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5 Thoughts - 2009 Outback Bowl
Iowa RB Shonn Greene
Iowa RB Shonn Greene
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 1, 2009


Shonn Greene ran wild, Kirk Ferentz is back among the top coaches, Ferentz might be gone, and more on the Iowa 31-10 win over South Carolina 38-10 in the CFN 5 Thoughts on the 2009 Outback Bowl.

5 Thoughts ... 2009 Outback Bowl

Iowa 31 ... South Carolina 10

GAME RECAP: Greene runs wild on Gamecocks
- 2009 CFN Outback Bowl Preview

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2009 Outback Bowl Player Profiles, Histories, & More

1. Kirk Ferentz is back. Actually, I’m in the minority who felt he never should have left the discussion involving some of the game’s better coaches. Yeah, there were lean times over the past few years, but over the long haul, he and his staff have continuously done a great job of taking marginal talent and coaching it up into NFL-caliber athletes. Now, that’s not to say that Ferentz didn’t need this year’s strong finish and Outback Bowl rout. He did. And now that he’s on the verge of getting closer to rejoining the A-list of head coaches, watch the speculation about his future swirl like it did earlier in the decade. The NFL is calling one more time to see if it can lure Ferentz back to the pros. I have a strange feeling he might take the bait this time. - Richard Cirminiello

2. Kirk Ferentz is gone. Watch for Ferentz to be among the top candidates for the Cleveland Browns opening, especially if Scott Paoli from New England becomes the general manager. Ferentz was a hot name for several NFL openings around five years ago, cooled off, and now he’s not going to let the ship sail twice. If Ferentz wants to take a step up and be in the NFL, now he has to do it on the heels of this great Outback Bowl win, and with a wee bit of a rebuilding job to be done losing Shonn Greene to the NFL and with some other key pieces also gone. Hopefully Ferentz sticks in Iowa City, he’s a great head coach who continues to do big things for the program, off-the-field controversies aside. Don’t be shocked, though, if he’s leaving on a fantastic high note.
- Pete Fiutak

3. Stephen Garcia was supposed to be the "Golden Child," the savior-like quarterback who would handle Steve Spurrier's intense coaching methods and lead South Carolina to new heights.
 
After Chris Smelley's disastrous performance at Clemson in the regular-season finale--with Garcia staying on the bench for the duration--one had to wonder why Spurrier was so down on the man who held so much promise and potential. Was the Head Ball Coach (it's NOT the "Ol' Ball Coach," by the way--please put that label to bed) losing his eye for quarterbacking quality?
 
Evidently, Spurrier knew more than a lot of people thought. Garcia's total train wreck, the centerpiece of a disastrous game against Iowa, showed how far away the Tampa native is from being a special signal caller.
 
Okay, so Spurrier accurately assessed Garcia. The problem is, why can't the Visored One can't get Garcia (or Smelley, or anyone in Columbia) to become a top-flight QB who will take this program to a new level? Every QB Spurrier's had at South Carolina has been a certifiable headcase, totally unpredictable from one snap to another. Blake Mitchell lacked a high football IQ. Smelley and now Garcia also offer little in the way of innate football intelligence.
 
The reality is as unmistakable as it is bizarre: One of college football's greatest quarterback coaches has utterly failed in the attempt to mold great quarterbacks for the Gamecocks. Until South Carolina finds a leader under center who has a great natural feel for the game, the program won't rise from the middle of the SEC East.
- Matthew Zemek

4. This was Shonn Greene’s final game for Iowa, and he did it in style rushing for 132 yards and three touchdowns against a very tough South Carolina D. However, any talk about Greene’s afternoon in Tampa has to include a mention of the Hawkeye offensive line, which completely dominated the Gamecock front. Bryan Bulaga, Seth Olsen, Rob Bruggeman, Julian Vendervelde, and Kyle Calloway went old school on South Carolina, creating a wall around QB Ricky Stanzi and just enough daylight for Greene to do his work. Both Iowa lines, in fact, played huge roles in a 31-10 win that was every bit as one-sided as the score indicated.
- Richard Cirminiello
 
5. People will naturally tout Shonn Greene as the next really big thing after Iowa's star running back topped 100 yards yet again, but the key to this game was Iowa's first scoring drive, which took half a quarter (7:21), scored a touchdown, and allowed the reeling Gamecocks--fresh off their late-season tailspin--to doubt themselves anew. The difference maker on the drive was Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi, who played with remarkably elevated poise late in the team's upset of Penn State nearly two months ago. Answering his own personal wake-up call for this 11:05 a.m. (local time) kickoff, Stanzi completed three third-down passes, all of them in obvious passing situations (third-and-10, third-and-5, third-and-8), to move the sticks after Carolina's defense--keying on the run--initially stuffed Greene. Seeing Iowa excel on passing downs, the very situations the Gamecocks wanted to create, had to demoralize everyone on coordinator Ellis Johnson's defense. It wasn't until the game turned into a 21-0 runaway that Carolina's defense fully settled down. By then, however, it was much too little, and far too late. Credit Ricky Stanzi for delivering early daggers that set the emotional tone for this lopsided affair.
- Matthew Zemek