Monday, August 6, 2007

So, uh, you guys wanna talk football?

Because I do.

And I bet you do too.

As much fun as writing about that cockmagnet Alford was, football is my true passion. I'm pleased to announce a new project in coordination with three other very talented writers, called The Hawkeye Compulsion. It's going to fucking rule.

With the conference and team media days out of the way, we're going to have enough for at least a post a day. Once the season rolls around, we're planning on having multiple articles a day. At least five of them, over the course of the year, may actually be based in fact!

Update the bookmarks, kids. The Hair Gel is officially no more, and The Hawkeye Compulsion is so Now.

(okay, sorry.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Just as we were about to close up shop...

...Steve Alford has returned to the Iowa headlines in typically ugly fashion.

We were going to avoid any non-Iowa news about Alford--we're Hawkeye fans, not stalkers--but the latest news from the Cedar Rapids Gazette reminds us that even though Steve Alford is gainfully employeed far away in New Mexico, he's still not far away from our hearts--or, if he had it his way, the UI's pocketbooks. Here are some highlights:

Just hours after Alford resigned to take New Mexico's head coaching position, Iowa men's basketball secretary Shelly Deutsch sent an e-mail to Rae Parker, administrative assistant to Athletics Director Gary Barta, to see how long Alford could keep his university-issued phone. She also asked about vehicles leased through the university for Alford and his wife, Tanya, and when e-mail accounts for Alford and former associate head coach Craig Neal would be shut down.

March 23, Neal asked the basketball secretary if the school would pay for his and Alford's trips to the Final Four in Atlanta. Deutsch, in an e-mail to Parker, wrote that she told Neal, ``I (doubt) it.''

Four days later, March 27, Alford asked again about the Final Four bill.

``Steve is now asking if we are paying for any of his Final Four stuff or NABC membership stuff and I said no, correct?''' Deutsch wrote to Parker. ``I told him I had already asked you for Craig, and you said Iowa would not pay (for) it.''
Give Alford credit: 99% of us wouldn't have the temerity to ask for a trip to be comped by a former employer from which we'd willingly resigned just days prior. Sure, there's no real honor or credit to be earned, but it's almost worthy of admiration. Almost. Less worthy of any glowing words, however, is the stunt he tried to pull with their university vehicles he and Tanya had been using.
Alford was supposed to turn in his keys for his two leased vehicles that day (March 27).

``He filled out the vehicle paperwork Tuesday indicating he turned in the car, but he obviously did not,'' Deutsch wrote March 28.
Now, nobody is accusing Alford of grand theft auto, or anything; the fact is that this all occurred about 2 1/2 months ago, and had he still not turned over the cars by now (or even shortly after that e-mail), we would have heard a lot more. The point is that there isn't much noise coming from either camp about each other, which indicated that the split is going well.

Nonetheless, it seems pretty clear that both Craig Neal and Alford were interested in keeping their hands in Iowa's honey pot as long as possible. It shouldn't be surprising. We know it sounds like a broken record, but this is an inevitable result of the atmosphere of adulation and idolization that has surrounded Alford since he was in high school. He's not used to getting anything less than exactly what he wants, and he probably never will get used to it.

Since the aforementioned split does seem to have been clean enough not to make any waves, it's probably as good a time as any to hang up our cleats at the Hair Gel. Rest assured you'll see us again; I'll be starting another site very soon, and I just might take Buddy Light and Deacon with me, depending on what they want). It'll remain Hawkeye-centric, but there's as much need to continue associating UI athletics with Steve Alford as there is a need to associate Gator football with that fuckwad Ron Zook. Watch this space: as soon as a new site goes up, the link, like Richard Marx, will be right here waiting for you.

Fight, fight, fight for Iowa, friends. We'll see you soon.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Tyler Smith will average 0.0 points for the Hawkeyes in 2007-08

Horrible news from Iowa City today: Tyler Smith is being released from his scholarship at the UI. That's right, the only guy coming back who even seemed capable of leading the team in scoring last year is getting out of town. He would rather spend a year not playing basketball at all than playing for the Hawkeyes.

The situation is indeed dire in Iowa City now. The Hawkeyes lose a capable (if not terribly efficient) scorer, their leading rebounder, and their best defender. Smith has an innate sense of the game that most of the rest of the team just doesn't have; he and Haluska were the only two guys on the team who ever seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

Here's what Iowa can look forward to next year. If you're squeamish, you may want to go here instead.

C: Seth Gorney (7'0", 245), David Palmer (6'9", 240)
PF: Cyrus Tate (6'8", 240), Kurt Looby (6'10", 210), Jarryd Cole (6'7", 220)
SF: J.R. Angle (6'7", 205)
SG: Justin Johnson (6'6", 190), Jake Kelly (6'6", 170)
PG: Tony Freeman (6'1", 185), Jeff Peterson (6'0", 185)

Lickliter's certainly got his work cut out for him. Nobody on the roster right now looks like an all-conference player. The only two guys who have shown any proficiency for scoring are Johnson and Freeman, and both have games that are fatally flawed: Johnson seems barely interested on defense, and Freeman contributes to more easy buckets for the opposition than for Iowa.

If Jeff Peterson has a late growth spurt in him, we'd sure like him to show up at 6'7" in September. Otherwise... yikes. Any chance O.J. Mayo wants to wear black and gold instead?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jeff Peterson commits to Iowa

Let's welcome point guard Jeff Peterson of Dematha High School (right outside of Washington, D.C.), who recently committed to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Here's a quick rundown of the kid:

WHAT WE KNOW: He's 6'0", and 185 pounds. That's him to the right. He comes from one of the most storied basketball schools in the country: DeMatha has won their league title 36 of the past 47 years, including the last three straight seasons. He spent three years as a backup to Virginia Tech's Nigel Munson, who averaged 11 minutes per game as a true freshman this year. He originally committed to Princeton, and also considered Richmond, Xavier, and St. Louis. He's got a 4.0 GPA and plays point guard with a similar level of intelligence.

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW: Does his lack of starting experience doom him to only one or two productive years in the Big Ten? Is he talented enough to play good offense and defense against other Big Ten point guards? Is he nearly as quick and able to penetrate as Tony Freeman (his body double) is? What does it portend for Iowa if we expect anything from the kid this year if he couldn't crack the starting lineup against someone who only got three points a game this year for the Hokies?

THINGS WE'RE MAKING UP ABOUT HIM: Learned to drive a stick shift at 11. Possesses an irrational (but not debilitating) fear of Santa Claus. Does an uncanny impersonation of Bobcat Goldthwait. Wrote an incredible 15-page analysis of determinism, and its claim that causality precludes any notion of "free will," convincing as the idea may be. He didn't do it for a grade, he was just tired of Tom Hobbes's shit!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

RIP Paul Rhodes... And Hello Lady Soliday

I recently learned that Paul Rhodes of KCCI-TV (or, for many Iowans, "Channel 8") passed away this March. I thought I'd pay tribute to Paul's memory by posting the photo below and mentioning the incredible crush that I had on Heidi Soliday of KCCI-TV. Heidi showed up on Channel 8 just as young Deke's flower started to bloom. I'm sure many Iowans shared my love of Heidi, but that restraining order was mine and Heidi's alone.

There she is over on the right, shoulders squared, looking as prim and pert as an apple blossom in that technicolor dreamcoat of hers. Something's rotten in DSM, of course: that scum John Pascuzzi is hovering close by, seated at Heidi's left. As a kid, I could never figure out what Pascuzzi was up to: he talked about movies on TV (that's a job?) and he didn't wear a tie. Back then we called him "hippie," now we'd call him "terrorist." Either way, you're still on my shitlist, Pascuzzi.

You'll note Paul Rhodes over on the left stuck by the Cooney Couple. I suppose Paul felt obligated to stand next to the Cooneys since nobody else wanted to--a peacemaker was Paul Rhodes. Anyhow, that's 1978 (or maybe 1979) for you. A great time to be an Iowan and especially a Hawkeye fan: Gable was god, Rhodes ran the news desk at KCCI with an iron fist, and a goofy Texan by the name of Fry had just rolled into town.

And Heidi... Call me.

The spring practice two-deeps are out

Per the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Iowa has released their two-deeps. First, the good stuff, then my thoughts.

WR - Andy Brodell, James Cleveland

WR - Dominique Douglas, Trey Stross

LT - Dace Richardson, Kyle Calloway

LG - Andy Kuempel, Dan Doering

C - Rafael Eubanks, Rob Bruggeman [EDIT: Bruggeman is probably out for the year after blowing out his knee.]

RG - Wes Aeschliman, Travis Meade or Julian Vandervelde

RT - Seth Olsen, Tyler Blum or Alex Kanellis

TE - Tony Moeaki, Brandon Myers

QB - Jake Christensen, Arvell Nelson or Rick Stanzi

FB - Jordan McLaughlin, Eddie Williams or Brett Morse

RB - Albert Young or Damian Sims, Shonn Greene

DE - Kenny Iwebema, Adrian Clayborn

DT - Matt Kroul, Ryan Bain

DT - Mitch King, Anton Narinskiy

DE - Bryan Mattison, Chad Geary

OLB - AJ Edds, Jeremiha Hunter

MLB - Mike Klinkenborg, Bryon Gattas

WLB - Mike Humpal, Pat Angerer

CB - Adam Shada, Justin Edwards

CB - Charles Godfrey, Bradley Fletcher

SS - Harold Dalton or Lance Tillison

FS - Brett Greenwood or Marcus Wilson

PK - Austin Signor or Daniel Murray

P - Ryan Donahue

PR - Andy Brodell

KR - Shonn Greene, Albert Young

As far as the receivers go, I've heard that Cleveland is very similar to Douglas, and likewise Stross to Brodell. Being that such is the case... why aren't the backups switched in the 2-deep? Maybe it's just nitpicking on my part, but doesn't it seem like Iowa ought to want one possession guy (Douglas/Cleveland) and one field-stretcher (Brodell/Stross) on the field at all times? Why would Cleveland be battling Brodell for a starting role? It doesn't make sense.

Now is the time for Doering to assert himself on the offensive line. He came in as a bona fide five-star recruit, and now he's just got Kuempel in front of him for a starting role at guard. Now, Kuempel's no slouch--far from it--but he didn't come in with All-American credentials either. Both guys are huge--6'6", within a biscuit or two of three hundy--so there's no real worry of inadequacy at the left guard spot. Nonetheless... c'mon, Doering.

Has Ferentz totally de-emphasized the fullback position? His starter is a walk-on who played linebacker last year. Granted, he was pretty good at special teams too, so he's clearly got no qualms about pinning his ears back and hitting the hell out of someone at full speed. So that's great. Nonetheless, the defensive coordinators must enjoy seeing the guys Ferentz is trotting out at fullback and being able to think to themselves, "okay, we have absolutely no reason to think that guy's ever getting the ball."

[EDIT: Turns out the starting fullback from last year, Tom Busch, is unlisted due to injury. For that oversight, I offer this explanation: He's still here?! I was sure he was a senior. Sweet.]

As far as defense goes, this is a make-or-break year for the line as a whole. While it's hard to point at one single player and say they took a major step back on the field--Iwebema didn't struggle as much he just didn't play--the production definitely wasn't there last season. I spent the entirety of last year waiting for Bain to overtake Kroul, but that never happened. I think it will soon. Bain is an absolute terror whenever he's on the field, and while Kroul definitely earned his freshman AA merits, he didn't seem to be anything special last season. Here's to hoping one of them steps up in a big way. Also, Mitch King needs to screw his head on straight. Way too many dumb penalties.

No problems with the linebackers. Glad to see Humpal and Klinkenborg back, and glad to see Hunter, who was the huge recruit for 2006, pushing for a starting role.

As far as the defensive secondary... Adam Shada? Really? Again? Is he seriously one of the two best cornerbacks on the team? Keep in mind, "best cornerback" doesn't mean fastest or quickest; it means "least likely to get torched by a receiver all game long, like maybe what James Hardy did last year." Do you think there's a single quarterback in the Big Ten who's scared of throwing at Shada? At all? Other than that, it will be nice to see the depth chart shake itself out to the point where there are clear starters. I don't know a damned thing about any of the four guys competing for a starting safety spot, other than the fact that they're clearly not demonstrably better than the other guy.

As far as special teams go, there's nothing much to get worked up over at this point. But Shonn Greene at kick returner? What is that about? Is Ferentz thinking that he wants a returner to be able to break a first tackle, or something? It just seems that Greene doesn't quite fit the mold of, oh I don't know, every great returner in all of college football history. Ferentz has lots of track stars on his roster to work with--Brodell, Chaney, Bowman, etc.--why not put one of them back there? Heck, even wunderkind recruit Derrell Johnson-Koulianos has great open-field skills. Why not put him on the field?

Obviously lots of questions going into summer. There's lots to be excited about; Iowa's returning plenty of talent, and that monster 2005 recruiting class is coming into its own. Couple that with a schedule without Michigan and OSU, and Iowa's in great position for a big year. Now, as Ferentz pointed out, Iowa went 2-4 against their current Big Ten slate last year, and PSU played in a January bowl, so let's not go buying tickets to Pasadena just yet. Nonetheless, the future is bright, friends.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Winning the "Biggest Duh of the Year" award

Tragic news for those with a coiffure fetish: The UI announced today that Steve Alford won't be at Iowa's year-end basketball banquet this weekend. I know. It hurts me too. I know.

Undoubtedly, this move is in Alford's best interests. It's good that he make the break as clean as possible and disassociate himself from the Hawkeyes quickly. It would make absolutely no sense for him to attend.

But then again, it would make no sense to defend Pierre Pierce as passionately as Alford has, so maybe there's a bit of crazy left over under all that gel. With that in mind...

Steve Alford, I humbly request that you change your mind and attend the banquet. As a matter of fact, I'll even write your speech for you.

"Hey there, Lob--Hawk fans! Hey, whoa. Hey. Honest mistake. I'm just trying to get acclimated with my new team. It's a nice change of pace to not be at such a football school anymore. Hey! Cut it out! I don't know why you guys are throwing tomatoes at me; I'm not the one that makes Steve Alford's Gold Medal Salsa! Ha, ha, ha!

"Settle down, guys. Please. We're here for the Hawkeyes, right? Not just me, them too. That's better. Okay. Anyway. First things first... all praise and glory to Jesus and me--you gotta admit, we make one heck of a team, eh? I'm proud to announce that we kept the WINNING SEASONS STREAK alive and well at, what, seven seasons?? That's awesome, folks! That's always a guarantee for a March Situation. Oh come on. Yes--yes it is. I know what happened this year. We did too have a March Situation. This year, it just happened to be beating Illinois at Carver. March 3rd. That's March enough for me.

"Speaking of streaks, if you're into this sort of thing, we just finished our second straight season without having a serial rapist start a single game. Uh, you're welcome, ladies. Also, I'm proud to say that we once again earned a berth to the Big Ten Tournament! That was my eighth in a row! Did you know those jagoffs over in Ames haven't been to a single one yet? And still, you all thought you needed to run me out of town. You're all ungrateful bastards, you know.

"Okay, about the kids. Who played here this year? Uh, okay. Um... Haluska, you're our MVP. Duh. Way to go with the fiancee, by the way. You never want to be a college superstar, then totally settle when it comes to bagging a wife. That goes for all of you. Trust me on this one.

"As far as the rest of the kids, I have to be honest: I was not a big fan this year. I tried to recruit as many good Christians as possible, but I'm pretty sure we didn't love Jesus enough to be champions. Christ, our center's over there doing yoga and writing that Chinese moon-man garbage on his arms. And that goes for the rest of you kids. I know Jesus loves you all equally and everything, but guys, what was with all the tattooos?! Jeez, Cyrus played the last few weeks of the season with that big bandage on one of his biceps. Cyrus. It looked like a volleyball kneepad. I know you don't want to screw up your tattoo or hurt yourself or anything, but it might have sent a better message to the team if you had decided to just skip giving your upper arm a maxi pad.

"Let's get back to talking about the season. Please. I see some of you brandishing weapons that I'm pretty sure security should have taken care of. I'd like to remind you all that we beat 12 teams that went to the NCAA's this year!


"Oh, uh. Not 12. Four. Whatever, nobody's counting. And! And also! We finally got over the hump and beat Northwestern this year! Okay, be sarcastic if you want, but at least it's more than that faggot football team of yours can say. Oh, and who wants to play the "which team won at Minnesota" game, eh? That's right, assholes.

"Look, see. This is why I decided to go to New Mexico. You're all being mean to me. This is the environment that I didn't want my family around. Well this, and allegedly bending my secretary over my desk. Definitely didn't want my family around for that one either.

"Okay, I see your desserts are coming. I'll be done soon. What'd you guys get? Seth? You got cake? Figures. What? No, I didn't mean anything by that. No, it's just that the cake looks like it's good. Yeah. Pretty soft, right? Exactly. Tony Freeman, how about you? That's... yeah, that's an apple turnover. Too easy.

"I'll turn this back over to Dolph, but let me just finish my tenure off with one last thing. It could have been different. All you guys had to do was worship me like they did everywhere else I ever was ever. They named a street after me before I even graduated high school. Do you have any idea what that does to someone? No, of course you don't. That means that if I don't have things exactly my way, my team will not be great. I need everything to go my way and all eyes to be on me. Therefore, I see no reason why Iowa's mediocrity isn't entirely everybody else's fault.

"In closing, fuck you all, and I am out of here."