Freshman wide receiver DeMarco Paine isn’t on the bowl trip, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Sunday.
Ferentz said he would address Paine’s situation later.
“It’s not a discipline thing, I’ll just say that,” Ferentz said. (Think Clearinghouse, the gift that keeps on giving.)
Paine, a true freshman from St. Louis, Mo., played in two games and caught three passes for 16 yards. His last “sighting” was Iowa’s game at Indiana. He made the trip and dressed, but didn’t play.
— Linebacker A.J. Edds and safety Brett Greenwood are still wearing red jerseys in practice, which means no contact. Both are nursing shoulder injuries. Ferentz said they should play in Thursday’s Outback Bowl.
— Tomorrow is “Black Monday” in the NFL, the day when coaches usually get the axe. There could be double-digit firings when the season ends.
“This is not a fun week,” Ferentz said. “I did think about that Friday. I watched ESPN in the hotel and they ran down the list of 12 guys who are in shark waters right now. It’s that way every year.
“I can tell you from experience, there’s always a little not in your stomach when you go in the office that week. You just never know what’s going to happen.”
If Ferentz’s name isn’t thrown out for one of these jobs, it’ll be a holiday miracle.
“It’s the same as always,” Ferentz said when asked the NFL question. “I thought this was the one year we wouldn’t have to talk about it.”
Ferentz’s name has always come up in connection with Cleveland. Phil Savage, Ferentz’s good friend from his days in Baltimore, is the general manager there. The connection could be severed as early as today. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Sunday that Savage likely will be fired today.
“They’ve been talking about that for over a month,” Ferentz said. “The bullets are flying in Cleveland. They’re flying in at least 10 cities right now. It’s just a matter of who gets hit with some schrapnel and who doesn’t. In the NFL or in college, if anything surprises you, shame on you.”
— True freshman running back Jeff Brinson, a St. Petersburg, Fla., native playing basically a home game, came close to playing at one point this season. When Shonn Greene suffered an ankle injury at Indiana on Oct. 11, Brinson had his number changed from 34 to 44 just in case he had to see some time returning kicks. Special teamer Chris Rowell wears No. 34.
“Back in August that was a possibility for us and if there was any question at all, we were going to push him forward.” Ferentz said. “He was in that position to be pushed forward. We opted not to because we didn’t have to.”
Brinson, a 5-11, 215-pounder, had an asthma issue that held him back in fall camp, Ferentz said.
“He had a little asthma problem, which isn’t huge for guys coming out of warm-weather climates. They seem to experience that a little bit more,” Ferentz said. “I thought he kind of started slow. The tempo of things was a little much, but I thought he worked through that very well. That’s part of the reason we had him as a guy who could be in our plans. The arrow went up on him.”
— Offensive lineman Dace Richardson made the trip. The 6-7, 310-pounder isn’t playing or practicing but is continuing rehab on an injured knee that has kept him out all this season and 11 of 12 games in ’07. Richardson has undergone several reconstructive procedures and still walks with a limp, but Ferentz said there has been progress.
“That’s encouraging news there,” Ferentz said. “Three months ago, I think we were all pessimistic, all but maybe him. It’s a slow climb, but he’s climbing. The last month has been good. We can’t recruit a guy like Dace, either.”