Hungry for Unique Video

122908stanzisaladdressing–Matt Nelson

Hawkeye Dining

The one thing about bowl coverage is that we need lots of material to send back. So pretty much anything on the schedule that can be covered, gets covered.

This photo is 1/30th of a second. I think it was a time period of about 1/3rd of a second during which starting Iowa Quarterback Ricky Stanzi looked up to see if we were indeed shooting video of him while he added dressing to his salad at the Outback Bowl Luncheon Monday.

Yes, Ricky, when you are a Big Ten starting quarterback and the local media needs five packages for the day of bowl coverage, your salad dressing might just make the air.

So did Shonn Greene’s pizza later in the day.122908greenepizza It should be noted here though that in this frame grab he was glancing up at a fellow teammate and not trying to figure out if KCRG’s cameras were fixed on him.

Another reminder that quarterbacks and running backs get all of the attention no matter when or where they are.

Matt Nelson’s Random Note for the Day

– The Hawkeyes and Gamecocks attened the Outback Bowl Debartelo Team Luncheon Monday. Before they ate an invocation was offered from the podium. It seems odd to hear two corporate sponsors referenced in an invocation. At least it blended in a little bit and didn’t consist of, “This invocation brought to you by Corporation X.” It was pretty close though.


Monday Recap

122908scsidfink–Matt Nelson

Sports Director John Campbell arrived in Tampa Monday and we covered a little of everything.

South Carolina Sports Information Director Steve Fink is an Aplington native (pictured at left with Campbell during SC’s Monday afternoon practice). How will the Gamecocks slow down Shonn Greene? The Outback Bowl Luncheon. The Hawkeyes at Gameworks. The North Fayette High School Danceline in Tampa.

You can find all of those stories and more at!

A Little Bit of Everything

Steve Spurrier at Monday's Practice

Steve Spurrier at Monday's Practice

 –Matt Nelson

Selected Gamecocks and Hawkeyes met the media Monday morning.
After that it was off to a joint noon luncheon in downtown Tampa.
As you can see at left, Steve Spurrier (and Iowa too) have their teams on the practice field this afternoon.
Look for all kinds of coverage from John Campbell and Matt Nelson tonight on the TV9 News at 5, 6, and 10!

Business, and Fun “Business”

122808Presser–Matt Nelson

Looking for Video?

Looking for the latest KCRG-TV9 video? Look under “As Seen on TV9” just to the right…

Meeting the Media

Sunday started with a joint press conference starring South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier and Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz.

There were a lot of the usual questions such as those about “speed” in the SEC, Spurrier’s Florida connections, Shonn Greene’s background, bowl preperation, and that sort of stuff.

One interesting item of conversation was Spurrier’s comparison of Alabama as the SEC school most like Iowa. Ferentz noted that the Gamecocks didn’t play the Crimson Tide so Iowa wasn’t able to gain anything from how South Carolina might play a team like Alabama or Iowa.

Spurrier was also asked about going winless. Why? Because his final year as a player in the NFL was in 1976. With Tampa Bay. The 0-14 ’76 Bucs. The Ol’ Ball Coach noted that he was rooting for the Lions today (although they did lose to finish the season 0-16 of course).

Practicing in 80 Degree Weather122808PracticeWide

The first 15 minutes of Iowa’s practice was open to the media over at the University of Tampa. Nothing too exciting to report from there. Just typical practice stuff while the media was in the room anyway.

Snakes On a Plane Near a Roller Coaster

The Hawkeyes and Gamecocks spent the afternoon and evening at Busch Gardens. Sure looked like a busy day there, not surprising with all of the holiday vacationers. Talked to a couple of people from Cedar Falls. They were pleased to get a lot of Hawkeye autographs in the park.

12280808sundaybuschcoastergrabSome of the Iowa Football players boarded the SheiKra. I am told that the drop on the “dive” coaster is 200-feet at a 90-degree angle.

The Hawks and Gamecocks hung out with some loud Caribbean Flamingos and “Lily.” Lily you see is a 14 year old, 12 foot, 90 pound Burmese Python.

It was entertaining to see the reactions of the athletes as they held Lily and put her around their necks. Julian Vandervelde noted that he has seen enough of them on Animal Planet and will not be attempting this should he see one in the wild.122808sundaybuschsnakesgrab

Matt Nelson’s Random Notes

– It’s really weird to look out your hotel and see the Goodyear Blimp. Raymond James Stadium is visible a couple of miles away and Tampa Bay hosted Oakland Sunday.

–  Hawkeye fans will find a depressed bunch in the Tampa Bay area this week. The Buccaneers lost their home finale to former Hawk Robert Gallery and the Raiders. While they needed a win and some help, they got neither and the NFL season is over in this area. “Sinking ship” is the term I believe is appropriate.

122808MattatPractice– I was driving around the Tampa area from site to site today listening to that Raiders/Bucs game. It’s amazing how good some of those local radio play-by-play guys are. Not that I would expect them to be bad, but when you consider some of the national tv network play-by-play men…

–  Both the Tampa Tribune and the St. Pete Times were available on street corners here today. Not only in newspaper boxes I suppose, but also by people standing in the medians and selling them. This was a sight on many corners in town.

– Busch Gardens probably wasn’t too happy with “SheiKra” today. It was having some sort of maintenence problems this afternoon and delayed the Iowa Hawkeyes as they waited to ride the roller coaster for about 45 minutes. Oops.

– Need Super Bowl merchandise? You’ll find it here. Super Bowl XLIII will be here in Tampa on 2.1.09. Drive around town and you’ll find stores that simply sell themselves as “Super Bowl Merchandise.” They’re filling strip mall store fronts and even extinct sitdown restaraunt buildings.

– Monday John Campbell is scheduled to arrive at the Outback Bowl. The big team luncheon is tomorrow at Noon. Look for that and much more Monday on KCRG-TV9 News and!

Open For Business

PalmTrees–Matt Nelson

The TV9 Tampa Bureau is open for business!

Look for updates from practice and the Iowa Hawkeyes’ visit to Busch Gardens Sunday on the KCRG-TV9 News at 5:30 and 10:00, as well as on

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Mostly Planes Though)


Waiting in Kentucky
Waiting in Kentucky

–Matt Nelson

 Is anyone here a marine biologist aircraft crew member?

Ah, the joys of air travel.

After sitting on the plane in Cedar Rapids for the runway to get cleared off a little more, and feeling like I was going through an automated car wash as they de-iced the plane, I was out of Cedar Rapids about 45 minutes late. Not too bad compared to what many have had to deal with at the airports in the last week.

After a relatively short flight to the Cincinnati Airport, which is actually in Kentucky (I suppose that’s the equivelant to the New York Giants and Jets playing home games in East Rutherford, New Jersey?), came this announcement:

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen we apologize for the inconvenience but we now expect our departure to be at 8:30 for Tampa. We are missing a crew member. We’re not sure where that person is, or if they know they’re supposed to be on this flight. We hope to have you on your way shortly.”

One was left to assume that somewhere in the Cincinnati/North Kentucky Airport a Delta crew member was wandering aimlessly in search of his/her aircraft.

Departure ended up being about an hour late. A late arrival into Tampa, but not too bad all things considered (unless you were that woman on the flight who had been trying to get to Tampa for more than 8 hours and was pacing back and forth (clarified and corrected 12.28.09)).

The TV9 Tampa Bureau opens Sunday.

The Gamecocks, Huh?


–Matt Nelson

The Gamecocks of South Carolina arrive in Tampa today. No practice for them though. Iowa practices at 12:30 (CT).

What is a Gamecock? Well, it’s what you probably think it is. Maybe a better question is how did South Carolina come to have it as its mascot?

According to The Name Game by Michael Leo Donovan South Carolina is the only school with Gamecocks as its mascot. The mascot itself is named “Cocky” by the way.

According to the book, around 1900 “the school’s feisty and spirited football team was first referred to unofficially as the Game Cocks.” It was later changed to one word.

Also noted is the fact that, “a gamecock is a fighting rooster known for its spirit and courage.” “Cock fighting has been outlawed by most states for humanitarian reasons, but it’s still held surreptitiously in many areas. The state of South Carolina has long been closely connected with the breeding and training of fighting gamecocks. General Thomas Sumter, famed guerilla fighter of the Revolutionary War was known as The Fighting Gamecock.”

The battle of the birds, Hawkeyes and Gamecocks, less than a week away.