Oh, hey, it’s four degrees in Ames

No lie. Four. And I’m on my way there.

The coldest I can remember being in a long, long time was that football game two seasons ago just when I was walking across an open field to the parking lot they have there. It was colder than frozen over Hell and an icy wind just cut through you.

How cold was it? This is true: I took a bottle of Dasani with me when I left the press box for my hour-long drive back to my hotel in Des Moines. When I made it to my car about 15 minutes later, the water was beginning to freeze.

I’m not looking forward to this

Except that I really like watching Iowa State play and I think these two teams match up well and bring something out of one another that makes for good theater. And I think Iowa State might be Final Four good because they’re a nightmare draw with the way they play. Leading that attack is Melvin Ejim, one of your more underrated players and a guy who’s starting to get some NBA buzz.

There’s some history attached, too: No one has led the Big 12 in rebounding one year and scoring the next. Ejim is on his way with the rebounding title checked off last season and the scoring title in his hands at the moment.

I scribbled a little bit about him and how he and fellow mismatch misfits Georges Niang and DeAndre Kane make the inverted Iowa State offense hum.

(Hoiberg is a star already, and he’ll be a bigger one the longer he’s around … and that’s probably going to be in the NBA. He’s charismatic and fun to talk to because he can’t help but X and O it, which led to this anecdote I couldn’t wedge in or turn into a separate story, but nevertheless want to share about some of the roots of his offense:

“I love Pittsnogle. Kevin was one of my favorite players. I was working in the NBA then and I remember getting him in and working him out and I told him how much I loved his game.”

Check out what 6-foot-11 Jamie Vanderbeken did in Hoiberg’s first season at Iowa State.)

I also typed a bit about Tom Bradley — two years, $500,000 a year, if you were curious — and what he means to the Mountaineers staff. I know we don’t yet know where he’ll be coaching, but I think what he can do matters more than where he’ll do it. You know how we make a lot about starting experience and returning starters and the like. The same has to be true for coaches and, let’s face it, the WVU staff could use that.

Now, because of basketball travel and the fact I’ll be in the air Thursday morning when Scoop & Score is on the air, we’re going to tape it tomorrow morning. It’s going to be a WVU spring football preview. That’s two segments with both Geoff Coyle and Stephen Nesbitt.

I’ve got some questions. I’m sure you have some, too. Fire away and I’ll incorporate as many as I can.

27 Responses to “Oh, hey, it’s four degrees in Ames”

  1. Drew says:

    I’m having a hard time getting excited about football for the first time I can remember. I’m curious and won’t be able to look away in a train wreck kind of way, but I am not optimistic about this season at all. The fan in me will eventually begin to win over at least partially as the season approaches, but as a currently rational observer, 2014 is going to be the worst season for this program in a long time.

  2. ffejbboc says:

    I fully expect the Cyclones to take us out back to the woodshed on Wed night. I honestly believe the Mountaineers have a better chance of beating Kansas at home to wrap up the season than they do of winning at Ames.

  3. Return games against ranked teams looking for revenge, especially at home, certainly concern me. That said, if anyone on ISU is thinking at all about Eron Harris’s ejection, rest assured WVU’s thinking about the kick to Noreen’s gut by ISU.

    Sorry, but I don’t see Iowa State as any sort of Final Four threat, and that’s not really related to what we did to them in Morgantown. They’re not much different a team than last year’s squad who underachieved in the postseason, save the addition of Cane, who’s leveled off to be only a pretty good player, with streaks of his Marshall-like inconsistency, after flashes of greatness earlier in the season. Come bracket time, depending on matchups, I wouldn’t dare take them any further than the round of sixteen.

  4. Mr M says:

    Couldn’t help but think of this old Tom T. tune. I fear if we don’t “thaw out” we’ll end up like “the girl in the booth.” Hope you can enjoy a double g … ehhhhh … Nestea, Mike!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIqlWDX255s

  5. pknocker40 says:

    More likely comeback: Giant inflatable helmet or Andrew Buie as a solid contributor?

  6. netbros says:

    Is Shelton Gibson a starter by game 4?

    Is Dravon Henry likely to be the game 1 punt returner?

    Is the defensive line going to have anything at all?

    Are Oliver Luck and Dana Holgorsen willing to work with each other for how ever long it takes to put the program back in the top 20 rankings on a yearly basis?

  7. MontanaEER says:

    netbros, you mean doing so by getting us back in the AAC (formerly, the Big East, which is formerly C-USA)?

  8. netbros says:

    No, what I mean is Luck willing to stick with Holgorsen for five more years (or more) to build a successful program, and is Holgorsen willing to stick with WVU if, in fact, he does build a program that is top 20 regularly?

  9. Mack says:

    The 2014 team should be better than the 2013 team.

  10. JP says:

    I think we are going to be on the wrong side of this game.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSPNQ82Sq4E

  11. It’s -2 F here in Northern Ontario.

    Feels like -20.

    I win…not really

  12. Karl says:

    What does the future hold for Andrew Buie?

  13. Drew says:

    I disagree, Mack. I don’t see enough reason to think that.

    Qb is still a giant question mark. We lost experienced linemen on both sides. We lost our best offensive player. We lost the defensive coordinator and the vocal leader on defense. No standout players return on defense other than Joseph who is still a liability in coverage. Running backs seem deep, but are really unproven and Dana won’t run it when the game is on the line (and we likely still can’t block anyone anyway). Receivers will likely still be inconsistent. Are White an Alford going to improve dramatically in their last year? Have any players really improved from year to year under DH? I liked Shorts, but he disappeared a lot. We know what Thompson is at this point.

    What am I missing? We will hopefully be deeper and healthier, particularly on defense, but Gibby will counteract that I fear. The Bradley hire might work, but feels weird and forced with Gibby remaining DC. It kind if feels like the HCIW and Co-DC situations to me and we know how those went.

    That’s enough. This is depressing. Like I said, I’ll get more positive as my irrational fan side takes over. I’ll believe all the same crap the coaches say about spring and fall camp and how the players say they are going to shock the world.

  14. Dann White says:

    Wow!! Enough of this overly-enthusiastic talk. Try to stifle this tendency to vote the Mounties to the NC before spring ball even gets underway.
    Well, I guess I’ll just walk away whistling with a spring in my step – despite my recent illness.
    Sheesh………………..

  15. Foul Shot says:

    Clarence, is it a dry -2 F ?

    With the QB situation up in the air, I don’t think Holgs gets a chance to stick around for another 5 years.
    Ship sinking quickly.

  16. Rugger says:

    Where will Karl Joseph line up?

    What did Coyle not see in Ford? Smeer has me wondering.

    Is Stephen Nesbitt still a Monkee?

  17. smeer says:

    Why won’t KISS perform at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony?

  18. ffejbboc says:

    Gene hasn’t picked up his bass since “Family Jewels” started filming. Plus those dragon shoes are hell on an old man’s ankled. And no one can find Ace.

  19. Foul Shot,

    Indeed it is, although when the wind whips up it just cuts through you…like a knife.

    And it feels so right.

  20. SheikYbuti says:

    I took it all for granted. How was I to know? That you’d be letting go.

  21. hoot says:

    M…loved the Tom T. reference–he was a character..
    could write a mean country song while drinking you under the table.

    Who is Stephen Nesbitt? Michael Nesmith quit the Monkees years ago,
    is Stephen a ringer? Sorry, my pop culture knowledge is limited to things
    you’d see in Trivial Pursuit…i.e. old, like me.

    Love where this thing goes sometimes.

  22. tom sirk says:

    smeer

    it is some internal dispute about letting Ace play as part of the band – Gene can still play

    tws

  23. Mack says:

    “Qb is still a giant question mark.”

    Trickett and Millard were first-time starters last year and they return which, in college, almost always means they get better at least to some degree.

    “We lost experienced linemen on both sides.”

    Agreed.

    “We lost our best offensive player.”

    Agreed, but off the top of my head it seems like his best games last year were all losses. . . for whatever that’s worth.

    “We lost the defensive coordinator and the vocal leader on defense.”

    Ehhh… The DC could be a big loss as most of us thought he was good. I’m not much for “vocal leaders” and I’m not even positive who the vocal leader was.

    “No standout players return on defense other than Joseph who is still a liability in coverage.”

    I somewhat disagree. We had big time players that got hurt. I thought Kyle Rose, for instance, was great. Nick Kwiatkowski is a beast.

    “Running backs seem deep, but are really unproven”

    Agreed, except that Shell was good in his one season at Pitt. They will be as good as the offensive line allows.

    “Dana won’t run it when the game is on the line (and we likely still can’t block anyone anyway).”

    1. Dana is a constant… so you can’t hold his coaching strategy against the 2014 team. I have zero problem with Dana’s coaching. I think he has a feel for the game that was completely absent during the Stewart years. It gets frustrating when he goes for it on 4th down in the first halves of some games . . . but those were pretty much all games where WVU was going to lose and/or get its butt whipped so it really doesn’t bother me. WVU doesn’t beat Texas without converting all of its first half fourth downs.

    Like you said, Dana doesn’t run it when you would like him to because the offensive line can’t block. I get the idea that when it’s fourth and goal from the one yard line that everyone wants you to run the ball up the middle so they can yell, “If we can’t get one yard we don’t deserve to win the game.” That’s all well and good, but when we’ve all watched the running game get stuffed 90% of the time in those situations over the past eight years . . . I’m absolutely fine with abandoning the run.

    “Receivers will likely still be inconsistent. Are White an Alford going to improve dramatically in their last year? Have any players really improved from year to year under DH?”

    Alford improved dramatically from the beginning of last season until the end of the season. I think our receivers will be good. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin improved from year to year under Holgorsen. Everyone wants to claim that they were both great from Day 1, but it’s simply not true. Austin showed flashes early, but only flashes. Austin was possibly the best receiver in WVU history his senior year… but not until then.

    “What am I missing? We will hopefully be deeper and healthier, particularly on defense, but Gibby will counteract that I fear. The Bradley hire might work, but feels weird and forced with Gibby remaining DC. It kind if feels like the HCIW and Co-DC situations to me and we know how those went.”

    Gibson might be awful. But he might not be. I have no problem with criticizing DeForrest for his one year at DC at WVU . . . but DeForrest was the coordinator of an AWFUL defense that went against experienced Big 12 quarterbacks in almost every conference game.

    “That’s enough. This is depressing. Like I said, I’ll get more positive as my irrational fan side takes over. I’ll believe all the same crap the coaches say about spring and fall camp and how the players say they are going to shock the world.”

    I’ve always wanted Mike to copy the quotes from WVU fans during the season and after the season (that are overwhelmingly negative) and paste them into the blog in August when everyone is overwhelmingly positive just to remind everyone that they’re likely to be disappointed.

    At the end of the day, if you put a good quarterback on the 2014 WVU team, they’re a good team no questions asked. That’s not going to happen… but WVU started three quarterbacks in the first four games of 2013. It can’t get worse than that… can it?

  24. I love you, Doug! says:

    For all our joking and random picking of Iowa State, of all teams, as WVU’s hated Big 12 rival, it has come to pass, except in basketball, not football. Perhaps the hatred will carry over. One can hope.

  25. Iowa State is a terrible football program. It doesn’t have any history whatsoever and only recently elevated its profile to mediocre. Paul Rhoads is considered royalty in Ames and he’s 27-36 as a coach there (24-27 prior to last season).

    If that rivalry in football comes to pass, it will likely have meant that we lost to them several times. That’s a problem.

  26. ffejbboc says:

    Iowa State has the distinction of keeping Oklahoma State out of the national championship game.

    So in that regard, they are sort of like Pitt.

    It’s inevitable that Fighting Paul Rhodeses will become our Big12 rival.

  27. Let me put this more bluntly: Iowa State sucks at football.

    Pitt at least has a history that it can (and frequently does) fall back on.

    ISU has that spoiler of a win over Oklahoma State and some recent victories over an inconsistent Iowa program. That’s it.