1. Sending in tapes — Sometimes, some of this stuff makes you laugh. And then sometimes, it makes you feel like Donald Sutherland’s take on the bored English professor in “Animal House.” He leans back on the chalkboard, takes a look at his class and admits that Milton is boring and not very funny.
The bell rings and Sutherland snaps out of it and remembers he’s a professor. “I’m not joking, this is my job.”
This is how I feel about the whole “coach, are you going to send tapes to the Big Ten” thing. It’s a funny little exercise. Someone in the press asks coach who’s clearly been wronged about sending the ol’ tape to the Big Ten office for some kind of review or retribution.
We went through that this week with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. Minnesota’s secondary tried this new technique “tackling the receiver while he’s out on a route and when the quarterback still has the ball.”
“Every week we do send in the things that we want interpretations on,” Ferentz said. “I thought the crew did a great job overall.”
Michigan State’s Fed-Ex guy got his work out two weeks ago when the Spartans’ secondary was flagged for five penalties in a 17-13 loss at Notre Dame. Same deal except Michigan State lost, so coach Mark Dantonio made a little noise.
“I’ve been a defensive backs coach for my entire career, basically, and probably have over 30 to 40 players that have played in the NFL,” he said. “So all I can tell you, I think the way it’s being called has changed somewhat. And I wish I could say that I was … maybe I’m not qualified to comment on this at this time anymore.”
Three things: We’re never going to be privy to exactly what was sent into the Big Ten nor will we know the exact response. Big Ten officials coordinator Bill Carollo takes his job very seriously (having met a lot of B1G officials at a summer consortium a few years ago, these men do not take a single moment out on the field with a casual stride) and, rest assured, his staff already is reviewing the reviews of the reviews. No amount of video or Fed-Ex packages is going to change a darn thing about the result.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has been on a transparency kick, so maybe this stuff goes public. Yeah, and I might re-read Milton.
2. Weisman tuneup — The Mark Weisman workload remains one of the top concerns for Iowa fans, and it should be. The 6-0, 238-pound former fullback is the real deal as a running back. He’s made 11 official starts in his career and has averaged 126.5 yards a start and 5.14 yards a carry. Between ankle and groin injuries, his career has basically been Marcus Coker’s 2011 season (1,384 yards, 15 TDs).
I think you think that Ferentz has a cavalier approach on this topic. Maybe that’s driven by this quote when asked about Weisman’s workload coming off the Iowa State game, “I don’t know the answer, and I haven’t taken the time to look. John McKay’s quote comes to mind: ‘The ball’s not heavy.’”
Rest assured, Weisman, who missed most of four games with ankle and groin injuries last year, is one well taken care of 21-year-old.
“There’s wear and tear and we try to track all that as closely as we possibly can, so we practice smart with them because the most important thing is to get guys to the game Saturday where they’re able to play,” Ferentz said. “That’s tough because you have to practice to get better, but guys only have so much gas in the tank. There is no science to it other than just trying to be smart and in tune to what’s going on.”
When Weisman finishes a game the process goes like this, “You check your body out and make sure the scrapes and bruises aren’t anything,” he said. “Usually you know when there’s something big going on.”
3. Michi-owa Men — Hey, two of Iowa’s better performers this season — wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley (Detroit) and defensive tackle Carl Davis (Sterling Heights) — are from Michigan. Isn’t that a neat coincidence? Mark Dantonio thinks so (kidding, kidding, he probably didn’t totally dig the question coming up during his news conference, which is generally for the coach of that school to talk about his team, but hey, you adjust and Dantonio is a pro).
Dantonio on Martin-Manley, a junior from Detroit who leads Iowa with 26 receptions: “He’s a very good football player, so obviously wish he was here, but he’s not, so you deal with it.”
Deal with it. I imagine covering Dantonio you would know where you stood. And you would deal with it. And he would deal with you. And so on.