Posted by: marcmwm | October 19, 2008

Welcome to Woodshed, Iowa

I put “Woodshed, Iowa” as a dateline for my game story yesterday, figuring all you guys knew that Kinnick Stadium is in Iowa City. It got voted down by newsroom copy editors. Through my e-mail exchanges with Jill, I want to clarify that I do agree with the decision. We’re a newspaper of record. “Woodshed, Iowa” isn’t a real place. I don’t have that kind of editorial license and should know better. Our editors are good at their jobs, and calling me on this was gutsy. It’s a sound editing decision.

This didn’t upset me. What does upset me is newspapers’ continual genuflection toward the stiff and formal thinking and stale language and blah, blah, blah.

SAY SOMETHING, newspapers, before it’s too late.


Iowa was big brother. Wisconsin was little brother.

Big brother had his palm firmly planted on the forehead of little bro. Little bro kept wailing away, but big bro lowered the boom.

When you have Shonn Greene, you are the big brother and you have the boom.
The junior running back rushed for 217 yards and four touchdowns in Iowa’s 38-16 bludgeoning before 70,585 fans Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. The yards were the most for an Iowa back since Albert Young rushed for 202 against Northwestern in 2005. Greene’s season total stands at 1,154 yards, eighth on Iowa’s season list.

The Hawkeyes (5-3, 2-2), who took back the Heartland Trophy, have four more games for the boom to do some damage.

“We haven’t had a player like that since a long time, since Drew Tate (quarterback, 2004-06), in my mind,” defensive tackle Mitch King said. “He’s an electrifying player.”

Greene’s four rushing touchdowns tied a school record. The last time it happened was by Tavian Banks against Iowa State in 1997. The four TDs tied a Kinnick Stadium record for an Iowa player and 24 points tied a school record held by eight others. His 10 rushing TDs are the sixth most by an Iowa player in a season.

“Best ever at Iowa” talk? Check.

“My scope’s pretty small,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He’s right there with anybody and I say that with an awful lot of respect. We’ve had so many good guys, starting with Ronnie Harmon (1982-85). That’s probably why we all still have a job. He really did so many dynamic things for us. These guys are really different type guys certainly, but Shonn in his own right is playing at a high level. I don’t know if I’ve been around a back playing at such a high level. It’s fun.”

Heisman Trophy talk? Check.

“It’s premature,” Ferentz said. “I don’t even know who else is in contention and I’m not saying our guy is. That’s like Brad Banks (quarterback, 2002). Nobody knew who Brad Banks was in August and obviously the guy finishes second and very close ballot and he did it because he played well for 12 games, and that’s how you win awards.”

Brushing off Heisman talk and crediting your linemen? Check.

“Oh, I don’t know. I’ll let Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso and all those guys talk about that stuff,” Greene said. “I think my offensive line is. I think they’re worthy of that (Heisman talk). The whole offense as a matter of fact.”

Iowa played without senior guard Seth Olsen, who sprained an ankle in practice and most likely will miss a couple of weeks.

Greene’s TD runs weren’t your garden variety 1-yard plunges. He scored on a 12-yard run to give Iowa a 7-0 lead. In the second quarter, he gave Iowa a 14-0 lead with a 34-yard “Chariots of Fire” music-cueing, jaw-dropping, Heisman chatter-starter-upper thing of beauty.

Here’s the list of Wisconsin (3-4, 0-4) players who missed tackles on this one: free safety Chris Maragos, strong safety Aubrey Pleasant, cornerback Allen Langford and cornerback Mario Goins.

Woodshed, Iowa, big brother and boom all on one play.

“I think the two particular touchdown runs were really poor tackling and support at the line of scrimmage,” Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema said.

After the 34-yarder, Wisconsin, which has dropped four straight and is 0-4 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1996, answered with three field goals from Philip Welch, pulling within 14-9 with 6:15 left in the third quarter.

But then, boom. This time Greene took a draw into a safety blitz, followed a brilliant block by tight end Brandon Myers and sneaked behind Andy Brodell’s block on the last defender and scored from 52 yards for a 21-9 lead with 5:06 left in the third. It was Iowa’s longest run of the season and longest since Damian Sims’ 71-yarder against Minnesota in 2005.

“He’s a big back and he’s a tough-minded back, but he’s also (got) pretty good speed, and he’s always had good speed,” Ferentz said. “That’s one of the things you get kind of fixated on is his tough running. You forget he can pick them up and go pretty well.”

After tight end Allen Reisner made it 28-9 on a spectacular one-handed 16-yard catch and run, Iowa went back to Greene and he delivered the knockout punch.
This time it was a 34-yard run on a toss sweep to the left. After running zone play after zone play, Iowa slipped in a toss sweep that pretty much pantsed the Badgers. Iowa had two blockers out on the perimeter with nothing to do.

The sweep was put in for this game. The draw also went way against Iowa’s tendencies. Ferentz credited much-maligned offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe for the calls.

“Just for the record, Ken O’Keefe put the play in and made the call,” Ferentz said.
Greene did his thing. Iowa’s defense responded to a quip from Big Ten Network analyst Glen Mason, who said UW would run all over the Hawkeyes.

Linebacker Pat Angerer, who had 16 tackles and two interceptions, knocked tailback P.J. Hill out of the game in the first half.

The Badgers ended up with 158 rushing yards, but most of it was in “mission accomplished” mode.

UW quarterback Dustin Sherer, who finished 17 of 34 for 161 yards and two interceptions, was effective in spots, but he was also inaccurate with Hawkeyes rattling him just enough.

Iowa players ran to the UW sideline for the big brass bull trophy. The day’s marquee players had enough for one day.

Angerer, the leader in the clubhouse for Big Ten defensive player of the week, walked off the field with Greene, the front-runner for Big Ten offensive player of the week.

“I just gave him a hug,” Angerer said.

Good thing you did it now, Pat. That’s going to be a long line.



  1. ” In the second quarter, he gave Iowa a 14-0 lead with a 34-yard “Chariots of Fire” music-cueing, jaw-dropping, Heisman chatter-starter-upper thing of beauty”

    Nice. It’s little things like this that make the Gazette a must read paper if you want more than just the formal facts. Good read.

    Woodshed, IA should have been used. That would have fit very well with your line.

    Also, Angerer is going to be a great, great playmaker for the Hakws over the next 2 years.

    And it really sucks that Bret B couldn’t pay the respect to Shonn, but blamed his players for missed tackles. Bob Sanders and Chad Greenway would have had troubles with Shonn Saturday. Greene Day, for sure.

  2. “I put “Woodshed, Iowa” as a dateline for my game story yesterday, figuring all you guys knew that Kinnick Stadium is in Iowa City. It got voted down by newsroom copy editors. I didn’t know they had a say in sports, but I guess they do. This didn’t upset me. What does upset me newspapers continual genuflection toward the stiff and formal thinking and stale language and blah, blah, blah.”

    This doesn’t upset me. What does upset me is writers who forget words like “is” and who don’t know that their sentence needs an apostrophe after “newspapers” to show ownership of the term “continual genuflection.”

    Guess we can tell what your newsroom copy editors have the opportunity to fix and what they don’t, eh?

  3. I’m busted here. Jill caught me being lazy and stupid. Sheepishly, I made the edits. Thanks for that, Jill.

    And I was OK with the “Woodshed” being in the story without the dateline reference. It was out of nowhere, but it worked because it was a bludgeoning. I write the stories and, recently, have been offering headline suggestions. I’m not in the office when these things are debated and decided. I would’ve argued for the dateline, but not as much as you might think. I’m actually fine with the decision. I do wish we wouldn’t be so mealy mouthed, and when I saw “we” I mean newspapers not anyone personally at The Gazette. I didn’t intend “snideness” toward anyone on our desk. They work hard and I have to trust them. I’m sure they’ve save me countless times and I’m sure they’ve missed things countless times. I’ve been around long enough to know it goes both ways and don’t get upset either way.

    I might be getting a little ego-y. It’s good to be called on it and brought back to reality.

    Thanks, Jill.

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