It's an inevitability that after any loss the fans come out and starting blaming one thing or another. I think the problems were pretty obvious yesterday...we finally had the one injury that broke the camel's back.
Some people are blaming Ken O'Keefe for this loss and even Ricky Stanzi's injury. This is absolutely nothing new...as soon as the offense struggles KOK is the first to be blamed. BGHP has a look at some of the offensive numbers over the years and opens a forum for ripping on KOK. Personally, I don't feel like KOK is the problem at all. In the past it has been poor QB play, inconsistent offensive lines, etc...that have hindered the offense. This year it is injuries. Look at the offense...pretty much every position has had injury problems that have led to a lack of cohesion (especially on the offensive line that was just starting to hit its groove when Richardson went down).
- WR - Chaney (season over), Sandeman (missed the last 2...hopefully back soon), DJK (missed some practice and didn't play much the first few weeks)
- TE - Moeaki (actually played quite a bit this year for his standards)
- RB - Hampton (missed whole season), Brinson (missed a lot of practice, then out for the past few weeks), Robinson (hopefully back soon)
- OL - Bulaga (missed a couple games), Vandervelde (missed first game), Richardson (may be back for the bowl)
- QB - Stanzi (crap...)
I thought the play calling after Stanzi went down was fine. KOK tried to find plays that Vandenberg could execute, but he just never got going. There was only so much KOK could do with the backup QB and 3rd or 4th option at running back.
Going back to those blaming KOK for Stanzi's injury... Um, no. Look at that play call again. It is Iowa's bread and butter and really more like Iowa's caviar and truffles. That naked boot to the right off of play-action has been Stanzi's best play of the year. Last week that play pretty much won the game...the McNutt TD, the two 3rd down conversion with Stanzi running the ball. I'm pretty sure one of the two tight ends should have blocked Wootton on that play or at least tried to slow him up before going out in their routes. He should not have come through untouched.
I've read that the play call was too risky and we shouldn't have rolled Stanzi into Wootton. But if we had ran it 3 straight times and punted or rolled Stanzi to the left, I'd probably be reading about how KOK was too conservative and shouldn't be rolling out a right-handed quarterback to the left. Yeah, the play sucked, but it's not KOK's fault.
The officiating was particularly bad yesterday. It was very inconsistent and there were some calls or non-calls that definitely hurt Iowa (though some went Iowa's way too). There was the injury play that looked like Stanzi had his facemask grabbed, the multiple missed pass interference calls on the final drive, the Wegher fumble that was very obviously not a fumble, the questionable at best holding call on Eubanks that negated a touchdown, the missed roughing the passer, etc... Now this was hardly the reason Iowa lost, but it certainly did not help.
At this point, nobody probably cares too much about the BCS standings. There is no chance Iowa gets in the top 2 now and there isn't really a chance of an at large bid at this point. Either Iowa wins out and goes to the Rose Bowl, or finishes 10-2 (or 9-3) and probably ends up in Florida. Anyway, Iowa stays in the top 10 this week, coming in at #10, one spot ahead of the next opponent, Ohio State.
Iowa basketball is here and they won an exhibition game against Marian University this afternoon 76-53. I watched part of it, but not enough to really have an opinion. I probably won't post much about about the basketball team in this space. Fight For Iowa is a football first blog, but if I watch a game or there is something that interests me I throw something together and post it.