chart looks like now:

SE 80 ** Andy Brodell 6-3 200 Jr
89 James Cleveland 6-1 195 #Fr.

LT 78 ** Dace Richardson 6-6 305 Jr.
68 Andy Kuempel 6-7 295 So.

LG 63 Julian Vandervelde 6-3 295 #Fr.
74 Dan Doering 6-7 300 So.

C 52 * Rafael Eubanks 6-3 285 So.
58 Rob Bruggeman 6-3 287 Jr.

RG 75 * Wesley Aeschliman 6-8 318 Jr.
72 * Tyler Blum 6-6 285 So.

71 * Seth Olsen 6-5 305 Jr.
or 76 ** Alex Kanellis 6-4 295 Jr.

TE 81 * Tony Moeaki 6-4 255 Jr.
83 ** Brandon Myers 6-4 250 Jr.

QB 6 * Jake Christensen 6-1 215 So.
8 Arvell Nelson 6-4 210 #Fr.
or 12 Ricky Stanzi 6-4 215 #Fr.

WR 88 * Dominique Douglas 6-1 190 So.
or 86 * Trey Stross 6-3 195 So.
84 Anthony Bowman 5-11 167 So.

RB 21 ** Albert Young 5-10 209 Sr.
or 28 *** Damian Sims 5-9 197 Sr.

FB 35 *** Tom Busch 5-11 235 Sr.
38 Jordan McLaughlin 6-0 230 Jr.

PK 39 * Austin Signor 6-4 230 So.
or 1 Daniel Murray 5-10 175 #Fr.


DE 92 ** Kenny Iwebema 6-4 267 Sr.
94 Adrian Clayborn 6-3 275 #Fr.

DT 53 ** Matt Kroul 6-3 277 Jr.
56 Rashad Dunn 6-3 285 Jr.

DT 47 ** Mitch King 6-3 264 Jr.
59 Anton Narinskiy 6-4 265 Jr.

DE 99 *** Bryan Mattison 6-3 272 Sr.
98 * Chad Geary 6-3 261 So.

OLB 49 * A.J. Edds 6-4 244 So.
42 Jeremiha Hunter 6-2 222 #Fr.

MLB 40 *** Mike Klinkenborg 6-2 240 Sr.
41 * Bryan Gattas 6-1 233 Sr.

WLB 44 ** Mike Humpal 6-3 242 Sr.
43 * Pat Angerer 6-1 230 So.

LC 19 *** Adam Shada 6-1 195 Sr.
16 * Drew Gardner 5-10 178 Sr.

SS 18 Lance Tillson 6-2 205 #Fr.
or 14 *** Devan Moylan 5-10 201 Sr.

FS 30 Brett Greenwood 6-0 200 #Fr.
or 2 Harold Dalton 6-1 201 Jr.

13 *** Charles Godfrey 6-1 200 Jr.
34 Chris Rowell 6-1 197 So.
or 29 ** Bradley Fletcher 6-2 200 Jr.

PT 5 Ryan Donahue 6-3 175 #Fr.

If you haven't been to recently, you ought to

The state of Iowa, while a good source of writers, is far from an attractive destination. It is, no doubt, frustrating for parents to try to encourage their young children to read the newspaper, only to find out that their easily impressionable minds are subjected to hacks like Nancy Clark and Pat Harty (or even worse, us).

Child: "Daddy, daddy! I read the newspaper like you told me to, and I learned from Nancy Clark that the Hawkeyes start white receivers because Kirk Ferentz is racist!"
Father: "There is no hope for this world." (commits suicide)

That's why it's been refreshing to read Eric Page's comprehensive coverage of the Hawkeyes from the Big 10 media conference for the QC Sun-Times. His July 31 article on Jake Christensen, while drenched in unnecessary second-person perspective ("Curious now, you moved a little bit closer." is just creepy), is nonetheless the clear-cut best player profile to be written this season. Then there's the thankless task of providing analysis of an online poll that only about 200 people bothered voting in:
With Christensen, it’s obvious — as the quarterback goes, the team goes, right? But the guy is a first-year starter, and first-year starters — especially at quarterback — take time to develop in the Big Ten. So I can see a scenario where Christensen doesn’t have that great of a year, but Iowa still is able to have success. If the offensive line can gel and the running game can dominate and if the defense can shut down opponents and create turnovers, all the quarterback is going to have to do is not make mistakes, which wouldn’t necessarily make him a huge impact guy.
Sounds logical enough, right? Okay, but where has anything as sane as that been anywhere else in the state? Let's take a look at some gems from the DM Register's Sean Keeler and the ICPC's Pat Harty.

Harty's last article was about listening to Bryan Mattison. Naturally, the first quote doesn't come until 10 grafs in--and it's from linebacker Mike Klinkenborg. Even in that instance, though, the notion that Harty is a blithering retard is merely implicit. Never one for subtlety, though, Harty removes all doubt later in the same article:

Bryan also became agitated when I told him that some fans have asked me whether Ferentz has lost some of the magic that helped him rebuild the football program.

"I wouldn't even answer that question if I was you," Bryan said. "Coach Ferentz is one of the best coaches in the nation.

"If I knew what a magic touch was, I don't think he's lost it. Those people that ask that question don't know anything about football."

Good move, Harty. Ask a classy player to toss his coach under the team bus. The worst part is that Harty fucking enjoys doing that. He worded his question quite purposefully and carefully, characterizing the skeptics as "some fans," when a much more accurate description would be "some fans named Pat Harty." If he thought it was a terrible, baseless question, he wouldn't have asked it. He can explain it away with the notion that he's just "stirring the pot," but that's just a nice euphemism for "being a little shit."

Then there's Keeler, cramming football metaphors into a cable story with all the grace and nuance of a 32-DD breast enhancement surgery. From the story titled "Big Ten Network Needs To Punt":
Delany, the Big Ten’s commissioner, downplayed media concerns Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, declaring that negotiations between the Big Ten Network and major cable providers were simply “at halftime.”

Actually, there’s 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter, he’s down about three touchdowns, and the clock is ticking. If somebody doesn’t throw a Hail Mary, Iowa fans are going to be left in the dark.
So they have to punt, then throw a Hail Mary, then they'll be down by 14 late in the fourth quarter? What does that even mean?

At the very least, we've got Marc Morehouse up at the Gazette giving us what we really need to read over coffee and eggs:
However, a locker room sprint at the end of the first half against Ohio State in mid-September was more alarming to Paterno's ego.

"I didn't get sick. I got diarrhea,'' the 80-year-old Paterno said.
God bless you, Morehouse. You've put me in a good enough mood to spare everyone the Pat Harty Avalanche.

Here's a puppy instead. You're all so lucky.