Howe’s Friday 5: Bohannon Bounce-Back, Johnny U, Ferentz Penalties
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Welp, we’ve arrived at Week 2 of this exercise. Thank you for your patronage.
This installment was more challenging with it being a bye week. You can determine whether or not I was up for the task.
Here we go with Howe’s Friday 5:
5. AHEAD OF SCHEDULE: Or is he? Jordan Bohannon’s quick recovery from spring hip surgery probably shouldn’t be surprising for anybody who’s seen the Iowa point guard play. Toughness and desire help define him.
Hawkeye coach Fran McCaffery said this week that he expected the senior from Marion (IA) Linn-Mar High to see action in Monday’s exhibition game.
His procedure in May came with a 5-9 month recovery timetable. He was back on the court earlier this month when practices began.
McCaffery cautioned that it remained a wait-and-see approach with his floor leader depending on how he held up in practices and games. He has experienced some tough days.
It would probably take quite a setback to keep this dude on the sideline, however. He’s just too competitive to sit and watch his teammates battle without him.
With him, the Hawkeyes will be a very interesting team this winter.
4. GETTING THINGS STARTED: Sticking with hoops, McCaffery was asked who he would start in Monday’s warmup against Lindsey Wilson College at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The coach wasn’t ready to reveal his Top 5, but indicated he was getting closer.
If Bohannon is playing, he’s starting. So are Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza. Plenty of possibilities exist for the remaining spots occupied by Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss last season.
A case can be made for graduate-transfer combo guard Bakari Evelyn. Connor McCaffery is an experienced player capable of playing multiple position as is his brother, freshman forward Patrick McCaffery. Ryan Kriener and Cordell Pemsl are big men that bring physicality and versatility. Freshman point guard Joe Toussaint adds a quickness element that’s been missing from the roster.
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All that said, I’ll roll with C.J. Fredrick at the two and Jack Nunge at the four. They’re coming off redshirt years during which they developed physically and within the system.
And who starts might not matter as Iowa will play a lot of guys in various combinations. The hot hands and best matchups will be in there during crunch time.
3. MISSING LINK: It was expected Iowa would miss first-round NFL Draft picks T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant this season. Fant caught 69 passes for 1,013 yards and 18 touchdowns, while Hockenson accumulated 73 catches for 1,080 yards and nine scores during the last two campaigns.
Heading into last week’s game at Northwestern, Hawkeye tight ends combined for 10 receptions for 121 yards and no touchdowns in ’19. It should be mentioned that Nate Wieting and Shaun Beyer have performed well as blockers, helping an up-and-down offensive line.
Perhaps this group is ready to bring more in the pass game, however. And it could come in the form of true freshman Sam LaPorta.
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The Illinois product, who like Hockenson played a lot of receiver in high school, caught two passes for 43 yards in the 20-0 win against Northwestern. Another long catch was wiped out after review determined the defensive back jarred the ball loose at the end of the play. Beyer also came up with a key 11-yard reception for a first down on a fourth and long.
Wieting missed the game with an injury. He’s earned the right to play based on his blocking and reliable hands when the ball is thrown his way.
But LaPorta brings open-field and run-after-the-catch receiving ability that seemed to be missing with the Hockenson and Fant departures. It will be interesting to see if he retains a role moving forward. He should.
2. DESERVING FINALIST: Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley serves as a lightning rod for discussion among Hawkeye fans. He’s receiving plenty of criticism this season with the offense struggling at times.
At least one organization views the senior from Wisconsin high on a list among his peers, however. The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award shows him among its 10 finalists.
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Stanley leads the Big Ten with 243.8 passing yards per game. He’s completing a career-best 60.7 percent of his passes. He’s has 10 touchdown passes against five interceptions.
Fair or not, Stanley’s legacy will be decided during the next four games, especially the next two, when Iowa faces Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Hawkeyes could capture the West Division if they win out. A trip to Indy puts him in select company.
I’m rooting for him. You won’t meet a nicer kid or representative for the university. Kid is a class act.
1. POTTY MOUTH: For the second time this season, Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, which carries with it 15 penalty yards. His profane rant at Northwestern resulted from an illegal block call on fullback Brady Ross. He picked up the first infraction in the season-opener when he felt a defender held receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette.
Look, I get it. Ferentz is an emotional, competitive guy who cares. He’s not a bad dude.
However, these are college sports where the coaches are the leaders of young men. They’re teaching lessons. There’s little to no excuse for unsportsmanlike behavior, particularly at Northwestern, where the officials made the right call on a bad rule. And this isn’t pro football.
Ferentz grabbed headlines two years ago when he lost it in the press box, which led to a public apology and him moving to the field during games. It was a bad look for the Hawkeyes as were the two penalties this season.
As with basketball coach Fran McCaffery, Ferentz must find a way to control his emotions while representing an institution of higher education. The players show more maturity. That’s not good.