Townie Hawk: Hawk Blocked

Hey Ricky, You so Fine

  1. No denying, he’s got the numbers. Ricky Stanzi is a better QB than he was last year. With just four interceptions (vs. 15 last year) and a higher completion percentage, Ricky’s made marked improvements that are worthy of respect. In his final bowl game, his senior year, he’s our man.
  2. Sure, when #12 puts the ball in the air you just never know where it’s going to land. But, enough times to qualify for a bowl game, the completions were made. Even if it’s a crappy bowl game in Nowheresville, Ricky Stanzi earned it. Good effort deserves its rewards.
  3. He’s our leader, on the field and off. Like it or not, Ricky Stanzi inspires the confidence of his teammates, the support of his coaches and an enviable amount of fan adoration. Based on the comeback efforts he led last year alone, he deserves the respect and gratitude of the Hawkeye Nation. And, you know, he’s a patriot. For reals.

Hey Ricky, Take a Seat

  1. I don’t miss the interceptions, believe me, but this season is over. I’d rather have a Big Ten-ready QB next fall than a vanity win at the Whatever Bowl. Vandenberg, Wienke, Derby–whoever is going to be steering the ship next fall, he needs a dress rehearsal.
  2. If we were 12-0, which we have the talent to be, then I’d be singing a different tune. But seeing as we’re 7-5 (6-6 if Indiana hadn’t dropped that touchdown pass), what’s the lesson in keeping Stanzi at the helm? What’s the message to new recruits? They should know they can’t rest on their laurels when they are seniors. And, as underclassmen, they should know they have a chance to win the starting job every week.
  3. He’s not our leader, on the field or off. On the field we’ve got an offense ranked 49th in the nation. Meanwhile, off the field, we’ve heard plenty from our pretty boy wonder, from his crazy-town non-voter patriotism to his disdain for ped mall hippies. Rick should know that at the bar I like to frequent, a lot of those so-called “hippies” are rocking jerseys with his number on them. They’re his fans. Or at least they used to be.

I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to write about it, I don’t want to read about it, and I’m fairly certain you don’t either.

But what’s a Townie Hawk to do? Deadlines loom. There’s no getting out of this. The stark white page ever so patiently awaits the halting march of my little word soldiers, lines full of despair, disappointment, sadness and frustration–the constant companions of this season’s Hawkeye fan.

And so I dream. I imagine having a little chat with Ken O’Keefe, wherein I gently squeeze him by the … um … hand, and whisper sweet new offensive strategies in his ear. I load him up with wine and very special brownies and implore him to use his imagination.

Perhaps we could gather up my sticker collection and some glitter pens and craft a brand new playbook for next season. I’ve been contemplating a play: the Feather Boa Misdirection.

Speaking of unimaginative, Coach Ferentz has the same line after every game: “That’s football.” Coach, we all know it’s football. What we’d like to know is why isn’t it better football?

It’s on the coaches

When a team as talented as our Hawks falls victim to what appears to be a lack of ingenuity and inspiration, a degree of scrutiny is appropriate and deserved. What I’m hearing from fans is “What is the deal, coaches?” What adjustments are being made on your end? Are you watching the same games we are? Are you even interested in taking a look at what the other guys are doing? Why, for instance, did you take a knee and walk it into the locker room at the half against Ohio State? We had the ball with a full minute on the clock and three time outs to burn, but you weren’t even interested in letting Ricky test out the ol’ two-minute drill? You didn’t want to see how their defense would react and, who knows, maybe put a few points on the board? Against Ohio-freaking-State?! Something doesn’t feel right here.

Conditioning is on the coaches, as well, and our team was consistently lagging behind the competition in this area. Last year we loved to watch our boys come from behind in the second half. But this year, we were looking beat up in the fourth quarter of almost every game. Rather than watching our hard-nosed style grind teams into the ground, we were watching certain All-American defenders sitting on the sideline, huffing and puffing, taking a breather every couple of downs.

And it’s on the players

This could be a conditioning problem as well, since fatigue leads to all sorts of mishaps, but even in the first half we were oft-stricken with bad fundamentals on the part of our most senior players: Missed tackles on defense, route-running miscues, receivers straight up dropping passes and a quarterback who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. These are the things I will remember most about 2010.

The Wrap-Up

Since I’m certain the entire coaching staff are regular Townie Hawk readers, I’ll ask that they please take my ranting with a grain of salt and realize that I’m only telling you this because I care about you. Love hurts. But I will get over it and the positive Hawkeye Nation will rise again. And I still think the Hawks are the greatest team in the world with the most dominating team colors, a superior mascot and the most talented players in all of sport.

As my ISU-grad sister said, “I guess you could say they’re still the best team in the state.” Yeah, I guess you could say that, but I certainly wouldn’t welcome a trip up to the UNI-dome at this point.

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I’ll see you hippies next year.