Wednesday Quotebook: It's Early, So There's No Need For Panic For Hawkeyes

John Bohnenkamp

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery knows it's early in the season.

Monday's 93-78 loss to DePaul came in the second game of the season for the Hawkeyes, so McCaffery knows there is a long way to go.

Which is why, during his media availability on Wednesday, McCaffery said it's not a time for mood swings.

"Yeah. I think you have to be (calm), because I think if you overreact, then (the players) overreact," McCaffery said. "I think it's only human nature. You have to be honest with them and they have to be honest with themselves. I think we have a group of young guys with character and they're willing to assess themselves honestly, as do we as coaches, all the time."

McCaffery took the blame for what he called a long practice on Saturday, two days before the game.

"That's my fault," he said. "That's not their fault. We tried to get a lot in. Probably did too much. So we agree that we probably should have done it a little differently. Let's do it differently next time and not make that an excuse for anybody."

McCaffery said the Hawkeyes tried to do too much too early after falling behind 10-0, and then 19-2, in Monday's game.

The Hawkeyes were known for their comebacks last season — they were down 15 points with 4:30 to play before rallying to beat Northwestern, trailed Cincinnati by 13 points before coming back to win in the first round of the NCAA tournament, then fell behind by 25 points two days later to Tennessee before a second-half run forced overtime in the 83-77 loss.

"Why didn't we do it the other night? I don't know that I have an answer for that, but I think in the future at some point we're going to get behind," McCaffery said. "We've got to make sure we do a better job of handling that.

"Like I said (on Monday night), I took a timeout at 10-0 — maybe should have taken it at 6-0, maybe at 8-0. I took my second timeout relatively early — maybe I should have taken it earlier and addressed those things.

"But I thought they were trying. We were not clicking, but I thought they were competing. I didn't want to call timeout and start screaming at everybody. That doesn't help at that point. It's not ... challenging them that way at that point was not going to help, in my opinion. So it was just try to stay together."

Turn out the lights

Freshmen Joe Toussaint and Patrick McCaffery, Fran's son, were on the Carver-Hawkeye Arena court for more than an hour after Monday's game, getting up extra shots.

It's something they did in Iowa's practice facility after Friday's season opener against SIU Edwardsville.

Fran McCaffery appreciates the work, but he also knows they need the rest.

So he made sure they got home early after that first game.

"It was probably about 11:30 and they were still in there, so I got them out of there," McCaffery said, noting he turned off the lights in the gym. "But that's what you want from your young guys. It's what you want from everybody, quite frankly."

"It's happened to all of us," center Luka Garza said. "I think after the Wisconsin game (a 72-66 loss), you saw me in here last year. He told me to get out of the gym.

"It's definitely happened to all of us. It's just the type of team we have."

Garza said it's just the nature of the players to get in extra work, especially after a game like Monday.

"You've got to take care of your bodies, especially this early in the year — it's a long season," he said. 

Garza noted that the Iowa locker room automatically locks at midnight, and he got locked out last season.

"Unless you put something in the door, it gets locked," he said, laughing. "I had my phone on me. I was with my dad. I called the police or someone, and they had like an extra key and got us in there." 

"Guys will be in there all hours of the night pretty much all year long," McCaffery said. "But especially after a game where they didn't feel like they shot it that well or we didn't play well, they want to get in there and get a workout. (Forward Tyler) Cook used to do that a lot.
"So at some point I'm going to go in there and say,' All right, you got to go to bed.' It's the law of diminishing returns. You got your shots up, got comfortable. You felt like you needed to do that. Now it's time to go eat and go to sleep."