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Running Short 09/02/2009

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
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The 22nd ranked University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team opens their 2009 campaign Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.  They host the University of Northern Iowa

Paki O'Meara will start in the backfield for Iowa this weekend.

Paki O'Mearawill start in the backfield for Iowa this weekend.

Panthers (ranked 3rd in the NCAA  Division 1 Championship Subdivision).    The Hawkeyes (12-1 all time vs UNI) are currently 24 point favorites.  Iowa won the last meeting in 2005 45-21.

Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz announced Tuesday that Jewel Hampton, running back, would undergo knee surgery this week, ending his season.  Hampton, the only returning back with significant game experience, was expected to be to replace Shonne Greene, now with the New York Jets, as the Hawkeyes starting tail back.   That leaves Junior Paki O’Meara and red shirt freshman Adam Robinson listed as one – two on the pregame depth chart.  O’Meara carried the ball 21 times for 62 yards and 2 td’s last season for the Hawks.  Robinson gained 2,200 yards with 21 touchdowns in 2 seasons for Des Moines Lincoln High School.  Both O’Meara (a walk on from Cedar Rapids) and Robinson considered attending UNI before deciding on Iowa.  Red shirt freshman Jeff Brinson, who just returned to practice this week after missing time with injuries and true freshman Brandon Wegher, who also has injury issues, should also get carries in the running back by committee approach.  With an experienced quarterback in Ricky Stanzi, and an experienced offensive line returning, Iowa should still win the game, but look for it to be closer than 24 points.

Iowa is also honoring legendary coach Hayden Fry this week.  Fry, Ferentz’s predecessor,

Hayden and Herky

Hayden and Herky

became Iowa’s head coach 30 years ago.  He took over a program that had not had a winning season since 1959 and turned it into a factor within the Big Ten, with 3 titles, and nationally, becoming a perennial top 25 team.  Fry led the Hawkeyes to 14 bowl games in his 20 seasons in Iowa City.  Fry was 143-89-6 at Iowa.  (Check out this 6 minute tribute to Fry:  http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xa9paw_iowa–football-with-hayden-f_sport ).   I first met coach Fry in the days following his introduction as the Iowa coach,  was honored to be associated with his program for 3 years, andwent to the Rose Bowl as a fifth year senior in January, 1982, Iowa’s first bowl apperance since the ’59 Rose Bowl.  When I had the privlage of introducing him at an I-Club pre game breakfast during the ’80 season, coach Fry called me the “embodiement of Hawkeye spirit” in front of the 600 plus attendees. He brought a new look (the Tigerhawk logo) and a new attitude to the Hawkeyes.  While Iowa’s colors were always black and gold, he wrote the Pittsburgh Steelers to copy their uniforms.  He said he wanted to model the Hawks after a winner.  They sent him full game uniforms of Terry Bradshaw to pattern after.  Under Fry, Iowa ” scratched where it itches,” had been “shot at and hit,”  and were always ready for a “high porch picnic.”  The psychology major even had the visitor locker room painted pink to soothe Iowa’s opponents.  When the economy turned sour and farmers were loosing their land to foreclosure, Fry had an ANF (America Needs Farmers) sticker added to the Iowa helmet to bring attention to their plight.  This weekend is a great chance to look back, see how far the Hawkeyes have come, and thank the man who made it all possible.

Former Iowa coach Hayden Fry

Former Iowa coach Hayden Fry

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