The 3 for 3 blog, on a foggy Monday …
1: IOWA’S LEG(S) UP … It’s interesting to think that the state of Iowa has produced two of the NFL’s most accomplished kickers of the last decade.
It’s interesting, times two, that neither is sure where they will be next season.
Nate Kaeding, of Iowa City, finished last season with the Miami Dolphins after spending his entire career in San Diego. Billy Cundiff, of Harlan, started the season with Washington, was released, then signed before the playoffs by Super Bowl-bound San Francisco. The 49ers waived Cundiff without adding him to the active playoff roster.
Neither kicker is sure what uniform they will be wearing by next fall.
Kaeding, the former Lou Groza Award winner at Iowa, is a two-time Pro Bowl pick and the most accurate kicker in the NFL with more than two seasons in the league. Cundiff, who also has been a Pro Bowl selection, is the one-time owner of the NFL record for field goals in a game when he kicked seven in a game for Dallas.
That’s a lot of pro paychecks for two legs from Iowa.
“I guess I expect nothing less,” Cundiff said. “Just because the state of Iowa is that small, it doesn’t mean it can’t produce some really talented athletes.”
Cundiff, who played at Drake University, said developing top-notch athletes in a state the size of Iowa is about ability and effort — rather than raw numbers.
“You start realizing, maybe the quantity isn’t there, but the quality is.”
2: WORLD CHAMP, AGAIN … Say what you want about Des Moines Roosevelt graduate Lolo Jones — whether it’s the debate about the Marketing Machine of 2012 or her odd-ball comments on Twitter.
But what’s unavoidable: She’s now a world champion in two completely different sports.
Jones won a World Cup gold medal in bobsled Sunday at the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The two-time track Olympian also won world indoor titles in the 60-meter hurdles.
LSU track coach Dennis Shaver talked last week about her involvement in a new sport.
Here’s the silver-medal winning bobsled debut by Jones earlier in the World Cup season:
3: HAWKEYE WRESTLING THOUGHT … Hiding inside the results of Iowa’s 16-15 win Saturday at Minnesota were a couple of encouraging signs for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa, ranked No. 4, knocked off the third-ranked Gophers in front of more than 8,200 fans on the road.
Though the Hawkeyes (15-1, 5-0 in the Big Ten) needed criteria (total points) to break a tie after each team won five matches, two finishes provided a glimpse into weights where Iowa could grab points when the NCAA Championships roll into Des Moines.
At 174 pounds, No. 6 Mike Evans pushed second-ranked Logan Storley before falling 4-3. At heavyweight, defending NCAA champion Tony Nelson held off No. 5 Bobby Telford, 2-1.
Iowa coach Tom Brands said his team is in the right position at a number of weights.
“We’re losing close matches not because we’re running or protecting or running out of gas,” Brands said. “We’re losing them because we’re not finishing, we’re not putting an exclamation mark on our hold, so to speak.”
Iowa will face its stiffest test on Friday, when it hosts two-time defending NCAA champs and consensus No. 1 Penn State.
I wrote earlier this season that a shared effort to shape the National Duals and key issues with the sport have created deepening respect between Brands and Penn State coach Cael Sanderson.
Prediction, though: Brands and Sanderson will be no less vocal and animated at the scorer’s table at Carver -Hawkeye Arena.
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