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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 19, 2018

Where’s the enthusiasm?

Jul 24, 2015

By BROOKS TAYLOR

Mt. Pleasant News

Generally, about this time of the year, the fever begins.

High-school baseball and softball seasons are over and the Major Leagues are about to enter the “dog days” of August.

Also, being a Cub fan, more often than not, I didn’t have to worry about any pennant races. In some not-too-distant years, the Cubs were nearly mathematically eliminated by the all-star break.

The fever, or fervor, if you prefer, was the growing anticipation of the college football season. Some of those years it could not begin quickly enough.

College football is about six weeks away. This year, I have no problem waiting. In fact, I haven’t even given it much of a thought except when I see some reference to the gridiron season on SportsCenter.

So what’s the problem?

Over the years, I’ve noticed a direct correlation between how formidable your college team is and your enthusiasm for the sport in general. The same goes for college hoops.

Because I am a Hawkeye supporter, you know the reason for the lack of excitement.

Go ahead and call me a fair-weather fan. I am not. Just like the rest of the faithful, I hope Iowa wins every game.

That, however, isn’t going to happen. A .500 record or a game above the break-even point might be the best you can hope for from the 2015 edition in Iowa City.

Yes, they play hard, but games aren’t always won on effort. Talent factors into the equation mightily and this is where we come up woefully short. See the last game (bowl game vs. Tennessee) for a classic example.

Last year can’t be repeated (maybe that is fortunate), but considering the schedule and in particular, the home schedule, the record should have been much better than 7-6.

Fingers could and probably should be pointed in many directions. For all Kirk Ferentz has done for Iowa football, what has he done lately?

It’s unfortunate that the legacy he built could be torn down just as quickly.

Iowa is at a recruiting disadvantage. You can’t win Big 10 football games with Iowa high school football players. That’s been the case, though, for the past 30 years. So what did the Hawks do? They mined Texas, Florida and New Jersey, just to mention a few states, for talent and they were successful.

It was guys like Sedrick Shaw, Brad Banks and Bob Sanders — just to mention one recruit for the aforementioned three states — that allowed Iowa to compete with the upper echelon of the conference.

While the Dallas Clarks and Bruce Nelsons are feel-good stories, you aren’t going to strike lightning in the bottle repeatedly.

What I’ve observed over the past few years, as one of the Hawks’ biggest obstacles, is the lack of skill players. Rick Stanzi had a good career, Kevonte Martin-Manley caught a lot of passes and every now and then Jordan Canzerri finds a gaping hole. How many of them are game breakers?

I remember a high-school football coach (who happened to win a state title in 2014) lamenting to me after losses that the difference was the other team made more plays.

He was correct, but you have to have playmakers to make plays.

Ferentz makes a lot of money. The salary, though, shouldn’t necessarily be used as a condemnation. If someone were to dangle a $4 million a year contract in front of you, you wouldn’t refuse it.

Basically, as I see it, a lot of it boils down to recruiting and in-game coaching and Iowa has been deficient in both areas.

Or maybe the lack of enthusiasm for football can be traced back to the Cubs contending for a playoff spot.

Whatever. At least there is something to get excited about.

 

 

 

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