It’s hard to say whether the Iowa football team’s open practice at Valley Stadium was a success because there is nothing to compare it to.
And don’t look for these two voices from the past to help because, like always, they can’t agree on anything. One liked everything he saw Sunday, while the other liked nothing.
Mr. Optimist: Redshirt freshman receiver Riley McCarron could be Iowa’s next rags-to-riches story as he stood out more than any other player at his position Sunday. The former Dubuque Wahlert star caught everything thrown to him and showed a knack for getting open against defenders who probably knew which plays were being called half of the time.
Mr. Pessimist: What does that say about the other receivers when the guy who stands out the most is a 5-foot-9 walk-on with zero game experience?
Mr. Optimist: Iowa’s top three running backs — Mark Weisman, Damon Bullock and Jordan Canzeri — are all healthy and they all showed flashes of brilliance Sunday. They also have contrasting running styles to give Iowa a more versatile ground attack.
Mr. Pessimist: I’ll wait to see how many are still standing in mid-October before getting excited about any of the Iowa running backs.
Mr. Optimist: Sunday’s practice confirmed my belief that Iowa’s biggest strengths are at running back, tight end and on the offensive line.
Mr. Pessimist: Sunday’s practice confirmed my belief that Iowa’s biggest concerns are still at receiver, defensive end and quarterback. That sounds eerily familiar to last season.
Mr. Optimist: A shout-out to the estimated 8,000 fans who withstood the less-than-desirable weather conditions and gave up a chance to watch the Masters Golf Tournament to attend Sunday’s open practice.
Mr. Pessimist: That’s barely half of the turnout that was expected and it’s about 2,000 fewer than the average attendance for the annual Dowling-Valley showdown.
Mr. Optimist: Third-year sophomore-to-be Jake Rudock appears to have a slight edge at quarterback mostly because of his experience.
Mr. Pessimist: You do realize that you’re talking about somebody who saw as much game action as you and I did last season?
Mr. Optimist: Valley Stadium is quite the facility, impressive in every way.
Mr. Pessimist: It would still only rank ahead of Northwestern, Indiana and Purdue when comparing it to the 12 Big Ten football stadiums.
Mr. Optimist: Senior-to-be tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz was a force Sunday and is coming off a season in which he caught 45 passes.
Mr. Pessimist: You conveniently failed to mention that he also only caught one of Iowa’s seven touchdown passes last season.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa’s non-conference schedule could provide a chance for this team to gain confidence with two opponents from the Mid-American Conference — Northern Illinois and Western Michigan — and FCS opponent Missouri State as part of it.
Mr. Pessimist: I’d feel better if it didn’t include one of those pesky directional schools from the state of Michigan.
Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football