Monday, August 26, 2013

An Open Letter to Iowa Football Fans

Today, some @BHGP members stumbled across my preview of this season's Iowa Hawkeye football team on CornNation and took issue with it.  Rather than respond piecemeal, I'll respond in an open letter.

Dear Hawkeye Fans

Thank you for stopping by CornNation and reading my preview of the Hawkeyes. I understand you didn't like it and have a few issues with it.  That's fair; it's very likely that I made a mistake or two. I don't follow your team in depth, so I do my research and sometimes I run into bad, outdated, or just downright inaccurate information. And sometimes I miss things.

Did I get a few details wrong?  Undoubtedly.  I spend a few days each week reviewing an opponent before writing my preview, so I can't be as thorough as the people who cover the Hawkeyes full time. That being said, you aren't my target audience.  I'm writing for Nebraska fans, giving them an brief overview of each team. I think I do a fairly good job, compared to what the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal-Star, Big Red Network, and Hail Varsity provided this season.

That being said, I do want to address some of the criticism:

The “obvious holes” article you cite was written right before our game with you. THE LAST GAME OF THE SEASON. If those holes were so obvious, wouldn’t you have written that article right about the time you wrote this one?
Oh, that’s right, YOU DID. And while THAT article was also blatantly homerist (Pelini’s defense didn’t really eat . . . anyone alive last year, and JVB scored a rushing TD against it), it didn’t point out the “obvious holes” in the Hawkeyes.
And you guys wonder why we make fun of you over at BHGP. Even we aren’t that blatantly homer. You guys are more like WRNL than a serious blog.
Of course, when I reference "last year" in an article written in August 2012, I'm referring to the 2011 season...and specifically, teams that featured a drop-back pro-style passer.  Like Michigan State (24-3) or your own Iowa Hawkeyes (20-7).  Or Ohio State with Joe Bauserman...
Yes, JVB’s production dropped dramatically last year. He was also learning a new offense under a new coordinator. Mike didn’t mention that at all. Not having his go-to guy in McNutt didn’t help.
Did I fail to mention Greg Davis in the preview?  Guilty as charged; I did leave that out.  But I did mention McNutt's absence multiple times. 
Was it all his (Vandenberg's) fault? Not entirely; nobody stepped forward at receiver to replace Marvin McNutt as a deep threat last season.
Nobody last season filled the shoes of Marvin McNutt, and that inability to stretch the field made it a lot easier to defend the Iowa offense.
 But does that really solve the problem of the lack of playmakers in the passing game?
 So your objection is what, exactly?
Didn’t mention all the injuries on the offensive line, and what that did to the running game. Went from averaging 150 yards a game to somewhere south of 100 after Scherff and Donnal sustained season-ending injuries in the span of 3 plays against Penn State. The loss of those two guys – even when compared with everything else – was when the wheels came off.
 Again, did you even bother to read?  My specific reference to Scherff:
Junior left tackle Brandon Scherff (6'5" 315 pounds) started the first seven games last season until he injured his leg.
 Of course, even if Iowa averaged 150 yards a game rushing last season, the Hawkeyes would have been fighting Minnesota for seventh place in rushing average. Even with Scherff, and with the most difficult part of the schedule ahead, Iowa's offense had issues.
When you're using Bleacher Report, you know you're scraping the bottom of the barrel. 
 Your point is what, again? I was ridiculing Bleacher Report for claiming that Iowa was a darkhorse candidate to win the west division of the Big Ten in 2012. 

Bottom line, you didn't even bother to read my article.  Most of the things you said I missed were in there.  You simply didn't like my conclusions.  Which is fair.  If I were an Iowa Hawkeye fan, I wouldn't like this either.  But sometimes, the truth hurts.

The last time I received this type of response from an opponent was in 2009.  After spring practice, Colorado dumped their offensive coordinator and decided to implement a pro-style offense in Boulder.  I compared it to trying to jam a square peg into a round hole.  The gang at howled initially...but it only took six quarters for reality to hit them.  And hard.

Since then, Dan Hawkins has been fired (twice!).  And that offensive coordinator they called "terrible"? You've probably heard of him:  Mark Helfrich, now head coach of Oregon.

So when an Iowa fan says things like
Heaven forbid Iowa fans to think the articles written about the Hawks on a Hawk-centric website are better written and researched than some/most/all of the stuff Husker Mike puts out.
All I can do is sit back and smile. I've read it all before.  Thanks for your feedback.

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