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. 6.
Moving on up isn’t easy on depth chart
There were no changes with the Iowa football depth chart this week.
Status quo seems unusual for a team in a funk like Iowa. At the same time, it wasn’t a surprise. Coaches don’t always reveal changes on the depth chart released nearly a week before a game.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz isn’t one to make depth chart changes during the season “unless a guy is just flat-out not getting it done or is really struggling,” he said. “If they’re out there drowning in the ocean, you’re going to try to throw a life-preserver in there, for sure, and get a guy out of there.
“But there are ups and downs in everything you do, and you have to work through those ups and downs. If we feel a player is incapable, yeah, we’ll make a change that way. Or someone else, if we see them ascending, we’ll give them an opportunity also.”
The final reasons don’t occur too often. Ferentz admits it’s not easy for a player to supplant a starter during the year because most of Iowa’s time is devoted to game preparation.
“In season, it’s a little bit different because you’re in a playing mode,” Ferentz said. “Certainly we evaluate practice. Health factors into it, whether a guy, how limited he may be or isn’t, and then certainly what they do in games. So it’s a little harder to ascend as a player probably, if you’re a second- or third-team guy. But then, conversely, if a guy’s not playing well enough, we’ll give those players opportunity to compete.”
Spring practice and fall camp, where the focus is on development, is the best time for a player to climb up the depth chart.
Should Iowa consider making some alterations to ensure some backups can put themselves in a position to climb up the depth chart if needed? Sure.
Is it likely to happen? Probably not. Ferentz has found success doing things a certain way for 18 years at Iowa. He is a man that’s pretty set in his ways.
McCaffery pleased with state of hoops program
Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery is entering his seventh year. How does McCaffery view where the program sits? He gave a lengthy explanation at media day on Wednesday.
“The bottom line is what I wanted to do was be a player on a national level, build the building back up, and make it exciting for our players, for our fans,” McCaffery said. “I wanted to win big games, win big games on the road, and develop a mind-set that enables you to do that. It’s not easy to go win at North Carolina, at Michigan State. First time we went into Michigan State, we lost by 38. We go back there and beat them by 18 or whatever it was, but that’s over.
“So the key now is to try to maintain some consistency with what we put together, and that’s a challenge for the next group, and it’s a challenge for our coaching staff. This is a different team, and it’s a young team with 10 freshmen and sophomores. We have great chemistry and great character. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s so true. We have a group of guys that are together, and they truly like one another and they respect one another and they compete hard and they learn quickly. Not all young groups learn quickly.”
McCaffery deserves credit for turning Iowa around. The team he inherited was in a bad spot, to put it nicely. Iowa made the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons, though two of those seasons didn’t end how Iowa wanted —again, putting it nicely.
He’s done what he set out to do, but now enters a unique spot for an established coach. None of that past success really matters. This team is so young it can’t rely much on anything learned during the last few seasons.
What will happen in the coming years will be dictated in a large part by what the 10 sophomores and freshmen do. This happens all the time in college basketball with players graduating every four or five years, not to mention the constant attrition due to transfers and players leaving early for the NBA.
Iowa is about to enter another iteration of the program. The past will only be able to influence it so much.
The future of Iowa will be determined by the play of players like freshman Tyler Cook.
Style of play will be different this season
Iowa basketball won’t look like your father’s Iowa on offense this season. And by father’s team we mean the squad from last season.
The Hawkeyes are loaded with long-limbed forwards. Eleven players on the roster are 6-foot-6 to 6-foot-9.
“We are a running team,” Iowa guard Peter Jok said. “Whoever gets the rebound, we have bigs who can dribble too, whoever gets the rebound can bring it up.”
The Hawkeyes will push the ball. That should help as Iowa figures what it will do at point guard.
The length should help offset the lack of an Adam Woodbury-type force down low on defense.
“I think not having a true point guard is great because we have guys that play different positions, so our offense doesn’t need a true point guard,” Jok said.
Iowa is playing into its strengths. That’s usually a plus. Teams don’t need a center to be successful. Point guard is a different story. Iowa will need a reliable ball handler.
It doesn’t need to be a traditional point guard. It also needs someone to initiate the offense and someone for it to run through. Again, it doesn’t need to be a point guard, but that player needs to be on the floor if this version of Iowa is to win games.
Over the line with scholarships … for now
Right now, Iowa has 15 players for 13 scholarships for next season. The situation was brought up to McCaffery on Wednesday.
“It’s not a conundrum until it is,” McCaffery said. “We’ve got time.”
It’s Yogi Berra-esque line — and a correct one. The Wake-Up Call addressed this situation already. It usually takes care of itself. It’s nothing to fret over in October.