Monday, April 26, 2004

'Closed' Sign at the Meat Market

The meat market has closed.

By that, I mean the NFL player draft has ended and the free agent hopefuls have picked their teams.

So I’ll bet you’re thinking I have some thoughts on all of that business that took place over the weekend in New York City and on the best TV network NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue ever smiled foolishly on—good old ESPN.

Know what? You’re right.

And just to prove that I have plenty of thoughts on the draft and the things that happened after the draft, here we go, player by player.

ROBERT GALLERY, offensive tackle from Iowa, the second pick in the first round by the Oakland Raiders:

Robert, don’t forget who your friends have been these past few years. Remember, I was the guy who stood next to Floyd of Rosedale and kept interviewing him on the sideline at Kinnick Stadium last Nov. 15 so he’d be warmed up for you to lug him out to the center of the field after your Hawkeyes celebrated their 40-22 victory over Minnesota. Don’t forget, it was me who suggested the other day that you use some of those millions you’re going to get from the Raiders and buy a $117,508 Hummer as your second car—behind, of course, your 1984 Buick. Robert, you’ll be signing a multi-year contract one of these days for somewhere between $45 and $50 million. Surely you won’t mind sending a couple of million to your pal, Ron, will you? Think it over. My phone number is 515-225-3047 and the e-mail address is

BOB SANDERS, defensive back from Iowa, the 44th pick in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts:

This guy can do it all—tackle, intercept passes, force fumbles, block kicks—regardless of what they call him. His given name is Demond, but he was known as hard-hitting Bob on Big Ten football fields. They’re going to like this guy in Indy.

NATE KAEDING, placekicker extraordinaire from Iowa, the 65th pick in the third round by the San Diego Chargers:

Hey, this guy could wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning, drive to Kinnick Stadium, jump the fence and kick a 45-yard field goal with 5 inches of snow on the ground. I hear the first words out of his mouth when he was born March 26, 1982 were, “Tell the coach I’ll get him 3 points anytime he needs them.”

JARED CLAUSS, defensive lineman from Iowa, the 230th pick in the seventh round by the Tennessee Titans:

For some reason, I keep thinking of that line a guy used a number of years ago about the football program at Valley High School in West Des Moines. “That’s a school where they get 30 kids out for football and 300 out for the marching band” was how it went. Those days are long-gone now, of course. Valley, which has won two consecutive state Class 4-A championships, is now turning out players like the 6-5, 280-pound Clauss. If he doesn’t make it with the Titans, it won’t be because of lack of effort.

ERIK JENSEN, tight end from Iowa, the 237th pick in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams:

He might not be Dallas Clark, the tight end who was a first-round choice of Indianapolis last season, but he certainly didn’t embarrass himself as a Hawkeye. Besides, he’s got a 3.5 grade-point average. If things don’t work out with St. Louis, I’ll bet he can use his marketing degree to get a pretty good job.

The Free Agent Signees

Lane Danielsen, wide receiver from Iowa State who went to the Minnesota Vikings:

Who’d ever think a kid from a place named Dike, Ia., would wind up to be Iowa State’s all-time leading receiver with 163 receptions for 2,690 yards? Wouldn’t Danielsen’s mother, the late Sonia Derrick, be proud of him now? Sonia died from injuries suffered in a tragic car accident on May 14, 2001 in Waterloo.

JORDAN CARSTENS, defensive lineman from Iowa State who went to the Carolina Panthers:

All this 303-pounder did was come off a farm in Bagley, Ia., show up at Ames without a football scholarship, then amass 306 tackles (including 23 for losses and 10 quarterback sacks). Pro football might be the only thing that’ll keep him off a tractor on parents James and Joni Carstens’ farm. After all, Jordan majored in agricultural business.

LANCE YOUNG, wide receiver from Iowa State who went to the Cincinnati Bengals:

Young went from Wisconsin to a junior college (where he didn’t even play football) to Iowa State, where he finished 10th on the Cyclones’ reception chart with 84 catches for 1,273 yards and sixth on the kickoff return list with 998 yards. He’s the kind of free agent who could stick with an NFL team.

SAM AIELLO, offensive lineman from Iowa who went to the Chicago Bears:

Don’t look for Jon Beutjer, the quarterback who transferred from Iowa to Illinois, to be watching the Bears much on TV next season. At least he won’t admit it if he does. Beutjer left the Hawkeyes after taking an off-the-field whipping from Aiello. Whatever, the Bears must like what they’ve seen on videotape of Slammin’ Sam.

EDGAR CERVANTES, fullback from Iowa who went to the New York Giants:

Is the Big Apple big enough for both Cervantes and Eli Manning?

NATHAN CHANDLER, quarterback from Iowa who went to the Buffalo Bills:

So were you one of the guys who booed Chandler every Saturday last fall? Were you one of the guys who screamed, “Hell, he can’t carry Brad Banks’ jockstrap?” Well, don’t write the 6-7, 250-pound Chandler off yet.

HOWARD HODGES, defensive lineman from Iowa who went to the San Diego Chargers:

The Chargers like smart players from Iowa. First it was Kaeding in the third round, then it was Hodges as a free agent. Kaeding was an academic all-conference selection, Hodges majored in economics and is in the top 25 percent of his class academically.

ERIC ROTHWELL, offensive lineman from Iowa who went to the Kansas City Chiefs:

Another offensive lineman who made big strides under Kirk Ferentz, a guy who knows a good one when he sees one.

FRED RUSSELL, tailback from Iowa who went to the Miami Dolphins:
He could have played another season for the Hawkeyes, but he’ll turn 24 in September. He’s running out of time.

GRANT STEEN, linebacker from Iowa who went to the New England Patriots:

From Emmetsburg, Ia., to the defending Super Bowl champions. It’s going to be a great success story if Steen sticks. But it’s going to be tough.

Drake Relays Honorees

Bernard “Kip” Lagat of Kenya and Alabama junior Beau Walker were named the outstanding men’s and women’s performers in last weekend’s Drake Relays.
Lagat won the men’s invitational mile in 3 minutes 57.11 seconds—the fastest outdoor time in the world this year. It also was the second-fastest mile in Drake Relays history. Only the 3:55.26 by Steve Scott in 1979 is better.

Walker won the women’s university-college 100 hurdles (13.18) and 400 hurdles (57.97). She also anchored the Crimson Tide to victories in the university-college 4x100 shuttle hurdle relay (54.92) and the university 4x100 relay (45.48).

Vol. 4, No. 232
April 26, 2004

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Best Drake Relays? Not So Fast!

Drake Relays director Mark Kostek said this week’s 2004 event “certainly has an opportunity to set itself apart,” but stopped short of calling it the best ever.

“How can you say that over 95 years when you’ve had so many people?” Kostek asked today.

“I’m just excited about the opportunity. As far as calling it the best Relays ever, I think I’m going to pass that judgment to Paul Morrison, our Drake Relays historian. I believe this is his 69th Relays.”

However, Kostek, who is in his fourth year as the director, said, “We’re excited about the Relays this year. It’s a great field. We could have upwards of 23 records set. Last year, we walked out with 14 Drake Relays records in our pocket.

“With the people who have run on this track such as Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Wilma Rudolph and Michael Johnson, and to have the projection that we could set that many records blows my mind.”

39th Straight Sellout? Not Yet

If you don’t have a ticket to the Relays yet, you’re not out of luck.
“Tickets continue to be available,” Kostek said. “Sales have been brisk. However, we have tickets available for Saturday as well as Friday. They can be bought by calling 515-271-DOGS.

“We hope to have another sellout, but at this point in time we can’t say yes. We’re looking forward to our 39th consecutive sellout, but we’ve got a little work to do yet.”

Masters Champ Cares About Relays

Dave Blank, Drake’s athletic director, interrupted Kostek’s session with reporters when he gave him a box that had arrived in the athletic department today.

It was a framed photo of Phil Mickelson, who won the Masters golf tournament earlier this month.

“It just came and I thought you’d like to see it,” Blank said. “Phil Mickelson cares about the Relays, too.”

Kostek thanked Blank and read what Mickelson wrote on the photo: “To Mark Kostek, best wishes to you and the Drake Relays.”

Perfect Car for Gallery: $117,508 Hummer

I have a perfect suggestion for Robert Gallery, the 6-7, 323-pound Iowa offensive tackle who is expected to be a top-five pick in Saturday’s NFL draft.

People have been kidding Gallery about the 1984 Buick he’s been driving, and wondering how soon he plans to move up to a car that better suits his personality.
After all, the big guy who grew up on a 650-acre farm in Masonville, Ia. (population 129) wears a loop earring in each ear and has his hair in a ponytail style that hangs down to the middle of his back.

So I think he should get himself a fancy new Hummer once he starts getting paid by his professional football employer.

And I don’t think it should be one of those cheap H2 Hummers. Heck, one of those can be bought for a mere $49,180.

I think Gallery should drive out of the showroom with an H1 model that sells for $117,508—probably the “open-top” style.

The guy will certainly be able to afford it. I mean, he’d like to be the first player picked in the draft, and if he is he’d be able to buy Hummers for his entire family.

Carson Palmer, the former Southern California quarterback who was the first player chosen in the 2003 draft, signed a six-year contract worth $49 million with the Cincinnati Bengals.

But, just because the $117,508 Hummer seems like an ideal vehicle for Gallery, I don’t feel he should get rid of that 20-year-old Buick.

He can take the Buick to wherever he’ll be playing his NFL games and leave the Hummer at home. He can drive it whenever he returns to Masonville to visit his family.

Update on Mark Allen

Another update on Mark Allen, who will be replaced as the sideline reporter on the radio broadcasts of Iowa football games next fall by Rob Brooks of Cedar Rapids.
Karen Roney e-mailed this message to me:

“What happened to Mark Allen on WHO-radio? I haven’t heard him on the radio for about a month. Please answer as I can’t find any info. Thanks. Karen.”

I contacted Iowa sports information director Phil Haddy, who e-mailed me:

“Mark Allen is going to work for his wife’s family. They operate a branch of A.G. Edwards Investments in Newton, and Mark will join them in that field. He’ll continue to do Iowa women’s basketball on the radio, but he didn’t feel he could devote the time needed on Iowa football.”

Bottom of the Fifth, Bags Loaded

An eastern Iowa woman who insists she hadn’t been drinking all afternoon sent me this e-mail:

Three elderly ladies are excited about seeing their first baseball game.

They smuggle a bottle of Jack Daniels into the ballpark. The game is very exciting and they are enjoying themselves immensely, mixing the Jack Daniels with soft drinks.

Soon they realize the bottle is about empty and the game has a lot of innings to go.
Question: Based on the given information, what inning is it and how many players are on base?

Answer: It’s the bottom of the fifth and the bags are loaded.

The Goldfish and the Cat

Rev. David P. Mumm of Des Moines e-mailed this story.

“It’s titled ‘Revenge,’” he said.

Little Johnny was in the garden filling in a large hole when his neighbor peered over the fence.

Interested in what the youngster was up to, he politely asked, “What’cha doing, Johnny?”

“My goldfish died,” replied the boy tearfully, without looking up. “I’ve just buried him.”

The neighbor was concerned.

“That’s an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn’t it?” he said.
Johnny patted down the last heap of earth, then replied: “That’s because he’s inside your dumb cat.”

Vol. 4, No. 231
April 21, 200

Monday, April 19, 2004

Dead Heat at Quarterback

During 14 of the 15 days that Iowa State spent in spring football practice, redshirt freshman Bret Meyer was the talk of the quarterback picture.

On day No. 15, which happened to be Saturday, the picture became out of focus.

So much so that this morning – less than 48 hours after the Cyclones’ final intrasquad scrimmage of the spring – Coach Dan McCarney said Meyer and Austin Flynn are “on the same line.”

In football terminology, that means Flynn has caught up with Meyer and will go into practice in August in a dead heat with him on the depth chart. On April 5, more than halfway through spring practice, Meyer was listed No. 1, Flynn No. 2.

“May the best man win the competition between now and our season opener Sept. 4 against Northern Iowa,” McCarney said.

Flynn, a 6-1, 185-pound redshirt sophomore from Deer Park, Texas, started seven games last season for an Iowa State team that took a number of huge steps backward with records of 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the Big 12 Conference.

Iowa State was obviously hoping one of the quarterbacks (senior-to-be Chris Love was yet another possibility) would take charge in spring practice. But it didn’t happen.

Meyer, a 6-3, 205-pounder from Atlantic, completed only 12 of 27 passes for 121 yards in Saturday’s scrimmage. Flynn completed six of 11 for 97 yards and ran for 53 yards in 10 carries.

“Meyer is a redshirt freshman who has never played. We had a tremendous crowd (5,000) on a beautiful day. It was the first time he was out there, and I’m sure that impacted him.

“He has a great future. The good news is that Bret has four years, Flynn has three.”

Could Hicks Be the Next 1,000-Yard Rusher?

Iowa State has gone two straight seasons without having a 1,000-yard rusher. Before that, McCarney had seven consecutive years in which three tailbacks reached the 1,000-yard plateau—Troy Davis in 1995 and 1996, his brother Darren in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and Ennis Haywood in 2000 and 2001.

Could Stevie Hicks, who led the Cyclones with 471 last season and reached 164 in Saturday’s scrimmage, be the next 1,000-yard rusher?

“We think he has a chance to be a really fine player,” McCarney said. “He had some injuries last year. He wasn’t 100 percent all season. He has a chance to be pretty special.”

McCarney is obviously counting on Barney Cotton, Iowa State’s new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, to bring some improvement to everything.

“There are some changes, and hopefully the first change is that we’ll be a heck of a lot better than we were last year offensively,” McCarney said. “We had a real good tradition of moving the football and running the football.

“I think it was seven years in a row that Texas, Wisconsin and Iowa State were the only three teams that had 1,000-yard rushers. We sure got away from that. We need to get back to where our opponents know we have a good, solid, sound rushing game, and Barney has done a real nice job of that so far.”

It’s Time to End Veishea

It’s a good thing Iowa State’s football players and coaches turned in an all-right show at the spring game.

Many of the people who took part in the school’s Veishea celebration over the weekend sure didn’t.

Indeed, the happenings at Veishea were embarrassing to the university’s administration, the students who weren’t involved and the entire state.

When police, state troopers and sheriff’s department personnel have to spend their time making arrests at something known as the largest student-run celebration in the nation, it’s time for something to be done.

And that something, as far as I’m concerned, would be to end Veishea once and for all.

I mean stop it. Kill it. Never let it be held again.

For years and years in my earlier working life, I’d cover an Iowa State spring football scrimmage on Saturday, then hear about all the ugly things that went on in other parts of town after the game.

They’d have to call Johnny Orr, Jim Walden or whoever else was doing the coaching to try to calm the students over a loud-speaker system.

Sometimes it worked. Most of the time it didn’t.

What Iowa State needs is a president with the balls to finally end Veishea.

[MEMO: This message is from Ron Maly’s editor. The last time I inserted a paragraph into one of his columns was just before the Super Bowl, when he wrote about retsina wine and beignets as though everyone had been to New Orleans and enjoyed the wine that tastes like paint thinner and the distinctive pastry. I tried to tell Ron that maybe he shouldn’t be referring to the Iowa State’s president’s balls in a column that is widely read by men and women of various age groups. Maybe, I said, we should substitute the word “guts” for “balls.” But he won this argument. He obviously has some strong ideas about what went on at Ames over the weekend. Ron said the newspapers wouldn’t be allowed to say anything about Iowa State president Gregory Geoffroy’s balls, so he thought he should.]

Veishea has outworn its welcome, and it’s time for it to go.

And, speaking of taking action, someone should take action very quickly with Cyclone basketball player Jared Homan, who was in the middle of the Ames violence and was arrested.

Homan has had a history of arrests while he has been an Iowa State student, and he obviously needs help from someone very soon.

Eustachy Bringing His Team to Iowa City

Well, we haven’t seen the last of Larry Eustachy around here.

Eustachy will bring his Southern Mississippi basketball team to Iowa City for the Hawkeye Challenge next December.

I’m sure they’ll find a way to get Eustachy’s team matched up against Iowa somewhere in the ol’ Challenge.

It was against Iowa that Eustachy closed his Iowa State coaching career. The Hawkeyes hung a 55-54 loss on the Cyclones in an NIT game at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.

The rest is history. Eustachy was later forced out of the Iowa State job and he said he didn’t want his final game as a coach to be “a loss to the Hawks.”

See you at Carver-Hawkeye, Larry.

Bonds Takes Ford for a Drive

Ben Ford isn’t headed to Cooperstown, but he did his part in getting another player into baseball’s Hall of Fame recently.

And the former Iowa Cub won’t be known as just another guy named Ford from Cedar Rapids when he goes back to his hometown.

The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune says Ford, a 6-7, 225-pound pitcher, was in his ninth game for the Milwaukee Brewers when he threw a one-ball, two-strike pitch to San Francisco’s Barry Bonds a few nights ago.

Bonds’ next swing produced the 661st home run of his career—moving him to third place on baseball’s all-time home run list behind Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth.

Ford had a 6-11 record and a 4.88 earned-run average for the Iowa Cubs in 2002. He was born in Cedar Rapids on Aug. 15, 1975. He was drafted in 1994 by the New York Yankees and was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA for them in 2000.

Now he’s got something to tell his grandchildren.

Challender Has 9 Tackles for Courage

I hear that Mary Challender, a talented reporter for the local paper, had nine tackles and a pass interception in the first home exhibition football game played by the Des Moines Courage women’s team Saturday.

Unfortunately, Challender’s strong performance didn’t keep the Courage from losing. They were steamrolled by the Memphis Matrix, 30-0. But there is every indication the Courage could turn into a juggernaut before too long.

Rob Brooks Joins Iowa Football Radio Team

Rob Brooks of Cedar Rapids will be the sideline announcer on Iowa football radio broadcasts next season.

Rob, the son of longtime Hawkeye announcer Bob Brooks, has been the broadcast producer for Iowa games in recent years. He replaces Mark Allen, who will continue as the play-by-play announcer for Iowa’s women’s basketball games.

Brent Balbinot, who broadcasts Iowa baseball games, will be the new football broadcast producer.

6-5 Anthony Davis Will Attend Iowa State

Anthony Davis, a two-time first-team all-conference junior college basketball player, has signed a letter of intent to attend Iowa State next fall.

Davis is a 6-5, 210 swingman from Compton, Calif. He played at Centennial/Long Beach State/Los Angeles City College. The word is he picked Iowa State over Pittsburgh, Kansas State and Minnesota.

Davis joins three players who signed letters of intent last fall. The early signees were prep school players Rahshon Clark of Queens, N.Y, and Tasheed Carr of Philadelphia, and Aaron Agnew of Bellaire, Ohio.

Bob Feller Knows About Opening Day

Opening day in the major league baseball season was a couple of weeks ago, and in connection with it was the memory of something that hasn’t happened for a while.

It concerns our own Bob Feller, who had quite an opening day on April 16, 1940.

It was on that day that Feller pitched the last opening day no-hitter in major league history.

Feller, of Van Meter, was a fireballing young pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. He was matched against the Chicago White Sox at old Comiskey Park in Chicago.

“It was a cold, gray day and I got the bases full and struck out some hitter with two out,” Feller, now 85, told the Chicago Sun-Times of his shaky start.

“After the second inning, I went along pretty good. I think I retired everybody until there were two out in the ninth, and I walked [Luke] Appling on purpose. He fouled off a whole bunch of balls, and I walked him on purpose. He was fouling them off pretty good.

“That brought up Taffy Wright, who hit me pretty good. He hit a hard-hit ball to Ray Mack at second. He knocked it down, grabbed it barehanded and whirled around and threw to [Hal] Trosky at first. I thought for a moment it was going to be a hit. But he nailed him by about a step at first base.

I did not have no-hit stuff that day. I had no-hit stuff many a day. I had great stuff in Yankee Stadium in 1946 [his second no-hitter].”

Feller won both games, 1-0.

The Sun-Times reported that Feller’s mother, Lena, braved more than the elements on the April afternoon of Feller’s no-hitter. The last time she had been to Comiskey to see her son pitch was Mother’s Day in 1939.

In that May 14 game, Marv Owen lined a foul ball into the seats along the first base line where she was sitting. The ball knocked her unconscious.

For opening day in 1940, she returned undaunted.

How undaunted?

“She was in the same seat,” Feller said.

[NOTE: The player named Hal Trosky who was mentioned above was born Harold Arthur Trojovsky in Norway, Ia., in 1912 and died in Cedar Rapids in 1979. As Hal Trosky, he played for the Cleveland Indians from 1933-1941 and finished his career in 1946 with the White Sox].

Season Ticket Swap? No Deal

This comes from Al Schallau:

Sarah was reading a newspaper while her husband was engrossed in a magazine.
Suddenly, she burst out laughing.

“Listen to this,” she said. “There’s a classified ad here where a guy is offering to swap his wife for a season ticket to the stadium.”

“Hmmm,” he husband said, not looking up from his magazine.

Teasing him, Sarah said, “Would you swap me for a season ticket?”

“Absolutely not,” he said.

“How sweet,” Sarah said. “Tell me why not.”

“The season is more than half over,” he said.

Vol. 4, No. 230
April 19, 2004

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Football Instead of Senior Prom

Ames, Ia. -- The last time I saw Jason Scales in football pads was late last fall when he was making the field at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls his personal playground while leading Valley of West Des Moines to a second straight state Class 4-A high school championship.

Now, here we are five months later, and Scales is the second-team tailback for Iowa State in spring practice.

"He should still be getting ready for the prom at Valley," Cyclone coach Dan McCarney told a handful of Internet, TV, radio and newspaper reporters who showed up this morning for his first spring football press conference.

And there are some who no doubt think the 5-9, 200-pound Scales should have stayed at Valley for a final semester and not begun classes in January at Iowa State. After all, he also was a track standout, participating on Valley's state championship medley relay team last spring.

But the kid -- a National Honor Society member -- chose to give up another season of track as well as everything else that goes with the final semester of high school and enrolled at Iowa State. He plans to major in architecture.

Scales couldn't make it to the press conference because he had a class. However, McCarney did plenty of talking about him. He certainly likes what he's seen of him in practice so far.

"Jason Scales is off to a great start," McCarney said. "He's learning and we know he's going to make mistakes. But he's shown in the first half of spring ball that he'll definitely play next fall, barring any injuries. He will not be redshirted."

Stevie Hicks, a redshirt sophomore who led Iowa State in rushing with 471 yards in 123 carries last season, is the No. 1 tailback.

Obviously, 6-7, 315-pound Aaron Brant -- one of the guys who does the blocking for Scales in the offensive line -- thinks Scales made the right decision to leave high school with a semester remaining.

Why? Because Brant did the same thing last year.

"Scales decided to come in early like I did, and I think he's enjoying it right now," Brant said. "He's trying real hard. He's making some mistakes, but he's going right back out there. He's doing all right."

Brant, who is from Cuba City, Wis., but played high school football at Dubuque Wahlert, started all 12 games at offensive guard in the Cyclones' 2-10 season in 2003. But he's been moved to offensive tackle this spring.

Scales finished his Valley career with a whopping 6,050 yards and 78 touchdowns. He had 19 career kickoff returns for more than 500 yards and scored a state-record nine touchdowns in one game as a senior.

Valley had a 13-0 record in Scales' senior season and was 10-3 when he was a junior.

So what's the secret to why he's making such big strides so quickly at Iowa State?

"You've got to have ability, we all know that," McCarney said, "and you'd better have some maturity to handle the things that happen as fast as they do at this level. Jason is out there blocking some pretty good defensive players right now, and he's learning from his mistakes.

"He has great pride. If he fumbles the ball, it just tears him up. He hasn't done a lot of that, but when he does he comes back with more determination.

"He's physical enough. He reminds me a little of Darren Davis and Troy Davis when he blocks. He isn't that type of running back yet, but as a blocker he's explosive and powerful. He has great fundamentals, and that shows me he can help us next fall."

Anytime a player is mentioned in the same breath with brothers Troy and Darren Davis, it means something. Troy led the nation in rushing with 2,185 yards as a Cyclone senior in 1996 and 2,010 in 1995. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1996 and fifth in 1995. Darren Davis led Iowa State in rushing in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

McCarney said, "It's a credit to coach Gary Swenson and the Valley program that Scales can come in here and be that close to being ready to play in the Big 12 right out of high school."

Bret Meyer, a redshirt freshman from Atlantic, has a slight edge over redshirt sophomore Austin Flynn for the No. 1 quarterback job. Flynn started seven games last season, completing 99 of 212 passes.

"Bret is listed No. 1 because he's been more consistent," McCarney said.

Asked if it would bother him to start a redshirt freshman at quarterback, McCarney said, "If he's the best, is the most consistent and makes the fewest mistakes, I don't worry about it. There's a good battle going on there."

Meyer, 6-3, 205-pounder who led Atlantic to a state high school title in 2002, opened some eyes as Iowa State's scout team quarterback last fall.

Iowa State has had eight of its 15 spring practices and will hold its intrasquad game April 17 at 1 p.m.


Sept. 4--Northern Iowa
Sept. 11--at Iowa
Sept. 18--Northern Illinois
Oct. 2--at Oklahoma State
Oct. 9--Texas A&M
Oct. 16--at Colorado
Oct. 23--at Baylor
Oct. 30--Kansas
Nov. 6--Nebraska
Nov. 20--at Kansas State
Nov. 27--Missouri

Ron Maly
April 6, 2004

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Hornung Hit in Head Too Many Times

I realize that lots of people are coming down hard on Paul Hornung these days after the former Notre Dame football player went on the radio to say the Fighting Irish should lower their academic standards so more black players could be admitted to school.

I've never been much of a Paul Hornung fan, but I'm also not going to start lowering the boom on him, either. I mean, what did you expect from the guy?

After all, he was probably drinking when he said the things he said before the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame banquet. And he quite likely got hit it the head a dozen times too many when he played for Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers.

Besides, he's about my age and he gave me a great interview a few years ago when I called him to ask about Troy Davis' chances of winning the Heisman Trophy.

Hornung is the only player from a team with a record under .500 who won the Heisman Trophy. He did it in 1956 after Notre Dame went 2-8. By the way, Johnny Majors (who later was Iowa State's head coach) finished second in the Heisman voting that year.

I called Hornung late in the 1995 season when it appeared Davis had a chance to finish high in the Heisman voting. Davis' situation was somewhat like Hornung's was in 1956. Davis was playing for a team that eventually finished with a 3-8 record.

But there was one huge difference. Hornung played for Notre Dame, Davis played for Iowa State. When it comes to Heisman voters who pay attention to whether a university is high-profile or not in terms of football, there's no comparison.

Davis led the nation in rushing with 2,010 yards in 1995. He and his family thought he had a strong shot at winning the Heisman, but he finished a distant fifth. In 1996, when Iowa State went 2-9, he finished second after again leading the nation in rushing with 2,185 yards.

In his interview on WXYT-AM in Detroit this week, Hornung said of Notre Dame: "We can't stay as strict as we are as far as the academic structure is concerned because we've got to get the black athlete. We must get the black athlete if we're going to compete."

Horning's claim that Notre Dame's academic standards are too high for outstanding black players shocked heavy hitters at the university as well as a lot of other people, and Hornung has since backed off what he said.

Actually, what the poor guy said on the radio was probably something he's said in private conversations over a glass of something-or-other for many years. He just wasn't smart enough to know that was a microphone and not a glass when he began talking this week.

Hey, the guy might have won the Heisman Trophy, but he was never Phi Beta Kappa.

NBA Can Wait, Stinson Back at ISU

Curtis Stinson had something to say today. So did Wayne Morgan, his basketball coach at Iowa State.

"Despite a report from a newspaper, I am returning to Iowa State next season," Stinson said in a statement released by Iowa State's sports information office. "I am currently back in Ames, going to school and I am looking forward to improving my game and helping Iowa State basketball be successful. I will be back at ISU next season."

Gee, I wonder which newspaper carried THAT story?

Whatever, here are the comments from Morgan:

"Curtis heard of media speculation about his being at Iowa State next season and called me to tell me that he will be at Iowa State for his sophomore year. Curtis told me that there is no truth to any report suggesting the contrary. It is always flattering when there is speculation about the NBA future of student-athletes in your basketball program. We're all excited about the future of basketball at Iowa State University."

Bringing Mom and Dad, Too

I think Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz surprised a few sportswriters at the first of his spring press conferences this week by saying he'd like to see a prospect's parents be allowed to make recruiting visits.

"I think it would be real advantageous if a parent could go," Ferentz explained. "I know as a parent that I would want to go with my son or daughter if they were a student athlete. I can't imagine any of us sending our kids off to a school without us going there and at least getting a chance to see it...."

Ferentz made his comments during a time when an independent investigator is winding up research on an investigation of possible football recruiting violations at Iowa.

There's one major barrier in Ferentz's noble request to have parents accompany their kids on recruiting trips.

It's called money.

Ferentz admitted he doesn't know who would pay for it.

Well, I know who will eventually pay for it. The people who buy the tickets to the games that are played in Kinnick Stadium and every other collegiate stadium around the country.

Don't they pay for everything?

Gopher Women Take Town by Storm

A friend of mine watches a lot of women's collegiate basketball, and has some thoughts on why it's growing in popularity.

By the way, the reader is talking about women's collegiate basketball in places other than Iowa City. Even though Lisa Bluder has brought success to the Iowa women's program, it's still treated as a foreign object by most fans. Unlike the situation at Iowa State and Drake, women's crowds are slim and interest is low.

The reader writes: "I still can't get over how the Star-Tribune has fallen in love with the Gopher women. I'm glad for that, but the paper didn't even know they had a women's program until (former coach) Brenda Frese arrived....."

Seventh-seeded Minnesota has reached the Final Four by upsetting teams that were seeded Nos. 1, 2 and 3. The Gophers have taken the Twin Cities by storm.

"It's just an example of how a women's program can be a good draw in certain situations like Bill Fennelly of Iowa State has going," the reader says. "The fans fall in love with the players more than with men's players. Lindsay Whalen is a cute girl from Hutchinson, Minn., and that makes her appealing.

"(People) agree with me that Iowa State's lure is the love of the cute likeable players by the older fan base that goes to the game. I think the 3,000 or so fans who go to the Drake women's games have good feelings about the players, too. I don't think you have that aspect in the men's game. Fans just want to see wins.

"Another thing, in the Star-Tribune there was a little story that the Gopher game against Kansas State outdrew the Timberwolves by 2-1 in the TV ratings....."

Even Star-Tribune columnist Sid Hartman, who is so old that he is rumored to have been born even before James Naismith invented basketball, is caught up in Minnesota's women's program.

"A year ago at this time, the craze in town was the Wild,. who were headed for the NHL playoffs for the first time," Hartman wrote in today's paper. "Now it's the Gophers women's basketball team that has captured the imagination of everybody. Like the Wild, the Gophers have had terrific television ratings and are the talk of the town.

"A Gophers team that early in the season was drawing 6,000 fans to Williams Arena is now in the Final Four and will likely attract record TV ratings when it faces Connecticut on Sunday in New Orleans....I have been glued to that television set, watching every pass and shot of the Gophers in their drive to the Final Four. And I will be watching again Sunday...."

Reaching for the Sky

Still on the subject of women's basketball, Bud Appleby of Des Moines sends this in an e-mail:

"Remember Larry Parker, who played basketball at Iowa from 1972 to 1976?
"His daughter, Candace, has been named the Naismith Award winner as the top high school basketball player in the country for the second year in a row..

"She is a senior at Naperville Central High School in Illinois.

"Her brother, Anthony, played at Bradley and in the NBA.

"She is a 6-3 forward who is not only a good three-point shooter, but can also dunk the ball. She became the first high school girl to ever do that in a game when she was a sophomore.

"Unfortunately, she is going to Tennessee. Pat Summit, the Tennessee coach, said she is capable of playing any position from center to point guard, but will probably be a small forward."

Dan Offenburger Critically Ill

This is a tough time for the Offenburger family.

My friend Chuck, the former "Iowa Boy" columnist at the local paper, writes:

"My brother Dan Offenburger of Shenandoah is critically ill in an Omaha hospital. He had a coronary while golfing last Friday evening and has not regained consciousness." Later in his e-mail, Chuck writes: "Thanks for the thoughts and prayers about Dan. If his life is ending now, he's had a great one in his 68 years."

Dan, a good guy, is a former athletic director and sports information director at Creighton University.

This Guy Misses Iowa City My West Coast correspondent sends an e-mail titled, "I miss Iowa City."

So why does he miss Iowa City?

Because of the information he sent that was in an article in the Iowa City Press-Citizen headlined: "70 people involved in Sunday brawls."

The story reads in part:

"Police think about 70 people were involved in a series of fights early Sunday that started on the pedestrian mall and ended at the emergency room at University Hospitals.

"A total of 16 people, including six women, were arrested on charges that included disorderly conduct, interference with official acts, public intoxication, obstruction of justice and assault....."

Wine Fine on Leaving the Farm

I don't know if George Wine misses Iowa City or not, but at least he's moving closer to it.

Wine is the fellow author and retired sports information director at the University of Iowa. He and his wife, Barrie Anderson, have been living on a farm in Solon.

But that's about to change.

"A few weeks ago, Barrie and I purchased a condo in Coralville overlooking a golf course,." he writes. "I may have to dust off my clubs. We put our farm up for sale, and three days later we had an offer, which has been finalized.

"Barrie is retiring soon and we will be spending considerable time in other parts of the world. Too much responsibility on this property to be gone for long periods.

"My e-mail address will stay the same, but our mailing address will change June 1. I'll let you know what it is if you want to send money."

I saw Wine in Iowa City this week, and he told me former Hawkeye football coach Hayden Fry hasn't had the same kind of luck in selling his home near Iowa City.

Wine said Fry is asking $650,000 for the place. No takers yet.

Picking the NCAA Champions

It's time for the Final Four(s).

In the men's tournament, my heart is with Eddie Sutton and Oklahoma State. Sutton is proof that 68-year-old guys can be big winners.

I'm also trying to win a bet.

But I can occasionally be a realist. So I'm picking Connecticut to win. Adios, winning bet.

In the women's tournament, my heart is with Minnesota, and that's the team I'm picking to win the title.

Vol. 4, No. 228
April 1, 2004