The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Hawkeyes Wake-Up Call here with you at 8:30 a.m (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is your Wake-Up Call for Thursday, Sept. 22.
Homecoming king out for vengeance
Iowa running back Akrum Wadley grew up 15 minutes from Rutgers. He attended Weequahic High School in New Jersey.
He’s excited about his homecoming when the Hawkeyes play Rutgers on Saturday. He said it’s the only positive thing about this week after the frustrating loss to North Dakota State last week.
But this is more than a chance to play in front of friends and family. It’s a chance to make a statement.
Wadley wasn’t offered a scholarship by Rutgers out of high school. The question to clarify if that was the case went all of two words before Wadley interrupts.
“Yeah,” he said, knowing the rest of the sentence before it was finished.
This game is personal for Wadley. He talked a few times with the Rutgers staff, but that was it. It’s one thing when there is an offer from the in-state school and a player goes somewhere else. That departure is on the player’s terms. When a team doesn’t offer ,a player doesn’t have any other choice.
This is a game where Wadley will be looking to make a statement. That much is assured.
The perfect gift
Rutgers head coach Chris Ash grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa. Like lots of boys in southeast Iowa, he grew up an Iowa fan. In fact, he was such a big fan that his family made it a point to get him plenty of Hawkeye memorabilia.
“It was an autographed Chuck Long football. Chuck was playing at Iowa, and I believe it was 1985,” Ash said. “I actually went on to work for Chuck at San Diego State also, so that was one of my best birthday gifts. It was a birthday/Christmas because my birthday is Dec. 24th.”
Ash is the second straight opposing head coach to grow up an Iowa fan.
It’s big week in the Niemann household. Jay, the father, is the Rutgers defensive coordinator. His son, Ben, is a starting linebacker for Iowa. Another son, Nick, is redshirting for the Hawkeyes this season.
The Niemann family showdown is a rarity, and a question about it truly tied up Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.
He was asked if he’s prepared himself for the day if he ever coaches against one of his sons.
“Oh, geez. No, I haven’t,” Ferentz said. “No, I have not prepared for that. I can answer that. No, I have not prepared for it. I’ll push that one off for a couple months, too.”
The imitation game
Who did Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio want to mold his team after when he became the Spartan coach? Iowa and Wisconsin, according to Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press.
Dantonio studied Iowa because Ferentz took a program from the bottom of the Big Ten to the top of the league, but the similarities between the coaches and programs extend beyond that.
Iowa tries to win by controlling the line of scrimmage and limiting mistakes, as does Wisconsin. It’s a time-tested formula for success, especially in the Big Ten.
It may not be the most entertaining brand of football, but it’s worked for the Hawkeyes. It’s worked for the Badgers, and it’s worked for the Spartans.
In fact, it works for plenty of programs over the northern part of the country — read places that must deal with winter and cold weather late in the season — regardless of conference.