The Shadow Knows Bowl Games

My Dark Friend is back with his first bowl edition report. He didn't attend the festivities in New York but he does have some insight on the Heisman Trophy. He also brought some exclusive tidbits from this month's Hawkeye practices, including thoughts on Nathan Chandler and Kyle Schlicher.

1. Brad Banks could not be more fired up to show the Heisman voters that they were wrong. He handled the weekend with intelligence and class. Kirk Herbstreit tried to goad him into saying that Iowa would beat Ohio State, but Brad wouldn't take the bait by responding "That would be a really good game". Brad's personality was like a shining star during an otherwise dull Heisman presentation show. Now he has his final Hawkeye stage---Pro Player Stadium! As Yogi Berra used to say, "You ain't seen nothing yet!"

2. The Shadow believes you will see a lot of zone coverage's from Iowa Defensive Coordinator Norm Parker. It will be much like the situation with Texas Tech a year ago, but in a bit different fashion. Iowa at times uses a "Raider" type defense using a set of four linebackers and only three down linemen. Abdul Hodge is a guy that could be sent in to cover the middle patterns run by USC, as Iowa's cornerbacks have not been the best in open field tackling. Also, look for Sean Considine to receive a lot of playing time. Sean can also bring the wood.

3. Iowa is counting on a lot of pass rush from its defensive ends, in particular Howard Hodges and Matt Roth. Expect a regular rotation to be used in keeping the USC offensive line off balance. There are times you could be seeing Jon Babineaux and Matt Neubauer on the inside, while you also may see Colin Cole drift to the outside. The defensive coaches have been working a lot on angles to take in shoring up the tackling efforts of the Hawks, and that includes bringing a consistent rush from the inside and outside to help better utilize the zone coverage.

4. Jermire Roberts has stayed at the "Leo" linebacker position during practice, splitting time with Mike Follett as the #2 behind Grant Steen. Do not expect a move back to free safety this spring as Jermire continues to bulk up in the 220 pound area and provides insurance for the Hawks in case George Lewis' rehab does not go as well as expected.

5. What could be in store for Mike Follett? Because none of the red-shirt freshmen (Warren McDuffie, Mike Elgin, or Eric Zilisch) are ready yet at the DE position, Follett could be making the move this spring. With Jonathan Babineaux or Derreck Robinson also potential candidates to DT, Mike would immediately step in as a #2. Mike has the frame to be in the area of 260/270, is very quick, and has the good feet from his soccer days at WDM Valley High School. Nothing is set in stone yet, but refer to #6 below.

6. The staff will be faced with the problem of finding playing time for Abdul Hodge, Chad Greenway, Edmond Miles, and Mike Follett heading into the spring practice of 2004. Moving Follett to DE, allows Greenway to make the move over to Leo where his football smarts are better utilized. Leo is the toughest LB position to play and Chad has great ability. At 245 pounds, Chad will be as physical as Steen with better athleticism. That clears the path for Edmond Miles to take over the starting role at the Will LB position. Potentially, an incoming recruit like Chris Brevi or another potential incoming recruit like Ray Langford could serve as the backup. Mike Humpal enters the program as a very talented in-state prospect. His future may be at the Leo position as well.

7. Nathan Chandler has experienced a lot of the same problems that Brad Banks experienced last year at this time with inconsistency. Nathan will get better this spring, and has the best deep ball Iowa has had in a QB since the early 90's. With one of the strongest defenses in the conference next year, he will not be asked to score as much, but rather to control the clock. This spring will be big in seeing if his accuracy can improve in the many short routes. That will help develop a more open field for deep routes next season.

8. Sure-legged Nate Kaeding has left a lasting impression among Hawk fans this season. With Kyle Schlicher working to take over for Nate in 2004, many believe the state of the Hawkeye kicking game will be in good hands for the next few years. There is no question on the leg strength of Schlicher, shown with a 60 yard field goal in the Iowa Shrine Game last summer. However, inconsistency has been the issue for Kyle. It was the same issue for Kaeding as a freshman, and his hard work paid off with the honors he received this season. Now it will be time for Kyle to either step up to the plate with the same effort.

9. I don't understand why many of you questioned the Mike Jones and Richard Kittrell visits due to the lack of emotion they showed at the basketball game. Remember, these are 300 pound prospects we are talking about. Would you want them jumping up and down Carver Hawkeye Arena? Their attitude I believe shows the same type of attitude reflected by Coach Ferentz and Philbin in their linemen. Walk softly and carry a big heart!

10. The Heisman Jinx: This is an amazing but true phenomenon that Heisman Trophy winners don't fare well in their next games. The system, used by sophisticated sports gamblers for years, shows that even when they do win the games they rarely cover the spread. It would appear that the winners are packing the heavy trophy on the field during the bowl game.

Heisman Winner's teams in bowl games since 1977 courtesy of my friend Marc Lawrence from Playbook.com:

Overall 10-14 Straight Up and 5-19 Against The Spread. However, when playing an opponent off a win they are just 6-14 Straight Up and 3-17 Against The Spread!

There has even been one double jinx. The night Ty Detmer won the Heisman Trophy he was in Hawaii where his BYU team lost to Hawaii. Then in the bowl game, Texas A&M dislocated both of Ty's shoulders during a 65-14 pounding. Last year, Eric Crouch, could not prevent his Bugeaters from going up in flames against Miami. In year 2000, Chris Weinke could not lead the FSU offense to even one score. Oklahoma won 13-2. Carson Palmer will hopefully be able to duplicate these feats by throwing interceptions and getting sacked frequently. However, he won't be doing this by himself. After all, Iowa defensive leaders, Colin Cole, Howard Hodges, Matt Roth, Bob Sanders, Fred Barr and Derek Pagel aren't Santa's elves, as they give nothing to Carson Palmer. They will enjoy giving USC's first Heisman winning QB his worst nightmare. The offense has carried the Hawks to Miami. On January 2, 2003, the great Iowa Defense will deliver the Fed Ex Orange Bowl Trophy!

HAWKS 34 USC 19


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