This episode I am joined by Scott Dochterman. Scott writes about Iowa football for The Athletic.
Scott and I discuss the following:
- Are Nebraska and Iowa rivals?
- What is happening with Kirk Ferentz and the program with regards to accusations of racism and bias?
- Will Kirk Ferentz survive the storm?
- Scott’s perspective on Nebraska under Scott Frost
- Will we have college football (it’s a required question these days)?
The sound quality on this episode isn’t where I want it to be. It seems to me the sound quality has suspect in the last couple of episodes, so I am going to actively seek another method of recording. I appreciate any feedback y’all can give me on sound quality.
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About the Transcript
Keep in mind that the following is a transcript. . I use a service that automates the first draft. As much as “artificial intelligence” is included in the description of every bit of technology these days, it’s clear that computers understanding human speech is more artificial than intelligent. The transcript has been edited to take out human speech bites, you know, um, okay, uh, but it’s not been edited to be an “article”.
I had been using otter.ai for a transcription service. They’ve changed their model so you don’t get nearly as much “free”, so I switched to Sonix.ai to see how it goes. Then there’s the cost, and I am an el cheapo dude.
Jon Johnston: Welcome to Jon’s post life crisis, I am John Johnston, founder, manager of CornNation.com , your Nebraska Cornhuskers, site of anticipation as we’re in July. And this is the month where the important decisions get made. This episode we’re talking with Scott Dochterman. Scott covers Iowa football for The Athletic. Scott, do you have to love Iowa football to cover them?
Scott Dochterman: No, I don’t think so.
Scott Dochterman: I went to college in a different state. I went to college at western Illinois. So but I think this kind of like Nebraska in some ways that we have covering Iowa, one of the oldest places, probably not only in the Big Ten, but in the country, meaning that, you know, I’ve been doing it since 2006, and yet there are probably more people who have been there longer than me than shorter. So it’s kind of a I think everybody kind of knows the program knows it well. But to love Iowa no, I mean, I think as long as you’re objective what it however you are up. I think it’s it’s kind of irrelevant in some extent.
Jon Johnston: I have to be honest, in full disclosure, I have hated Iowa football for a very long time and I’m not even 100 percent sure why. I’m old, I’m 58. I started college at University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 1980, and in nineteen eighty one Nebraska started the season, losing 10-7 to Iowa. And we started the season 0-2. And everybody went ballistic because. Oh my God. Tom Osborne’s a loser. That might be a reason for it. I have friends that attended Iowa State and their hatred for Iowa may have rubbed off on me. And those are the two probably the two biggest reasons, and now we’re playing them in the Big Ten. They beat us four times. I go on Twitter sometimes and I tend to poke the Iowa fans and enjoy it immensely. They SB Nation is doing this thing about rivalries and the rivalry stuff gets old, but it’s still stuff that brings out a lot of response from people. I’m going to start the rivalry thing with this. I’ve talked to a lot of other Big Ten people just because, you know, now it’s been nine years for us and we had to get used to the Big Ten. And it seems that almost everybody hates Iowa. Is that true?
Scott Dochterman: [Garbled] I’m going to get Iowa fans right mad at me for this, but I if you were to have a big party, let’s say, and there are guests coming in for different CLECs, let’s say it’s college or or thereabouts, man age group Iowa would be the fan where you have about eight or nine guys in the back of a pickup truck, each of them carrying in their twelve packs. And they would come in and automatically just change the mood of the party, kind of swoop in and holler in. And everybody’s like, oh, they’re here. They’ve kind of turned into that. And part of that is. And we’ll start with the last on this one in Iowa. Its longest rivalry for sure is Minnesota. And they have the Pig, which they played for because it really averted a potential state war, really. I mean, we’re in the 1930s. So it was something that could have happened out of that series. It has a century old rivalry with Wisconsin. It’s the closest campus, Iowa City and the Big Ten, two and a half hours away, northwestern Iowa, Northwestern, 21 years in a row and and always made sure they knew about it. Illinois and Iowa and basketball have that’s as he did have a rivalry there is in the Big Ten, it somewhat dormant. But last year it really lit up. You know, Purdue, Iowa isn’t really that explosive.
Scott Dochterman: But but really, it’s just Iowa does kinda it has this connotation.
Scott Dochterman: It goes to places. It it’s a little bit rowdier. And there’s a history with each and every one of them. And so it’s it’s been entertaining because I look at the big Ted West that it’s like, wow, what a perfect visit for Iowa. In that that it has a history with everything but Nebraska, but it shares a border and. But no question, the Minnesota area to the northwestern theories are the ones that where the opponents just absolutely hate Iowa, because in 2002, Iowa predicts tremendously if they can’t be. And then, you know, there were 40000 fans at the Metrodome which think they can’t ignore. By the way. And then they they tore down the goal posts and tried to take them out of the Metrodome. So that one was pretty bad. And then, of course, Northwestern. Was that that one? That’s what Gary Barnett really spurred it, because Hayden walked up to them after being like 56-14 and said, “I hope we didn’t hurt any of your boys”. And that really kicked off a series. So there’s always something.
Scott Dochterman: And so, yeah, I think nobody really likes Iowa. And that’s I think that’s fine for the Hawkeyes and and their fans.
Jon Johnston: Ok, if you ask the average Nebraska fan, they would say Iowa was not a rival and we do this thing where, you know, we have this history and we’ve won championships and we’ve won conference championships and we’re always making fun Iowa about their empty trophy case. I personally, I think their a rival, just because we hate them as much as we do. But, you know, people would argue with me quite a bit upon that. If you ask the average Iowa farm, what’s the answer about Nebraska?
Scott Dochterman: It’s similar in that that Iowa fans hate Nebraska. And I think I think Nebraska fans have grown to hate Iowa. But there isn’t that history and there isn’t that big moment, moment of pain, moment of joy that really kind of captures a rivalry that turns it into something special and unique. I mean, you look back at the you know, they played on Black Friday. They, you know, Nebraska clinched the, what, Legends Division Title 2012 at Kinnick. But Iowa was terrible that year. And then you look at Iowa, could you give then defeated season 12-0, you know, in 2015? Well, Nebraska did go to a bowl game either, and they were very good. And so there hasn’t there been games that have been interesting? No doubt. And in the last couple of years, you know, came down the last play of the game and 2014 was was a really interesting game that went back and forth. And what have you and you have you Shaun Eichhorst statement and stuff. You have all these elements. But I think for proud fan bases, whether it’s Nebraska and Iowa, they’re both very proud of their programs that, you know, do any of those games say, hey, that’s one of the ten greatest games we never had in school history.
Scott Dochterman: And there’s no question that it doesn’t even match probably the top one hundred for either program. So I think with Iowa that the reason why I see it as a rivalry is because of the intense dislike both sides after one another. And and then. But as far as rivalry goes, there’s there’s gonna be there’s gonna be that moment. And they’ve had it with, you know, Minnesota, Wisconsin, even Iowa State. But they haven’t really had that with with The Brassie yet. I anticipate it will happen. I anticipate once there’s that two year reprieve of Black Friday and then it goes back. At some point, one or both teams are gonna be in that position of clinching the division title and going to Indianapolis. The other team, you know, maybe it’s a 10-1 Nebraska and 8-3 Iowa. Iowa beats know on a field goal. And it’s that, oh, I can’t believe we lost to him or vice versa.
Scott Dochterman: Or an all out winner take all type of game, which will be really important and big. And both teams are ranked. But it just you know, there hasn’t been that equal important game that, you know, I know even Nebraska had with Colorado. But the other part is I know I know Nebraska’s history with the Big Eight especially, and and really outside of Oklahoma, no other team compares historically on the field. But it was kind of like everybody else at the term your member. You don’t view Kansas. I would say K State, you know, Colorado. I suppose to an extent, Iowa doesn’t kiss the ring for anybody. You know, in the 80s, you know, seven times the game between Michigan and Iowa determined the Big Ten champion. And so it had four wins that Ohio State that that decade. So maybe it doesn’t have the national titles, but it does have a history. It does have some tradition.
Scott Dochterman: And, you know, Coach, it was in the Hall of Fame and one that, you know, one of the five winning is the Big Ten history. So it does have an important so kind of getting all the way back to the beginning of is it a rivalry? I think it’s getting there. The first one felt like flat champagne. Now it feels like both teams care about the game. Both both fan bases absolutely cannot stand each other. But once you’ve got to have that one big game or a couple of big games to really christen it as a rivalry for both programs.
Jon Johnston: That’s an excellent point, I really hadn’t considered, mostly because I really enjoyed jabbing the Iowa fan base. And to be honest with you, when I say Iowa’s a rival, it kind of jabs at the Nebraska fan base a little bit, too. Some people could accuse me of doing that, and they might be right. I won’t admit it.
Jon Johnston: Kirk Ferentz, we argue a lot about him from the Nebraska perspective. I’d say that average Nebraska fan thinks that he’s an average coach because I was always average. They have a good season. Every once in a while, like the 12-0 season. A few years ago. What do you what would you say about Kirk Ferentz?
Scott Dochterman: So, you know, this is the unfortunate part of entering the Big Ten when you did, because that was the most boring period I can ever remember in Iowa football history for about a five year period. It was like a well done steak. And you didn’t have it. You don’t have no you have no sauce.
Scott Dochterman: I mean, that was Iowa, for about 2011 through 2014. It was bland and boring. Last five years. They’ve been pretty good. You know, they’ve won forty seven games. That’s tied for ninth nationally among power five teams. They’ve been ranked three times, a top 10 team. And in 2015, last year, they were 10-3 and ranked 15th. So they’ve had some pretty feet under Kirk Ferentz. And then I think, you know, they’ve been ranked. No, but I think the thing is right, coming into Nebraska, it’s going for an eight year period. Iowa is like the top 10 four times, from 2002 to 2009. So there is a you know, he has a history there that that’s pretty strong. And then I really think the last five years have been pretty good, there was just that for the first four years in Nebraska in the Big Ten that you looked at Iowa and there was nothing other than ordinary about the program.
Scott Dochterman: It had no explosive playmakers on off offense defense. It was good that Raider didn’t do anything. And as far as points goes, it usually won a big game, but it loss some really mediocre ones. OK. I went to a bowl game three out of four years. Big deal. I was just there. And I think I will say I finally felt that way. And that is that 2015.
Scott Dochterman: So overall on and Kirk’s impact, not present issues notwithstanding, has been extraordinary for this community and for the way they want to be represented. I think everybody who knows him likes him. I think he’s you know, he’s built a program the way Iowa fans really appreciate, because it’s built on toughness and physical play along the line of scrimmage, developmental program. And there’s a lot of local prospects, guys who are walk ons or borderline three stars in terms of an NFL players there in just about every game and they rarely get blown out. So I think there’s a lot that they like and appreciate about it because there’s a lot they complain about it, too, and that’s understandable. But I think by and large, he’s been a very good coach. But I do think the Nebraska perspective is colored by the first few years of their Big Ten tenure where they looked over at Iowa and, said, but yeah, like Mark Wiseman run in the football. And you’ve got no wide receivers to speak of and you have and you’re looking at the same goal. And how is this team even competitive? Well, it’s because of Kirk and but there are other issues there. But by and large, I think it’s been a pretty good year. And they have beat Nebraska five straight years and six out of last seven.
Jon Johnston: You had to get that in there.
Scott Dochterman: It’s a fact.
Jon Johnston: It is. It is. It is really honestly kind of hurts. Ouch. Coach Ferenz went through some stuff earlier where Chris Doyle, who is widely regarded as one of the best drink coaches in the nation, was dismissed. Now you have run a former running back Akrum Wadley released a very scathing review of his time at Iowa, calling it a living nightmare. I mean, there’s been a lot of stuff about racism and there’s been a lot of stuff about the control of what players were allowed to say, what they were allowed to do. What’s your take on this?
Scott Dochterman: There’s a lot there, obviously, and I’ve written a lot about it and will continue to write a lot about it. First of all, a lot of people ask me, is this a surprise?
Scott Dochterman: And was media even negligent in lack of reporting some of those issues? And I would say when it comes to the racial component at Iowa, yeah we... That was something that message we didn’t necessarily write about.
Scott Dochterman: We kind of discussed it. We discussed it on the periphery, which was, you know, from I wrote this point several times for 2013 through 2016, Iowa had 10 freshman wide receivers, most of whom were not from this area, and nine of which left, or I guess it was eight, but nine did not play wide receiver and or transferred with eligibility. And they were unhappy. But what a lot of Iowa kind of masked a lot of that attrition was. Well, this program is not for everybody. We’re tougher here. And they carry this militaristic type of approach to strength and conditioning. And Chris Doyle being at the top, unquestioned leader, rubs a lot of people their own way. And it really it was kind of a military type of environment. You can remember Mark Banker mentioning after one of the games, as you know, they must have a bloodbath at practice. And that’s kind of the way they operate as a whole, you know, at least under Doyle. Well, what it kind of did was suppress so much of the individuality of the program that a lot of African-American players believed it was prejudiced against them. And to some extent, they are right. You know, the culture that Chris Doyle tried to create and was very demanding at Iowa was really geared towards what a lot of a lot of white players in the state, a lot of farm kids, you know, had grown up with in some ways.
Scott Dochterman: You know, the discipline them, the mental toughness and just the the attitude that I think a lot of players are used to. However, if you’re not used to that environment and then you throw on the lack of, OK, you can’t wear earrings, you can’t wear your your hair has to be a certain way.
Scott Dochterman: You have to do it. It’s almost, again, militaristic if you’re not used to that. And it’s kind of a.. To what you’ve grown up with culturally, that it does look like it’s skewed against you. And I think over time that has become an issue. And I think of what it does is it just kind of drifts the differences between two people. If one person walks in and does exactly what he says, they’re praised. If another person comes in and looks a little differently or it didn’t take out their earring that day or wore a hat and wasn’t supposed to, then it looks like you’re coming after them. And then by and large, now, as the years progress, one player seemingly gets more credit, more breaks, and then that filters over to the playing field.
And then you know that eventually, maybe the player from the other area then transferred. So by and large, it did look prejudicial against against African-American players. And then you look at Chris Doyle. He had enough people come against him, criticizing him for four bias, for prejudice, for racism that I think Iowa had to make that change. But you cannot extrapolate Chris Doyle from Kirk Ferentz cleanly. I mean, you’re taking a chunk out of Kirk Ferentzd because they’ve been together for twenty two years. And Chris Doyle is the best strength and conditioning coach in the country. I mean, the proof is pretty obvious.
Scott Dochterman: I mean, Iowa took a lot of average to below average players and turned them into, you know, NFL players and two years starters and strong competitors.
Scott Dochterman: But that said, his approach was a net negative overall and Kirk had to let him go. And what is going forward? Well, I talked to a number of significant number of current players or parents and then there and then former players just to gauge the temperature on this, you know, to say, is it just Doyle? Is it Kirk Ferentz? Is it other coaches and really Doyle was the main issue because Doyle was in charge of the whole entire offseason and the regular coaches couldn’t talk to those players.
Scott Dochterman: And yet when you look at Kirk Ferentz, they almost played a good cop, bad cop to some extent. So it kind of yes. They believe that Kirk Ferentz can rectify the situation, however, there’s a lot of eyes watching them and they have to make changes and a lot of that is in how they deal with the individual, not the aggregate. And so far, they’ve had one transfer, and that was Chris Doyle’s son, who was competitive for the middle linebacker starting job.
Scott Dochterman: He transferred to Baylor, which is understandable. So they haven’t had any drop off. They haven’t had any players outright demand their transfer. And so I guess so far they believe that the change is possible. But this is an ongoing situation.
Scott Dochterman: This is not one that you can fix it a couple of weeks and call it good and then go back to the way things were. I mean, I think it’s, you know, how does this play out in the summer? How does this play out with where we’re at or how does it play out in the fall? There is a lot there, and I think it’s going to take time and I’m not so sure it’s going to last through the whole thing, and I’m not saying he’s going to fire anything, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is it.
Scott Dochterman: This is his last year. You know, he will be 65 this year. If he can turn it around the culture a little bit. You know, he might feel like once they hand it off. So I’m not going to predict the number of years, but I would say at this point, it very well could be the last year for Kirk Ferentz in Iowa, which is kind of a weird, odd way to go. But also could set the table for for a pretty good successor.
Jon Johnston: Is that successor going to be Brian?
Scott Dochterman: No way. I can’t see that now.
Scott Dochterman: That was always the discussion when they brought him in in 2012. But he wanted to succeed his dad and there was kind of this natural progression. And Bryant said a nice job, I think. Becoming the offensive coordinator 2017, they had a really they were bottom of the barrel when it came to wide receivers. And now they have some and their offense is statistically not necessarily high. But I think efficiency has been pretty good.
Scott Dochterman: But I don’t think so.
Scott Dochterman: He’s been mentioned prominently by a lot of former players making allegations of the comments at best and racially divisive comments at times. And so I don’t think that that’s a path that I could go down. If that is, it will be very difficult for the fan base to rally around it and probably the donor base as well. So I would I would doubt that this would be Brian Ferentz’s opportunity to succeed his father. I think what I’ve recommended this for a lot of years is completely that he is more like Fran McCaffrey than he is Kirk in his attitude, this discussion. He’s very smart, knows the game inside and out. But as you know, he can be explosive. So I’ve always thought that Brian should go to a MAC school or FCS school for a couple of years, makes some dumb mistakes, say some dumb things where nobody’s really paying attention, because if he says something stupid here or gets in trouble here, I mean, Iowa is just like Nebraska in that we don’t have a pro sports team. This is the pro sports team. And so if if he says something wrong or goes after somebody, it makes big news for a long time. So I think this in his case, it would be really smart to go take, I don’t know, Eastern Michigan after Chris Goff leaves the man who worked there for a couple of years and then see what’s out there and then maybe down the road Iowa’s a possibility. But I just cannot imagine handing off the reins after what we’ve just seen the last months.
Jon Johnston: That’s a lot of insight. You have to have some personal insight to Kirk. I mean, is it what you think it would bother him if Brian doesn’t take over? I mean, that’s a lot of speculation. I’d realize that. But I mean, does it? I guess that’s the question. Do you think it’ll bother him if he doesn’t have his son succeed him?
Scott Dochterman: That’s an interesting question, and we’ve tried to kind of you know, he would never outright answer any thing regarding his son succeeding him. All of us have tried in different ways to get him to talk about that. One time I did ask him kind of, well, do you think, Brian means to be a head coach somewhere else before he coaches at a big program? He said he didn’t think so because Kirk’s path went from Iowas offensive line coach to Maine for a couple of years and struggled and then went to the NFL for a while, then came back to Iowa. And he never really said that. I imagine it kind of would, because I don’t know that Brian would want to spend as much time here, which he has now. It’s been since 2012 without really wanting that to be a possibility. And I just don’t I just can’t think that that’s the case. I think what Kirk was hoping for and that they would be on a pretty productive path, which really last four years they have been that maybe they get one more trip to Indianapolis, maybe make a New Year’s Six bowl, maybe get another top 10 and get handed off and say, look, stabilities the key. But but Brian’s personalities is, again, just so different from Kirk. I mean, Kirk is, you know, has a lot of passion that people don’t see. He also carries himself very well in front of the public. And Brian is again, he’s more like Fran. He wears his emotions on his sleeve.
Scott Dochterman: And I think it’s they would probably I my belief that they need somebody with head coaching experience to succeed Kirk Ferentz, because otherwise, as you know, now at Nebraska, you’ve been dealing with it for a while. Michigan has dealt with it. Other programs have. If you make that wrong move, it kills you, it kills you as a program, kills you financially. And Iowa dealt with it from Evashevski all the way to Hayden Fry. I mean, there’s 20 years of wandering in the desert that they dealt with from 1960 to 1979-80 that, you know, still kind of hard to dig out of even now. And think about what Illinois’s dealt with. What Purdue’s dealt with. What Nebraska is still kind of dealing with. Would you go for you have an average coach, Bo Pelini, to a really bad hire and Mike Riley to do what Scott Frost is trying to do. It takes time to dig out of that.
So if Kirk Ferentz left and then they hired the you know, they go to Toledo and instead of hiring Matt Campbell, they hire Tim Beckman. Iowa was a doormat for five to seven years, just automatically. And that’s something you just can’t live with. So in my opinion, you’ve got whatever happens after Kirk, whether it’s this year or beyond. They’ve got it. They’ve got to go pay high, high, high dollar and get the best candidate they can and then lure somebody around with winning a winning pedigree. And not just because it’s the hot coach at that moment.
Jon Johnston: Well, you made the seque to Nebraska for me. It’s like you’re a professional at this or something. What is your opinion on how Nebraska program looks under Scott Frost? And where do you think Nebraska is going in the next two to three years?
Scott Dochterman: That’s a great question, because I think everybody who follows, you know, Big Ten certainly here, you know, we’re pretty cognizant of what goes on at the other schools and commenting on it frequently. And Nebraska is one that we just tend to watch as often as we can. And I think what we’ve seen is he’s I think he’s the right coach. I do think he needs a maturity aspect to do how he approaches the program.
Scott Dochterman: And the one thing that I have noticed that’s been a detriment to Nebraska since he joined the Big Ten is that it does not need to aspire to be Wisconsin or Iowa. Not at all. It doesn’t have to be them, but it does have to match up along the line of scrimmage with those two teams, because though that’s the primary tenet in a lot of Big Ten play, Wisconsin and Iowa are emblematic of that. And you have to beat them in order to get to the next level. How do you beat them? Well, you have to match up along the line of scrimmage. I don’t think Nebraska has done a very good job of that other than with Bo. And, you know, maybe at the end of his tenure when they had guys like Vincent Valentine and Maliek Collins, they were pretty good at middle. I think, you know, at the end there, they that they had a really good front wall.
Scott Dochterman: But I don’t think you’re off into line with all that great. I think if Scott Frost can figure out a way to build his line of scrimmage play to be where it could at least have a stalemate with those two teams, then Nebraska will have no problem competing for the upper echelon of the Big Ten West. And that puts in position in place where you can compete for the overall Big Ten title.
Scott Dochterman: But when you continuously allow 250 rushing yards against these teams and get beat up and down the field like that, and they stop you at the line of scrimmage repeatedly, it’s going to be hard to get past that.
Scott Dochterman: And I think once, you know, whether Scott realizes it now has realized it and is trying to do something about it or is ignoring it. I think that’s really the biggest question. That’s to be as to whether or not Nebraska will be able to assume the position that fans believe it should. And really, it should. It should be in the upper echelon of the Big Ten West every year. So that’s kind of what I think the where the program is, because I think it doesn’t really matter if you run a boring offense like Iowa, Wisconsin or Iowa’s more zone run based in Wisconsin or gap based and then run attack that as a matter, you know, what you do with the quarterback. And he’s a pro style guy like those two programs or he’s an option or zone or a guy. That’s fine. I know that as a matter. But to me, it’s it’s whether you put, you know, upfront, if you can handle the impact is what’s going to determine everything. The a lack of an identity, it’s kind of been a problem. But I like what what Scott Frost has done. And I see the enthusiasm there. I know some fans try to blow off some of the loss as well, they just didn’t care. Iowa cares more than they do now. I don’t see that at all. I mean, I think Nebraska fans are. Players are just as in tuned up to playing Iowa was as Iowa’s to play in that clip. I think if they can get to that point where they can stop the run, where they can run the ball when they need to and when they want to, then I think Nebraska will be there.
Scott Dochterman: And as far as Scott Frost goes, some of the comments that I’ve heard from him, in some ways it’s almost blaming his predecessors and stuff. And I don’t like that as much, but I think he will get past that if they can continue to show growth. I think they got better last year as the season progressed. I think they were fairly close to being a bowl team, not a good team, but a bowl team. And I think they’ve got that opportunity now. It’s just can you take those steps to those key areas? Because if they can. I see no reason why in two years and beyond that, they can’t be competitive every year to be above a couple of couple teams in the West to get to Indianapolis.
Jon Johnston: My position on current Nebraska is that we have to score 40 points a game because I honestly don’t have a lot of faith and well, honestly, their defensive coordinator. I just I don’t see anything in the defense. I think they came out of a place that they just could score and score and score, and I don’t think you can do that in the Big Ten because of, I guess, limiting possessions, because people really slow the game down when you’re talking about like Wisconsin and Iowa and, some of the other teams like Penn State or Ohio State does whatever they want. But I mean, Nebraska’s defense, I guess if you’re going to make a comment on a defensive coordinator, what do you think of that? Erik Chinander?
Scott Dochterman: It’s interesting because he in what year? You know, coming into year three and I think it’s really important he has to take that step forward. And, you know, it doesn’t matter to me where he’s from or what he did or a college. I think it just in some ways, it’s you’ve just got to teach those fundamentals better. And now I’ve covered I covered a game, I don’t know, a year and a half ago, I think was against Purdue.
Scott Dochterman: And I just you know, and that’s a tough thing to prepare against anyway, because they’ve got electric wide receivers. But still, it’s I didn’t see the fundamentals that necessary on defense to be in the or even to be in a good territory. And I think the statistics kind of back that up. So I don’t know if it’s schematics as much as it is the teaching one. You know, now that during your three and it’s hard without having to bring this whole year jacked up. But I think if they can somehow. Get there.
Scott Dochterman: Teach the fundamentals to be able to LAX. Be able to be where you’re supposed to be and not fooled as often as they have been, and then I think they’ll be OK.
Scott Dochterman: I thought Bobby Diaco’s defense was a disaster.
Scott Dochterman: They tried with a 3-4 and it just looked like it looked like J.V. defense to me.
Scott Dochterman: And I’m not so I’m not sure yet. I haven’t formed an opinion about the way Erik Chinander is called it. You certainly see it every week and watch and scrutinize it a lot more closely than I do. But I do want to see what they can do. I just I think holding up the line of attack is is so critical. And, you know, again, kind of go into the Iowa Wisconsin thing. I mean, Iowa’s now 4-2-5. They were a 4-3 for a long, long time. But it’s a two gap scheme where the defensive line, their first steps are lateral and they try to tie up the blockers as often as they can to stop the run. Wisconsin is so versatile, but they were always pretty good.
Scott Dochterman: But when they when David Arranda got there and they switched to a 3-4, you know, the thing people see, there’s a lot of the sacks and a lot of guys like Zach on and before that, Joe Shober. T.J. Watt? Well, what people didn’t see was the gap integrity was just so incredible. I mean, they were able to get upfront, they tied up blockers.
Scott Dochterman: And if even wherever they were supposed to be, they were or they were there all the time and they fought off blocks and they got there. So fundamentally, Wisconsin’s defense is elite and has been since they’ve made that switch. And that’s just in Minnesota is getting there, too. I think he just likes that. A really nice job there. Both sides of the ball making that point. I haven’t seen that at yet out of Nebraska. I think there’s some talent there. But I also think that heart of the totality there has been overrated, underdeveloped, or a combination of both because over several years now, really since Bo. I thought Bo had a good defense. But, you know, so what? That that to me, I can’t really grade the schemef as much as I can the way the personnel plays. And I just don’t think fundamentally they’re quite there yet.
Jon Johnston: All right, I’m going to ask you one more question, and it’s the question we all have to ask, because it’s a daily struggle and it changes every week and probably every well, every day and every hour. Are we going to have a football season, you think?
Scott Dochterman: Yeah, we will. I don’t know if we’ll have fans in the stands.
Scott Dochterman: I don’t know how many games are going to play, but it’s too important. It might end up being like the scab games in 1987 with, you know, with the pro football. And when they went on strike, because I could see entire units on teams being quarantined because of Covid and which just laid low level of play this year will not be good for anybody. It might come down to you might see some incredible upsets because some teams say, OK, we don’t have a quarterback. This week is the entire quarterback room has Coviad. And it’s Alabama playing Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt wins, you know that that type of thing. Maybe a little extreme there, but I do think there’ll be football. It’s too important. It’s too financially. I mean, I went through the numbers, you know, even for both schools last year, I believe it was media rights from Big Ten and other sources is right around 51 million for for the schools in the big ten and then ticket sales. Nebraska’s at right around 30 million, 33 million, Iowa is at 23, 24 million along with Wisconsin and some other schools. So the ticket sales, you can kind of grit your teeth and and cross your fingers about. But you can’t do that with the TV money. So I think they’ll play. I hope they can play the full schedule, of course. I don’t know if that’s going to be a case. I could see it being reduced to possibly division games, maybe league only, maybe a couple of non conference games, I think, for an Iowas case all three of their non conference things are good distance. Northern Iowa. Iowa State. Northern Illinois. So that’s they’d be advantageous for them.
Scott Dochterman: But I overall, I. Know, I just hope we have a season and I hope it will play out. As far as bowl games go. I can’t imagine that there’ll be very many. I think some will shutter for the year. I went to the Holiday Bowl last year and the entire media contingent, including myself, came back sick. And we all we all wondered if maybe we got it. We didn’t know it.
Scott Dochterman: I can’t imagine 20,000 fans decide let’s go to the holiday this year. Let’s go to Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. And I just I think this is the year we’re in. OK, go the Rose Bowl. But the other ones, I think this this might be the year that everyone lays off.
Jon Johnston: That’s a lot of information in a very short time. Like I said earlier, it’s like you’re a professional or something. Is there anything else about Iowa that I haven’t asked that you’d like that I didn’t tell anybody? I mean, we didn’t talk about this season for a reason.
Scott Dochterman: You know what I mean, it would be great to talk about football, one that. I mean, I have and I feel like I get to talk about football. That would be the greatest day because we just haven’t had this opportunity. But now I think I think the thing that maybe the Nebraska fans maybe not realize about Iowa is that Iowa is not really one. Complete cohesive state that there’s really three different types of Iowa within the borders here, and one is the western Iowa. Those are the people that really interact with Nebraska fans in the Omaha market or in that area. They’re probably more tilted to, you know, that they’re a little bit more I don’t want to be political, a little more conservative just in those areas.
Scott Dochterman: Des Moines is its own market, really, and then eastern Iowa looks more towards the Great Lakes. It’s Big Ten country exclusively. It’s kind of the outer edge of that area. So if if you were to go to people in Iowa City and say, hey, I’m going to go to the big city today, they’re thinking Chicago. If you say that in central or western Iowa, it’s it’s the Des Moines or Omaha. So it’s that, you know, out here and I get into this all the time with Iowa State fans. In Des Moines, Iowa - Iowa State series is the biggest thing every year and the biggest game in basketball and football. It’s a big game for Iowa City. It’s a big game for one week and then it’s then the next one is a big one. You know, in Minnesota and Wisconsin are huge games and Nebraska is join that eschelon, too, along with, you know, some of the traditional powers, Penn State, Michigan. Michigan State was a big rivalry for a long time. I know there’s a thought that a lot of Nebraska fans think that Iowa only thinks about Nebraska. And in western Iowa, there may be some truth to that. But in eastern Iowa, it’s not that way at all that people look at different teams and games and stuff. It’s kind of strange covering a team without an absolute #1 rival, because I think they’re there for rivalry trophies and all four of them matter differently to different people. But out in eastern Iowa, it’s more big ten centric than it is individual teams centric when it comes to rivalries.
Jon Johnston: That’s a interesting point. I mean, if you think about it, you might realize that about Iowa. Nebraska really is one giant state. There’s this thing with Omaha and Lincoln. And then, the rest of the state, they Minnesota kind can has that same thing going too, although probably not to the extent Nebraska does. I think we’ll end there. I’d like to thank you. It’s been this has been very good. I think a very good interview and learned a lot about Iowa.
Jon Johnston: This has been Jon’s Postlife Crisis. Thanks for listening. Thanks to Scott document from The Athletic for joining me. Go Big Red. And I hope we have a football season because, man. Thank you. Thanks for joining me, Scott.
Scott Dochterman: Thanks for having me, Jon.