Blog Entry

Biff Poggi star of Iowa press conference

Posted on: January 26, 2011 6:46 pm

The star of Iowa's press conference addressing the hospitalization of 13 players was clearly Biff Poggi.

He is the father of Jim Poggi, a freshman linebacker, one of the players hospitalized for what is reported to be exertional rhabdomyolsis, a condition that causes the breakdown of skeletal muscle and can cause kidney damage. Biff was his son's high school coach at The Gilman School in Towson, Md. He felt the situation was serious enough to travel 1,000 miles to check on his son. Forty-eight hours after his players were admitted, Ferentz, on a recruiting trip, still hadn't arrived back in Iowa City.

The Wednesday afternoon presser was mostly a white wash. No Ferentz. No athletic director Gary Barta. Not one member of the strength staff. A skeptic might assume that Iowa was trying to limit its liability. But Biff Poggi sat resolutely with Iowa and medical officials to take questions.

"I found out from a phone call from Jim that he was being admitted to the hospital [Monday]," the father said. "We spoke over the weekend because he had a tremendous amount of soreness. Jim is progressing well. Thank God he's doing well. He's getting fantastic care."

Biff Poggi said the team did a "heavy squat" workout on Thursday, "multiple reps, in a certain amount of time." That was followed by a sled drill. The coach gave a detailed account of the days leading up to the hospitalization. He said there were three workouts -- Thursday, lower body; Friday, upper body; off Saturday and Sunday; Monday, another lower body workout. Following that workout, players were admitted to the hospital.

 Biff Poggi has a relationship with Ferentz going back to the late 1990s when he coached Ferentz's son Brian during his freshman and sophomore years in high school.

"As a father I'm concerned ...," Poggi said. "However, I would tell you that the responsiveness of how we've been dealt with, we've been happy with that. very happy with what's been done at the hospital. They're getting a lot of care. As a dad ... I had a lot of questions. People were there to answer them."

Poggi said he had spoken to Ferentz "at least four or five times." "Everybody," he added, "is in an information-gathering mode."

Poggi was then asked about the "value" of offseason workouts.

"This time of year, if you're a football player, is the time when you're doing the most kind of strenuous work, kind of preparing for spring practice. This type of rigorous workout is the same everywhere. I've sent kids, who have played for me, everywhere in the country. These kinds of workouts [are] what happens."

Poggi called the Iowa situation "a statistical outlier."

Category: NCAAF

Since: Oct 25, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2011 9:56 pm

Biff Poggi star of Iowa press conference

I'm sure they will because they lack the ethics that Kirk Ferentz displays.  He does not allow his staff to engage in negative recruiting. They are only allowed to promote the U of I program.  Jerry Kill a luminary?  That was a good one.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2011 4:40 pm

Biff Poggi star of Iowa press conference

A few things here I feel I need to comment on. One, Dodd correctly said that kids all over the country, or every other Big Ten school, probably went through the same type of workouts following winter/holiday break. There were probably the same amount of kids that drank, were not that well hydrated, and were taking supplements like creatine on those teams that can lead to being at risk for this condition. The only difference is, none of those hundred of teams (or just Big Ten teams) had 13 players admitted for rhabdomyolysis. Some probably had a degree of dehydration and  rhabdo, but not to the point that they were so sore and dry that the medical staff realized they had a serious problem. So what was the difference in this situation? Medical research and rational thought, would point you in the direction of overtraining issues. Two, never trust the testimony of any man named Biff.  

Since: Jan 27, 2011
Posted on: January 27, 2011 5:23 pm

Biff Poggi star of Iowa press conference

You know, Dennis, you could at least be consistent. First, you whine because Kirk Ferentz isn't at his players' bedsides, but then you whine that he isn't also at a press conference. Figure it out, will you?

A good reporter realizes that because of HIPAA and student privacy laws, there really isn't much to say at this point.

The University of Iowa has one of the best health centers of any university in the country. The student-athletes are in the best hands. They need the time with their families and their caregivers.

Few coaches care about the well-being of their players like Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeye beat writers--the ones who actually know something about the program--know that. The bulk of the criticism isn't coming from the people who know the program--it's the uneducated bloggers from out-of-state, who are just trying to run up the page-view count.

OK, so I added one to Dennis' page hits. But I have my adblocker on, so it won't do him any good.

Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: January 27, 2011 1:48 pm

Biff Poggi star of Iowa press conference

And wat would Ferentz have done back in Iowa City.  Nothing he cant go into the rooms cause he isnt a parrent and he is a person who believes in my team no one else needs to know our business.

Since: May 15, 2010
Posted on: January 26, 2011 9:18 pm

Biff Poggi star of Iowa press conference

Can't believe that Ferentz wasn't on the first plane back to Iowa City. He was recruiting, eh? Bet he had some interesting conversations with the parents of the guys he was recruiting about the way he treats the players already in his program.

I'd also bet that Jim Tressel, Bret Bielema, Jerry Kill, Ron Zook and a few other luminaries will be sharing this anecdote a few times in the coming days/weeks/years.

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