The Shadow's Road Report

My Dark Friend called me while he was getting some windshield time on I-80. His CD player was blaring Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again" while he greeted me. After turning down the sound, he sipped a Diet Coke, maneuvered his big ride down the road and talked Iowa Football. At least he wasn't also eating in his SUV, which is really an ugly sight that I won't share.

1. What is going on with in state offensive line recruiting? Although it would appear to be a bumper crop of "Big Uglies" (as Hayden Fry called them) in Iowa, the staff has yet to pull the trigger on an offer to play for the Hawks. This does not mean that the staff does not like the upcoming senior group of Iowa high school linemen. The bar has just been raised. Look no further than the NFL Draft next weekend to see why the staff can afford to be picky. Playing in the offensive line at Iowa is being shown as a ticket to the NFL. Not just Eric Steinbach, either. Bruce Nelson, Ben Sobieski and David Porter will all have shot at the NFL lottery. That's not to mention that the best Hawk lineman, Robert Gallery, will be the first offensive lineman taken in the draft in 2004. High school athletes around the country have been made aware that Iowa will soon be known as "Offensive Line U." Therefore, Jordan Goos, Landon Streit, Brett Bergman and all the other high school linemen in Iowa may have to wait a little while before they receive an Iowa offer. The Iowa Summer Camp would be an ideal time to show the strength and ability that will be deserving of a ticket to ride on the Hawkeye Line Express. Millions of dollars may be in a pot of gold at the conclusion of that trip. That's a real "Ticket to Ride"!

2. Dallas Clark's NFL draft stock has been rising faster than the bed sheets at a Viagra conference. Some of the many mock drafts are now predicting Dallas going in the first round. The Shadow's NFL sources say that, ironically, Dallas will not last until pick #44. That's because the St. Louis Rams second round pick is right before the All-Americans' Iowa uniform number. St. Louis just lost TE Ernie Conwell to free agency and the New Orleans Saints. Can you imagine Clark as another weapon for Kurt Warner? NFL defensive coordinators beware!

3. Although the operation on Jermelle Lewis appears to have been very successful, don't look for Jermelle on the field next fall. The staff will not put any pressure on Jermelle to play. Look for Lewis to receive a medical red-shirt before getting back into the mix at running back. Albert Young, you're on the clock.

4. Captain Kirk has cracked down on rule violations by players. That's why RS WR David Vickers is in the doghouse. Vickers has to decide whether or not to accept his punishment for violating team rules. He agrees to take his medicine or he will be matriculating at another institution next fall. My way or the highway is a policy that Coach Ferentz had to start last year with Benny Sapp. Kirk is a very helpful, understanding father figure for his players. But players who constantly push the envelope will learn that their ways were unwise.

5. The Matt Roth incident has taken another turn. The bouncers allegedly sucker punched Matt with a flashlight to the back of the head. Lawyers are now involved and a settlement may be in the works. Meanwhile, look for the bar in question to be off limits for football and basketball team members at Iowa. That's right. Remember Brody Boyd?

6. A true freshman may be in the mix at quarterback next fall. Both Drew Tate and Eric McCollom are coming in this summer with excellent credentials. One of them will likely be carried as the third QB on the travel squad. In addition, true freshmen could be see playing time at wide receiver and running back. Could it be possible that three frosh could be on the field at the same time?

7. Did you notice the University of Iowa salaries in the paper last week? Does anyone else out there think that it is ridiculous to allow the faculty to buy their season football tickets at a discount? The average salary of the full pay fans in the stands is quite a bit less than that of the faculty. How many doctors at the University of Iowa Hospital would really miss the few extra bucks that non-faculty fans pay? Isn't this just another excessive feeding at the Iowa taxpayer trough?

8. There was identical wording (except for the names) on the t-shirts in Lawrence, Kansas and Champaign, Illinois? "Don't let the doorknob hit you where the good Lord split you!" A basketball fan scorned can be vicious!

9. The appointment of Dr. Tom Davis as the new basketball coach at Drake University has got to make a few people nervous. The good doctor knows how to win and will be a good fit for Drake and the Missouri Valley Conference. Certainly Creighton coach Dana Altman will no longer be able to recruit 80 per cent of his starters from the state of Iowa. However, the coach in the worst position is UNI coach Greg McDermott. Drake looks now to be the third option for Iowa roundballers after Iowa and Iowa State. Perhaps that should be the second choice, as Larry Eustachy doesn't spend much time recruiting Iowa high school players.

10. What is Waterloo East 2G Carlton Reed doing? Why doesn't he join teammate Mike Henderson by surrendering to the advances of the Iowa Basketball Staff? Does his father realize that there are other fish in the ocean? Specifically, A.J. Ratliff, a 6-2 offensive machine from Indianapolis North Central High School. Not only is Ratliff much more advanced than the Waterloo junior; I hear he is nearing a decision when he visits Iowa City in the next couple of weeks. Put the hard rush on A.J. and let Reed follow his father's advice and go with Roy Williams at Kansas. Oops, Roy is back in his Huckleberry Home in Carolina. So Carlton had better drop the Rock, grab the Chalk and get off the Clock!

That's my take, but what do I know?

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