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

Friday, August 17, 2007

High School Highlights: Cedric The Entertainer is fresh to death

Let there be no mistake about it: Cedric Everson runs the show. He hustled the recruiting sites to get his name out, he stone cold tells the coaching staff what will be up with this "redshirt" bullshit, and now, ladies and gentlemen, he makes Usher look like a stiff bitch.

Honestly, Cedric might be my favorite Hawkeye right now. He's a perfect blend of athleticism and audacity, the likes of which we haven't seen since Kahlil "The Thrill" Hill drove both Iowa and their opponents crazy (think Bracey Wright in cleats) from '98-'01. It doesn't matter if he ever plays a single down; Cedric, you are The Entertainer.

Cedric motherfucking Everson, folks. Have a good weekend.

THC Meets with Ron Zook: Part III

OPS and I flew to Chicago to cover the Big Ten Media Conference. If you haven't read it yet, the first part of the meeting with Ron Zook is chronicled here. The second part is here. You'll want to check those out or this story may come off a little weird.

The minute we got outside the hotel, the Zooker's mood changed. I thought he was difficult before; now he was impossible. I kept peppering him with questions, but trying to keep his attention was futile. I finally stopped talking and just got in-step behind him.

We got into a bit of a rhythm after a block or so. He moved down the street at a breakneck pace, covering ground like a silver topped panther, stalking his prey. I had no idea where we were going and if not for the slight giddy-up in his step (probably the result of the Zook Hook pressing the bounds of decency in his khakis), he would have lost me. I was relieved to not have his nose trained on me but to be honest, inside, I felt a desire to get his attention again. I don't know if it was for the story or for more nefarious purposes, but at that moment, I knew I wanted Ron Zook more than I'd ever wanted any man before. As he leapt from corner to corner I tried to look about to see where we were but none of the streets looked familiar, nor did the faces. As the shadows grew long, my patience grew short. I was losing my buzz and now petulance was my mask to wear.

Finally, I grabbed him by his meaty shoulder and said, "if you just tell me where we're going I'll let you smell my hair as long, and as hard, as you need to."

Without breaking his stride, or even turning, he whispered one word: "Chinatown."

(read more...)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Where Are They Now? volume 2

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 with former Iowa quarterback Brad Banks is here. Tonight, we check in on Michigan's early 21st century halfback Mike Hart.

Many of our older readers will remember a gridiron star from Michigan named Mike Hart. From 2004 to 2006, Hart terrorized opposing defenses with his blend of strength, speed, and superior ball control. He rushed for almost 3700 yards during those three years and was named a first-team All-American in 2006.

We checked in with, the official Michigan athletics website, for more on Mike Hart. Here's what they had to say about the American hero:

Senior tailback Mike Hart

Holy cow, he's still there! Thanks, mgoblue! Thanks, Mike! Keep "running the ball!"

Anton Narinskiy believes Impossible Is Nothing

HawkMania (I will link to them on a daily basis and you will enjoy it, readers) had a wonderful profile on Russian native Nikolai Volkoff Anton Narinskiy, whose last name will probably be the word verification in the comments. If we had that.

Essentially, the guy's family dragged him over here from Russia when he was 8. He taught himself English in school, became a 2-sport all-star, and only showed up at high school for football and wrestling practice by the time he was a senior; he was over at the community college the rest of the time.

Narinskiy, intent on making you look bad, showed up with 35 credits and has already graduated. In addition, he has allegedly* learned 15 more languages, made up four of his own, and graduated from six more universities with honors. Summa cum motherfucking laude, baby.

Actually, hold on a second. Funny Russian name? Star athlete? Academic freak of nature? I think we've already heard of this guy...

Son of a bitch.

*allegedly = in my imagination

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

11 practices? Sounds like it's time for a press release!

We got a telegram from the UI sports department today:


Okay, so that's not what they sent out. It was a regular press release. Sadly.

The ICPC's released the sports information office's missive this afternoon, and all that stuff I listed above is literally the entirety of the useful information therein. The full text is as follows:
Iowa’s football team has completed 11 pre-season practice sessions (thru Tuesday) and Head Coach Kirk Ferentz likes the direction his team is moving in. And, he’s looking forward to Saturday’s open to the public scrimmage in Kinnick Stadium.

“We’ve got in 11 practice sessions,” said Ferentz. “Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the direction this team is headed. We’ve done a pretty good job working through some extreme heat. Despite the hot weather, our attitude has been good thus far.”

The Hawkeyes are keeping their fingers crossed on the injury front. Only two players have missed significant practice time in the pre-season camp.

“The only bad thing to report, at this point, is the fact we’ve had a couple of injuries to veteran players that has kept them out of competition for the majority of camp. Dace Richardson and Alex Kanellis have been out of practice the majority of the time back. We hope to get them back soon.”

The 2007 Hawkeyes will greet the public for the first time Saturday during a scrimmage open to the public at no charge. Gates (A, B & E) on the west side of Kinnick Stadium will open at 10 a.m. with practice set to begin at 11 a.m. The session is expected to last approximately two hours. Players will be available 30 minutes for autographs following practice. The concession stands will be open, selling products at a reduced cost.

“Hopefully we’ll have good weather Saturday,” said Ferentz. “We’re looking forward to a good scrimmage in front of a great crowd. I hope our fans take advantage of this opportunity. A good crowd will add to the environment for the players and make for a more spirited workout.”

The Hawkeyes open the season Sept. 1st against Northern Illinois at Chicago’s Soldier Field. The home opener is a week later against Syracuse (7:05 p.m.). Both games are sold out.

On the cutting edge of Internet sensations

We here at THC are nothing if not pop culture junkies, even as it pertains to the internet. Two of our favorite e-memes are the ubiquitous lolcats and the ever-popular countdowns to the start of the season.

Here's a documentary on the highly technical computer program we used to combine the two ideas into one mind-bendingly awesome image. Prepare to have your balls and/or ovaries blown completely the fuck off.

Without further ado, the lolcountdown. You're welcome.

Oh. Oh dear. Let's just move on. This post never happened.

If the members of the Big 10 were cars or car-like substances

In ascending order of value...

Big Wheel with streamers


Ford Probe that got totaled by someone without insurance

They weren't that good to begin with, even before the recent disaster. Now, it's a matter of finding someone willing to put in a lot of effort just to get things back to "two years ago." The choices are a heavy rebuilding operation or rolling with some ass-ugly Pacer, be it an AMC or Troy Murphy. All in all, it's a damned shame.

Purple Vespa

The vehicular version of a pushover. If you don't have a distinct geographical reason for opting for them (namely, living in Italy or Evanston), you need serious help.

Buick Skylark in a garage made of used tampons

They're not particularly popular, good-performing, or even much fun to look at, either in motion or standing still. To top it all off, the place where they're kept is unspeakably awful--does a greater discouragement to visitors even exist? Everyone knows they'd be better off outside.

Riced-out Honda Civic built and driven by Stevie Wonder

The exact antithesis of a "whole greater than the sum of its parts." In this instance, there's some definite quality, whether it be a nitrous system or J Leman, but there's practically no chance that it won't end very, very badly.

Mazda Miata

They were sexy a few years ago, but they've never really been physically imposing. Completely useless in the dead of winter.
[NOTE: "Krispy Kreme delivery truck" was too obvious]

2002 Saab that just got out of the shop after your teenage son wrecked it

Man, they were a lot better a couple years ago, weren't they? All the "smart people" loved them as the embodiment of valuing substance over flash. Then you put it in the hands of someone who's emotionally fragile and prone to erratic behavior, and it got real ugly, real quick. Nobody's really sure how it happened, but there's not much point in dwelling on it. These days, everything looks better and you'd like to believe it's all fixed, but are you really 100% sure it can run like before?

1994 Toyota Camry

They're an old standard, one with a look that even a drooling Notre Dame fan could immediately recognize. They hold their value better than anyone else out there, and they're being maintained by a kindly old man who doesn't put any undue wear and tear on them. They've been helped by the occasional upgrades (in this case, starting freshmen like Derrick Williams would be akin to, oh, let's say a CD player).

Ford F-250 driven by a total douchebag

Built for one thing, and one thing only: power. They're awfully dangerous when they hit full speed, and they enjoy plowing over defenseless animals (raccoons, Temple Owls). If you see them coming toward you, buckle up; hitting the brakes is for pussies.

BMW 760Li

While it's been a few years since you could toss around a label like "best in the world," you'd be crazy not to respect the hell out of them. If you want to talk shit, it'd better be about aesthetics; even then, while they're kind of weird-looking, the look is as distinctive as it is classic. All quality-based criticisms can easily be dismissed as unadulterated jealousy--unless they come from...

Aston Martin that runs on the blood of puppies

Without question, the prettiest car on the lot, and boy are they fast. Pure excellence. Nonetheless, there's still an unmistakable stench of reprehensibility to them, whether it's slaughtering man's best friend or the unchecked use of sweater vests. A bumper sticker that says "Satan is my copilot" would just be restating the obvious. In the name of all that is holy and good, fuck them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What do Brian Ferentz and Dorothy Mantooth have in common?

Indeed, good news out of New Orleans today as Ferentz joins the Saints, most likely for a stint on the practice squad or something. Even though it's highly unlikely that Ferentz overtakes perpetual grump Jeff Faine as the starting center, well, the fact that we're even talking about Ferentz right now is in and of itself a minor miracle.

First of all, Brian Ferentz wasn't always a lock for Iowa. He was recruited during the 2000 season, when Iowa was in the midst of a 4-19 start to Kirk Ferentz's career. When Brian's name came up in recruiting, most Iowa fans' reactions were to hope Kirk pays Brian's way rather than "waste" a scholarship on a kid whose only other offers were to Northern Illinois and Kirk's buddy Bill Snyder at KSU. "Nepotism!" they cried. "Tomfoolery!" Luckily, Kirk recused himself from whether or not to offer Brian a scholarship, and assistant Reese Morgan saw fit to do so.

Once he actually got on the field, life...continued to suck. Ferentz was hampered by knee injuries during his freshman (left ACL) and sophomore (right PCL) years. That'd be unpleasant enough, but a staph infection after one of seven knee surgeries brought the future of not only his career but his leg itself into jeopardy. He only recovered after they took out part of his motherfucking knee. And by "recovered," I mean he was back on the field 8 months later. Starting at center.

Luckily, Brian Ferentz's career was just as defined by injury as it was great play: he started his last 20 games, earned honorable mention all-Big Ten, and was named Permanent Team Captain as a senior. It's safe to say that his is a career that all Hawkeye fans can appreciate. Here's to hoping his spot on New Orleans' roster is just as "wasted" as his scholarship was here.

THC meets with Ron Zook: Part II

Hey, Jebus here. I'm a professional journalist now, so I did what we do and flew to Chicago with OPS to cover the Big Ten Media Conference. His meeting with Ron Zook is, chronicled here. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to.

So, we're in Chicago and I was just starting to have fun when I got a harried phone call from OPS. Here's the transcript from the call (that got me out of bed):

OPS: Wake up, shithead. You don't even want to know what happened to me this afternoon.

JHC: I'm pretty busy here. What do you need?

OPS: Whatever. Zook is fucking weird and I'm out of here. I'll walk back to Iowa.

JHC: Hang on. You're with Zook? Sweet! How's his tan?

OPS: He's a freak, and not the cool kind. I'm grabbing my shit and leaving. Between what you got and what I got we can make the rest up.

JHC: Hang on. I told you there'd be things you didn't like. That's part of being a journalist! We're pros now, man. Sack up! It's not all free fried food, adultery, and plagiarism. What's the big deal?

OPS: ... he keeps smelling me.

JHC: Wha?

OPS: Yeah. He made me buy new shampoo and then he sniffed me like a hothouse flower. It was like he was trying to sniff my insides...

JHC: He's a "sniffer", huh?

OPS: How the hell do you even know what that is? You know what? I actually don't want to know. I'm getting my stuff and taking off. Later.

JHC: No! Stall him. I'll be there in 5 minutes.

OPS: What? Where are you? What happened to busy?

JHC: We have adjoining rooms. I put them on Hawkeye State's Amex.

[adjoining room door opens and Jebus comes out]

OPS: Dude, put some fuckin' pants on, it's 3 in the afternoon.

JHC: Right.

[Jebus goes back into room, comes out seconds later looking groggy but strangely focused]

JHC: Let's do this.

OPS: Are you still drunk? Did you shower today? Did you shower this week?

JHC: What week is it?

OPS: I'm getting my shit. You freaks do what you want.

[OPS enters room with JHC following]

Zook was sitting in the corner of the room, which was totally dark, except for the lamp in the corner. His leathery face may have been obscured but we could feel his steely glare.

"So you needed back-up for the Zooker?," he spit out.

OPS walked over to the bed, grabbed his notebook, his bag, and he muttered, "family emergency... this is Jebus... later" toward Zook and as he passed me on the way out he whispered, "you boys have fun". He left the room and as the door slammed the Zooker shouted after him, "GOOD GAME" with authority.

Zook didn't move. We had a timeless staredown but finally gave up because it was so dark we couldn't tell if one of us blinked. I went over to open the blinds. Zook saw his opening and was up like a shot. He slipped in behind me, got on his toes, and got a cheap smell in, I felt the heat of his proboscis graze the back of my left ear.

".... what... what is that?", barked Zook, baffled.

I looked at him knowingly and said, "Hi, coach. I'm Jebus H Christ with The Hawkeye Compulsion. Why don't you have a seat and lemme ask you some questions."

Zook backed into the chair and sat down hard. "What was that scent?", pleaded the Zook, more to himself than anything else.

I started the interview (I may have been slightly slurring my words), "I think it's clear you have things moving in the right direction on the defensive side of the ball. You have J Leman, who's got tremendous hair, by the way..."

"HE DOES!", Zook interrupts, and instantly perks up.

"...but I want to know what makes you think you're going to be able to build something over the long haul here? If we assume you aren't cheating, which you clearly are, how are you going to succeed as a football coach at a basketball school if you couldn't succeed as a football coach at a football school?"

"How tall are you, son?"


"What do you weigh?", the Zook continues.


"Why can't I smell your hair?", the Zook pleads petulantly.

"Can we get to the interview here?"

"Can we get to the interview here?", mimics Zook, childishly.

"Coach, come on. Let me do my job."

"I am sooooooooo sick of foot-ball! Jiminy Christmas, doesn't anyone want to talk about fishin'? Or newsy stuff? Ask me about water skiiing!", cried an aroused Zooker.

"Let's shift gears. Why don't we get out of here and go catch a drink?"

At this point, Zook positively leapt to his feet with an aggression and athleticism that both surprised, and intrigued, me. I also noticed for the first time that flat front pants were an ill-advised fashion choice because he was aroused and not ashamed. Before I had a chance to say anything he was hustling me out the door with a hand just a little too low on my back and his ever present nose was just fucking hovering on my shoulder. I didn't like his intentions but I liked his moves.

"I know just the place! The Zooker will treat you to a nice haircut!"

"... I thought we were going for a drink?", I asked suspiciously.

"Place I have in mind, you'll get both!"

I pointed to his crotch and asked, "you bringin' that too?"

He looked down and proudly swiveled his hips lasciviously, exclaiming (just a little too loudly), "The Zook Hook? Oh yeah!"

Part III, is here.

Andy Brodell is a raging bionic steroid freak

Not pictured: Andy Brodell rips a panda's head off, then beats another panda to death with it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Talk Me Out of the Insanity

From time to time, I'll start thinking crazy, folks, and I'll need someone to talk me out of it.

Topic 1: I don't think Dominique Douglas should start.

Now. He's the best route-runner on the team, and he's got the most starting experience of any of the receivers we've got (read that again and think about it). He rewrote the freshman record books last year, leading the team with 49 catches and coming in second with 654 yards. Both numbers were also the best for any freshman last year.

All that said, he was passed over by Michigan and Michigan State for a reason, and that's because he lacks top-end speed. While there's clearly more to being a receiver than 40 times, the fact is that he only averaged about 13 yards per catch. His longest reception was 37 yards, on a pass that a burner could have run under and taken to the house. Don't believe me? Observe:

Was it a great play by Douglas? Absolutely. No doubt about it. But if he had one more step on the play (a step that sprint champs Trey Stross and Andy Brodell would have), that's a 91-yard touchdown.

Further, let's talk about why it'd be a 91-yard score: There was no deep safety help. Safeties don't have to fear him, and as a result they can cheat toward the line of scrimmage most of the time. You think Young and Sims are happy whenever there's 8 guys in the box?

I'd like to see Douglas used primarily as a slot receiver in 3-WR sets. As long as there's two guys pushing the safeties deep (or at the very least more than 10 yards off the line), he'd be great to wreak havoc underneath. Like I said, he's easily the best route-runner on the team.

It seems, on its face, to be utterly insane to suggest demoting a 3rd string Freshman All-American who is arguably your most experienced and productive returning receiver. But he seems to be at his limit physically, and I don't see room for a ton of improvement. Thus: could anyone please talk me out of thinking this way?

THC meets with Ron Zook: Part I

(Legal disclaimer: you should not believe a single word of any of this)

One of the perks of being a Big Ten Blogger(tm) is that we're granted unlimited access to all Big Ten media functions, like this past week's Big Ten Media Conference. Sure, we're technically not members of the media, but I am an excellent string-puller (for future reference, readers, think long and hard before you agree to perform an unspecified favor for Jim Delaney. Long and hard.).

When JHC and I arrived in Chicago, we were awed by the luxurious set up for the coaches, players, and reporters. The tables were filled with media guides, posters, and other free memorabilia. We never thought we'd need a free 2" Purdue helmet, but you never know, right? Jebus mentioned that his flask was empty (note: it wasn't when we got on the plane at 9 A.M.), and after promising he wouldn't drive, he set out to remedy the situation. I, on the other hand, got my responsible journalist on.

The hottest interviews were, of course, with Jim Tressel and Lloyd Carr. That's no surprise. I wasn't able to get any meaningful questions to them, so I decided to pursue some of the less famous coaches.

After kibitzing with Bill Lynch, whose most common response to questions was "I told you my name's not 'Terry'," I asked a fellow journalist (hint: name rhymes with Dirk Werbstreit) where the Illinois table was. His face blanched in terror.

"Why?" he asked. I replied that I wanted to get a few quotes from Zook.

He stood in stunned silence for a beat, then burst out laughing. When he noticed I didn't laugh along with him, he settled down. "Did you stay here at the Regency this morning? What shampoo did you use?" he asked.

"The shit in the little bottles they give," I responded.

The well-coiffed journalist cackled with glee. "All right, man," he said. "Go talk to Ron. Let me know how it goes."

As soon as I sat down at the table, star tailback Rashard Mendenhall quickly excused himself. I naively saw nothing wrong with that and began asking Zook some questions.

I started with some softballs, like: "Do you believe the hype about Illinois making a bowl game in 2007?"
"We're getting better and better!"
"How about Isaiah, or as--"
"Yeah, uh, 'Juice'--"
"Juice is getting better and better."

I was about to bring up the absurdity of Williams' 37% completion rate when Zook's nostrils flared and he stared daggers into my eyes.

"You staying here this weekend?"

I waffled, perplexed. "Uh, yeah, someone else asked--"

"I can smell it, son! You think Swindle uses goddamn Suave?!" he barked.

Before I could respond, I was sent away from the table by security. As I wandered around in a daze, I felt a firm grab on my arm. It was Zook.

"There's a Whole Foods on West Huron," he whispered into my ear. Then he quite conspicuously sniffed me, which elicited a disdainful groan. "Your hair's thick," he needlessly reminded me. "Like a horse, or a dog. Pick up something to make it smell good."

If I was going to get my chance to ask the hard-hitting questions (how does someone get fired from Florida that quickly? whose member of Aurrelious Benn's family did he have to kidnap at gunpoint to get him to commit?), I figured it wouldn't be too much of a hassle to pick up some shampoo.

After the quick stop at the store, I showered quickly, and began dressing. As I was slipping on my shirt, there was a knock at my door. I opened it, and Zook stood there, eyes ablaze.

"Mr. Zook, I, uh," I began.

"You showered," he responded. "Good."

"Yeah. What are you doing here? Who told you what room I was in?"

"Shhh." He put his finger to my lips and walked in. "I suppose you want to do this interview."

"Well, yeah, uh--" I stammered. "I gotta get my notebook, I wasn't really planning on doing this up here, or you being in here at all. Ever."

Always the Casanova, Zook sat down on the bed, gently placed his hand on my notebook and said, "We'll get to that," which was more than mildly unsettling. "How much did you spend?"

"Oh, it was like $7. Don't worry about it," I said. "Please."

Undeterred, Zook took a $20 bill out of his pocket, folded it the long way, and put it on the night stand. "It's on the Zook," he said. As he exuberantly crossed the room to close the blinds, he smelled my hair again. "Organic shampoo? You dirty little bitch."

Part II, written by JHC, is here.
The horrifying finale of the Zook trilogy is here.

Happy Monday, folks

We spent the weekend working on a shocking expose of Illinois head coach Ron Zook. We'll be bringing that to you throughout the week, depending on how quickly our lawyers tell us we can print certain parts.

Past that, the Harty Party wants you to not talk about certain things anymore, days after it's all his paper talked about. Thanks Pat, you lovable syrup-covered hack.

The QC Times, of course, opted to run a real article instead, this one a great profile on redshirt freshman Julian Vandervelde, a 6'3", 295 pound teddy bear.
There is a reason Vandervelde is the way he is — why he didn’t hesitate before standing up and singing Phantom of the Opera’s “All I Ask of You” in front of teammates and their families and Texas players and their families at a talent show leading up to the Alamo Bowl last December, why he felt totally comfortable offering his rendition of the National Anthem to thousands of rallying democrats at a Hillary Clinton campaign stop this summer in Iowa City.
BO-RING! Wake me up when he's a champion yodeler. The Stars 'n Bars are so played out these days; I'll be impressed when someone walks up to a microphone and belts out the theme from the Price is Right's Cliff Hangers game.
He garnered all-state honors as a member of the debate team, excelled in forensics, authored award-winning poems and short stories, was the lead in the school play and continued to sing in the choir and play in the band — all while maintaining a 3.75 grade-point average.
Still not a fucking yodeler.

The article contains an unusual amount of trepidation when it comes to his actual playing ability--a strange sight indeed, when you're doing a puff piece during the summer. It even contains the cryptic threat of "don't call him a football player." Eric, don't pull a Nancy Clark on us. The guy's on scholarship for football, not poetry. He's penciled in as the starting left guard. He's a football player. He's not only a football player, but who's going to make that argument in the first place?

You don't have to hack your way through a profile, Eric. Don't bring yourself down to the level of every other sportswriter in the entire state.

That's the least of what you are.