The Shadow's Summer Team Football Update

The Dark one was enjoying an early Friday afternoon happy hour at the Wig & Pen, his favorite watering hole. A few promiment alumni members also stopped by for an adult beverage. I was able to slip away from my group to garner a few tidbits from my friend in the back corner. This time, his focus was on current player development at Iowa. He said this is where the Iowa football staff has no peers. Kirk Ferentz & Staff excel in bringing a player along in all facets of a Big Ten University career.

1. A total of 40 football players made grades of 3.0 or higher. Although that is the best performance ever at Iowa, it's not good enough for Hawkeye Head Coach Kirk Ferentz. His reasoning comes from the fact that he is an educator first and foremeost. Ferentz wants all his players to have successful careers in whatever endeavors they choose. As he always points out to his men, the average NFL career is only 3.3 years!

2. The recently announced athletic learning center will greatly help the above totals. The $4 million structure will be built on the north side of Melrose Avenue near the Boyd Law Building.

3. The time is ticking on Big Ben Sobieski to get healthy and finally realize his vast potential. Ben is currently nursing a minor groin injury and should resume full scale workouts soon. However, if Ben is ready to rumble this fall, something will have to give. according to Robert Gallery, Ben would win every competition among all the offensive linemen. If Ben is healthy, someone is going to have to sit.

Note to Iowa Offensive Linemen: Step it up a notch this summer because Big Ben is coming back!

4. Bob Sanders arrest for DUI has been well documented. According to my friend, Bob had consumed five beers at the most in a short amount of time. A teammate, however, had been at the bar longer and consumed much more alcohol. He wanted to drive home and Bob wouldn't let him, offering to help by driving him home. Bob lives just a short way from the establishment and was planning on walking home. The ensuing argument on the teammates' ability to drive was carried out into the street, where I was told that they were noticed by authorities. Therefore, Bob did something wrong by trying to do something right.

The bottom line here is that Bob's teammates are furious. Bob is a team leader in every respect. Members of the defense and the coaches will be certain that Bob's offending teammate will serve a severe penance this summer. Kirk Ferentz has been quoted as saying that "This was probably the first mistake that Bob has made since arriving on campus other than a few blown pass coverages."

Although Bob will pay for his error in judgement, his penance will be over before Akron comes to town on August 31st. Too bad for the Zips!

5. Rumor has it that Shane Power first contacted the Wisconsin staff a year ago to inquire about transfering. Therefore, if one of the Badger recruits don't qualify, look for Shane to move to Madison as a scholarship would become available.

6. Brad Banks is definitely the man this fall. He should be spectacular and take Hawkeye football to the next level. Nathan Chandler is a very smart young man and therefore should have no problem in learning the majority of the offense before the Big Ten starts. However, just because both of these men are products of the JUCO system don't look for Iowa football to become a haven for junior college quarterbacks. Kirk Ferentz wants the continuity in the program that a QB can only provide by being there for a longer period of time. Therefore, watch for the development of the two incoming freshmen, Jason Manson and Cy Phillips. Both will be put on a 'fast track' as at least one of them may be called on to play in 2003.

7. Speaking of freshman QB recruits, Clint Solomon, will probably be moved to WR. The 6-4 Fort Worth, Texas native is a sensational athlete, holding conference records in the 110 and 300 meter hurdles. Can you envision a tall, fleet receiver wearing Black & Gold? If not, do you still have a picture of Marquise Walker in your mind? In addition, the Iowa coaching staff may prove to be as wise as Solomon by recruiting three of his friends in Fort Worth. More on the Fort Worth trio in the future here at HTO!

8. Sources in Carroll have told my friend that Adam Haluska is extremely thin skinned. Local coaches report that he is very sensitive to criticism. What will happen when Adam is the recipient of words from an angry ISU coach Larry Eustachy? The 60 mile trip between Ames and Carroll may be made many times this fall.

9. The Shadow says watch out for incoming DL Steve Burch. His hunting buddy in Michigan claims that Burch was the best prospect in Michigan last year. There aren't many players of his size that can move as well as Burch does and still be able to push around linemen. Could he be lining up at DE for the Hawks this fall?

Note to Iowa Defensive Ends: Step it up a notch this summer because Burch sounds like an Iowa version of the "freak"!

10. As I reported after my previous meeting with the Dark One, Jermelle Lewis is raring to go after hitting the books hard for finals. Fortunately, Jermelle's Mother got him back on track with a phone call. Hopefully, Jermelle will take advantage of all the opportunities he has in Iowa City. Lewis has NFL ability, but needs further development by coaches Doyle and Jackson. Hopefully, he is coming soon to an end zone near you!


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