1. Don't sell Joe Shades short. After all, he didn't win 322 games by being stupid. Changes will be made before next Saturday in Iowa City. With 50 million people living within 250 miles of Unhappy Valley, the odds are on his side that he has players. Although the linebackers may have looked slow against the Badgers, remember PSU is Linebacker U. The poor tackling demonstration by the defense will be addressed with vigor.
Penn State is now a lion backed into a corner, a strange place for the king of beasts and the king of coaches.
Injuries may still affect the Hawks after a three week layoff. Will 'Zo and 'So be able to blow holes in the cats line? Although Cunningham should play, I am unsure about Sobieski. The concern is Betts. His foot is dinged up. He's taking treatments for the injury every day. My call is that when the whistle blows, Ladell will be ready. He's a winner!
Iowa has never beaten Joe Paterno in Iowa City, losing 7 games by an average of 32-11. The Las Vegas line, however, has Iowa favored by 10 points. Let's hope Vegas is right and history doesn't repeat itself.
2. Iowa coaches may be puzzled as to where to play Mike Follett, the freshman from WDM Valley. Mike played QB the last two years at Valley after being a strong safety as a sophomore. He also competed in basketball and soccer, giving him very little time to ever lift weights. Prior to media day at Iowa he measured 6-5 and had added some pounds since soccer to weigh 231. Since the freshmen redshirting lift during the season, he has grown to a solid 244, while maintaining his quickness. At this rate, he will be hard pressed to stay under 260. Therefore, I think he will outgrow outside linebacker and go to rush defensive end or tight end. The great feet he developed from his soccer days would be helpful on either side of the ball. Although I always thought that Follett would be a tight end, I am reminded that his father, Charlie, was mean as a junkyard dog as a linebacker with the great Dowling teams in another era. Steve Duncan, the Valley A.D. says "the apple didn't fall far from the tree. That same mean streak is there in Mike."
3. The recruitment of Aliou Kane may be affected by the tragedy in New York City. Dan Wetzel reports on CBS Sportsline that "With new travel restrictions, a fear of flying on the rise and the understandable emotion of wanting to be near family during trying times, it makes sense that location is going to be a major factor with the remaining recruits of the Class of 2002." Although Kane is far away from his real home in Africa, he is currently going to school in Dyke, Virginia, an easy drive to Chapel Hill, NC. However, the fear of flying is more pertinent for his competition for the NC big man tender. As Dan Wetzel further reports "I think it is especially true in the New York area, but a little bit everywhere," said one Big East assistant who asked for anonymity due to NCAA rules about discussing recruiting. "There is a great comfort in being able to drive home and you know a lot of mothers are going to remind their kids of that."
"Jason Fraser, a big man from Amityville (N.Y.) is trying to decide between nearby St. John's, drivable Villanova and more distant North Carolina and Louisville. Raleigh, N.C., native Shavlik Randolph still must choose between three local options (Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State) and two out-of-state campuses (Florida and Kansas). Bloomington, Ind., big man Sean May is down to hometown Indiana, nearby Louisville and far-off North Carolina."
Randolph is rumored to be going to Duke with May following his father to Indiana. New York has always been a fertile recruiting ground for Carolina. However, if the tragedy makes Jason Fraser want to stay close to home, guess who that leaves with a Tar Heel target on his chest?
4. This is the weekend to show a NATIONAL TV audience what being a Hawk is all about. Wear your gold and black with pride. Be courteous to the visitors and yell like Hell for the Hawks. Who knows? You may be on Candid Camera!