Howe's Notebook Nuggets

The days of typewriters and notetaking have all but vanished from modern journalism, replaced by laptops and recorders. However, Senior Writer Rob Howe still enjoys jotting notes down during pressers. Each week, Howe will revisit portions of the events he penned to paper and unvail them in a premium story. This week, Howe looks at a key injury, the emergence of A.J. Edds and much more.

Once upon a time, reporters utilized pen and paper to take notes. They also wore hats and ties.

These days, journalists don't go anywhere without some high-tech recording device and/or laptop to take notes and conduct interviews. They also wear sneakers and sometimes don baseball caps. The times have a changed, Robert Zimmerman.

However, some of us still jot down tidbits of information during press conferences. I enjoy writing down what I deem interesting, news worthy and unusual, either in content or in relation to what normally comes from the interviewee.

I'll compile those points into a standing feature. I'll present them the day after each football and basketball press conference this school year. Let's call them "Notebook Nuggets" and see where it takes us.

Injuries: These always interest fans and media alike. This week's announcements look pretty tame, but not without possible consequence.

Rob Bruggeman's mid-foot sprain concerns me the most. This guy competed for a starting offensive line position this offseason, and estimates have him missing three to four weeks. Yeah, he isn't a starter, but he provided much needed line depth.

We've experienced past seasons where positions like wide receiver, running back and offense line have been hit with the injury bug. That's where the "Next Man In" saying developed in our Iowa lexicon.

Coach Kirk Ferentz mentioned during Tuesday's presser that they felt good going into the season seven deep on the line with Bruggeman and Seth Olsen backing up the starters. He said that after those two guys, the rest of the reserves needed more time to get ready for prime time.

Let's hope we're not talking about the next man in on the O-line early this season.

He Gone: Wow. I'm so glad I slipped that Hawk Harrelsonism in my piece.

But I digress.

I was sad to see Eric McCollom transfer. He was well liked by his teammates and a team player.

Ferentz showed how well he liked the junior when he wished McCollom well, saying that the coaches would do whatever they could to help him find a new home, most likely near his native South Carolina.

One wonders why McCollom decided to move on, especially with the wide open nature of the receiver position at Iowa this fall. One might suggest that he saw the writing on the wall with Ferentz announcing that true freshmen Dominique Douglas and Anthony Bowman will play this season.

Surprise? The fans and the media were looking at the receiver position as a possible area for a true freshman to push for time. I'm not sure many people saw A.J. Edds sneaking into the mix on defense.

First off, he was recruited as a tight end. Secondly, he kind of flew under the radar a bit among players in this last recruiting class.

Having had a chance to speak with A.J. for a magazine feature last season, I wasn't very surprised. He's an intelligent guy who kind of toiled in anonymity in the basketball crazy state of Indiana.

I'll go on record to say this kid is going to be a good one. If he moved up the charts that fast at the Leo LB position, he deserves a real close look as a future star.

'Tis Better to Receive: Those folks worried about the wide receivers had to be pleased when Ferentz said Calvin Davis and Andy Brodell enjoyed good camps.

Those experienced guys would work nicely as the players stepping forward from a relatively inexperienced group. If you throw Herb Grigsby in there, the wide out position might be in pretty good shape.

I think Davis is poised for a good season if he can remain healthy. He and Brodell have shown flashes of ability in the past.

Walk-on Alert: Time and time again at Iowa, relatively unknown walk-ons come out of nowhere and emerge as contributors or even stars. Dallas Clark, Bruce Nelson, Sean Considine and Derek Pagel are among those that eventually reached the NFL.

So, when Ferentz went out of his way to include redshirt freshman Travis Meade in Tuesday's offensive line conversation, it perked up my ears. The former Iowa City West standout switched from defense to offense in the spring. Ferentz said improvement was needed, but Meade looked like a natural from the get-go.

Ferentz also mentioned that Jordan McLaughlin, a redshirt sophomore from Belmond, Iowa, as a walk-on making strides this offseason after switching from linebacker to fullback.

Whoops: When the new depth chart hit the streets last week, it showed Charles Godfrey and Bradley Fletcher as co-starters at one of the cornerback positions. Ferentz announced Tuesday that it was a typo.

That typo caused quite a stir on the HN message boards. People wondered what was wrong with Godfrey and how much must have Bradley improved to sneak up into a co-starting position.

The good news is that Ferentz recognized both guys as having strong camps. However, he made it crystal clear that he expected Godfrey to have a big season.

Look for Fletcher to get plenty of reps as well as the third CB with the pass happy spreads some Big Ten teams employ.

Good Sign: Ferentz said that Kenny Iwebema and Herb Grigsby, suspended for the opener due to violating team rules, have practiced well even though they knew they'd be sitting in Game 1.

That's good news. They're team leaders at their positions while arguably being the best performers at their respective spots. Iowa needs those guys to keep their heads in the preparations and process.

The coach called for a better pass rush from his defensive line, and Iwebema is the best on the team at harassing the QB.

Extra Items: Ferentz mentioned practice went well last week until the team hit the wall at the end. He and the players also said that the preseason proved tougher than any to date under the coach. I wonder if those two are connected and if this new plan will cure the September swoon. Stay tuned….Ferentz also mentioned that the team leadership is growing. That's a good sign. I think it was missing at times last year…When asked about true freshmen playing well, the coach said younger/inexperienced guys usually find more success the farther away they get from the ball, meaning from the center position out…Ferentz held his ground when asked if he was done scheduling IAA opponents. He said he wouldn't say a flat out no, but I would suspect the Hawks won't be doing much of it in the future…The coach said he expected a good core special teams, but he's looking for a player or two to emerge as did Zach Gabelmann last season. Hey, maybe Gabelmann will be out there smashing heads again.

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