Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Season May Be Over for Iowa Running Back Simmons

The football season may be all but over for Marques Simmons.

Coach Kirk Ferentz said today that Simmons, a 202-pound junior from Davenport who had become Iowa’s starting running back, could be lost for up to a month—maybe longer—because of an ankle injury suffered in last week’s game against Ohio State.

The Hawkeyes have only five regular-season games remaining, starting Saturday at Penn State.

“They X-rayed it yesterday, and they’ll do an MRI today,” Ferentz said on the Big Ten coaches’ teleconference. “My experience has been that backs with significant ankle problems are usually not too effective.

“We have only five games left, and my guess is we’d be lucky to get him for one or two—probably none.”

Sam Brownlee of Emmetsburg, a non-scholarship player who became the No. 1 running back when Simmons was injured in the 33-7 victory over Ohio State, will start at Penn State.

The Hawkeyes earlier lost three other running backs—Jermelle Lewis, Marcus Schnoor and Albert Young--to injuries. All hurt knees.

Simmons' injury is no doubt significant, but let me point out that it's not the end of the world.

Iowa has turned into more of a passing team than a running team in the last couple of weeks because of the emergence of Drew Tate as a talented sophomore quarterback.

Consequently, I hope Brownlee and his backups can block.

Penn State is a 3-point favorite Saturday in a game that starts at 11:05 a.m. and will be telecast by ESPN2.


A guy from New Orleans called Penn State’s Joe Paterno today, wanting to know about the relationship between coaches and politics.

“I’m just wondering, have you ever considered running for political office?” the guy asked.

Paterno, who is in his 39th season at Penn State, seemed to enjoy the question. It sure beat having to defend himself about why his team isn’t playing better.

“One time they wanted me to run for governor,” Paterno said. “That would have been about 25 years ago. That really hasn’t been my cup of tea.

“It’s interesting that you asked that because my youngest son is running for congress. I thought maybe you were referring to that.”

Asked if there was anyone among his peers who might be a good governor or president, Paterno said, “I think there’s a whole mess of guys. [Former Nebraska coach] Tom Osborne is a congressman.

“From all indications I get from people I know in Washington, he’s really been a very, very fine congressman. I don’t want to get into Republican and Democrat [party talk], but I don’t think there’s any question there are a lot of people who could be outstanding governors.

“Being a football coach pretty much means you have to convince people the decisions you make are the right ones. Bud Wilkinson [a former Oklahoma coach] probably could have been a great president of the United States.

“I’ll miss somebody if I start naming a lot of people, but I definitely think there’s a correlation between the ability to be a good head football coach and yet be able to handle decisions under pressure.”


If you ask me, it won’t be a successful basketball season at Iowa unless the Cyclones make it to the NCAA tournament.

And I’m predicting they’ll do it.

“This is the season the Cyclones will go dancin’,” I wrote in the October “Question of the Month” for Cyclone Nation.

”Anything short of a spot in the 65-team NCAA tournament will be a disappointment to me. With a 20-13 record and a trip to the National Invitation Tournament, Iowa State proved last season that it knew how to win.

“This is the year the Cyclones will make the next step and be chosen for the only postseason tournament that really matters…..”

Vol. 4, No. 269
Oct. 19, 2004