Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My phone rang at 8 o'clock this morning. I don't make much sense at that time of day, but I managed to put it all together when I heard the voice of one of my former neighbors. You already know about My Neighbor Al, the Health Nut, and it wasn't him. Indeed, Al isn't a former neighbor anyway. He's still in the neighborhood, and he still likes to drink my Italian Dark Roast coffee in the morning. I'll call the guy who phoned today Frank, even though his name is not Frank. Anyway, he wanted to talk about something he saw in the paper. "What did you think of that big headline on the front of the sports page?" Frank asked. "I haven't seen the paper yet, Frank," I said. "In fact, I haven't even gotten it from my front porch. What's the deal on the headline?" Frank told me the headline read: "NBA, nation embrace gay player's news." I think Frank was referring to the word 'embrace' as the amusing thing about the headline. The headline and story were in reference to NBA player Jason Collins coming out of the closet and saying he's gay. I read about it throughout yesterday on the Internet, and it wasn't any earthshaking development as far as I was concerned. I'm well aware that there are plenty of gay people participating in sports--both men's and women's sports--and I guess I don't care if they come out of the closet or stay in the closet. The sports business is just like any other business. Homosexuals are part of every group, and I'm not going to waste my time trying to figure out who's gay and who isn't. Frank proceeded to ask me if there were any gays "down there." I said, "Down where?" Frank said, "Down at the Register." I said, "I worked with a lot of people, and some were stranger than others. And I'm sure some of them were gay. Like any other business, I figured most of them were heterosexual. But I'm sure a few were bisexual, some A-sexual, which was the term we used when trying to describe someone we didn't think had any strong feelings for either men or women. That's all I know about it. And, frankly, I'm not wasting any time these days wondering who's gay and who isn't gay at the paper. The people at that place have plenty of other problems, none of which will be solved anytime soon.

University of Iowa linebacker James Morris has been recognized with the Third House Scholar Award for 2013-14 by the UI Department of Political Science. The Third House group is an association of statehouse lobbyists in Des Moines. Morris was one of more than 20 students recognized by the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences during an awards ceremony on April 26. The Third House Scholar Award criteria include excellence in scholarship, active participation, and leadership in political and civic organizations, along with being a graduate of an Iowa high school. The award is given to the person considered by the Political Science faculty as an outstanding senior major..Morris, a native of Solon, will be a senior on the Iowa football team this fall. He has earned academic all-Big Ten recognition the past two years and was named to the CoSIDA/Capital One District VI Academic All-America team last fall. Morris has been a starting linebacker for the Hawkeyes since his true freshman season in 2010. Last season he ranked third in the Big Ten and 31st in the nation in tackles per game (9.4). He ranks 16th in career tackles (293). He was named a permanent team captain in 2012 while earning the Hayden Fry “Extra Heartbeat” Award and the Players Choice Award on defense. Morris earned honorable mention all-Big Ten honors as a sophomore and junior after being named Freshman all-America by as a freshman. [This story was written for Ron Maly by Iowa sports information director Steve Roe].

James Morris

The 104th Drake Relays dazzled fans with countless fantastic performances across all divisions, and on Monday the Relays Most Outstanding Performers were announced. The award is voted on by members of the media that cover the meet. Mississippi’s Isiah Young was named the Maury White Award winner as the men’s collegiate and invitational most outstanding performer while Jenny Simpson’s record-setting performance earned her the honor in the women’s division. Josh Evans of Linn-Mar High School was the near unanimous selection for the Robert Kramme award as the boys’ outstanding performer. The Gerry Cooley Award for the girl’s most outstanding performance went to Agnes Sayeh of Des Moines Roosevelt. Young repeated as the Drake Relays champion in the university 100-meter dash with a time of 10.07 in a slight wind. Had it not been for the tailwind that was just 0.1 meters per second over the allowable windspeed, the 2012 Olympian’s performance would been a Drake Relays record and broken the 30-year-old mark of 10.11 set by Alabama’s Calvin Smith in 1983. He also anchored Mississippi’s 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays. Iowa native Jenny Simpson earned the women’s most outstanding performer honor after posting a Drake Relays and Drake Stadium record time of 4:03.35 in the London Games Rematch of the 1,500 meters. The former world champion crushed an elite field by nearly 40 meters after taking the lead from the rabbit 2:30 into the race. Her time was the fastest in the world this season and shattered Suzy Favor Hamilton’s previous Drake Relays record of 4:05.13 by nearly two seconds in tough, windy conditions. The honor is the second of Simpson’s career as she was previously named the Relays most outstanding performer in 2011. Josh Evans earned the Robert Kramme award as the boys’ outstanding performance following a 1,600-meter performance that brought sold-out Drake Stadium to its feet for one of its biggest ovations of the weekend for the Linn-Mar High School standout. Evans set a torrid pace in the race to finish in 4:10.86, the fastest time in Iowa boys’ high school history. His performance also broke the Relays record of 4:11.57 set by Pekin’s Steve Griener in 1979 which was the oldest Relays record in a currently staged boys’ running event at the Relays. Competing less than two miles from her high school, Agnes Sayeh of Des Moines Roosevelt, thrilled the hometown crowd by winning the 100 meters in 12.56 into a stiff headwind and anchoring Roosevelt’s 4x100, 4x200 and sprint medley relay teams to Drake Relays titles. Her 4x100-meter relay team ran the second fastest time in Iowa history while the sprint medley team won the race for the second straight year. The 104th Drake Relays saw 11 Relays records broken and two others tied in addition to the 11 world leading marks established inside Drake Stadium. Saturday’s session featured a sellout crowd of 14,504 for the 48th consecutive year. The Thursday and Friday morning and afternoon sessions also recorded the highest attendance figures since Drake Stadium’s 2006 renovation. [This story was written for Ron Maly by Ty Patton, Drake's assistant athletic director for communications].


Sunday, April 28, 2013

There was a strange--and somewhat confusing--story in the paper the other day. It said, "One week after undergoing heart surgery, [former Iowa State football coach Dan McCarney] was back in the office Friday, talking to North Texas State football players he now coaches." The story said nothing about what type of "heart surgery" the 59-year-old McCarney underwent. Yet, wrote that McCarney "underwent heart bypass surgery....McCarney acknowledged in a statement that he had a medical procedure but wasn't specific. He returned to the office a week after the surgery. Doctors recommended McCarney undergo the surgery following a routine office visit earlier in the week." I find it hard to believe McCarney was in his football office a week after undergoing bypass surgery. I know a lot about bypass surgery because it will have been 27 years ago next Thursday that I had it done in Kansas City on a emergency basis. I was originally hospitalized so a world-famous cardiologist could do multi-vessel angioplasty on me. When problems developed on the operating table, another cardiologist who was in the lab performed quadruple bypass surgery on me. In those days, it was recommended that people remain in the hospital for six weeks after bypass surgery. I talked my doctors into letting me go home after five weeks because I was eager to return home and to work. Now, returning home seems like a much better idea than returning to work. Anyway, I find it hard to believe anyone could return to work after having his breastbone broken by cardiologists so bypass surgery could be performed. Angioplasty is a much different story. That involves having a catheter threaded through the groin and into the heart to repair a blocked artery. That type of procedure [I hesitate to call it surgery] is performed routinely these days, and would certainly permit a person to return to work in a week. Until I hear more about McCarney's situation, I'll withhold judgement on what exactly happened to him. The ESPN story also said McCarney's heart problem was unrelated to the stroke he had earlier in his career at North Texas State. I find that hard to believe, too. Blocked coronary arteries are indeed related to strokes, which also involve blocked arteries. ESPN said that in the past 50 years only Rod Rust [1967-1968] has won more games in his first two seasons at North Texas State than McCarney. Rust is a native of Cedar Rapids who played football for Iowa State. McCarney is a native of Iowa City who played football for Iowa, and was an assistant coach for the Hawkeyes and Wisconsin.

Dan McCarney

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thought for the Day

Photo by Ron Maly at Dowling High School in West Des Moines

Friday, April 26, 2013

I'd like to inform you that I have not spent one minute, not even one second, watching the NFL draft on TV. I'd also like you to know that if anyone catches me tuning in the draft today or later, please call one of my many doctors. I obviously will need immediate medical attention.

Eric May Earns Hawkeyes' Chris Street Award

Senior guard Eric May has been named the recipient of the Chris Street Award for the 2012-13 Iowa men’s basketball season.  May received the award Thursday night at the team’s banquet at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Coralville.

The Chris Street Award is presented annually to a Hawkeye player, or players, who best exemplify the spirit, enthusiasm and intensity of Chris Street.  Street was an Iowa basketball player who died in an auto accident in 1993, midway through his junior year.

May (6-5, 219) was Iowa’s lone scholarship senior, playing in all 38 games.  May played in 133 career games, one shy of the school record of 134 held by Roy Marble (1986-89).  He posted his best offensive rebounding average (1.1), assists (1.8), and free throw percentage (.737) of his career his senior campaign. 

The Dubuque native was a leader on-and-off the court, serving as a two-time team co-captain, earning Academic all-Big Ten recognition three times and being named the Iowa men’s basketball Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree.

May was also co-winner of the team’s Defensive Player of the Year Award.  The senior was routinely assigned to defend one of the opposition’s top perimeter players and led the team in steals nine times, and rebounding and assists five times.

Other Hawkeyes recognized at the banquet included Mike Gesell, Roy Devyn Marble, Gabriel Olaseni, Aaron White and Adam Woodbury.

Marble (6-6, 194), who earned third team all-Big Ten, NIT all-Tournament and Cancun Challenge all-Tournament laurels, was named the team’s Top Playmaker.  The team co-captain became the first Hawkeye to amass 1,100+ points, 350+ rebounds and 275+ assists as a junior.  Marble was the team’s leading scorer (15.0) and also paced the team in assists (3.0), free throw percentage (.810), and 3-pointers (49-of-150).  The native of Southfield, Mich., averaged 20.6 points, 2.4 steals and four rebounds in five NIT games, and became the first Hawkeye since Adam Haluska in 2007 to score 21+ points in four consecutive games (Indiana State, Stony Brook, Virginia and Maryland).  Marble was one of only three Big Ten players (Michigan’s Trey Burke and D.J. Newbill of Penn State) to average 15 points and three assists this year.

White (6-8, 218), who was recognized on the All-Big Ten third team and Cancun Challenge All-Tournament squad, was named the team’s Best Rebounder for the second consecutive year.  The Strongsville, Ohio, native ranked first in team rebounding (6.2), becoming the first Hawkeye to lead the team in rebounding as a freshman and sophomore since Michael Payne in 1981-82.  White started 38 games, sharing the school record for most starts in a season with Woodbury.  He ranked second on the team in scoring (12.8) and steals (41).  White made (193) and attempted (258) the most free throws of any sophomore in school history, with 39.5 percent of his scoring production coming from the foul line, which ranked fifth-best in the country.  White finished his sophomore campaign with 877 career points, 123 shy of 1,000.

Olaseni (6-10, 229) received the team’s Most Improved Award.  The native of London, England, posted personal best numbers in every statistical category as a sophomore, seeing action in 19 more games than the previous year.  He rejected 36 blocks this season, the second most on the team and 12th-most in the Big Ten.  The 36 blocks are the third-most ever by a Hawkeye sophomore.  Olaseni’s career-high seven blocked shots in Iowa’s win over Illinois not only equaled the seventh-most in a game in school history, but helped Iowa set a school single-game record in blocks (13).

Gesell (6-1, 185) earned the team’s Academic Award and was named co-Freshman of the Year.  Gesell became the first Hawkeye freshman to amass 295+ points, 85+ assists and 85+ rebounds.  Despite being slowed by a foot injury the final six weeks of the season, Gesell was Iowa’s third leading scorer (8.7), finishing in double figures 14 times.  The South Sioux City, Neb., native collected 40 steals and shot 31.7 percent from 3-point range, which rank as the sixth and ninth-best by a Hawkeye freshman, respectively. 

Along with earning co-Freshman of the Year honors, Woodbury was awarded co-Defensive Player of the Year accolades.  Woodbury (7-1, 235) started all 38 games at center, establishing a school record for most starts in a season with White.  The native of Sioux City, Iowa, ranked third in team rebounding (4.8) and blocked shots (29).  The 29 blocks rank seventh-best by a Hawkeye rookie, while his 181 rebounds are the sixth-most by an Iowa freshman.  Woodbury led the team in blocks 10 times and rebounding six times.


TOP PLAYMAKER: Roy Devyn Marble
CO-FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Mike Gesell, Adam Woodbury
MOST IMPROVED: Gabriel Olaseni

[This story was written for Ron Maly by Iowa's sports information staff].

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Doug McDermott says he's confident he's got what it takes to be a first-round pick in the NBA draft. He'll wait until 2014 to find out for sure. The two-time first-team all-American said today he'll return to Creighton for his senior year instead of declaring for June's NBA draft. said McDermott made the announcement at a news conference in Creighton's practice gym. He was joined by his father, Bluejays coach Greg McDermott, and mom, Theresa, in addition to teammates, administrators and boosters. McDermott said he went back and forth with his decision before it hit him Wednesday afternoon. He was meeting with his dad to talk about his pro prospects when he abruptly stopped the conversation. "Finally, I just said, 'You know what, I'm coming back,'" McDermott said. "I've had enough of this. I'm ready to make this decision. This is where my heart is. The NBA can wait. I feel like I can play there someday, but this is an opportunity I can't pass up." Greg McDermott said he and his wife were proud of how their son arrived at his decision. "At the end, he felt it best to stay," Greg McDermott said. "He needed to follow his heart and do what he needed to do, and once he makes his decision to not look back and just move forward." Selfishly for the coach and the Bluejays, it sure helps to have McDermott back. "Obviously, it's 23 points and eight rebounds a game," the coach said. ESPN's Chad Ford ranks him No. 48 in his list of top 100 prospects. Sunday is the deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft. The 6-foot-8, 225-pound McDermott said he can use another year of college to prepare physically and mentally for pro ball. He was the second-leading scorer in Division I last season, averaging 23.2 points. He led the Bluejays to a sweep of the Missouri Valley regular-season and tournament titles in their last year in the conference. They'll move to the Big East next season. Why did he pass up possible first-round money? "Just being a college kid another year and playing with my best friends and joining the Big East," he said. "It couldn't get much better. I went with my heart, my gut. Whenever I've done that in the past, it's always worked out. I'm confident this is the best decision."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It was a wonderful performance by a lot of talented young people tonight at the dress rehearsal of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' In the Valley High School Auditorium. The show continues with a matinee Thursday, then more performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

[Photos by Ron Maly].

'We Have No Idea Right Now Who the Quarterback Will Be,' Iowa Offensive Coach Says

 Although this is the final week of spring practice, Greg Davis, Iowa's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, said today that the Hawkeyes still don't have a No. 1 quarterback.
Greg Davis
The battle is between Jake Rudock, Cody Sokol and C. J. Bethard, none of whom has played a down for the Hawkeyes in a previous season.

"We have no idea right now who the quarterback will be," Davis said at a press conference in Iowa City. 

Davis and defensive coordinator Phil Parker fielded questions from the media Wednesday inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex. The transcript of the comments was e-mailed to Ron Maly by Iowa's sports information department:

Greg Davis Opening Statement:
COACH DAVIS: The scoring system for the spring game will be offense basically scores the way they normally do, so a touchdown is six points, extra point, field goals. The other way the offense will get points in this system is three first downs in a row creates one point or an explosive play run of 12 plus or a pass of 16 plus. So that's where the offense will pick up points.
Defense scores but obviously any kind of return for a touchdown is seven points. If they get a turnover that does not result in a touchdown, it's worth three points. If they get three and out, it's worth one. A sack is worth two points. A sudden change in the red zone, if the team turns the ball over in the red zone and offense does not score a touchdown, they get four points.

If you got that down, you're in the wrong business. You should be in the accounting line of work. But that's the way we'll do it. It's a pretty good way to have an offense play the defense and everybody gets some points. That's where we're at.
We have no idea right now who the quarterback will be. We started spring training with the idea that every time we practice we would rotate every two snaps. Whether or not that was a drill or whether or not that was a scrimmage or a situation, third and six, red zone, whatever, the situation was totally we're rotating every two snaps.
In Saturday's work, we did that during our individual time. Then when we went and scrimmaged, we let the quarterback own his drive. If he started the drive, it was three and out, the next quarterback played the next series. If the quarterback went eight, nine, ten plays, he got to own his drive. That is probably the way we'll do it this Saturday.
Kirk and I have talked about it. He'll make a decision. But probably what we'll do is the quarterback will get to own his drive this Saturday. They'll both play with all the groups. They've all done some really good things, but they have not separated themsel ves yet. I see things as encouraging by all three of them. So that part makes you happy. I wish one of them would go on and separate. So that's where we're at right now at that position.
Q. Anything stand out of the three of them?
COACH DAVIS: I've been asked a lot of times over the years. What do you look for when you get in a situation like this? It's not unusual. But, we want guys that can make plays off schedule, when things break down, who can extend the play, who can make a play that's not exactly the way you draw it up. We want guys that will take care of the football. That will be part of the evaluation.
We want guys that make big plays. Those are things that we're talking to them on a daily basis. Here is what happened in yesterday's practice. Here are your mental mistakes. Here is your explosive plays. Here is this and that. There's a whole litany of things that they are aware of that we're trying to evaluate.
Q. You mentioned working with quarterbacks, having them own drives. How much does that account for the decision you make as a coaching staff as far as that separation is concerned?
COACH DAVIS: Well, a lot. The quarterback is busy taking his team from here to there. That will be a big part of it. But also taking care of the ball, getting us in the right plays, and creating explosive plays. That's been a big emphasis in evaluating those guys. If they've had an opportunity, did they create that play?
Q. Is that based on the fact that most of your plays were called from the perimeter, not necessarily down the field? Is it limitation of the personnel or the play calling?
COACH DAVIS: I'm sure part of it was limitation of play calling, especially from the cards and letters I got.
There's aspects of vertical in all plays. Sometimes it's just having a better focus on giving that guy an opportunity. The other thing is most explosive plays in the passing game come off play action because that's when you have a chance to freeze the secondary. Usually play action creates better protection. You can hold the ball longer. Guys can move down the field.
We've done a lot of things this spring where hard play action and the receiver has a vertical decision to make at 16, whether or not he goes deep, sits down, turns in or out. All of that takes time to do. We've also tried to be very cognizant of giving our guys some opportunity to push the ball down the field.
Q. Coming off last year, do you feel more pressure?
COACH DAVIS: I feel pressure every day of what I've done for 40 years. But we did sit down and evaluate obviously things that we felt we could do better, things we should do more of, less of, whatever. And I think we've got a pretty good mix going right now.
Q. Any chance you wouldn't have been back?
COACH DAVIS: You're asking the wrong guy that.
Q. How do you feel the team has understood the offense compared to last year? Have they grasped it better?
COACH DAVIS: I think we're much further along at this point. Obviously they've had a spring, a season. Some of the conceptual things that you're trying to do, they have a better grasp of, so they're getting to it quicker, playing faster. I feel like we're much closer to being on the same page snap after snap than we were last year.
Q. Do you have the personnel for the offense even after struggles last year?
COACH DAVIS: I think what you have to do is you have to take what talent is there and try to maximize that. So make sure that we're trying to get the ball to guys that can make plays.
Q. How would you say the additions of Coach Kennedy and Coach White to the staff has changed the dynamics here?
COACH DAVIS: Coach Kennedy is obvious. He stepped in from just a philosophical standpoint, from a language standpoint. So he was able to hit the ground running. He brings great energy to his job and does a super job.
Coach White, he's got background both in what we were doing and background from the NFL. He's brought some great thoughts to us and is a very detail oriented coach. I think both guys have really joined in and been a big plus.
Q. The zone read last Sunday or two Sundays ago, how is that going to work with three drop back quarterbacks? Will the defense believe they're going to run it?
COACH DAVIS: Unless they run it. We have implemented a little bit of zone read. But it won't be a huge part. It's a part that is aggravating to the defense. Anything that's aggravating to Coach Parker has to be a good thing because that's not what they want.
Colt McCoy, he was a drop back guy, yet he could run three or four, five a game and create some explosive plays. Not only that, but create some assignment football by the defense.
Just the fact that you have some of that forces the defense to play more assignment football.
Q. In some ways is it easier, because you had James Vandemberg, he had been established, now you're starting from scratch, is that easier on your part?
COACH DAVIS: Well, it's different. I mean, obviously it's different because none of these guys have played. All these guys can make some plays with their feet, they can extend some plays and do some things.
Q. You mentioned explosive plays a couple times. That was missing a little bit last year. Where do you get that next year?
COACH DAVIS: Well, I think, again, play action is a great way to start explosive plays. For the things we mentioned a while ago, usually your protection is good. You have the ability to hold the ball. When you have the ability to hold the ball, receivers can force down the field and see what is happening.
So we're doing some things down the field where receivers are making decisions at 14 and 15 yards down the field, and you can't do that unless you can hold the ball. Typically that comes from play action pass. It gives you a chance to take advantage of what the defense did, how they rotated to stop the run.
Q. How do you feel you want to use that?
COACH DAVIS: Going to keep doing that. I think we have a good group of tight ends. We've got tight ends that will allow us to put multiple tight ends on the field, maybe have two attached, but one of them could be deployed out wide. Again, you're creating some opportunities for the defense and the way they match personnel to try to create some advantages.
So the tight ends need to be a big part of what we're doing.
Q. How tough was last season for you personally?
COACH DAVIS: I mean, it's part of it. We set out as soon as it was over and created a litany of things we wanted to look at and things that we did good, things that we did bad, and how to correct those things.
So hopefully we've addressed some of those things and we'll have a chance to get better.
Q. You mentioned second year experience. How much of an issue was that especially for the receivers last year?
COACH DAVIS: Anytime you do things post snap, you got to get reps and reps and reps, and you're depending on quarterbacks and receivers to be seeing the same things.
There's always going to be mistakes - receiver saw one thing. But the more you can eliminate those. the more opportunities you have to be consistent and stay on the field. I think we're closer in that area. We're not who we want to be, but I think we're closer now than we were at any point last year.
Q. Quick feet and decision making, can those separate the quarterbacks?
COACH DAVIS: Decision making is always a part of the quarterback position. The guys that can extend plays. Coach Walsh told me 15 years ago about drafting quarterbacks, and he said 50% of the snaps in the NFL are not the way you draw them up. Somebody is sliding in the pocket, you're not on the rhythm that the play is designed. So the ability for a quarterback to extend the play, to make things happen off schedule is a huge part.
Q. James Vandenberg shouldered a lot of the blame last year. How much of that was on him and how much was on the receivers or the system?
COACH DAVIS: It's a combination. We've moved past that. James is an outstanding young man, brilliant. I think he'll get an opportunity to play at the next level.
But, you know, it's as much my fault as any player's.
Q. With that, he probably would have been a drafted player this weekend. Do you feel the change may have prevented him from reaching his full potential or did you help him maybe reach what he could have done?
COACH DAVIS: I'm sure I could have done a better job. I'm sure I could have done a better job with James. He is a better player than he played last year.
Q. With these three quarterbacks, do you see a two quarterback system?
COACH DAVIS: Probably not. I mean, we may not know when the first game starts. We had a situation where we opened the season in '06, I think it was, we played two quarterbacks every three series for two weeks in a row, then we made a decision and went with Colt.
Some things you can't evaluate in practice, because they're not going to get hit. So I just said extending plays is a part of it. The first time the pocket breaks down, we blow them dead, which you have to do. But maybe they would have got out of that situation. Maybe that would have became a first down and you stay on the field.
Some of those things you can't determine until you're playing live football. So hopefully we will. Hopefully by the mid-part of camp in August we'll be able to make a decision. But if not, we'll see where it goes.
Q. Are you comfortable with that kind of rotation, the two quarterback thing, in a game?
COACH DAVIS: I think everybody would rather have "This is the guy." I think we all would. But at the same time if that guy has not emerged, then you need to evaluate both of them in live work. We don't have exhibition games.
If that's the way it turns out that we have to do it, that's the way we'll do it.
Q. How close is this race at quarterback?
COACH DAVIS: It's close enough that they're taking every two snaps for 13 practices. They haven't separated.
But I feel like they will. I feel like they will.
Q. Getting cards and letters from angry fans. What is your reaction? Can you share any of them?
COACH DAVIS: Yeah, I can.
Q. What have you thought of the running game so far?
COACH DAVIS: Some of them are from my parents. Sorry?
Q. The run game. How does it look this spring?
COACH DAVIS: We're committed to running the football. It's been nice to have two backs the whole spring. Mark and Damon have both made every practice. That gives you an opportunity to wear down the defense. It also gives you an opportunity, because of their abilities, to put the two of them in the game and maybe you're in two backs or maybe you're in one back.
Again, some defenses, everything they do is personnel driven to match properly. So if you put that personnel on the field, then you're in one back, they don't like that. It's not that they don't know how to match it, they do. But they may be asking a linebacker to play in space that they don't want him to play in.
Those are things that, you know, you can create some advantages hopefully offensively. But both of those guys have done a good job. Very pleased with where they're at right now.
Q. How many receivers have secured their spot in the wide receiver rotation? COACH DAVIS: Kevonte for sure is a guy that has played a bunch of ball. It was good to have him back Saturday. He's an experienced guy. He communicates well on the field.
If we played Saturday or if we played last Saturday, the three guys we would have started in that personnel group would have been Tevaun Smith, Kevonte Martin and Donald Shumpert.
Q. You're still waiting on five receivers. It seems like you saw some struggles a couple weeks ago. Do you feel you still haven't seen the whole picture of what you have at receiver yet?
COACH DAVIS: We've told the freshmen receivers that some of them are going to get an opportunity to come in and show what they can do. At the same time I would caution that they're freshmen, and freshmen are freshmen.
Maybe Tevaun last year was a guy that was mature for his age. He did get to play some. He's a much better player now because of it. So maybe one or two of those guys, hopefully, will be able to come in and offer some help.

Defensive Coordinator Phil Parker

Opening Statement:
COACH PARKER: Thank you, guys, for coming. Just to tell a little bit about where we're at going into the 13th practice, I'm very comfortable with the last couple days of practice. Our units have played with a lot of energy and played with unity, a little bit of excitement the last two practices. It took a while to get there, but I'm happy with that progress.
Are we there and close yet? We still have a long ways to go to play a game yet. But I just like the way the group is going.
I think the front is progressing up front. The linebackers obviously are experienced. They've gotten much better with Coach Reid handling the inside linebackers, I think that's been working really well. Basically in my role right now is also taking over the secondary which has been good for me to get back in the room with the kids and teach 'em football. So that's been good. It's kept me pretty busy and more involved with the secondary. I'm very happy at this stage where we're at.
We have three days here, we can get a lot of work done, see some jumps with some guys.
I'll leave it up to you guys for some questions.
Q. When that opportunity presented itself for you to go back and coach the secondary, is that something you were immediately wanting to jump at? Did you have to give it a lot of thought?
COACH PARKER: I didn't really give it a lot of thought. I was doing it for such a long time. The year before when we went through and I wasn't actually in the meetings, you kind of miss it. I was looking for the opportunity to come back. So I was pleased to get back there.
There was no hesitation for me to go back.
Q. Are you going to stay upstairs during games?
COACH PARKER: I haven't even thought about that yet. I talked to a couple guys on our staff, where they like to be. It was good for me last year to be up in the box and away from some things. I think when you're coaching the secondary, sometimes you need to be eyeball to eyeball on the field and be more in touch with the atmosphere on the field.
So that hasn't been decided yet and I'm not really worried about it right now.
Q. Coach Ferentz mentioned Carl Davis is a guy who made a lot of progress this spring. Can you talk about his progress and who in the defensive line you're liking right now?
COACH PARKER: I think Carl obviously has a lot of athletic ability, played a little bit last year. Sometimes he can really be a hard guy to block. He's a 315 pound very good athlete that can move. We have to be a little more consistent. I think he enjoys football a little bit, he enjoys coming out to practice. That's helping with his progress that he's doing. We're very happy with him.
Some other guys, Drew Ott was a guy on the outside we played last year. Halfway through the season we pulled his redshirt off. I thought he was doing some good things before he had to sit out a couple practices.
Alvis to me, Dom has done a great job in playing well this whole spring. I'm happy with his progress.
Louis is out, sitting out in spring. Gives Cooper a chance to come out and do his thing. Cooper was a little bit hurt, but he's progressing.
I'm looking forward to it.
Faith is another kid, if we're going to play him inside or outside, we have a chance to move him around, he's very athletic and he can run.
So it's still a work in progress. I still like to play eight to 10 guys in that position, especially where offenses are learning to play hurry up, catch guys off guard. Everybody wants to play a game and a half on offense and say how many yards we have. But it's a game and a half. If you're going to do that, you better have eight to ten fresh guys to go out there and execute, as long as it doesn't throw you off of them actually being efficient out there.
Q. You had a lot of talent, but a lot of inconsistent play last year. Do you feel you've been able to smooth out some of that?
COACH PARKER: One thing about it is, I don't mind guys getting beat if they're contested, the plays are contested. You look at how many big plays we gave up, compared to the year before, years in the past. Very similar numbers. Just probably some of them are a little bit uncontested for running free.
I think a year of experience has done them some good, understanding the system, getting familiar with it. Tanner has done a better job of staying focused, trying to be a leader back in the secondary, along with BJ. Obviously BJ, in my opinion, is playing at his highest level right now. Hopefully he continues that. But I think he was banged up last year. I think Carl Davis landed on him and hurt him a little bit. He really wasn't the same after Carl landed on him.
I think they all have been kind of working together and are starting to form a good unit.
Q. Haven't seen much much Jordan Lomax. What does he show you?
COACH PARKER: One thing about a kid missing a whole year, the one thing, a smart, intelligent kid, he paid attention all last year learning the system, what we're asking our guys to do. He's showing up in practice. He's done a very, very good job. Very smart kid, fundamentally sound. So I really like him. He's a quiet leader. He's done a good job.
I'm not stamping him in there as my starter yet, but somebody has to line up in the first group right now. But I think he's done a very good job.
Q. Do you see the defensive line being relied on as usual for most of the pass rush?
COACH PARKER: Usually you take 85 snaps, if you're playing base defense, they're going to get the majority of the pass rush. It all depends on how many passes they throw. Sometimes you got to add a little bit to it, to the pass rush, maybe try to get some other guys that can rush the passer, try to work on that a little bit through the off season, the summertime, maybe have some guys practice doing that, obviously doing two a days.
For right now that's who it's going to be and we'll try to add some guys in the near future.
Q. Talk about putting pressure on the quarterback. Last year you were ranked last in the Big Ten in sacks. Are you concerned or are you starting to see progress?
COACH PARKER: I think there's some guys that have some knack to get there. Carl Davis, Cooper as an inside guy can help you. I think Dominic outside can hit you on the edge.
We might have to create some situations a little bit more to help them out, maybe add some guys to the rush a little bit to help them out. It's hard to get there when you have five guys blocking four.
We all understand that. My biggest thing is try not to give up big plays. I think the game is still about scoring, not giving up points. That's the most important thing. I think for the last two years, we were 24, last year we were 23. That's my main concern, is points, I think.
Q. Back to your assuming both roles. As you get into the season, game planning, and doing position coaching, I'm interested in your time allotment. Ultimately was that yours or Kirk's decision?
Q. Going back to the position coach.
COACH PARKER: I think the one thing about it, there's only 24 hours in a day. You got to be real efficient in what you're doing. The way we do it, a lot of our guys have input of what we're doing, trying to keep focus on what we're doing.
I think I've been in the secondary for a long time, so it's kind of easy for me to walk in a room and get guys to understand what I need from them. That really hasn't changed for me. As a matter of fact, it gets me in touch with the guys a little bit.
My role changed. I don't know if we can put any more hours in the day. I'm going to have to speed something up. I think it was more of a mutual agreement for me to go back in the secondary. Darrell Wilson had an opportunity to leave and go to Rutgers. He'd done a very good job here. It was an opportunity for me to meet with Kirk a little bit. He was more than open to it.
Q. Team struggled getting off the field on third down. How much of that was experience, depth, and how better suited are you now?
COACH PARKER: Well, obviously everybody wants to get off on third downs. When you go through it, the guys have to understand. I think the guys have done a great job, at least in the last two months of being around the guys, getting back at it, they're understanding the game of football. Really after a while, when you study guys, understand the game, it's going to help you what they're trying to do on third downs.
I think we need to do a better job of that so they understand what plays they're going to see instead of saying it's a personnel issue or you're not blitzing enough.
To me it's just about understanding the game.
Q. You have three redshirt freshmen in your two deep on the defensive line. Do you see them contributing heavily?
COACH PARKER: I think Faith, he's probably the most intriguing guy. I think he can play inside and I think he can play outside as an end. Very impressed with the way he can run and move. We moved him out here late a little bit at the end. He probably had four or five days of practice. So we're intrigued by putting him out on the edge.
Jaleel has done a great job inside. A strong, big kid, hard to move him.
They're still a ways away. They're still young pups yet. But I think they're definitely going to have to help us out next year.
Q. What has Jim Reid brought in terms of practice? Can you lean on him?
COACH PARKER: He's an excellent coach, has a lot of great experience. Sometimes he gives me different ideas, different ways to look at things. I think it's been a great addition to that aspect of it. I think he's done a good job of getting the linebackers to play downhill and being aggressive.
Yeah, it does help a little bit with having an experienced guy, has a little bit of knowledge, he's been a head coach, defensive coordinator, been in the pros. Definitely a positive thing for me.
Q. Have you noticed a significant change in the linebackers now that they have two coaches working with them?
COACH PARKER: I think it's obviously helpful, but I think it's also the growth of kids. Obviously Kirksey and Hitch were not redshirted, neither was. I don't believe James either. That's a very hard thing to do. Coming up and being seniors, really they should only be in their junior year.
The experience, the history of our program is obviously the longer you're in the program, you're in there for your fifth year, you're going to be a better player than you were as a junior. You're really a junior. I think that's probably helped them understand what's going on.
Q. A couple players left the secondary. How does that affect your depth?
COACH PARKER: I think the two guys that left, obviously Kevin Buford had a chance, he played a little bit in some games and special teams games, dime or nickel package last year. Then Torrey Campbell chose to go on and pursue track.
I don't know how much it's going to affect us. Obviously in recruiting next we're year, we're going to have to take some more guys in the secondary. It wasn't like they were projected as a starter at the time. I think the other guys have to move on. I think Maurice Fleming and Draper are going to have to push a little bit to help us out.
Q. Do you feel you have enough depth in the secondary where you may be able to play?
COACH PARKER: In the secondary we might be able to avoid that. You look at a kid, somebody wants to play early, they want to play on special teams, let's get them involved in the game, especially in Kinnick Stadium. You look and say you're going to take 90 snaps on special teams for the year, or you're going to play full time and take 900 or 1,000 snaps. They don't understand that. There's a lot of peer pressure at home. Heavily recruited, why aren't you starting, why are you not on the field.
I think we have to educate the kids. I like to redshirt them, get them some growth, get them with Coach Doyle, get their bodies built for a Big Ten season.
Q. Looking at the Northwestern game from last year, the rushing performance they put on, how do you come back from that?
COACH PARKER: If you go back and look at the plays that actually came out of that, obviously some guys that are maybe not in the right gap, some guys not taking the right angles. Some of the big plays that came out are leverage problems, base football, understanding how to run to the ball, how to seek the guys. Sometimes just because you're running fast doesn't mean you're going in the right proper position to go ahead and track a guy. I think a couple of those were broken up just because of bad angles.
The game is about angles. I think we didn't do a good enough job in that area.
Q. You mentioned Drew Ott earlier. Is he bettered prepared for Big Ten football?
COACH PARKER: Obviously the strength and knowledge of being on the field already, he's been there. That's not going to be a factor for him. I think he keeps on making great improvements. Out there every day. Running with the ones a lot. Getting some good work. It does help you in some ways to be ready for the next year. You look three more years down the road and say, you could have him as a full time starter. Lost a lot of reps.
Q. Is it tough to prepare for dual threat quarterbacks when you don't have one on the roster?
COACH PARKER: You can always find a skilled guy back there and put him back in there for that week. I don't think that's really an option. There's always somebody out there not working with the first or second team, you can get a guy skilled enough, defensive back, wide receiver type of guy, runningback. Put them back there, they're reading cards anyway. But their athletic ability to get out there and run, that's what we look for when we try to run against those dual threat guys.
Q. Is it fair to compare Faith Ekakitie to Christian Ballard?
COACH PARKER: Athletically we mentioned that the other day, it's probably about the same. Christian Ballard was a little bit taller, but bigger, height wise, but very similar. We thought the same thing about four or five days ago.
Q. Will this defense go as far as the line can take it or are there things you can do to boost them to help them? They're still young.
COACH PARKER: Yeah, I think our linebacker group, with those guys in control, I think that's going to help us. I think the maturity of our defensive line, I think Dominic Alvis, Carl Davis, even Drew Ott, even though he is young, I think he is starting to mature a little bit. Then you have Louis who hasn't practiced, he helped us out last year, did a great job. Then you have Cooper. I think we have a little more depth up front. Quinton Alston for a linebacker, he's coming on. Marcus Collins and Cole Fisher at linebacker, everybody is growing. How can we build the team to come together as a unit. I thought I had seen that the last couple practices that I was impressed with. Not to say we did everything perfect.

Trevor Berkeley, a 6-6, 200-pound forward, has become new basketball coach Ray Giacoletti’s first signee at Drake. Berkeley signed a national letter of intent with Drake after spending the last two seasons at Tyler [Texas] Junior College. He averaged 8 points and 7 rebounds per game to help lead the Apaches to a 22-9 record last season. He also earned all-conference honors in 2012-13 under coach Mike Marquis, who has sent more than 25 players to Division I. "We are thrilled to have Trevor be our first signed recruit,” Giacoletti said. “He's a high quality person, student and player. His length, athleticism, and skill fill a need we have for our program.” [This story was written for Ron Maly by Ty Patton, Drake's assistant athletic director for communications].

Iowa Winds Up Spring Football Practice Saturday

Iowa's final spring football practice is open to fans Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, with the workout and scrimmage starting at 2 p.m..  Gates open at 1 p.m. for the session that is expected to last approximately two hours and will include a controlled scrimmage near its conclusion.

The Hawkeye Sports Network will be on the air from 1 to 2 p.m., with Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak calling the action and discussing spring football.  Stations carrying the broadcast include KXIC-AM (800) Iowa City, WMT-AM (600) Cedar Rapids, WHO-AM (1040) Des Moines, WOC-AM (1420) Davenport, KDTH-AM (1370) Dubuque, KGLO-AM (1300) Mason City, KBUR-AM (1490) Burlington, KCZE-FM (95.1) New Hampton, KUOO-FM (103.9) Spirit Lake and KSCJ-AM (1360) Sioux City.

In addition, the practice session can be viewed live on BTN2Go.  BTN will broadcast the practice on a tape-delayed basis at 7 p.m. CT, on Sunday, April 28.  Brent Balbinot and former Hawkeye Sean Considine will call the action, with sideline reports and interviews with former KCRG-TV sports director John Campbell.

There is no admission charge.  Fans are invited to join forces with the Iowa athletic department, the Iowa Farm Bureau, and the Johnson County Crisis Center in the second annual ANF Food Bank Drive.  Fans are invited to bring non-perishable food items to the annual open practice.  To encourage donations, the first 5,000 fans who make a donation of canned food items will receive a souvenir ANF “Farm Strong” poster featuring Casey Wiegmann, who last fall was the first former Hawkeye to be named to the ANF Wall of Honor inside ANF Plaza at Kinnick.  Collection trucks will be located near the Krause Family Plaza, just south of Kinnick Stadium.

The west and south grandstands will be open for spectators.  Gates A and G will open at 1 p.m.  Due to heightened safety and security concerns, fans are discouraged from bringing purses and bags to the event. Purses and bags will be subject to search or may be denied entry.  Patrons should expect delays if they are attempting to carry bags into Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.  There is no autograph session following the practice.

Parking will be available in all university parking lots adjacent to Kinnick Stadium.  Fans with recreational vehicles will be able to park Friday after 7 p.m. in UI Lot 75 south of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.  Please note:  normal daily parking rates will be in effect in the parking ramps adjacent to UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Pre-event activities will be held from noon to 2 p.m. in Krause Family Plaza at the south end of Kinnick Stadium.  Roster cards for Saturday’s practice will be available in Krause Family Plaza, along with limited schedule posters for the 2013 season.  Selected members of Iowa’s men’s basketball team will be available for autographs between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.

Herky’s Locker Room – the official team store of the Iowa Hawkeyes -- will stage its annual clearance sale on the southeast concourse of Kinnick Stadium from 8 a.m. until the conclusion of the football team’s practice.  Fans should enter Gate M for access to the clearance sale, which will feature 50 percent discounts.  The event will move into the east concourse in the event of rain.  In addition, Herky’s Locker Room will have a trailer located at the Krause Family Plaza.

Fans are reminded that Iowa City ordinance prohibit the consumption of any alcoholic beverage on UI and public property, which includes UI parking lots and parking ramps.  As in the past, the ordinance is in effect on the day of the annual open-to-the-public spring football practice.

Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes who were general public and/or UI faculty/staff season ticket holders a year ago are reminded that the priority deadline to order their 2013 season tickets is Friday, April 26.  Fans should note that away game ticket orders must also be submitted by April 26.

Fans who did not purchase general public and/or UI faculty/staff seasons tickets a year ago, but are interested in purchasing tickets for the 2013 season, should note that the UI Athletics Ticket Office is currently accepting requests for new season ticket holders and that the supply of season tickets available for purchase is limited.  Requests must be made online at and should be submitted by April 27.

The UI Athletics Ticket Office is currently accepting orders for 2013 UI student season tickets from current UI students.  Students must place their order online and can do so at  Students ordering their 2013 UI football season tickets will also have the opportunity to order their 2013-14 men’s basketball season tickets this spring.

Questions concerning the purchase of general public, UI faculty/staff and UI student seasons tickets by current UI students should be directed to the UI Athletics Ticket Office.  The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The office telephone number is 1-800-IA-HAWKS.

Iowa opens the 2013 football season Aug. 31, hosting Northern Illinois.  The Hawkeyes host Missouri State the following Saturday before traveling to Iowa State on Sept. 14.  The Hawkeyes close the non-conference portion of the schedule Sept. 21, hosting Western Michigan.

[This story was written for Ron Maly by Iowa sports information director Steve Roe].

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said today that sophomore defensive backs Torrey Campbell and Kevin Buford have left the football program. The news was sent to me by Hawkeye sports information director Steve Roe. Campbell has left the squad to pursue fulltime participation with the Hawkeye track and field team. Buford has informed the Iowa coaching staff that he will transfer to another school. Buford (5-10, 180), was one of seven true freshmen to see action in 2012. He played in nine games, primarily on special teams, recording one solo tackle and four assists. Buford is from Canton, Mich. Campbell (5-11, 183) is a native of Naples, Fla. After a redshirt season in 2011, he played in one game a year ago, but had no statistics. Campbell competes in sprint and hurdle events for Iowa's track team. Iowa concludes spring workouts with an open practice at 2 p.m. Saturday in Kinnick Stadium.

I've pretty much promised myself that I won't be wasting any time watching on TV as the Chicago Cubs spend another season losing game after game. Once in a while, though, I'll weaken and check on another defeat on either WGN-TV or Comcast/Chicago. That's what happened last night. I watched several innings of the Cubs' game at Cincinnati. Naturally, they blew a 2-0 lead, then were 2-2 until I quit watching in the 11th inning. I took one last late-night look at the goings-on around the nation on my computer, and saw that the Cubs took a 4-2 lead in the top of the 13th. A chance for a rare Cubs victory, I figured. Wrong. Some knucklehead pitcher who should be in the Midwest League gave up three runs in the bottom of the 13th, and Cincinnati won, 5-4. Obviously, the Cubs are again a horrible team. They're in last place in the National League Central, and may be the worst team in baseball. That Theo Epstein rebuilding job in Chicago is sure working out, isn't it?

Naster [oh, sure!] rebuilder Theo Epstein

Monday, April 22, 2013

Huckleberry, owned by Steven and Stephanie Hein of Norwalk, is the 2013 Beautiful Bulldog at the Drake Relays. Photo courtesy of Drake University/Twitter.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Drake's 'Defensive Line Has the Opportunity To Be Special'

Drake's White squad defeated the Blue, 7-3, in the Bulldogs’ annual Blue & White Game at Drake Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The game consisted of two complete rosters playing four 8-minute quarters of live action with special teams situations being simulated.

As expected, the veteran defenses for both teams stole the show with 15 total sacks on the afternoon against offensive lines that have faced injuries all spring and quarterbacks in non-contact jerseys. Brett Park (Olivette, Mo.), who missed most of 2012 with injury, paced the White squad with five tackles and two sacks. Brandon Coleman (Cary, Ill.) recorded two sacks as well for the White team.

“Our defensive line has the opportunity to be special,” coach Chris Creighton said. “I don’t know that we’re there right now, but in my five years here our defensive line has always provided leadership and I think we’re going to be looking to those guys to be leaders in our football program this year.”

The Blue team’s defense was led by cornerback Evan Erickson (Lafayette, Colo.) with four tackles and two tackles for loss while Bob Quilico, Jr. (Schaumburg, Ill.) and Brad Duwe (Dubuque) each had four tackles.

“I think our defense looked good today and our only turnover of the day came at the very end of the game,” Creighton said. “Defense and turnovers win games, so I was happy to see the ball not being turned over and great defense being played.”

Both offenses sputtered initially as they struggled to find their rhythm, but the White squad got in gear towards the end of the first quarter as Andy Rice (Stevens Point, Wis.) found Neko Graf (Racine, Wis.) down the sideline for a 45-yard diving touchdown grab. Cam Bohnnert (Edmond, Okla.) tacked on the extra point for the day’s only touchdown following a drive that covered 79 yards on nine plays.

Rice finished the day by completing 11 of his 19 attempts for 111 yards with no interceptions. Freshman tight end Eric Saubert (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) was his favorite target with four catches for 22 yards. Michael Hudson (Urbandale) also saw time under center for the White squad and completed one of his three passes for nine yards.

“At the quarterback position, we got better throughout the spring, all three of them did,” Creighton said of his three quarterbacks competing for the starting position.

The Blue team’s only score of the day came off a 30-yard Spencer Lee (Johnston) field goal that capped a 9-play, 66-yard drive. Nick Ens (Grand Rapids, Mich.) quarterbacked the Blue team and had 11 completions on 26 attempts for 175 yards with an interception.

J.T. Teague (Carrollton, Texas) caught four balls from Ens for 73 yards while Zach Zlabis (Wheaton, Ill.) caught two passes for 68 yards. Senior tight end Kevin Marshall (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) also had six catches for 31 yards and rushed once for 18 yards and a first-down.

Ens engineered a late drive into White territory during the final minute of the contest with a the 7-3 deficit. However, with 35 seconds left, Seth Hedman (Tulsa, Okla.) picked Ens off on the 10-yard line and returned the ball 17-yards to seal the victory for the White squad.

During halftime, former Drake great and NFL Pro-Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff competed against Drake students in a field goal kicking competition to raise funds for Colleen’s Dream. The organization’s goal is to raise funds and awareness for ovarian cancer detection and treatment. It is named in honor of Cundiff’s mother-in-law who recently succumbed to ovarian cancer following a five-year battle with the disease.

With spring practices over, the Bulldogs will return to the weight room to continue offseason workouts in preparation for defending their back-to-back Pioneer Football League titles in the fall. The 2013 season begins on Aug. 29 against Grand View at Drake Stadium.

1st Quarter
2nd Quarter
3rd Quarter
4th Quarter

1st Quarter
White – Neko Graf 45-yard pass from Andy Rice (Bohnert kick)

2nd Quarter
Blue – Spencer Lee 30-yard field goal
White Statistical Leaders

White Passing Stats
Andy Rice – 19 attempts, 11 completions, 111 yards, 0 INT, 1 TD
Michael Hudson – 3 attempts, 1 completion, 9 yards, 0 INT, 0 TD

White Rushing Stats
T. J. James – 6 carries, 1 yard
A.J. Washington – 3 carries, 2 yards

White Receiving Stats
Eric Saubert – 4 catches, 22 yards
Brett Seeger – 3 catches, 9 yards
Dan Hohenstein – 2 catches, 10 yards
Neko Graf – 1 catch, 45 yards, 1 TD
Stephen Covalt – 1 catch 24 yards

White Defensive Stats
Brett Park – 5 tackles, 1 sack
Colton Rodgers – 3 tackles, 1 sack
Rory Driscoll – 3 tackles
Dustin Davis – 3 tackles
Seth Hedman – 2 tackles, 1 INT
Brandon Coleman – 2 tackles, 2 sacks

Blue Statistical Leaders

Blue Passing Stats
Nick Ens – 26 attempts, 11 completions, 175 yards, 1 INT, 0 TD

Blue Rushing Stats
Brad Troyer – 13 carries, 15 yards
Kevin Marshall – 1 carry, 18 yards

Blue Receiving Stats
Kevin Marshall – 4 catches, 31 yards
J.T. Teague – 4 catches, 73 yards
Zach Zlabis – 2 catches, 68 yards
A.J. Washington – 1 catch, 9 yards
Alex Cecena – 1 catch, 6 yards

Blue Defensive Stats
Evan Erickson – 4 tackles, 2 TFL
Bob Quilico, Jr. – 4 tackles
Brad Duwe – 4 tackles
John Hugunin – 3 tackles, TFL, PBU
Mike Cardamone – 3 tackles, TFL
Neal Walters – 2 tackles, 2 sacks
Matt Acree – 2 tackles, 1 sack

[This story was written for Ron Maly by Ty Patton, Drake's assistant athletic director for communications].

Mike Mahon of West Des Moines e-mailed this message to me: "I guess if you live long enough, there's always going to be a first when it comes to baseball postponements by the Associated Press." Under the category "Friday's Games," the wire service had this game listed: "Kansas City at Boston, postponed, local manhunt." That was, of course, in reference to the police and FBI search for the second of two brothers [pictured below] responsible for the killings and wounding of people attending the week's Boston Marathon. Thank God for the excellent work carried out by officials in Massachusetts in finding the second brother last evening. Now maybe America can return to some sort of sanity--if there is such a thing anymore.

This April 15 photo provided by Bob Leonard shows the Tsarnaev brothers (white cap and black cap) in the crowd at the Boston Marathon. It was taken 10 to 15 minutes before the first blast.
(AP Photo/Bob Leonard)/courtesy

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stan Johnson Now On Arizona State Coaching Staff

Stan Johnson isn't still at Drake after all. For a few days, he stayed on the staff after Mark Phelps was fired as the Bulldogs' head coach. But now Johnson is gone. Arizona State basketball coach Herb Sendek, in a release posted by the university, said Johnson has joined his staff as an assistant coach. Johnson, most recently at Drake from 2011, had also spent the previous three years at Utah as an assistant coach. Johnson replaces Dedrique Taylor, who became the tenth Sendek assistant to earn a Division I head coaching position when he accepted the Cal State Fullerton job.  Ron Maly recalls that Johnson once said at a Drake basketball lunch at the OverTime sports bar in Urbandale that he has occasionally been mistaken for President Barack Obama. "We celebrate Coach Dedrique Taylor being named the coach at Cal State Fullerton as he did an outstanding job for us and most certainly is ready to lead the Titans," says Sendek, who earned 2009-10 Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors and has led the Sun Devils to four 20-victory seasons. "I fully expect him to do a great job at Fullerton. At the same time, we welcome Coach Stan Johnson to our staff. coach Johnson is impressive in every way and allows us to continue to have a fantastic coaching staff. I was enriched to work with Coach Taylor and I am excited to work with Coach Johnson." During his two seasons at Drake, he helped coach Ben Simons and Joey King to Missouri Valley Conference honors with Simons earning all-Valley second-team honors each of the last two seasons and freshman King earning all-freshman honors in 2012-13. That same season saw the Bulldogs vault to the top of the national three-point shooting rankings as Drake made 8.7 three-pointers per game on 38.8 percent shooting. Johnson brought eight years of experience as an assistant coach upon his arrival at Drake. In Johnson's first season with the Bulldogs in 2011-12 he helped guide Drake to its second-highest conference finish (tied for third) since 1986, and a victory in the postseason for the first time since 1975. Two Bulldogs were named second-team all-Missouri Valley Conference (Ben Simons and Rayvonte Rice), and Simons was named captain of the Valley's most improved team. [Courtesy of Arizona State athletics website].

Stan Johnson. Photo courtesy of Google.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz doesn't permit his players to be on Twitter, but he is, indeed, living in the 21st century. So says his son, Brian, who is the Hawkeyes' offensive line coach. Brian, who is in his second year on his dad's coaching staff, said Kirk has an i-Phone and an iPad. That's how modern the boss is. Anyway, here's what Brian said, courtesy of the transcript of his comments that was sent to me by Iowa sports information director Steve Roe today when Brian was asked at a press conference about things like Twitter and other modern technology: "Well, I would say we have been in the 21st century since Y2K. I bristle a little bit at the notion and I don't it's not personal. But I do bristle at the notion that we are archaic or that our head coach is I want to make sure I pronounce this right is it Luddite (ph)? Is that the correct pronunciation? Because he's not. He's got an iPhone and he's got an iPad. Twitter, that's a personal decision everybody makes. Coach [Reese] Morgan is not on Twitter; I am. I think that's unique to every person. I really think if you saw our head coach on Twitter or doing those kinds of things, those aren't in his personality. That's not natural to him. Alternate uniforms, that's not really in his personality, either; I've seen his closet. And I can say that because I'm his son. But in some I think what we learn is those things have no bearing on winning and losing, what you wear, what you don't wear. The notion that I have been responsible: The alternate uniforms have been worn here before, those were in the works. You can't get that done overnight. Those were in the works way before I got here. The Twitter, Coach Johnson was on Twitter well before I got here. I think what we worry about here, what all of us worry about every day is just get a little bit better each day. Sometimes that takes on a social media I think we are learning, like the rest of the country, I do think we are not unique in this; the world is changing faster than we can even keep up with it. I know how to use Twitter and I just recently learned about Vine and I didn't even know about that was in two weeks ago. You won't see me on there anytime soon. Instagram, if somebody can give me a crash course I'm still trying to figure out. You can Tweet a picture, correct, can we all agree with that? So why do you need Instagram? Maybe I'm my father's son sometimes. It's changing so fast that we are trying to stay out there with it, but shoot, it's hard, we can barely keep up with our players sometimes."

Brian Ferentz

I first got to know Harry Burrus many years ago in my newspaper years when he was an outstanding amateur tennis player. But tennis was only one of his talents. Burrus is a former Iowan who was, and is, a writer. He has authored eight books of poetry, seven plays, a book of fiction and a screenplay. He e-mailed me last week, informing me his new book of poetry, Layers, would be arriving at my home today. He was correct. A UPS truck pulled up to the curb across the street, and the driver walked through the rain to drop off a package. Fortunately, he put it in the space between my two front doors. That way, it didn't get wet in the constant rain that has been falling today. I plan to e-mail Burrus now to tell him Layers has arrived. I'm eager to read it.

I have a few more comments about the workout Iowa's football team had Sunday at Valley High School in West Des Moines. All in all, it was a good show by the Hawkeyes. I don't know if the fans who showed up to watch it knew that it was going to be just a practice, not a game, but I think most of them left happy. Indeed, none of them could beat the price. All of 'em got in free. Now about the crowd. Folks from Valley estimated there were 8,000 people at the practice. If so, they must have been counting the players, folks like me in the press corps who watched the workout from the east sideline, the people working in the concession stands and the game officials. Valley Stadium is supposed to hold 8,000 fans, but there were empty seats in both the west and east grandstands. There could, and should, have been more. And it certainly wasn't the Iowa football team's fault. I'd heard that 15,000 tickets had been distributed in central Iowa and in Iowa City. If so, there were a lot of no-shows. And I think I know the reason. There were continuous warnings on TV and in the paper that parking would be a problem. Because of that, I know a lot of people who decided to stay home. "Why drive over there and risk not finding a place to park?" a guy asked me. Why the paper and TV kept saying there'd be a parking problem, I don't know. Hell, the Valley-Dowling game that's played in the stadium every other season [when Valley is the home team] always draws 10,000 to 12,000, and no one seems to complain about the parking. Before Sunday's practice, there even were warnings in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City throughout the week that parking would be a problem. It wasn't. The only problems were TV and the newspapers.

Empty seats in west grandstand at Valley Stadium.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Todd Townsend Hired for Drake Basketball Coaching Staff

Drake basketball coach Ray Giacoletti has announced the final member of his coaching staff with the hiring of Todd Townsend.

“Todd brings the last piece of the puzzle in to our coaching staff with great recruiting ties in Chicago and Milwaukee,” Giacoletti said. “He has a great background having played at Marquette under Tom Crean and he gives our program a staff that is capable of scouring the Midwest to attract the best student-athletes to Drake.”

Townsend, a former captain and member of a Final Four team at Marquette, comes to Drake after spending the last four seasons in a similar role at Northern Illinois. While at NIU, his recruiting efforts helped attract some of the top talent in Illinois to campus.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to join coach Giacoletti’s staff and the Drake men’s basketball program,” Townsend said. “Drake’s mix of strong academics and a commitment to creating a first-class student-athlete experience – coupled with coach Giacoletti’s vision for the program – makes this a very attractive program to be a part of.”

On the court, Townsend helped mentor Xavier Silas, the leading scorer in the Mid-American Conference and seventh-leading scorer in the nation during the 2010-11 season. During Townsend's first season on staff, Silas became the first NIU player to earn All-District honors in more than a decade. Silas went on to become the first Huskie to play in the NBA since 1997, spending the 2011-12 season as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers organization.

As a recruiter, Townsend helped NIU sign a number of high-profile in-state recruits, including Abdel Nader, a top-10 recruit in Illinois and Dre Henley, a top-25 recruit in Illinois. Tim Toler, a first team junior college All-American, and highly-recruited twins Keith and Kevin Gray were also actively recruited by Townsend and helped the Huskies start to rebuild the program with a young foundation.

As a member of NIU head Mark Montgomery's first staff in 2011-12, Townsend helped coached one of the youngest teams in the nation. NIU saw 55.9 percent of its minutes played by freshmen, the sixth-highest percentage in the country, and the Huskies lead the MAC in offensive rebounds while ranking second in rebounding defense and third in rebounding margin. Abdel Nader became the first NIU player since 2009 to be named to the MAC All-Freshman team.

Prior to coming to NIU, Townsend spent the 2008-09 season in Europe, playing and coaching professionally. Townsend started the season in Germany playing for the Dusseldorf Giants before finishing the season in Sweden as a player/coach with the Norrkoping Dolphins.

A native of Chicago, Townsend worked as an assistant coach at Northeastern University during the 2007-08 season under head coach Bill Coen. Townsend helped Northeastern's Matt Janning earn second team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors and Chaisson Allen receive CAA All-Rookie team recognition.

Before beginning his coaching career at Northeastern, Townsend served two years as the director of basketball operations at his alma mater, Marquette. Working under then-head coach Tom Crean, Townsend was part of a staff that guided the Golden Eagles to two-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, a 20-12 BIG EAST Conference record, and a combined record of 44-21 in back-to-back 20-win campaigns.

In four seasons as a player at Marquette (2001-05), Townsend helped the Golden Eagles win 91 games, advancing to postseason play in all four seasons. Marquette made two trips to the NCAA Tournament during Townsend's playing career, including a trip to the NCAA Final Four in 2003. Townsend started all 33 games on the team that reached Marquette's first Final Four since 1977. He captained Marquette during his senior season and was a two-time recipient of the Bart Miller Standard of Excellence Award during his playing career with the Golden Eagles.

“I think his playing experience is huge, having played alongside Dwyane Wade and been to a Final Four,” Giacoletti said. “That builds instant credibility for our players. I’m excited to have him. He’s a hard-working, organized and well-respected young coach.”

Townsend earned his bachelor's degree in communication studies from Marquette in May of 2005. He has a son, Tyson, born in December of 2009, and a daughter, Leila, born in June of 2011.

[This story was written for Ron Maly  by Ty Patton, Drake's assistant athletic director for communications]. 

Todd Townsend. Photo courtesy of