OCT. 31 SPORTS COLUMN — MARK SPENSLEY, CO-PUBLISHER
A good friend of mine passed away last week. It shouldn’t have been a surprise as we could all see it unfolding, right before our eyes. My good friend, the Iowa football team, finally succumbed.
It was a slow death. First there was the Iowa State loss. That took a little bit of life out of him. Then UNI came and he felt a little bit better. And then he took a turn for the worse at home against Central Michigan.
The next couple of weeks he held his own and he even showed some signs of improvement in East Lansing. And then the next two weeks he really went downhill fast, first against Penn State and the next week at Northwestern.
There were some early warning signs that his health was failing. A running game that took on some of its own health issues early seemed to improve until a twisted ankle occurred.
The passing game, once a bright spot last season, was a mess from the start. He couldn’t find anyone who could throw it accurately, run perfect routes or separate from defensive backs.
And when all of those combinations worked to perfection, it appeared that his hands had failed him.
On the defensive side of the ball, he was considered a work in progress. He started out all right but he was exposed for what he was at the end. Not very tough, lacking speed and often confused and overmatched.
Maybe dementia had set in. He often forgot how much time there was left on the play clock, even when he was in a hurry-up offense.
I’m not quite sure his brain was thinking clearly at times. His brain trust, who we refer to as the coaching staff, seemed like they no longer knew how to push the right buttons.
Strange events were taking place. Questionable play calling and personnel decisions led some in the medical community to wonder if the brain trust suffered from some type of memory-related disease.
It’s too bad the Iowa Hawkeyes didn’t make it through the season. High hopes were in order. Several health ailments were taken care of during the off-season. New medicines arrived in the form of new coaches, some young and some experienced.
They failed to save this good friend of mine.
I’ve said a few prayers, privately mourned, and still hope for a miracle in the form of the rebirth and resurrection of a once-proud program.
For now I’ll will fly my Hawkeye flag at half staff to honor those teams of yesteryear that made this program one we can and should be proud of!