Who are these Black Bears of Maine prepping to come into Kinnick Stadium Aug. 30 to try to take a massive chomp out of Iowa’s hopes and dreams for the 2008 season?
Well, they are defensive end Jordan Stevens, whose athletic claim to fame was downhill skiing before he came to Orono (the home of the U. of Maine). He was an excellent peformer for his high school ski team in Temple, Maine.
“Skiing taught me not to be afraid to go after something,” Stevens said.
He also said “It’s a big deal playing a team like Iowa. But it’s just another game.”
And: “My mind-set is, it’ll be like any other game.”
Everyone who believes that, stand on your head. These Bears have been frothing at the mouths for this game ever since it was scheduled. They’re silent but deadly in Maine. Sure, they only won four of their 11 games last year and are picked to finish fourth in the Northern division of the Colonial Athletic Association.
That’s just how they like it. You underestimate the Black Bears, you risk losing a limb or two.
A player contending to be Maine’s No. 1 placekicker was on the football team’s video crew last year. That’s the Black Bears. They can do it all.
“Even when they told me they didn’t have room for me. I like working out, so I worked out anyway. I’d come in here … 9:30, 10 o’clock, and I’d kick into those field goal posts,” John Moloney said.
Maine’s coach, Crafty Jack Cosgrove, invited Moloney to join the team as a walk-on.
Moloney and three freshmen are competing for the starting kicker’s job.
“A lot of the things that are going to be somewhat new to whoever is going to be our first-string kicker won’t be new to John because he has at least traveled with us and been around our football operations,” Cosgrove said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s our kicker this year.”
Wouldn’t be surprised? That’s a good one. Crafty Jack probably knows Moloney can pop them in from 60 yards if asked.
Oh, the tricks Crafty Jack and his vicious Black Bears have in store for the Hawkeyes. Why couldn’t Iowa have scheduled a softer season-opener, like a game against Missouri. Oh right, they scheduled Mizzou several years ago for a series of games, and Mizzou backed out of the deal.
Many programs would have said to heck with it and filled that suddenly open date with a patsy. But not Iowa. No, the Hawkeyes are bringing in Maine.
It’s very brave. But is it wise?