– Hey guys.
– UW linebacker Chris Borland is out on the field testing his strained hamstring on the Kinnick Stadium field.
Remember, he suffered the injury Oct. 19 at Illinois. Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said that if the Badgers had a game instead of a bye last week, Borland wouldn’t have played. He didn’t practice this week and only tested the injury on Thursday.
I’m in the press box a mile high, so I’d only be speculating. He looks full speed. He’s been cutting. He looks a little nervous/frustrated, but he’s moving pretty well.
– Iowa injuries? All good. All pretty good. How good? I’m not sure, but everyone will play.
– The Stakes:
No. 23 Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1) at Iowa (5-3, 2-2)
Iowa snapped a four-game conference losing streak with last week’s victory over Northwestern. The Badgers had last week off after a 56-22 victory at Illinois.
Wisconsin is playing for an at-large BCS bid. The Hawkeyes might be the toughest out on UW’s way to, maybe, the Orange Bowl. Wisconsin does have a date with BYU next week and then at Minnesota before the season finale with Penn State at Camp Randall Stadium. A 10-2 Wisconsin is likely in a BCS bowl.
Iowa needs a win for bowl eligibility. I’m not going to run down the possibilities, but right now I think Iowa is on a Texas Bowl track. That’s the game in Houston on Dec. 27. Here’s a link.
Trending up: UW RB Melvin Gordon leads the Big Ten in rushing with 144.7 yards a game.
Trending sideways: Iowa RB Mark Weisman hasn’t had a 100-yard game in the last three weeks.
Matchup: It might not come to fruition because of how the game works or Borland’s hamstring, but Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz has become a goal-line nightmare for opposing teams throughout the Big Ten season. He has a TD reception in each of the last three games.
Rudock is putting the ball to where only Feidorowicz’s 6-7 body can get it. Also, CJF is fully 6-7, so he’s a tough matchup for 6-2 or so LBs. Borland is a great athlete, but he’s still only about 5-10.
– Iowa QBs were just on the field.
Jake Rudock tweaked a knee last week, but was out there running around and looked OK. No sleeve, no brace.
Here’s a take on the wind, which is whipping in from the NW at about 10-20 mph: TE Ray Hamilton just launched a 60-yard pass with the wind to his back. It was beautiful.
– Business to take care of:
I was out yesterday, so I missed this (from UI sports info):
COLLINS DISMISSED FROM IOWA FOOTBALL PROGRAM
IOWA CITY, Iowa – - University of Iowa student-athlete Marcus Collins was charged with an alcohol related offense early Friday morning.
“Marcus was currently serving a three game suspension,” said UI coach Kirk Ferentz. “He has now been dismissed from our football program. We will assist Marcus as he pursues other options to continue his career. We wish him the best moving forward.”
Collins is a native of Yeadon, Pa. The junior linebacker has played in six games, primarily on special teams, recording six tackles and one forced fumble.
– So, there’s that. Collins was a decent special teamer. He would’ve been in competition with Reggie Spearman for weakside LB next year. He obviously had a strike count against him (driving with suspended license, so that was in there and there was some bad timing involved with a traffic stop the Saturday morning before NW) and this forced the eject button.
Off the top of my head, I believe this is Iowa’s first OWI since former DE Broderick Binns had one in the summer of 2011. So, more than two years.
– And then there was the offensive line coach calling out UI administration:
I know that the stadium experience is lacking but this team needs your support - do it on your own. Best fans in the country! #MelroseMagic— Brian Ferentz (@CoachBFerentz) November 1, 2013
“The stadium experience is lacking” is a strong statement against the crustified Kinnick game day that would have Lawrence Welk nodding in approval and then fall asleep.
I just talked to UI athletics director Gary Barta on this. He said he hadn’t given it a lot of thought, but he did see the tweet.
“At this point, we’re going to play the game,” Barta said. “I saw it. I agree with him, Hawkeye fans are the best, but at this point, we need to go play the game.
“We’ll keep going on game-day experience. It’s a great experience. At this point, I haven’t thought about it much because it’s Saturday and the No. 1 priority it to play the game, win the game and go from there.”
The Hawkeye Marching Band was practicing “The Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show this morning. That’s the experience in a nutshell.
BTW, Brian Ferentz actually reports to Gary Barta, at least technically, because of UI nepotism policies. Head coach Kirk Ferentz is Brian’s dad.
– Iowa radio says UW LB Chris Borland is probably out (right hamstring, BTW).
Ed Podolak had one during his NFL career that kept him out for 10 weeks. He said if you keep tweaking it, you can’t heal it.
– Update: Borland likely out.
This might push junior Marcus Trotter into the game. He played when Borland went out at Illnois. The Badgers also could slide OLB Joe Schobert into Borland’s spot.
– The OL is the same starters.
– Everything is the same as far as Iowa’s lineup goes.
– 22 minutes to kick.
– On stadium experience, it’d be great if we could get specific complaints from within the UI. If you remember, Todd Lickliter and, when he first arrived, Fran McCaffery had comments in this regard with Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
What’s a good stadium experience?
One thing to consider is that this is the O-line coach putting this out there. That’s a breach in chain of command, isn’t it? I know the last name factor, but something must really be lacking for that opinion to see a public forum.
Lots to digest with this, but I doubt the discussion goes any farther publicly. Something like this usually causes a freezing effect. Now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be change. I know a lot of season ticket holders (if not all) were sent an online survey this week on Kinnick experience.
If anyone has the questions from that, please post them here. I’d love to know what the UI asked.
– Podolak on jet sweep: LBs need to read keys. Defensive backs will have to tackle one-on-one.
On Borland: Big advantage if he’s out. Runs tackle-to-tackle really well.
Ed expects grind out to the end.
Dolph brings up UW kicking issues. Excellent point.
– The wind looks brisk, but there are no pants whipping on the sidelines. That’s when the wind here is trouble.
– OK, we’re getting there, about 12 minutes.
Here’s Ferentz, Barta and UW AD and former Iowa defensive coach Barry Alzarez, who won three Rose Bowls as UW’s head coach.