Think back 3 or 4 years ago...
At the time everyone was talking about the recruiting classes coming in, the cupcake schedule, and the perfect coach at the helm. For all intents and purposes, it looked like the years between or 07-09 were going to be a cakewalk for the Iowa Football program. I mean, let's face it, Iowa had been spitting out 10 win seasons against decent competition. Now in those years ahead, Iowa was going to be able to get through the Big Ten season without facing Michigan OR Ohio State. HOLY COW! How does THAT happen? The toughest games on the schedule? Wisconsin (a team Iowa absolutely owned the past few decades) and Purdue/MSU. Add in a fairly posh non-conference schedule, and Iowa was pretty much guaranteed a BCS game.
Think about that, though. I know expectations change, however these couple years were supposed to be the years where Iowa gets the break in the schedule and shouldn't have issues winning football games. Not only did Iowa not get to a BCS game last year, they didn't even get A Bowl game. Iowa was dealt one of the easiest schedule since I have been born and they can't even muster a winning record. Just sad.
If it didn't happen in 07, it SURELY would happen in 08 with the famed recruiting class in its junior year and having the system down pat. However, expectations are fairly low around most of the Iowa fanbase, as well as across the national scene.
It's frustrating to me to see a program that once had a chip on its shoulder, once had a sense of moxy, once had pride and respect, to end up looking like a program that doesn't know what to do next... almost like a kid lost in the grocery store. Kirk Ferentz has remained steadfast through it all with his normal demeanor and normal attitude towards it all. He is a rock, and for that I applaud him. That said, I want to see results from this program. Enough of the off-the-field events. Enough of the deer in the headlights looks from the players. Enough following instead of leading. It's time to get that chip back on the shoulder and go out and punch someone in the mouth. I, for one, am tired of looking at our team and seeing a 16 year trying to hit on supermodel.
The time is now. This Hawkeye team needs to step up to the plate and do something. Now.
All I am asking is to see some fire from this Iowa program. I don't think that is too much to ask.
"The Catch" was the beginning of the end.
Last year's results were nothing like the results of the '04 season, even though both situations are comparable.
First year QB, 4th string starting RB, Starting TE wasn't even in the 2 deeps to start the year, First Year Kicker. Gallery Gone. Kaeding Gone. Freddie Gone. Mo Brown Gone. Hodges, Clauss, Steen, Sanders All Gone. The offense replaced EIGHT starters, the defense replaced SEVEN starters. The injury bug struck hard that season too.
Last year's team arguably had more coming back that the 04 team did.
2004: 10-2 - Cap One Champs
2007: 6-6 - Sitting Home Eating Nachos
What's the common denominator? I don't know. I honestly don't know what the hell happened to the Iowa program. There wasn't much turnover as far as personnel goes in the program. Coordinators stayed the same. Schemes stayed the same. Did the coaches forget how to coach? Did the players forget how to play? Very doubtful.
The ONLY thing I can think of is attitude. Love or Hate Drew Tate's "attitude", that guy had HEART. He had FIRE. He had the INTANGIBLES. Something that we have been SORELY missing from this Iowa team the past three years.
We can sit here and make excuses... injuries, talent, coaching, etc... But when it comes down to it, if our guys don't have the attitude, the passion, the gumption, the want to, then we will NEVER get back to where we were 3 years ago.
Why was 2004 so different? Iowa won 10 games that year without a ton of superstars. Yes, that team had Roth, Greenway, Hodge, and Paschal... all NFL players, but what about the offense? How was Drew Tate able to become the BT POY as a first year starter? Senior WRs, sure. But zero running game.
Remember the OSU game? That Iowa team went out and beat the piss out of a team made up of Troy Smith, Antonio Pittman, Teddy Ginn Jr, Santonio Holmes, Vernon Gholston, Nick Mangold, Schlegel, Carpenter, Dustin Fox, Donte Whitner... The List goes ON and ON and ON.
How DID Iowa beat the Buckeyes that year? Can you tell me Iowa had more talent? Had more NFL prospects? Surely, that dog don't hunt. Iowa had those 10 wins seasons because our players played their tails off, they played within themselves, and our coaching staff had them believe in themselves.
We Need Some Moxy.