So much to report…guess it’s time to hash it out!  With a nod to Gus Schrader, here’s this week’s random hash.

A Personal Update

Sad to say, I was put on the DL this past weekend.  I was peacefully sleeping in my bed at around 2:30 AM when my apartment building’s fire alarms went off.  My apartment’s fire alarms are just insanely loud, loud enough to scare the ever living daylights out of you when they’re triggered.  Well, here it is, 2:30 AM in the morning, pitch black, when I’m jolted from my sleep by these incredibly loud, screeching alarms.

This alarm was so loud and so sudden that my wife had a panic attack as she awoke, gasping for breath and shaking.  I got her calmed down, but I was pretty rattled by the sudden wake up call and concerned for my wife.  I quickly put on some suitable clothes for going outside and headed for the front room of our apartment, all while these blaring alarms continued to wail.

We had recently installed some baby gates to keep our new puppy out of our carpeted bedroom and contained in the main room of our apartment.  The thinking was that if he had an accident (as puppies tend to do), he should have it in the main room, which has hardwood floors; that would make for an easier cleanup.  Anyway, in all this commotion, I forgot that we had this baby gate in place.

I crashed over the gate and did a full faceplant right onto the hardwood floor, and it did some major damage.  The full tally: I dislocated my two front teeth, got a large bruise on my chin, put a large gash into my knee, and severely sprained my left wrist.  It was a pretty heavy price to pay, but in the end, I’m thankful it wasn’t worse.

I got our family out of the building.  The alarms were triggered by someone smoking in a hallway adjacent to the parking garage attached to our apartment building.  Seriously.  It’s ridiculous that a whole building was evacuated in the middle of the night for something like that…unbelievable.

Anyway, my front two teeth were dislocated.  One was jammed three millimeters into my gums, while the other was bent back into my mouth at a 45 degree angle.  After the alarms were finished, I went over to the ambulance that had been dispatched for Smoke-gate and had them take a look at me.  The guy with the ambulance – who said that he had worked in an emergency room for 15 years before serving as an EMT – told me that I should move my tooth that was at an angle and push it back straight.

As you can imagine, that wasn’t the most appealing thought at the moment, but I didn’t have much choice.  I took a deep breath and snapped that baby back in line with my other teeth.

The following morning, I found myself in the dentist’s chair.  On short notice, she did an amazing job.  She realigned my teeth, gave me a root canal, and put a wire in my mouth for the next several weeks to keep all my teeth in line and give them a chance to heal.  Everything else – from my sprained wrist, cut knee, and bruised chin – will take some time to heal as well.

As you might expect, lessons were learned.  Make sure you have a fire emergency plan, wherever you live.  If you live in an apartment, be aware of your building’s fire alarm systems.  They may be cranked to squeal at 200 decibels in the middle of the night if they sense someone smoking half a block away.  From now on, I’m going to have earplugs next to my bed at all times for just such an occasion.  What an ordeal!  Thanks to everyone who has sent well-wishes…it does mean a lot.

Another Personal Update

After a trying weekend, I spent yesterday enjoying my 33rd birthday.  Time flies for sure, but while I’m sad to leave 32 behind, I’m excited to join the Bob Sanders club, so to speak.

Heisman Week

Congrats to Johnny Manziel for becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.  That’s quite an accomplishment!  Also, I had planned to finish Heisman Week with a Hawkeyes Revisited profile on Nile Kinnick, but as you might imagine, life intervened.  Look for that one in the coming weeks!

Bret Bielema

I’ll be honest…Bret Bielema leaving Wisconsin for Arkansas caught me totally off-guard.  Upon further examination, however, it makes a lot of sense.  He led Wisconsin to three consecutive Big Ten championships, yet you got the sense that the Badgers had never fully accepted him.  If he isn’t a complete legend in Madison after leading Wisky to three straight Rose Bowls, he likely never will be.  Odds are, he saw the writing on the wall, took the money, and ran.

Of course, I can see why Barry Alvarez isn’t thrilled with that.  Alvarez took a chance on young Bielema and gave him a great opportunity to become a head coach.  I find it interesting that the shadow of Alvarez’ accomplishments might have contributed to a less-than-realistic appraisal of Bielema’s – and yes, there are some parallels to Iowa’s situation, in that many fans criticize Kirk Ferentz for not quite matching Hayden Fry’s accomplishments, as though coming up a bit short of a Hall of Famer like Fry is some kind of fireable offense.

Anyway, the whole situation will give Barry a shot at a fourth Rose Bowl victory.  Even though he reportedly isn’t happy with Bielema, he can’t be unhappy about that.

Checking In On The NFL

Congratulations to Jim Caldwell, who is making the most of his second act in the NFL.  He was recently promoted as the offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, and I think he’ll do a fine job.  I really felt Caldwell got a bad deal with the Colts.  Tony Dungy is a tough act to follow, and I thought Caldwell did well until his final season, when the team was clearly tanking for the right to draft Andrew Luck.  The Colts get their franchise quarterback, and Caldwell gets cut loose before he shows what he can do with the new signal caller.

Anyway, I’m happy he’s back in a high profile position.  He’s a fine Hawkeye.

And Mike Daniels really needs to work on his Lambeau Leap.

Hawkeye Hoops

Great win for the Hawkeyes this weekend over Ames in basketball!  With the exception of one bad stretch in the first half, the Hawkeyes played pretty well all night long.  It was particularly nice after Iowa lost to both Wichita State and Virginia Tech earlier in the year.  Iowa needed a victory in a hard-fought game that will actually prepare them for Big Ten play.  Plus, they didn’t want to lose four in a row to that team from Ames.  It’s time to get Hawkeye basketball rolling again.

And don’t feel bad for Fred Hoiberg’s Cyclones.  Six or seven more transfers and they’ll be right back on top.

Larry Lawrence

We finish with the sad news of the passing of former Hawkeye quarterback Larry Lawrence.  Lawrence played at Iowa in 1968 and 1969 under Coach Ray Nagel; Lawrence’s father, Ted, was one of Nagel’s assistant coaches.

When Larry Lawrence burst onto the scene in 1968, he helped make Ed Podolak a star by taking over for him at quarterback.  Lawrence’s skills at quarterback allowed Nagel to shift Podolak to running back.  Podolak and Lawrence teamed to make the 1968 Hawkeyes an offensive juggernaut.  Lawrence passed for 1,307 yards and seven touchdowns on the year, while Podolak ranked sixth in the nation in yards per carry.  The following year without Podolak, Lawrence was even better, passing for 1,680 yards and ten touchdowns.

Unfortunately, Lawrence’s career at Iowa came to an abrupt end.  His father resigned his assistant coaching position in December 1969, blasting Nagel on his way out.  Less than two months later, Larry Lawrence announced he was transferring, saying that he could never play for Coach Nagel.  Lawrence would eventually wind up at the University of Miami.

About two weeks after Lawrence announced his transfer, his former roommate – a non-athlete – gave a written statement to the Iowa Board of Athletics alleging that Lawrence was recruited to gather player support for Nagel’s removal.  When Lawrence’s efforts failed, he announced his transfer to put additional pressure on Nagel, according to the roommate.  All of this, allegedly, was part of a wider plot orchestrated by athletic director Forest Evashevski to get Nagel fired so that he could return as Iowa’s head coach, an allegation Evy strongly denied.

Whatever the case, Larry Lawrence’s time as a Hawkeye was over.  After a pedestrian season with the Hurricanes, Lawrence played three seasons with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos before getting a shot in the NFL.  He was a role player in the NFL, playing sparingly over three seasons; he appeared in only nine NFL games and started just two.  He then finished his pro football career with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes in 1978.

Lawrence is still remembered as one of the most talented Hawkeye quarterbacks of his era, and his departure from Iowa as well as the circumstances surrounding it – getting caught up in the Evy-Nagel feud of 1969-70 – was regrettable.  Nevertheless, he was by all accounts a solid Hawk, and he will be missed.

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