Tag:Iowa
Posted on: April 23, 2011 8:30 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2011 8:31 pm
 

Bo Pelini has a new contract

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Nebraska will be making the move to the Big Ten in 2011, and it looks like head coach Bo Pelini will be making the move with a brand new contract. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Pelini is now working under a new deal that begain on March 1. While the new contract only adds one year to the deal Pelini had been coaching under it also sees Pelini getting a bump in pay.

In fact, with the new raise, Pelini will now be the third-highest paid head coach in the Big Ten, trailing only Ohio State's Jim Tressel and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz.

Under terms of a deal that became effective March 1, the fourth-year Nebraska head coach's annual base salary increased to $2.775 million, a raise of $425,000 from his 2010 contract. Under the new five-year deal, Pelini's base salary will escalate $100,000 annually, reaching $3.175 million in 2015.

The length of Pelini's contract was extended one year, and his performance bonuses increased significantly. The new deal also more than doubles the amount NU would owe Pelini if he is fired.

Pelini also had a clause removed from his former contract that would have seen him receive a $500,000 bonus should he still be coaching the team in 2015. Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne pointed out that due to a new law, schools can no longer give head coaches bonuses based on a team's academic performance. So Osborne said that the new deal makes up for the income lost there, and that Nebraska also just wanted to reward Pelini for the job he's done since taking over the program.

Pelini can also earn performance bonuses for winning the Legends Division without appearing in the Big 10 title game ($100,000), reaching the Big 10 Championship Game ($200,000), or winning the title game ($350,000). Should Nebraska reach the BCS title game, Pelini would get a $350,000 bonus, but that would go up to $650,000 if Nebraska won the BCS title game.

If that's not enough, Pelini also gets use of a private jet for 16 hours a year for personal travel.

If Pelini is fired before the contract ends, he'll get $1.8 million annually for the remainder of the deal.

Posted on: April 14, 2011 3:11 pm
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 4/14

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Once a week, our Eye on College Football Recruiting Review recaps the past week's top headlines from our sister blog, Bryan Fischer's Eye on Recruiting . Enjoy:

  • Though the long-simmering Delvon Simmons saga won't be officially over until he enrolls in Lubbock, the 2011 top-10 defensive tackle (and former North Carolina signee) has announced that he'll be joining Texas Tech this fall. After his departure from the UNC fold, Simmons listened to overtures from programs like USC, Auburn and Oregon but has settled on the Red Raiders.
  • Iowa dipped into Illinois for their first commitment of the class of 2012, offensive line legacy recruit Mitch Keppy. Also going out-of-state -- but much further out-of-state -- was West Virginia, who used Dana Holgorsen's old Lone Star State connections to land Houston quarterback Ford Childress. 
  • Les Miles told new LSU cornerback commitment Dwayne Thomas that getting the New Orleans prospect in the fold was like "getting Tyrann Mathieu all over again." Given the sky-high expectations for Mathieu this season, it seems Miles is more than a little high on Thomas's potential. Staying in the SEC, South Carolina received their second pledge for 2012 in the person of Atlanta-area linebacker T.J. Holloman, who took the Gamecocks over N.C. State and Louisville.
  • The slow start to the class of 2011 is ancient history for Penn State as the Nittany Lions have been racking up major commitments recently. The first of two this week was Westville (N.J.) defensive tackle Jamil Pollard, who accepted the Nittany Lions' offer over those from such heavyweights as Alabama and Florida and in-state Rutgers. But Joe Paterno and Co. landed an equally big prize Tuesday when five-star defensive tackle Jarron Jones of Rochester (N.Y.) also committed to PSU. Jones said he would take his allotment of official visits all the same, but if his commitment (and Pollard's) sticks, the Nittany Lions will be automatic entrants in the race for the best defensive line class of 2012.
  • Sophomores can't even receive written offers just yet, but Prattville (Ala.) offensive lineman Austin Gholson decided he didn't want to wait, committing to Florida State after a recent visit. Gholson is, not surprisingly, FSU's first commitment for the class of 2013 and is expected to be one of the top prospects in Alabama in his class.
  • Few Michigan State players in recent memory have made the impact of departed running back Javon Ringer, but that won't stop his nephew Kaleb Ringer from committing to Michigan on his birthday tomorrow. Kaleb is a linebacker prospect from Clayton (Ohio) with offers from Iowa, Louisville, and others as well as the Wolverines.
  • Injuries at summer combines are unfortunate enough, but a life-threatening head injury must be the worst-case scenario. Sadly, that's the scenario that played out for D.C. area receiver Lamont Baldwin, who suffered a fractured skull and severe concussion after a camp collision. A highly-sought after recruit with offers from ACC heavy-hitters like Miami and North Carolina, Baldwin is expected to recover within six months.
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did.
Posted on: April 6, 2011 1:39 am
 

Willie Lowe to transfer from Iowa, citing rhabdo

Posted by Adam Jacobi

A rhabdomyolysis scare may have briefly hospitalized 13 Iowa players earlier this year, but it has finally claimed its first permanent casualty of sorts. Willie Lowe, a cornerback who played a key reserve role for the Hawkeyes, announced today that he would be seeking a transfer from the school, according to Joe Schad.

"I would like to be able to sit out a year, regain my strength, feel fine and play again," Lowe told ESPN when asked about the prospect of playing football again. "But I don't know. I am still down 20 pounds and I am having headaches every few days."

Even as the 13 players have all been medically cleared to practice, most are still working to fully recover. There's a world of difference between "allowed to start practicing football again" and "back to normal," after all, and Lowe isn't the only player on that Iowa team who's still struggling to regain his pre-rhabdo form. Still, the fact that some players are at full speed already is promising, considering the fact that there's still five months of off-season left. That number of fully recovered players can only go up, after all.

As far as whether this is the last of the rhabdo-related transfers, that remains to be seen. There's little indication that a mass exodus of players is coming, to put it mildly, but the aftermath of the hospitalization and recovery will take months and years to unfold, long after every player has recovered. The longer said recovery takes, after all, the longer that player spends performing at a sub-optimal level -- all while his former backup (if he had one) relishes his new role with the team. At that point, the previously stricken player may decide to transfer just to get a little playing time instead of staying buried on the depth chart. Is that still a rhabdo-related transfer? Perhaps, but if the hypothetical player holds no animosity toward the coaches over the incident, then it's disingenuous to lump him in with Lowe, whose transfer is directly related to his rhabdomyolysis recover. So we'll see how this all shakes out; for now, it just looks as if the Iowa secondary just took a small hit, depth-wise, but that's about it.

Posted on: March 31, 2011 12:14 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 12:17 pm
 

Big Ten divisions confuse even Tom Osborne

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This Chicago Tribune Q&A with Tom Osborne is chockful of interesting nuggets from the Nebraska athletic director, such as ...
  • his ambivalence about the statue of himself outside the athletics building, and his wish for a button that would make the statue disappear into the sidewalk
  • that the huge William Jennings Bryan quote outside the building has "never resonated" with him
  • that during expansion discussions, Jim Delany was so secretive even Osborne didn't know where the meetings would be taking place until his driver dropped him off
  • speaking about his disappointment in Dan Beebe's decision not to visit Lincoln because of death threats, Osborne said most of his death threats "just got thrown in the waste basket"
But this brief exchange might be most interesting of all:
Q: Is Nebraska a Legend or a Leader?

A: I think we're in the Legends.

Q: You are.

A: But I had to think a little bit.
That's right: even the athletic director of the school whose addition created the Big Ten's new six-team divisions can't keep them straight enough to know for certain which one his team is in.

But it's all water under the bridge for now, since the Big Ten is showing no inclination to change the names anytime in the forseeable future. So as a public service both to Mr. Osborne and the general Eye on College Football reading public, here's an easy guide to remembering which team is a "Legend" and which is a "Leader":
1. The letter "N" only appears in the name "Legends." So that's where the two "N" schools, Nebraska and Northwestern, were placed.

2. Remember that Nebraska shares a division with the only other Big Ten school on the Great Plains, Iowa, who the Huskers now face in an annual rivalry game we're referring to as the Corn Bowl until such time as it receives an actual name

3. Michigan's fight song famously refers to the Wolverines as the "Leaders and the best." Because irony rules the world with an iron(ic) fist, this is why Michigan was also placed in the Legends division.

4. Joining Michigan are the other two "M" schools, Michigan State and Minnesota. (These also happen to be Michigan's two most traditional rivals aside from Ohio State.)

5.
So that's your six Legends: Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota. All other schools -- any that doesn't start with "N" or "M" and isn't Iowa -- go in the Leaders file.
So there you go. Now if someone could just help us remember which ACC teams are in the Atlantic and which are in the Coastal, we'll be all set.

Posted on: March 23, 2011 1:58 pm
Edited on: March 23, 2011 2:06 pm
 

Iowa completes its rhabdo investigation

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The University of Iowa has completed its investigation in to what caused the outbreak of rhabdomyolysis among the football team that caused 13 players to be hospitalized. Iowa president Sally Mason will present the results of the investigation to the school's board of regents on Wednesday, but the board doesn't have to wait that long if it doesn't want to. Here's what the investigation concluded, and in all honestly, there isn't much here that we didn't already know.

- The school is "as certain as possible" that the outbreak of rhabdo was caused by the strenuous workout the players participated in on January 20. While the players were hospitalized with serious muscle injuries, none developed symptoms of advanced rhabdomyolysis damage. Like kidney damage, so that's good news.

- None of the 13 players are responsible for the outbreak. They did not suffer from rhabdo due to any prescription meds, over-the-counter meds, supplements or energy drinks.

- This isn't the first time Iowa players have participated in this workout, as the team held them in June 2004 and December 2007. The difference this time, however, is that the players weren't coming off of a three week break the last two times the team held the workouts. Still, the coaches can't be held responsible for the outbreak because they had no reason to believe the workout would lead to such a condition since it never had before.

- There was no evidence to support the claims that the workout we meant to be a punishment for the players. Though the team's strength coach did make a comment saying that the workouts should help take care of all the close losses that Iowa suffered last season, and would help determine "who wants to be here."


Iowa rhabdo outbreak

As for recommendations the investigation makes for the Iowa football program in the future, it's not surprising that it was recommended that the school not hold such strenuous workouts in the future. It's also recommended that Iowa develop "effective mechanisms for determining when players are experiencing unexpected complications that can result from a specific type of workout."

Also, if any player should become injured or ill following a workout, the entire team should be tested to make sure they aren't suffering the same symptons.

In other words, this entire investigation could have been summed up in one sentence. "Let's try and learn from our mistakes and use a bit more common sense next time, shall we?"
Posted on: March 15, 2011 5:17 am
Edited on: March 15, 2011 5:35 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: Nebraska

Posted by Adam Jacobi

College football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at Nebraska, who opened spring camp on Saturday. 

Spring Practice Question: Does Nebraska have the firepower to win its division in its inaugural Big Ten season?

If there's ever an ideal time for a college football program to join a conference, it's when that conference is in a state of flux; at the very least, then, everybody is going through an adjustment period, so the new team is in something of a similar boat. If Nebraska makes it to its very first Big Ten Championship Game this year, well, so will its theoretical opponent.

Of course, getting to that game is far more of a challenge than anything else; one bad weekend can put a team into also-ran status when it comes to a division title, so Nebraska has its work cut out for it coming into the 2011 season. Yet then again, on those terms, so does everybody else in the (sigh) "Legends" division, and Nebraska may have the upper hand on personnel in the division.

Yes, there are three Big Ten teams that won at least 11 games last season. Two are in the (sigh again) Leaders division. Nebraska basically has to contend with a reeling Michigan program in the first year of the Brady Hoke era, a Michigan State team that was embarrassed by Alabama and the Hawkeyes in 2010 and won an unsustainable amount of close games, and an Iowa squad that loses a ton of NFL-caliber experience from a five-loss 2010 team. Northwestern might contend for a bowl game again, but Minnesota won't, and that's it for the division. Hardly a murderer's row.

Moreover, Nebraska returns a wealth of offensive talent. QB Taylor Martinez, or "T-Magic," is back after winning the 2010 Big 12 Freshman of the Year award, quashing several transfer rumors in the process. Yes, Bo Pelini blew up at Martinez late in the season last year, and there's always the fear that some strife could potentially linger and cause problems down the road, but there's also little indication that such a rift still exists. Martinez had his chance to make a new start and decided against it. Sure, problems may exist under the surface, but that's at least a manageable situation, and coaches can (and often do) live with that type of arrangement. Big Ten defenses should expect to get a heavy dose of T-Magic in 2011, and that is bad news for Nebraska opponents.

Nebraska Football
Martinez is hardly the only difference-maker back, though. Big back Rex Burkhead will reprise his role as a pile-mover and Wildcat anchor, and with top tailback recruits Aaron Green and Braylon Heard not showing up in Lincoln until this summer, Burkhead should enjoy a ton of first-team reps in the backfield as he prepares to be a featured back. Burkhead thrived in a complementary role to Helu last year, and Pelini is probably expectng to give one of his incoming tailbacks a big push, but they're both ifs until they set foot on campus and can start working with the team; until then, Burkhead will be the man.

The main strength of the Cornhusker defense is going to be on the interior, led by surprising senior returnee DT Jared Crick. That is to say, the secondary is a major point of weakness, with CB Prince Amukamara, SS DeJon Gomes, and FS/SS/LB/MVP Eric Hagg all needing to be replaced. That's a job easier said than done, especially with an elite draft prospect like Amukamara and a team leader like Hagg, but rising seniors Alfonzo Dennard and Courtney Osborne are going to be given the keys to the secondary. Both are high-level players; if defensive coordinator Carl Pelini can build quality and depth around them, this defense could be just about as scary as last year.

The bottom line is that Nebraska is not only a contender for the (sighhhhhh) Legends division crowd, it's practically a favorite. The Huskers are, on paper, better-loaded than anybody else in the division and set to make a run at the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. Bad and unexpected things may happen along the way, but the spring status quo seems to indicate that fans in Lincoln should set high expectations for the 2011 season. Don't go booking hotel rooms in Indianapolis quite yet -- this is still college football, where all hell can break loose anywhere at any time -- but it would be safe to expect at least 10 wins in 2011 as long as the Husker team stays relatively healthy.

Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:13 pm
 

Brady Hoke calls Tressel 'a good man'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been nearly 48 hours since Yahoo's story about Jim Tressel covering up Ohio State violations first broke, and I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed with the reaction of Michigan fans everywhere. I've found that when you have no dog in the fight, watching two fan bases go at each other, particularly ones in a rivalry as fierce as that of Ohio State and Michigan, is some of the finest entertainment on this series of tubes we call the internet.

As I scour the internet today, though, there's a surprising lack of "LOL" coming from the Michigan side of the rivalry. I mean, considering all the fun Ohio State fans had with Rich Rodriguez, who only made his players practice more than they should, and was labeled a cheater, isn't this when Michigan fans should be unleashing hell upon Buckeyes everywhere?

Making matters worse, there's this quote from new Michigan head coach Brady Hoke.

"[Jim Tressel's] a good man, and I have a lot of respect for him, and they'll fight through that situation, and it will have no effects on the rivalry," Hoke told the Detroit Free Press. "I've known Jim Tressel a long time. He's a quality guy, a doggone good football coach, and I don't know that situation," Hoke said. "I know what we're focused on at Michigan."
More on Ohio State investigation

He's a good man and a doggone good football coach? That's the best you have, Michigan? I know that Jim Tressel publicly supported Rich Rodriguez during his NCAA investigation, but I think we now know why The Sweatervest did that. Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones and what not.

I mean, this is supposed to be one of the greatest rivalries in college sports, if not sport itself. You guys are slipping. This love-fest is giving the rivalry more of an Iowa-Purdue "we needed a rival for both these teams, so we gave them each other" feel.

Step it up, Big Blue.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Kouandijo's view of Iowa changed with rhabdo case

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Last month on National Signing Day, Cyrus Kouandijo became a bit of a household name in the college football world. The offensive lineman out of Maryland high school football powerhouse Dematha originally committed to Auburn on signing day. He then quickly changed his mind, and over the next week there was plenty of speculation as to why Kouandijo had changed his mind, and where he'd end up.

Eventually Cyrus would choose Alabama, where his older brother Arie Kouandijo had spent the 2010 season as a redshirt lineman. Just another chapter in the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. Of course, there was a third school that had been in the running for Kouandijo's services, and that school was Iowa. In fact, in a recent interview with The Sporting News, Kouandijo says that Iowa was the front-runner pretty early, but it turns out that the outbreak of rhabdomyolysis amongst 13 iowa football players after an offseason workout swayed his decision.

"At first I really, really, really wanted to go to Iowa," Kouandijo answered when asked where he was leaning in the fall. "I even told my best friend that I was going to Iowa. But when everything went down with them with the workouts and all, that was different. I had a bad vibe when I went there. Alabama may be far from home, but Iowa—living-style wise—it’s just out there and just not me. I wouldn’t have been able to thrive in that environment. I love their coaches and I love their team, but it was really just out for me."

I must admit that I do find it odd that Kouandijo's view of Iowa City itself changed. After all, the school was located in the same place before so many football players had to be hospitalized. So it seems that Kouandijo began looking at the school through a different lense following the rhabdomyoysis outbreak. After all, it's not like Tuscaloosa or Auburn are in the middle of giant metropolitan areas themselves.
 
 
 
 
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