Schwartz: Sunday Notes from Kinnick

August 13, 2017

Written by David Schwartz

Hawkeye Nation

Notes from Saturday’s open Hawkeye football practice …

Check out this two-play sequence Saturday by Iowa quarterback Nathan Stanley during the open practice for kids at Kinnick Stadium. It shows why he’ll likely be the Hawkeyes’ opening-day quarterback.

In this first clip, he shows what this coaching staff loves: accuracy and a little zip. Look at the speed with which he throws that ball. It’s really moving.

Here’s the next play:

Again, the accuracy is there. It’s a nice touchdown throw to Devonte Young.

However, there’s a potential hitch. I’m not one-tenth the in-game football analyst of someone like @hawkeyegamefilm. But even I can see in both clips that Stanley is staring down his targets.

Maybe it was just a scrimmage, but this is the sort of characteristic that will be exposed by a competent defensive coordinator and his assistants. We’re three weeks from the season, when little issues become big problems.

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Seeing Ken O’Keefe back on the sidelines was … weird.

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Visitors to Kinnick Stadium will notice two big differences this fall.

First, the number of new cell repeater boxes should finally – FINALLY – let fans simultaneously enjoy the game and engage it online. That will bring a new dynamic to how fans are able to follow the game on social media.

Second, the UI has taken steps to wrangle concession lines. If you’ve been to Kinnick, you know the rush to get concessions was basically a Who concert. They’ve got ropes and partitions up and will have employees dedicated exclusively to managing the flow of traffic.

Asked whether the UI plans to use the partitions and added staff all season, a concession concierge said Saturday that that was the plan and that every time she told a fan that, they responded with gratitude and relief.

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As I watched the Hawkeyes on Saturday afternoon I couldn’t help but think of UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.

Rosen vocalized this week what most of us already knew.

“Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t,” he told Bleacher Report. “Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way.”

Football culture being what it is (“Yarrrghh we’re a military proxy – no one speaks out of turn!”), Rosen of course caught hell for his remarks. Former Georgia Bulldog and current ESPN analyst David Pollack, for instance, said it was an “uneducated comment.”

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To the contrary, Rosen was spot-on. Several years ago at the U of Iowa I gave a tour to a prospective football recruit. With ambitions toward broadcasting, he asked about working for Daily Iowan TV. Upon learning DITV’s hours conflicted with some of his football requirements, he gave up his academic and professional goal and switched majors.

“Football really dents my ability to take some classes that I need,” Rosen said.

And those are just examples of logistical conflicts. Rosen’s comments were also structural. The comments gave voice to the obvious: So much of high-profile college sports is a sham. In sports where there is a potential big professional payoff after college, academics are a nuisance, not a necessity. Heck, the University of North Carolina created fake classes just so some revenue-producing, high-profile athletes could remain eligible.

Of course, Rosen’s greatest crime wasn’t what he said, but that he said anything in the first place. He broke the code. In football, you don’t rock the boat, lest you risk Upsetting Team Chemistry. Or whatever.

“I think that’s an unfortunate comment … because I think you can get a really good education anywhere,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. But Shaw missed the point. Rosen never said he couldn’t get a good education at UCLA, or Stanford, or Iowa, or Wake Forest or wherever. Rosen, an economics major, said he couldn’t take the courses he needed because football received a higher priority, just as the Iowa player I showed around switched majors altogether because football took higher priority.

But don’t worry. Rosen’s coach, Jim Mora Jr., had a “productive” talk with his player about the choice of words.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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