Saturday, March 26, 2011

Best of Cyclone Fanatic 6 | Oogling Spring Practice Photos

Well, haven't ventured over to Cyclonefanatic in awhile. Let's take a look at what the Clone fans are talking about shall we?

Looks like the Cyclones have kicked off their Spring practices. Along with that comes a photo gallery and posters providing some unintentional comedy. Instead of posting pure quotes I added a little bit.

Yes13 has these comments:
Yes13 also thinks:

The Architect added:

The Doc proclaims:

Yes13 and cyfan964 have a little spat:

And finally, Clones21 picked a favorite:

Now that's only photo gallery number one to be released. Check back at Cyclonefanatic for more oogling of player pics as more are sure to be come.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hawkeye Football | Who Is? Thomas Nardo

A second curious name to be listed as a starter for the Hawkeyes on the Spring two-deeps is Thomas Nardo. Nardo, like Collin Sleeper, joined the Hawkeyes as a preferred walk-on. Nardo may not be a surprise to some like Sleeper since he has seen the field and recorded three tackles, all of which came in 2010.

Nardo originally arrived in Iowa City in 2007 as a 6'4" 260 pound defensive end. Although a walk-on he did receive two stars by Rivals recruiting services.  ESPN recruiting called Nardo a player who is "tough between the tackles." At Catholic High School in Lancaster, PA Thomas earned second team All-State honors as well as All-Conference honors.

For Nardo it was always a dream to play Division I football. He turned down a scholarship offer to attend D-II William and Mary for "a chance to earn his spot." After four years at Iowa he has done just that.

Nardo currently fills what I consider the "wild card" spot along the front four. I assume Binns, Daniel, and Daniels are written in ink on the front line two-deeps. Coach Ferentz says he could see 6-8 guys getting into the rotation along the DLine. Nardo will be pushed by redshirt freshmen Mike Hardy and Carl Davis. Hardy came to Iowa as a defensive end but it wouldn't surprise me to see him move down. Also on the two-deep and pushing Nardo will be Steve Bigach. Bigach will miss the Spring drills due to injury but should push for playing time in Fall camp.

The Nard-dog as some on Twitter have already named him will be one to watch on April 16th when Iowa takes the field in front of the fans.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hawkeye Football | Who Is? Collin Sleeper

Let us meet the newest walk-on-surprise-listed-number-one-guy-on-the-depth-chart at strong safety Collin Sleeper. Sleeper is listed with sophomore eligibility but is in his third year on campus. He hails from Solon, Iowa and Solon High School where he was a teammate of linebacker James Morris.

At Solon, Sleeper played football and ran track. He ran a 11.63 100 meter at the Class 2A State Finals as a senior. As a wide receiver Sleeper earned 3rd team All-State honors, also his senior year.

Here is what Ferentz had to say yesterday at the Spring Presser:

"Sleeper. He's got the right name. Sleeper is the right name. He's kind of been lurking in the background. It's a little bit like the Nielsen, A.J. Edds stories, other positions, where we've had two starters at the safety positions that have been there for a long time. He's been laboring in anonymity. But he's done a good job.

Just flashback to the Michigan game. He imitated one of their players. It was a prominent part of our game plan, did a good job all week. I guess I'd equate that to Joe Forgy a little bit. We've seen Joe do some good things that have caught our eye this year, once he has a chance to compete for a job."

Sleeper? Right name? Oh I get it...

He has the size to replace Tyler Sash but might lack some of the speed. Track times are always funny because they can be wind aided or depend on the surface but Tyler Sash ran his high school 100's in the 10.6ish range. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean Sleeper is a mudder. He may have just needed some time in the gym or some coaching of his form.

Collin currently holds the number one spot on the roster but the question is: Can he keep it? The Hawkeye staff has a history of turning walk-ons into NFL caliber safeties. He fits the mold, 6 footish, 200ish.

Perhaps Sleeper will be the next to join Pagel, Considine, and Greenwood in Hawkeye lore.

Hawkeye Football | More New Faces: Palmer Foster and Lucas Speaker

Yesterday I discussed a new edition to the Hawkeye football roster, Mark Weisman. In addition to Weisman were a couple of new names at the linebacker position, Palmer Foster and Lucas Speaker. Both players joined the team as walk-ons.

Speaker was a 2010 recruit listed on Rivals as a 6' 195 pound linebacker. He was selected to the Wisconsin All-North Shore Conference 1st team as a linebacker.

ESPN has video of Speaker available here.

MaxPreps listed Foster as a 6'5" 196 pound running back and defensive back from Davenport Assumption, Iowa. MaxPreps also listed Foster as honorable mention All-Conference as a defensive back.

That's it, not a lot there after a quick google search.

According to the Hawkeye Spring Prospectus:

Lucas Speaker is now 5'11" and 225 pounds.
Palmer Foster is now 6'3" 190 pounds.

Speaker and Foster join FB Weisman and OL Dan Heiar as the newest additions to the Hawkeye Spring roster. With the execption of Heiar the remaining three are walk-ons and their contributions on the field remain to be seen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hawkeye Football | Hawkeyes add Fullback Transfer for 2012

The Hawkeye's new Spring Prospectus has a new name, Mark Weisman #28. Weisman is a transfer from Air Force and will sit the 2011 season. Weisman will have three years left following the 2011 season.

Weisman originally hails from Lincolnshire, Illinois. He played his high school football at Aldai Stevenson, the same school my wife attended. I have a brother-in-law that coaches in the area and he had this to say about Weisman:

"Weisman is a powerback from Stevenson. He runs a 4.6ish 40 yard dash. He's strong, really strong. Probably benches 350, squats 500+. "

"He is a good ball carrier, doesn't fumble, and hits the hole hard and with his eyes open."
According to Rivals, Weisman was a two star recruit in 2010 and despite not showing a lot of offers received interest from Iowa, Michigan State, Central Michigan, and Miami, Oh. also listed Weisman as a two star recruit and ESPN says he is "tough and hard nosed."

A little bit more from his Air Force bio:

“Let’s put it this way,” said former Stevenson High coach Bill Mitz, who retired after the 2009 season, “he started for me for three years and never fumbled the football – not one fumble in a game. And during those years he rushed for about 4,000 yards.”
Iowa typically doesn't recruit the fullback position, players just seem to find their way there. It is definitely a position of need and an athlete like Weisman will only be a boost to the roster.

Hawkeye Football | Spring Press Conference Cliff Notes

Jon Miller has a his chat log transcript here. Iowa will release a full transcript a little later. And sure, I will post links throughout the evening on the new message board once the media gets their stories out. But for now, here are the cliff notes:

  • Two Deep Notes (in the Hawkeye Football Topic)
  • All 13 Rhabdo patients cleared for Spring ball
  • Tyler Nielsen is back but won't participate in live scrimmage (no contact I assume)
  • McNutt out, shoulder sugery
  • Bigach out, upper body injury?
  • QB sounds like Vandenberg's job to lose
  • Rhabdo guys will be monitored during practices (Dibona out? different injury)
  • Ferentz felt some of the national media are "drive-by" assasins regarding Rhabdo story
  • Colin Sleeper apparently is #1 SS
  • Ferentz hasn't spoke with ARob since they left for the bowl
  • Feretnz/staff though about playing Carl Davis last year
  • Bernstine is healthy, still looking for a position
  • Rogers still a question mark (heart problems)
  • Gimm as well as walk-on Heissel about only options at fullback

Here are some tweets (remember to follow these folks):

RT @marcmorehouse: Derby fully wants to compete at QB. But would he play elsewhere on special teams. Conversation they're having.

RT @Mike_Rabon: Jordan Bernstine is healthy and will play more this season. His role is still being determined according to Ferentz.

RT @marcmorehouse: McNutt, Bigach, Miller, DiBona Vier and Rogers out for spring. Serious back issue for Vier. Heart still looked at for Rogers.

RT @Mike_Rabon: Ferentz: "we want to put players in tough is the nature of what we so."

RT @marcmorehouse: Called the Amendola story a cheap shot.

RT @Mike_Rabon: The 13 players in the rhabdogate scenario are working back to full strength according to Ferentz.

RT @Mike_Rabon: Marvin McNutt should be ready to go in June according to Ferentz.

RT @RSuchomel: expect everyone back to go in june cepr  maybe rogers

RT @RSuchomel: spring game will be at noon on april 16

Hawkeye Football | Who Was? Hawkeye Running Back Nick Bell

Not to be confused with the Who Is? series, where I take a deeper look at some of the Hawkeyes that contribute more behind the scenes than on the field. Who Was? will stir up memories of legendary Hawkeyes of the past. Last week when I was working on my Top 10 Hawkeye JC transfers I spent some time looking around for info about Bell. I swore he had spent a year in JC but that was not the case.

Hawkeye Sports bio for Bell says he did not participate in football his freshman year (1987). Bell was a standout running back at Clark High in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bell had several offers from Division I schools but most were for a position other than running back due to Bell's big frame and 250 pounds. Hayden Fry promised Bell he would bring him to Iowa to play running back and Bell set on his way to the Midwest.

Nick Bell arrived at Iowa as a Prop 48 student athlete. He sat out his first year at Iowa and was diagnosed with dyslexia. Bell, an art major, competed in football from 1988-90 and completed his career with 311 carries for 1,748 yards and 18 touchdowns. His senior season he eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark ending the season with 1,009 yards on 166 carries.

Bell shared the load in the backfield that senior season (1990). Fellow running back Tony Stewart also carried 157 times for 844 yards. The 1990 Hawks finished the season 8-4 following a loss in the Rose Bowl to the Washington Huskies.

Bell earned numerous accolades that 1990 season. He was All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media. He earned All-America honors from Football News and earned the Chicago Tribune Big Ten MVP award. He also was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. Sports Illustrated has named Bell the 23rd Greatest Sports Figures from Nevada.

Most Hawkeye fans will remember Bell's performance against the #5 ranked Fighting Illini of Illinois. It was the big stage for Bell and the Hawkeyes when both ranked teams clashed on ABC in front of a national audience. It was a battle of the number one Hawkeye offense versus the number one rated Illini defense. Bell ran through, around and over Illinois. He finished the game with 168 yards on 22 carries with 2 touchdowns. That win had Hawkeye fans smelling Roses and dancing the Hokey Pokey.

Bell was selected in the second round of the 1991 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Raiders. He would battle injuries throughout his three year career and finished with 226 carries for 853 yards. His best game as a pro came in the 1991 playoffs where the Raiders faced the Chiefs in the first round. The Raiders, depleted at running back, gave the ball to the rookie and he took it 20 times for 107 yards. The Chiefs won the battle 10-6 as Bell and company couldn't find the endzone.

Following his NFL career Bell spent some time in Cedar Rapids coaching a semi-pro football team (1998-99). According to he now resides in Carson, California.

Share your favorite Nick Bell or 1990 Hawkeye football memory here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PlannedSickDays Has Added a Discussion Forum

Okay, so I thought that it would be easier to update a forum with daily links instead of a blog post. The topics can be discussed in real time instead of waiting for a daily, or couple day a week round-up. I've added some links on the forum topic and sub topics and hope you'll sign-up.

I know forums are hard to start-up unless you already have a group but you never know until you try. Here is the link to the new PSD message board page. Or, of course, you can click on the tab above. Thanks!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hawkeye Football | Iowa's Top Ten All-time JC Transfers

Iowa will kick off their Spring football this week so I thought I would start thinking about football again. had a post last week breaking down the Top Ten JC transfers of all-time. No Hawkeyes were included but who would make a list for just the Hawkeyes? I know Top 10's are very Bleacher Reportish but I'll refrain from using a slide show. Here we go:

10 Nate Chandler
Nate became a Junior College all-American at Pasadena City College in California. The 6'7" quarterback became Iowa's starter in 2003 and led the Hawkeyes to a 10-3 record and a #8 finish in both the Coaches' and AP Polls. Chandler had an efficient senior campaign for the 2003 team that relied heavily on its defense. Chandler finished with 2,040 yards and a 18-10 TD to INT ratio. His 2,040 yards for the season ranks him 13th all-time. Chandler signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills but did not play in the NFL.

9 CJ Jones
Jones was a Junior College all-American at Garden City Community College in Kansas. His junior and senior seasons at Iowa as a wide receiver were nearly identical statistically. Jones finished his career with 72 receptions for 902 yards. He recorded 9 of his 10 career receiving touchdowns as a senior. CJ also averaged just over 24 yards a kickoff return and had this memorable return against USC in the 2003 Orange Bowl. CJ signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns and has been signed by the Seahawks, Patriots, Chiefs and Broncos. He has no NFL statistics.

8 Derrick Pickens
Derrick was a 6'2" defensive tackle that came to Iowa from Kilgore Community College in Texas. There Derrick was named first team all-America and the league's defensive MVP. At Iowa Derrick racked up 111 tackles over two years and 13 quarterback sacks. He was named honorable mention all-Big Ten his senior season at Iowa and was defensive MVP his final game versus Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl.

7 Clinton Solomon
Solomon began his career as an Iowa Hawkeye and electrified fans with a one handed grab as a true freshman wide receiver against Utah State. His Hawkeye career was nearly derailed when he ran into academic difficulties that landed him at Iowa Central Community College. Soloman rejoined the Hawkeyes for his junior and senior seasons and didn't disappoint. In his final two seasons he collected 104 catches for just over 1700 yards. His 14 career touchdowns are good enough for 4th all-time at Iowa. Solomon signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis Rams but has no NFL statistics. He has played in Arena and Indoor football leagues.

6 Amari Spievey
Spievey, like Solomon, began his career at Iowa and transferred to Iowa Central Community College after academic difficulties. Amari returned to Iowa for his sophomore and junior seasons before leaving school early to enter the NFL draft. He ended his career with multiple honors which include: honorable mention all-American (Pro Football Weekly), first team all-Big Ten (coaches), second team all-Big Ten (media), and first team all-Big Ten (Sporting News, Phil Steele). Spievey was drafted in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Detriot Lions.

Marshall Yanda
Yanda arrived to Iowa after two seasons at North Iowa Community College.  Yanda made an immediate impact along the offensive line for the Hawks and earned Second Team All-Big Ten (coaches) his senior year. Marshall was drafted in the third round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens.

4 Shonn Greene
Greene joined the Hawkeyes in 2005 after a year at Milford Academy. He wowed fans with his ability as a true freshman when he ran over, around, and through Ball State for 116 yards. Greene finished his first two years at Iowa with only 378 yards rushing and even tested the waters at safety in bowl preparation practices. In 2007 Greene found himself in academic trouble and enrolled at Kirkwood Community College to get his grades up. While Greene did not play football for Kirkwood he did get his GPA where it needed to be and rejoined the Hawkeyes in 2008.

Shonn returned with a vengeance and broke the 100 yard rushing barrier in every game of the 2008 season. He finished the year with Hawkeye records 1850 yards and 20 touchdowns. Greene won the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top running back. He was named the Chicago Tribune Big Ten MVP, Consensus first team all-American, and on all-Big Ten, all-America teams. Greene also finished 6th in the 2008 Heisman Trophy voting. Greene left Iowa after his junior season and was drafted in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft by the NY Jets.

3 Brad Banks
Banks began his football career at Central Florida but soon enrolled at Hinds Community College. Banks spent his first season at Hinds as a wide receiver but switched to quarterback his sophomore year and led the team to an 11-1 record. Iowa recruited the area for a different player but Banks stood out and soon found his way to Iowa City.

Banks played sparingly as a junior at Iowa. He excited fans with his ability and frustrated them a time or two as well. He finished his first year 582 yards passing, four touchdowns and two interceptions. During his senior season Banks displayed play making ability with his arm and his legs. Banks finished the season with 2573 yards, 26 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. He led the nation in 2002 in passing efficiency, broke the Iowa season rushing record for a quarterback (423 yards), and ended his career at Iowa with the eighth best total yards from scrimmage.

Brad Banks led the Hawkeyes to an 11-2 record, a co-Big Ten championship and first ever BCS Bowl birth. He won the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's best quarterback. He was the Associated Press Player of the Year, Chicago Tribune Big Ten MVP, named to several all-America teams, all-Big Ten teams, and finished second place to Carson Palmer in the 2002 Heisman Trophy vote.

Banks signed as a free agent with the Washington Redskins following the 2003 NFL draft. He has played several years in the Canadian Football League and currently plays in the Arena Football League for the Des Moines Barnstormers.

Andre Tippett
Before attending Iowa Tippett enrolled for one season at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls. He was recruited by the Hawkeyes but because of grades would have to either sit out at Iowa or head to Ellsworth to take classes and play football. While at Ellsworth the Hawkeyes had a transition at head coach and Tippett became a Hayden Fry recruit.

At Iowa Tippett was all-Big Ten in 1980 and 1981. Tippett recorded 20 tackles for a loss for an Iowa record of 153 yards in 1980. He anchored one of Iowa's all-time best defenses and led the Hawks to the Rose Bowl. Andre was named a consensus all-American and named to Iowa's all-time football team as one of the defensive ends.

Tippett was selected in the second round of the 1982 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. He was selected to five Pro Bowls and named a member of the 1980 all-decade team. In 2008, Andre Tippett was enshrined into the NFL's Hall of Fame.

1 Emlen Tunnell
I'm going to take some liberty with the JC transfer here and include Tunnell on the list. Emlen began his collegiate sports career at Toledo where he played basketball. Tunnell had suffered a severe neck injury as a 17 year old playing football. After the outbreak of World War II Tunnell volunteered for the Coast Guard. Following that stint Tunnell joined the Hawkeyes in 1946 and played quarterback, running back, and defense. Tunnell led the Hawkeyes with 228 yards passing in 1946. He then led the team in receiving with 262 yards in 1947.

Following the 1947 season Tunnell left Iowa to try out for the NY Giants. He would play 11 seasons in New York and become a nine time Pro Bowler. Emlen "the Gremlin" was the first African-American to be named to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1967. NFL Films named Tunnell the 79th greatest player on the NFL Top 100 list.

Who did I miss? Don't agree with the list? Leave a comment below.

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