Monday, January 28, 2013

Hawkeye Receiving

If this past 4-8 season wasn’t enough to inspire the receivers on the Iowa football team to get better, they should take notice of what’s happening with recruiting. The Hawkeyes are really hurting at the receiver position.  They have committed 4 receivers and are looking at four more.  Last year, the receiving core had 2200 yards and 7 touchdowns.  That’s it.  There are individual receivers who can do that.  It took all of Iowa’s receivers and running backs catching balls to add up to those stats.  Frankly, it is embarrassing. 

What has changed for the Iowa receiving core this year?  Coach Cambell left Iowa for other opportunities.  We do not have a replacement.  Cambell was an excellent coach and will be hard to replace.   As hard as it is to imagine, the Iowa receivers could have played a lot worse than they did.  Many people were frustrated because receivers ran short of the first down marker so many times on third down.  I would caution you to point the figure at Cambell.  Those routes were given to him by Davis, our “wonderful” Offensive Coordinator.  He believes on third down that receivers should catch the ball and make a play to get a first down.  This isn’t the Big Twelve, players wrap up receivers.  After all of those failed attempts on trying to reach the marker, you think Davis would have changed his scheme.  Oh well.  Kennan Davis also used up his last year of eligibility last year.  He was second on the team in receiving.  He was the big threat that we never used.  He had big hands and speed but Vandenberg never seemed to find him. 

As I look at the possible recruits coming in, one really opens my eyes.  His name is Brian Lemelle.  He is Pennsylvania’s all-time leader in receptions (269) and receiving yards (4,529) for a high school player.  There have been a lot of good receivers out of Pennsylvania.  To have the record in these categories means he was a ball magnet.  He consistently got open and was able to catch the ball.  Hopefully he is able to give the Hawkeyes a boost that is so very much needed.  Before he can catch the ball for the Hawkeyes, he has to commit.  Hurry up and commit to Iowa!  If he doesn't, Iowa receiving might be in for a really, really bad year.     


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Big Ten Conference Divisions

     There are quite a few options when it comes down to realigning the Big Ten Conference.  We finally get to get rid of the awful division names!  I am nervous on how the league will divide the teams up.  Each team has their own opinion for their best interest.  I want to protect as many rivalries as I can.  Which one would you pick?  I’ll go through the positives and negatives for Iowa in each situation.

Adam Rittenberg’s ( Plan
East: Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State, Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland
West: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue

     Iowa gets all three trophy games every year with this alignment.  Iowa also will play Northwestern every year.  That game has become a rivalry.  Iowa definetly benefits a lot from this alignment.  If they would happen to be good, they avoid many of the big teams.  They have a good shot at making the title game every year.  The downside to this lineup is that Iowa and Michigan don’t play.  Iowa also doesn’t play Penn State.  Ever since Iowa robbed Penn State of a national title run in 08, this game has been filled with tension and excitement.  If Iowa was to go undefeated however, they would still have enough quality wins to be considered for a playoff spot (need to be in top 4).

Brian's ( Plan
East: Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, Purdue, Indiana
West: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern

     This is by far my favorite plan.  It swaps out Purdue for Michigan State.  Like the alignment above, Iowa gets all three trophy games.  This plan isn’t popular in Michigan.  Michigan and Michigan State in different divisions takes away some of the hate and no Michigan or Michigan State fan wants that.  They want to see the other team on the sideline while they play in the Big Ten Championship Game.  Michigan State is a better team than Purdue, so Iowa would have a tougher conference schedule.  The games would still be a lot of fun to watch!

     Don't like either of those? Well here is my plan for the division.

Inner-Outer plan
Division A: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan State, Wisconsin
Division B: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers, Penn State, Ohio State, Purdue

     This is definitely not the easiest way for Iowa to get to the Championship Game.  This is purely based on fan enjoyment.  Every conference game would be a big game for Iowa.  We usually play to the talent level of the opponent.  I don’t see us losing more games because we are versing harder teams because we lose to bad teams just as much.  Division A is definitely stronger than Division B.  The league would never go for it.  Division A would be the second toughest division in the country behind the SEC West.  If you had to play Michigan, Nebraska, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and a crossover game with Penn State or Ohio State, you would be ecstatic to win 4.  What is your thoughts on how the conference should be aligned?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sexism in College Applications

      There are definitely some problems with unequal treatment in our country.  There is an overemphasis on beauty of women in our society.  They start to spend more time looking pretty rather than getting an education.  There is pressure of women from society to do these things.  There are also bonuses from society for being a smart girl.  Counter Discrimination has gone too far in some cases.

      Women are starting to get into colleges with lower scores than men do.  There are more men who apply for college.  In order to promote “equality,” and a good college atmosphere, colleges try and keep the school 50 50.  This is ridiculous!  They are starting accept women over men with a lower SAT, ACT, and GPA.  It is unfair to men that women have an easier time trying to get into college. 

      The same ease of acceptance also factors in with minorities such as Blacks and Hispanics.  They are more likely to get accepted that a white male with the same scores.  It is just unfair.  There really isn’t much more than that. 

      Acceptance shouldn’t take race or sex into consideration for acceptance.  They should look at your athletics, volunteerism, leadership, G.P.A., and test scores.  Women don’t want to get into college because they are women.  They want to get into a college because they deserve it.  Don’t give women and minorities handouts to get into their college.  Make them work at it, they are just as smart as anyone.    

Spin On Eating Disorders.

      65 percent of women in America have eating disorders.  That was the statement said in the video.  The video didn’t define eating disorder.  They just used whatever statistics they could to drive their point home.  They made a connotation that those eating disorders were anorexia, bulimia, and nervosa.   I did some research and found out a source from SELF Magazine, where the information was taken from.  (Here is a link if you want to read it yourself)
     The first sentence in the article stated that only 10 percent of women have anorexia, bulimia, or nervosa. 10 percent.  That is a far reach from the 65 percent that they were trying to sell us.  The article continues to say that we have 75 percent of women with an unhealthy relationship with food.  The change in words frames the statistics.  What is an unhealthy relationship with food?  I will accept the statistic they say that sixteen percent of women have less than 1000 calories a day.  It is unhealthy and they have a disorder.  SELF Magazine considers overeating and dieting and unhealthy relationship with food.  Those two groups push the numbers to 65 percent.       
      SELF Magazine has their own personal interests with posting a high amount of women with eating disorders.  They could have easily framed the questions to get more shocking results.  Shocking results sells magazines, not true results.  The more people that can be classified as having an eating disorder, the more shocking the story will be.  That is exactly what they did.  Their sample size wasn’t listed and they probably asked their viewers.  This isn’t a random sampling and is very prone to errors in data.  
      SELF Magazine also tried to include women smokers as an eating disorder.   Granted, some women start smoking to lose weight.  I get that.  Most women, who smoke however, do it because they are addicted to the nicotine.  They would like to think they are smoking to lose weight, but that is just an excuse they make because they don’t want to stop smoking.  It is another misrepresentation that was thrown in this statistic.   
      The video took the title of the statistic and put it in.  They wanted a big number to shock people.  65 percent of women have an eating disorder.  That is if you consider women between the ages of 20-45, the age of women that were surveyed.  Doctors may argue the case for obesity as an eating disorder.  I don’t have a problem adding that in, but the video has to identify what an eating disorder is.  You can’t just say that 60 percent of Americans hate popcorn.  Maybe it was a certain type of popcorn that most people don’t like.  The point is, the video took data from a survey and misrepresented it.  Only 10 percent of women have a medical eating disorder.  The video will try and make it seem bigger than it is, but the truth stands, no matter what spin or connotations are put on it.    

Sunday, January 20, 2013


     Watching the bowl games made me really sad because I remembered Iowa was 4-8 this year.  I came up with a bad excuse but I am sticking to it in hopes that we have a better season. Iowa was a very young team this year. And they played like it. Penalties, missed assignment, blown coverages, poor tackling, bad reads, wrong name it and Iowa probably did it wrong this year. There were plenty of upperclassmen making mistakes too. But part of it was that Iowa played a lot of freshmen.

     By the end of the year, there were 13 freshmen listed on Iowa's 2-deeps, which feels like some kind of a record. Only the junior class had a bigger presence on the depth chart with 15. There were 12 seniors and 8 sophomores.

     Here is a list of freshman on the depth chart who played this year.

     Tevaun Smith - Played in 9 games. 3 catches for 31 yards. He also was back as a kick returner, though didn't return any. He looks like he has the speed to be a factor at WR. I'd put him as number 3 heading into next year behind KMM and Jordan Cotton.

     Jordan Walsh - Started in 1 game and played in 6 total and was part of the OG rotation during the final half of the season. He will probably be in the mix for one of the OG spots again next year.

     Austin Blythe - Started in 9 games and played in 10. He missed a couple of games due to injury and really didn't play as well after the injury. I expect him to be back strong next year and to win one of the OG spots.
     Greg Garmon - Started in 1 game and played in 10. He had 122 rushing yards and 57 receiving yards. Early in the year he also returned kicks. He looked okay at time and like a freshman others. But now he is gone, so good riddance.

     Drew Ott - Played in the final 5 games of the season. The coaches were pleased enough with his play in practice that they burned his red-shirt at the very end of the year. He didn't play a lot though and had just 3 tackles. Hopefully burning that red-shirt will end up being worth it. Iowa could really use a DE to step up.

     Darian Cooper - Started the first and last game of the year and played in all the others. He was inconsistent, but had a few good games and totaled 34 tackles on the year and 3.5 for loss. It'll be interesting to see if he can hold off the two freshmen that red-shirted this year (Ekakitie and Johnson) and earn a permanent starting spot.

     Sean Draper - Played in every game but the last, mostly in dime. He had 6 tackles. He could be the front-runner to take over for Micah Hyde.

     Connor Kornbrath – My man! The punter!!! He shared punting duties with Wienke. He punted 53 times for a 37.9 yards average.
     These aren’t the greatest stats but they have to mean something.  There were a lot of freshman who played this year.  Ferentz is known for developing players.  Who knows, maybe next year, we will have a nine win season.


QB Controversy

     Who will be the quarterback for my Hawkeyes in August?  So many names are in for consideration.  I can’t remember a year where there wasn’t a clear starter.  Ruddock didn’t play pretty much at all for who knows why.  Beathard has the stats and talent to become the starting quarterback.  Let’s take an in depth look at the situation.
     Certainly, Beathard could be Iowa's starting quarterback next fall. This is the most wide open the quarterback race has been at Iowa since... well, probably since the beginning of Ferentz's tenure here. In years where there hasn't been a returning starter, there's usually been a clear favorite -- Chandler in 2003, Tate in 2004, Christensen in 2007, Vandenberg in 2011.  No such clear favorite seems to exist heading into 2013. Jake Rudock spent the entire 2012 season listed behind James Vandenberg on the depth chart -- but he also never saw a single solitary snap in a game in 2012, which seems to put him on equal footing with Iowa's other quarterback options, Cody Sokol, C.J. Beathard, and even incoming freshman Nic Shimonek.
There are a lot of ways to interpret the fact that Rudock never got into a game in 2012; one of the most popular interpretation was that Rudock didn't play because he wasn't the real back-up quarterback in the eyes of the coaches, but that they didn't want to burn a redshirt to give Sokol or Beathard a few meaningless snaps. This interpretation was supported by occasional whispers that Sokol or Beathard was looking better in practice at the time as well.
     Look, C.J. Beathard could win the starting job next September and I wouldn't bat an eye. He led the state of Tennessee in passing yards, completions, and touchdowns as a junior and a senior, so he certainly doesn't seem to be without talent. It's entirely possible that he's able to form to the Greg Davis offense at a level beyond any of our other quarterbacks.
     The race is wide open and filled with 200 opinions.  I don’t know who the best starter is for Iowa but whoever it is, they better show up.  I will not tolerate another losing season.  It is embarrassing.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gender Roles

     I am a latissimus dorsi guy in an abdominal world.  It’s sad really how much the media puts on Men’s abs.  If you don’t have them, you are just out of luck.  It is a symbol of attractiveness.  I looked into a study on why women find abs so attractive.  The results were staggering.  The attractiveness of abs has surpassed other aspects of a guy over the years.  This is due to the media jump in commercials and advertisements.  Women don’t like abs because of personal preference.  They like abs because the media tells them that all great looking men have a six pack. 

     Is a 6 pack more important than the personality of a guy?  No, but it has influenced guys to try and reach a six pack.  Many guys starve and over work to try and obtain a six pack.  They don’t do it for themselves.  Guys have been tricked by the media as well that a six pack makes you attractive.  Magazines have hidden messages that correlate a six pack to getting a woman.  Guys buy in to it and strive for a 6 pack.  Why?

     Woman definitely have the short end of the stick when it comes to gender roles, but I hope this example helps show that guys struggle with gender roles too.  Women try and look amazing for men and men strive to look amazing to impress a woman.  In the end, the one with the brains and personality gets the girl in the long run.  Looks aren’t nothing, but they sure aren’t everything.     

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Special Teams

     I realized I didn’t rank the Iowa special teams in my previous blogs.  I apologize to the special teams, I just forgot about you.  Anyway here is my rant on Iowa special teams.  For the most part I thought they were really good this year.
     The kicking game was for the most part solid all the way around for Iowa in 2012. Mike Meyer was named a Lou Groza semifinalist after making 14 of his first 15 attempts, though he finished just 3-of-6.  The last six kicks weren’t representative of the season.  They were long attempts and the kicking conditions were bad.  I give a lot of credit to Mike Meyer.  He prevented Iowa from going 2-10.  Had he not made the fifty yard kick at Soldier Field, Iowa would have lost to Northern Illinois.  Had he not gone 4-4 against Michigan State, including 2 overtime kicks, Iowa would have lost.  Tip of the hat to Mike Meyer.
     The Hawkeyes were among the best in the Big Ten in punt and kick coverage.  This was just good technique and no missed assignments.  I am proud of them.  Unfortunately, the opponents we able to march the ball 80+ yards consistently.
     Iowa was third in kickoff returns thanks to some nice work by Jordan Cotton.  This late bloomer really provided magic to a dead second half season.  I hope he comes back stronger and faster than ever.  We need a play maker.
     Punting was lacking as Iowa finished just 10th in the league in punt average.  This is a misleading figure.  Often times, Iowa punted at the 50 yard line.  They had three punts downed at the half yard line.  I think they did fine.
     Punt returns sucked.  There was no explosiveness.  We might as well have just called for a fair catch every time.  There was no blocking, and Micah Hyde was not the right person to return punts.  Poor job.
     Overall I give the Hawks an A-.  There were excellent aspects to special teams this year but some areas lacked.  Next year looks bright for the Hawkeye’s special teams, as many of them are young.


     There are a lot of ways to ruin your immune system.  Some people never get sick.  Some people get sick all the time.  Although genetics has a big role in immunity, there are a lot of environmental factors that contribute to your immunity.  Here are some tips and tricks to grow your immunity.
Hang out with friends! Friendship may be Miracle-Grow for your immune system.  Research shows that the fewer human connections we have at home, at work, and in the community, the likelier we are to get sick, flood our brains with anxiety-causing chemicals, and live shorter lives than our more sociable peers.  In one study, researchers who monitored 276 people between the ages of 18 and 55 found that those who had 6 or more connections were four times better at fighting off the viruses that cause colds than those with fewer friends.
     Don’t be stressed!  The stress effect on immunity makes physiological sense.  It takes energy to fight infections and maintain fevers.  When diseased, our bodies reduce muscular energy output by sleeping.  Stress creates an energy battle because it requires energy to be stressed.  Stress triggers an aroused flight or fight response, diverting energy from the sickness.  This prevents your body from fighting sickness off while you are sick and before you’re sick.  A recent study correlated the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to get an illness.
     Sleep! Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of uninterrupted rest every night, but how you feel in the morning and throughout the day may be a better gauge. If you're tired when you wake up in the morning, you're not getting enough—sleep, or maybe not enough quality sleep.  Here is a perfect example for not sleeping: college students who get sick after pulling all-nighters cramming for exams. Poor sleep is associated with lower immune system function and reduced numbers of killer cells that fight germs. In fact, University of Chicago researchers found that men who had slept only four hours a night for one week produced half the amount of flu-fighting antibodies in their blood (jump-started by a flu shot) compared with those who slept 7½ to 8½ hours.
     Don’t take antibiotics for everything. Researchers found that certain patients taking antibiotics had reduced levels of cytokines, the hormone messengers of the immune system. When your immune system is suppressed, you're more likely to develop resistant bacteria or become sick in the future.  Take antibiotics only for bacterial infections, use them right away, and take the entire course. Don't use antibiotics preventively unless prescribed by your doctor, and don't save or share unfinished courses.
These changes in lifestyle can make the world of difference for your immune system.  Socially interacting, sleep, less stress, and appropriate medicine habits can make a dramatic difference on how many times you get sick a year.  My dad taught me these skills when I was ten.  I used to get sick four times a year average.  Now, I barely get sick yearly.  I hope these tips help you as much as they helped me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Social Facilitation

       Senior Night.  The is excitement in the air.  The seniors swim at Kennedy for the last time in their lives.  I stand watching them, with nothing but respect for their hard work.  It takes commitment to swim in high school.  All of the early mornings and late nights are about to pay off.  Seniors hop in the pool for their first event and record a lifetime best.  It happens every year. 
       As a junior, and last year as a sophomore, I took that same approach.  I acted as if I would never swim at Kennedy again.  I was energetic and loud, cheering my teammates on.  I recorded three lifetime best swims.  My sophomore year, I recorded two lifetime best swims.  It really helped me get into the swim meet. 
       There is something about never getting another chance and the roar of the crowd that helps people do their best.  It’s called social facilitation.  It is defined as improving ones performance based on the actions and presence of others.  Performers have a hard time doing their best when nobody is watching.  Take show choir for instance.  You can sit in on a practice, and nobody will do facials.  The dance moves might look sloppy and the singing is flat.  As soon as a group of people comes in, the faces go on, moves become crisp, and singing is full of energy.  It is the motivation to do well. 
       How can you trick your brain into performing well without an active audience?  I did a lot of research on this and came up with two answers.  One is fear.  If you inspire people by inferring if they don’t perform full out, they will never achieve greatness.  People get scared of not achieving their goals and start working.  This tactic is used a lot in sports.  The second way is through peer pressure.  It is social facilitation within the group.  If you are in an individual sport like swimming, imagine your competitor on the team winning over you.  If you are in a group sport like show choir, think of how not singing well now will affect others around you.  Nobody wants to mess up while their peers are watching. 
       Imagination can be a powerful thing in performance.  Mind over body, or at least to a certain point.  Focus on performing well in practice so when you get to a meet, the extra facilitation doesn’t just make you good, it makes you great.