IOWA CITY, Iowa - Random thoughts on a stormy Sunday in the Heartland...
Well, we dodged a few bullets from Mother Nature yesterday, getting in a complete practice/scrimmage/exhibition of Iowa football at historic Kinnick Stadium, two rounds of men's golf at Finkbine Golf Course, and a pair of softball games at Pearl Field before the thunderstorms found their way into eastern Iowa. It was a good day for the good guys competitively, too. The Hawkeyes won the football practice/scrimmage/exhibition, are sitting in first place of the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational after blistring Fink on its second 18 of the day, and rebounded from a 7-4 loss in Game 1 against Nebraska to win the nightcap in walk-off fashion. You can read more about the football event HERE, the golf event HERE, and the softball games HERE.
Two Hawkeyes on the offensive side of the ball caught my attention while seated high in the south grandstand yesterday: No. 32, Damon Bullock, a running back, and No. 80, tight end Henry Krieger-Coble. Bullock looked pretty comfortable toting the rock and KC appeared to be a popular target of the quarterbacks. It also looks like there's some competition at placekicker and, as the coaching staff would undoubtedly add, competition is a good thing.
I'm also continue to be a big fan of Kevonte Martin-Manley, who had a really nice grab on a deep out thrown by James Vandenberg, and C.J. Fiedorowicz, who appears to be at the top of an extremely talented collection of tight ends.
Have I mentioned before just how big C.J. Fiedorowicz is? Well, if I haven't, he's big. Really big...with really big hands and mobility and, now, as a sophomore, a more complete understanding of the complexities of the game at this level. There's a learning curve that needs to be climbed when one goes from Friday nights to Saturdays...just like the curve for those who go from playing on Saturdays to playing on Sunday. If you remember, he started to really climb that curve late last season and, apparently, is now accelerating through the last half of it.
OK. We fumbled last year with the trophy for the Iowa-Iowa State game and everyone let us know it and were just as quick to suggest they had a better idea. Well, that's what the good folks at Iowa Corn did: They invited fans and friends of the Hawkeyes and our intrastate rival to commit their ideas to paper. Iowa Corn then took the 500 or so great ideas that were submitted and pared the list to the six most popular "themes." Then, with the help of some good friends from the UI and ISU, they arrived at three options - and all three are fantastic (I have a personal preference and have cast my vote its way.) Voting began yesterday and will continue until the end of the month. Click HERE to review the final choices and cast your vote.
Ohio, Arizona, Montana, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Florida, New York, Maryland.... This is not a list of the home states of our current student-athletes. It's a partial list of the states that will be represented by media that will be in Carver-Hawkeye Arena this Saturday and Sunday when the UI stages the 2012 U.S. Wrestling Olympic Trials. This, too, is an important opportunity for the UI and the greater Iowa City community. At last count, Chris Brewer - the man at the top of the UI's pyramid for media relations for the event - and his staff will be providing top-drawer service to 215 members of the media, a count that will likely creep a little higher in the final days prior to Saturday's first session of competition.
I bumped into former Iowa wrestler and current UI wrestling coach Mike Zadick while walking out of Carver-Hawkeye Arena toward Kinnick Stadium yesterday morning. I like Mike. I also like Mike's dog. And I also get a kick out of Mike's truck, a beast of a machine that fits Mike and his persona like a worn leather work glove. Mike is one of the handful of Hawkeyes who will be on the mat in Carver next weekend in pursuit of Olympic gold. For him, it's a second attempt; Mike was a member of the USA team that competed in Beijing in 2008. The beared warrior said he feels good and is looking forward to wrestling in familiar surroundings. Hopefully, his talent paired with the energy to be provided by the partisan crowd that will fill Carver to capacity will be enough to get him to the top level of the podium. Good luck to Mike...and all of those who have worn the black and gold. And, lastly, if you haven't purchased your tickets to the Trials, click HERE to get that done.
A special thanks to the fans of the Hawkeyes who brought canned food items with them to Kinnick yesterday and/or made a cash contribution as part of the inaugural America Needs Farmers Food Drive. Your generosity was greatly appreciated by the Johnson County Crisis Center - the beneficiary of the food items - and the Iowa Food Bank Association, the beneficiary of the cash contributions. Also, a special thanks to UI Dance Marathon for helping to make this important activity happen.
Here's my weekly reminder on Iowa's favorite PGA Tour professional, Zach Johnson. The Cedar Rapids native birdied two of his final three holes Saturday and is 8-under heading into today's final round of the 2012 RBC Heritage. Zach will be playing in the group immediately behind the tournament leader, Sweden's Carl Pettersson. If all goes well, we'll get a good look at Zach's round thanks to the live television coverage courtesy of CBS. To check out the leaderboard, click HERE.