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Iowa football: Vandenberg the Big Game Hunter

[ 3 ] May 30, 2012 |

It’s true. It must be true.

Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg bagged a bear.

This from offensive line coach Brian Ferentz’s (@CoachBFerentz) twitter account:

“Another great day in Iowa City… just saw the resident bear hunter come into the building. ‪#BulliesOfTheB1G

The attached picture has been making the WWW rounds for a while, including HawkeyeLounge.com and twitter.

Here’s what The Register’s Mark Emmert (not to be confused with the NCAA’s Mark Emmert) wrote back in October about JVB’s love of hunting:

How far would the Hawkeyes follow quarterback James Vandenberg?

Would they traipse all the way to northern Alberta and climb a tree with a bow and arrow, ready to tangle with a passing bear?

Wide receiver Nick Nielsen will do just that in May, long after Vandenberg’s debut season as Iowa’s starting quarterback is in the books. Vandenberg, a baby-faced junior who comes across as mild-mannered, comes from a family of avid bowhunters. He said he killed his first deer at age 9, and has harvested nine more since.

But it’s a pastime that the Keokuk native has put on hold during recent autumns. He has his sights set on bigger game, this week Gophers, next week Wolverines and so on.

Teammates praise him as a competitor and leader, saying he shows a much different demeanor in the huddle than he does off the gridiron.

“He might be to you guys a great guy, but he’s a competitor, somebody you love to have on your team,” said senior receiver Marvin McNutt, adding that Vandenberg compares favorably with his predecessor Ricky Stanzi, now with the Kansas City Chiefs.

“They make the huddle what it needs to be, not too tensed up, as well as not too goofy. They lead, they take control, they do what they need to do to get a victory.”

Offensive lineman Brandon Scherff said Vandenberg exudes a confidence that doesn’t cross the line into cockiness.

“He tells us, ‘I need 5 seconds,’ or ‘I’m going to drop back five steps, so you protect me and I’ll get the ball out and we’ll score,'” said Scherff, a freshman. “He’s a great leader. That’s what leaders do.”

Vandenberg has completed 61.7 percent of his passes this season, but he’s 0-for-1 for his career in one stat: hunting bear.

He hopes to rectify that in the spring, traveling with his father, Toby, and his teammate.


So there you have it.

And  oh by the way — Vandenberg faces four Big Ten Conference teams with animals in nicknames:

Gophers, Nittany  Lions, Wildcats, and Wolverines.

Just saying. . . .



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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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