IOWA CITY — All right, this is one of your more mismatched “Two and a Half Men” kind of deals within the Iowa football program.
This year’s starting quarterback, James Vandenberg, is pretty good pals with Pat Angerer, former Iowa linebacker, current Indianapolis Colt and raconteur, tattoo afficiando and Lynyrd Skynard listener.
It started in ’08, when Vandenberg was a freshman straight out of Keokuk and Angerer found his footing as Iowa’s starting middle linebacker.
In ’09, Vandenberg, a redshirt freshman then, was looking at his first career start when starter Ricky Stanzi suffered an ankle injury the week before the Ohio State game. Iowa’s first Rose Bowl since 1991 was on the line.
Angerer introduced this storyline the Tuesday before the game.
“I’ve literally choked him unconscious before and he’s gotten up talking trash,” Angerer said. “We’re going to be OK.”
There was more.
“Look at him, you should see him with his shirt off,” Angerer joked. “He’s usually talking trash and gets his butt kicked pretty good.”
Vandenberg showed some moxie with his counter.
“That’s not totally true,” he said. “Pat’s a real good friend of mine. He’s real good with all the younger guys. He was one of the first guys I really hung out with my freshman year coming in.
“I go over to his house with him and Troy (Johnson, a linebacker) and (safety) Tyler Sash all the time and hang out. And yeah, we’ve had some wrestling matches over the off-season that weren’t . . . they were a little lopsided.
“I don’t think he’s ever put me unconscious, but I think he’s come pretty close.”
Last week, Angerer made the trip to West Lafayette from Indianapolis to watch his kind-of-little-brother guide the Hawkeyes to a 31-21 victory over the Boilermakers.
At halftime, with the Hawkeyes clinging to a 21-14 lead, Angerer told Vandenberg that he lost his cell phone on the sideline and asked the QB to keep an eye out for it.
It was either another masterful “take the kid’s mind off the task at hand” motivational move — seriously, a Yoda-like kind of deal — or Angerer, a new father, by the way, is just wicked funny.
Probably a little of both.
“It’s kind of like he’s my big, ugly, older brother, who’s less athletic,” Vandenberg said, jokingly of course. “We have a fun relationship. It was great seeing him over the weekend.”
And just to dot the “i,” Angerer did tell Vandenberg after the game that he found his cell phone on 50-yard line.
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