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Around the Horn: Akron Game

Around the Horn: Akron Game

9/1/2002 by Jon Miller of Hawkeye Nation

 

HawkeyeNation has spoken and our “ Around the Horn” feature is back for a second season. I am still trying to figure out who wanted this for the first year, but here it goes.

Here are some random thoughts and observations on the first Football Saturday in Iowa City for 2002.

The first thing on my agenda was to head over to CHA (the local acronym for Carver-Hawkeye Arena). For those who were not in Iowa City on Saturday, things have changed around Kinnick.

A new parking lot just to the north of Kinnick and the new practice fields are up and running. The “Rally Alley”, I think that is what they were calling it, is now on the tennis courts. This is a great place to bring the kids to shoot some baskets and get to meet the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams.

After making my way through all of that, it was on to basketball for a bit. It was great to see Dean Oliver out on the court on Saturday. His presence was sorely missed both on and off the floor last year. Oliver will be in Iowa City until October 1 st getting in shape.

Look for more about Dean in a story later this week, but he thinks he might end up back in Golden State or perhaps backing up John Stockton this season. Speaking of former Hawks in the NBA, I ran into Denver Nugget Ryan Bowen at a tailgater on Saturday. He is still one of my all time favorite Hawks.

There were a few Future Hawks in CHA on Saturday. I got my first on the court look at Mike Henderson and Ben Rand. Henderson held his own in a match-up with Oliver. I really like what I see from him in terms of ball handling and leadership. After playing with Jeff Horner for nearly four years in AAU, the two have developed a pretty good chemistry.

Rand is actually physically bigger than I thought. I was expecting “pipe cleaners” for arms but I saw a fairly well muscled young man. It took him a couple of games, but Rand showed a pretty solid shooting stroke. Not playing, but just visiting was Doug Thomas. My spies tell me that Thomas dropped in 38 points in a scrimmage at Southeastern this past week. Thomas comes in on the Jon Miller measuring stick at about 6’8”, which means he is somewhere between Mini Me and Yao Ming.

Speaking of recruiting, Iowa is going to pull out all of the stops to get the services of JUCO power forward Nick Dewitz. At 6-feet-8, he can play the 2, 3, and 4 spots according to those who have seen him play.

From what I hear, it could come down to Iowa and Florida State in the race for his services. Wherever he decides to play, Dewitz will transfer at semester and red shirt for the spring. He will then have three years to play after that.

Now, Are you ready for some football?!?!

I like the new end zones. Much better look than the old single bar helmets of the past. One thing that I do not like about the new uniforms are the names in gold. Call me crazy or fashion savvy, but white numbers and yellow letters on the back is just not a good look.

Aaron Greving, Fred Russell and Jermelle Lewis…do we have a running back controversy starting? After about one quarter of play, I would guess that #34’s ankle sprain started feeling a lot better, don’t you think? I could have sworn I saw the ghost of Wally Pip roaming the sidelines at one point.

Seriously though, I really love what each of the backs bring to the table. Greving is a real hammer, with some speed. Russell is “Barry Sanders” like in his moves. I still think the Zip defender is grabbing at air on the first 44 yard TD run. Lewis a bull with some moves to boot. Not only can he run you over, but he can make you miss. Of course, with some of the holes that I saw on Saturday, Jon Miller, all 5‘3” of him, could have gained 150 yards in the first half.

I liked what I saw of Brad Banks. Really solid. I am still worried about how he will find the passing lanes due to his height, but the key is that he does not make mistakes. Something about Chandler’s delivery bothers me. Seems like he short arms the ball a bit. Maybe it is just me. But, he did seem to have more zip on the ball than in the spring.

How about a standing O for the offensive line! Great job by everybody. Do you think that a proud papa might have taken some interest when #61 took the field for the first time in a regular season game on Saturday?

So far I really like what I see on defense. I thought that the rookie defensive ends really showed up. I also like what I saw from Matt Roth at DE. I think Cole and Clauss might be hearing the footsteps of Fabian Dodd. Folks, I think we have a player in Dodd, who really showed a great push at the line of scrimmage.

Real solid game from Fred Barr. It is hard to believe that he is already a senior. He is just solid and steady since Day One. His backup, Abdul Hodge has me very excited. He can just flat out fly and has a real nose for the ball.

The defensive backfield was very solid even in softer than I would like to have seen coverage. The first real big hit of the year went to freshman Jovon Johnson. Of course his mentor from Erie, PA, Bob Sanders had to get one for the highlight tape as well. His blitz and forced fumble is why Sanders was All Big Ten last season and will be again this year.

Lucky #13 goes to two young men. #13 Ramon Ochoa with two catches on Saturday and to Mo Brown, who seems to finally be ready to show the Iowa football fans just how talented he is on the field.

The next two game are going to show me a lot about this Iowa team. The folks at Miami (OH) have been pointing to this game for a long time. It should be a good test. Then comes ISU. No buildup needed for the interstate rival at all. If Iowa can come out of the next two weeks with a couple of wins and in good health, we might be in for something pretty special this season in Iowa City.


Hawkeye NationHawkeye Nation was founded by Jon Miller, and later acquired by Rivals and Sports Illustrated. You can visit them at HawkeyeNation.com

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Around the Horn: Akron Game - Summary of Iowa football and basketball games