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, Oct. 27.
To go for it or not to go for it, that is the question
How does Kirk Ferentz spend his bye week? Reading sports sections. Seriously. He said as much at his news conference on Wednesday.
It’s what led him to again address why he didn’t go for it on fourth-and-5, down eight points in the fourth quarter on the Wisconsin 20-yard line last week.
Ferentz stood behind his decision to kick a field goal, which Iowa missed. Here is the video of what he said.
His argument basically boils down to this. Three things needed to happen for Iowa to tie the game.
- Convert the first down
- Score a touchdown
- Convert the two-point conversion
He felt the degree of difficulty in doing all three against the Wisconsin wasn’t worth the risk, so he kicked.
First off, The Wake-Up Call applauds Ferentz for explaining his rationale. Not enough coaches do it.
But even after hearing his explanation, it’s not one The Wake-Up Call would do. The Iowa offense was struggling. At the time, the odds of seeing Iowa move into such good scoring position again seemed low. It was worth gambling to see if Iowa could find the end zone.
There is one point the Wake-Up Call agrees with Ferentz on. If his decision is successful and Iowa wins the game, most of the chatter over his decision never materializes.
“Two ways to play it; we played it the other way,” Ferentz said. “You could have played it the other. And there’s really no way to know. If you were successful either way, then it’s the right answer. If you’re not successful, then it’s the wrong answer.”
Not to go all Sam Hinkie, but not enough people regard the process involved in a decision like that. It’s why the most interesting thing the rest of the week with Iowa football is what the analytics folks Iowa works with say about the move in the weekly meeting with Ferentz.
Yes, analytics and Ferentz
Just taking a second for those who need it after that Iowa football analytics link above. Gather yourselves before we continue.
Joking aside, the analytics discussion was some of the most interesting stuff to come out of the Wednesday news conference. Ferentz uses it to help with game management situations. It’s like a weekly class for him and his staff on game theory.
Football staffs look for a way to gain an edge. This is the kind of thing that could do that.
Also, it continues a trend that people still find shocking. Old-school Iowa is a modern program. You could almost hear jaws drop when Ferentz mentioned analytics.
Yes, Ferentz is still prone to punt when crossing the 50-yard line, but he is capable of adapting. It’s a requirement in his profession.
Committing to the decommitment news
The decommitment of East Wylie High School (Texas) running back Eno Benjamin continued to stay in the news on Wednesday. This time it was because of Ferentz, who addressed the situation without directly addressing the situation.
Ferentz probably felt the need to clarify his thoughts and stance on decommitments, but if you’re the Hawkeyes there is also another reason to wade into the recruiting water unprompted.
Ferentz’s remarks, saying the kids hold the advantage in recruiting, is a direct message to Iowa recruits, those committed or not, that serves as a counter-punch to the “no commits visiting elsewhere” policy conversation. It’s a way to combat what’s been said or written, by the media or rival coaches, since the Benjamin news broke on Sunday.
Lots of links
- Wednesday was Iowa women’s basketball media day. Matthew Bain of the Iowa City Press Citizen looks at the team’s schedule.
- Jeff Linder of the Cedar Rapids Gazette wrote about former high school teammates Alexis Sevillian and Tania Davis from media day.
- How effective has Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard been in 2016?