I plan to “empty the notebook” from the Outback Bowl and will pop in between recruiting updates with stuff that’s mostly looking ahead, kind of a spring football primer (it’s only 2 1/2 months away, people).
It’s not all that crazy of a notion.
He’ll be a junior next season. He’s seen just about everything he needed to see in 13 games this season. He conducted a game-winning drive against the then-No. 3 team in the country. He shook off a few turnovers in that game that would’ve crushed a weak-willed first-year starter. Bottomline, when he didn’t turn the ball over — he had eight in Iowa’s three Big Ten losses — the Hawkeyes won.
Of course, he’ll be without Shonn Greene and two of Iowa’s best O-linemen this season (Rob Bruggeman and Seth Olsen).
“Shonn’s been the leader all year,” Stanzi said after the Outback. “We really respect him. Everyone loves playing with him because he’s such a humble guy. He really works hard. We’ll definitely miss him.”
But he’ll have a season under his belt, the guts of what could be a decent running game and receiving corps that’ll be led by DJK and Tony Moeaki (everyone knock on wood now).
Whether or not this becomes “Stanzi’s offense” is certainly up for grabs. He’ll face some competition from a pair of freshmen, James Vandenberg and John Wienke. Every coach asked said the right things about their redshirt seasons. But it’s a notion worth entertaining.
Can Stanzi move away from “game manager” to “game commander”?
“As far as it being my team, I still have a lot of work to do and a lot of respect to earn,” Stanzi said. “That’s where I’m at right now. We had a good season. I’m just going to keep trying to improve. That’s all I can do right now.”
Stanzi’s final numbers were 150 of 254 (59 percent) for 1,956, 14 TDs, nine interceptions and a 134.84.
EDIT: This is as good a place as any to talk Jake Christensen. He’d be a senior next season if he returns. Who knows on that.
I tried to talk to Jake at beach day in Tampa. He very politely said he wanted to keep to himself. I understood that and just said I wanted to touch base. He was very cordial and classy, just as he’s been from the day I met him.
There are some rumors around that some goodbyes were said at “Howl at the Moon,” a piano bar chain, but I didn’t hear those, so I don’t know.
Ferentz said this in late November:
“When it’s appropriate, we’ll sit down and talk about what’s the next step and where to go from there,” Ferentz said. “We touched on that six or eight weeks ago.
“We had a conversation. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”