Trey Stross dropped three passes Saturday, including a possible TD pass. Monday, he dropped the invisible wall between athlete and fan.
On his Facebook account, the senior wide receiver from Avon Lake, Ohio, apologized to fans two days after the Hawkeyes’ 27-24 loss at Ohio State. He also alluded to some not-so-nice e-mails he received.
He wrote: ”Trey Stross on the best team in the nation,w/the best fanbase,thanx for all the support every1, after 30+ games i had the worst game of my career&its a shame that it was against OSU i really APOLOGIZE,i tried my best & it just didnt come to me.”
In the first quarter, he dropped what would’ve been a touchdown pass from freshman quarterback James Vandenberg. Vandenberg put the ball right on Stross, who let it hit his forearms while making a cut toward the sideline. In the second quarter, Stross dropped a pass that would’ve gone for a 13-yard gain and a first down.
In the third quarter, Stross dropped what would’ve been a tough catch at OSU’s 1.
ABC play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough and analyst Matt Millen notes Stross’ drops several times during the broadcast.
“You have to feel for him now,” McDonough said after the third-quarter drop. “He’s like a putter with the yips.”
Hawkeyes receivers dropped five or six passes Saturday, which ended in Iowa’s second straight loss after a 9-0 start. After the game, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said, “I couldn’t tell you (why the drops happened). I agree with your observation, but I couldn’t tell you what caused them.”
Stross also addressed heated e-mails he received. Players’ e-mail addresses are easily accessible.
“&all the people that wrote me -emails,i understand if u were bein(g) emotional,trust me i understand,i think i spiked the ball after a TD 1 time and didnt realize it,but if really feel the way you do,i dont blame you.it wont happen again.”
During the 2007 Indiana game, a 38-20 Iowa defeat, Stross caught a batted ball and scored a 33-yard TD. After, he spiked the ball, receiving a 15-yard unsporstmanlike conduct penalty and pushing the Hawkeyes’ second-half kick from the 30 to the 15.
Iowa assistant Eric Johnson and Stross had a heat-of-the-moment exchange on the sideline.
Stross was appropriately contrite after the game.
“He’s (Johnson) been here a long time. When you have kids like Dallas Clark and Ed Hinkel, who never did that stuff, that’s what the program was built on,” said Stross, whose lost big chunks of his career at Iowa with hamstring injuries. “Yet, for a red-shirt sophomore to do that, who really hasn’t done anything here yet . . . it was just my mistake.”
Stross has 4,240 Facebook “friends” or followers, most of which are Iowa football fans. The majority left messages of support on his Facebook home page.
Here are some samples:
“This is a team sport! win or lose you guys gave us the best times I can remember! Thanks for all you have done.”
“It’s unfortunate but things like that happen. Just didnt go your way. Come back strong next weekend. We are proud of all the Hawkeyes, and the way you had fought out there.”
“I will spike that td again with you….put it behind and game on. 2 games left.”
Not all were totally supportive.
“Wat the hell are you guys doing saying it’s not trey’s fault and all this [bleep]?? yea its his damn fault and he knows it.. that doesn’t mean i don’t support him he’s a beast but excusing 3 dropped passes doesnt make any sense. get em next week!”
My opinion, it’s OK to be frustrated and it’s OK to vent. It’s OK to say or write whatever you want. Big-time college football is a public event played on free TV in front of millions. You saw Stross drop three passes. He had a bad game and that isn’t up for debate.
I think taking your criticism to his Facebook page is out of line, along the lines of a social misdemeanor. Social media is public, yes. The last few years, Iowa football has had a few examples of just how public. But it’s also somewhat personal, even for Iowa football players with their 5,000-person followings.
I think taking your criticism to his e-mail, even though it’s easy to find and access, is borderline harassment and is, at least, a serious social misdemeanor.
I think that’s too far, too personal, and says more about the e-mailer than the e-mailee.
If you’re really angry and need to vent, e-mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org. I get paid to receive anger-mail. I don’t relish it (some sportswriters thrive on it), but it’s part of my job. It’s not in Trey Stross’ job description.