Christensen Can Watch Iowa Game From Stands

Christensen Can Watch Iowa Game From Stands

Jake Christensen's father told the Des Moines Register that his son has been rooting for the Hawkeyes all season. It sure doesn't seem that the former Iowa quarterback has felt that way in comments he has made. Perhaps an apology is in order if he returns to watch his ex-teammates and coaches play at Kinnick on Saturday.

So, Jake Christensen will come back to Kinnick Stadium this Saturday for the first time since transferring to Eastern Illinois in the offseason. I, for one, hope he's made to buy a ticket.

Harsh? Perhaps, but he could have been welcomed back had he bit his tongue instead of bashing the Hawkeyes.

Des Moines Register blogger Andrew Logue talked with Jake's outspoken father, Jeff Christensen, who said in the blog his son has been pulling for Iowa all season long:

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"He's been rooting for those guys all year," Jeff Christensen said. "They're friends of his and he cares about them."

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Really? That seems a bit odd when considering some of the things Jake has said since leaving the Hawkeyes.

Once it was announced that Jake would be attending Eastern Illinois after graduating from Iowa and deciding to leave the school, he spoke with ESPN blogger Adam Rittenberg. Let's just say that Jake pulled few punches when asked about his former program and coaches:

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"As far as having a fair shot, in my heart I can't really say that I believe that," Jake said. "But that being said, I don't have any negative energy toward them. They did what they did and it worked out for them. They are where they want to be.

"At the end of the day, I'm glad I went through it."

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To say he wasn't given a fair shot is a direct knock on Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz, who went to bat for Jake time and time again. Offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe wanted to pull Jake earlier into last season, but the boss stayed with him, despite some atrocious play.

The guy that O'Keefe wanted to play was Rick Stanzi, who is 17-3 as a starter since taking over for Christensen. Jake started ahead of Stanzi for the entire 2007 season, the only year Iowa has missed the post season since 2000.

When Jake made those comments to Rittenberg, it created a stir on talk radio, message boards and in Hawkeye fan circles. After handling his demotion with class during the season, he levied hits at the program when he could have continued on the high road. It changed how many of the Hawkeye faithful feel about him.

But maybe, just maybe, some Iowa fans chalked it up to him being upset things didn't work out with the Hawkeyes. They gave him a pass.

Jake wasn't done.

Rittenberg wrote another blog with Jake talking about taking his Eastern team heading into Penn State, a place he played at with Iowa. He was then asked to explain why the Hawkeyes have been successful in against the Nittany Lions.

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"I don't know, man," he said. "They get some breaks against that team that I've never seen before in my life."

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Yeah, I'm not seeing the love for his former program. And neither do some of his ex-teammates, specifically senior wide receiver Trey Stross, who roomed with Jake. This is what he had to say in Andy Hamilton's Iowa City Press-Citizen blog earlier this week:

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"I don't like people talking bad about my school, so I'm not going to really talk to you," Stross said. "Nobody really likes the negative guy in the group. I don't want to be hearing bad stuff about the school I go to because I love this place, I love the coaches and think they're doing a great job, and all the players on our team care. When Jake was here, you guys saw him, he was coaching on the sideline, he was helping out, he had a good attitude. But what he was doing early in the season probably wasn't the smartest thing. I'm sure he regrets what he was saying, I don't know."

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Further more, Christensen has posted some disparaging things about the Hawkeyes on his Face Book page. Many of his ex-teammates are friends with him on the social network, which led to Stross removing him.

"He was very mature about things last year and he was a good leader," Stross said to Hamilton. "He left, which was fine. You've got to respect that. He wants to play and I'd do the same thing, I would say. But I think he could've did that without bashing the program. A lot of stuff he said was not true, either."

There's nothing wrong with giving credit to Christensen for what he did in helping Iowa to recruit a highly-regarded class in 2005 (although I think you sell the other members of the group short if you say Jake was the main reason they chose Iowa). Jake also deserves props for handling last year's demotion a lot better than did Iowa State's Phillip Bates around the same time.

It's also hard to say if Jake is looking to jump back in and hug his former teammates if they defeat Northwestern on Saturday to move to 10-0. His father was quoted in the Logue's blog as saying as much, but you have to wonder if he's representing Jake's feelings.

I imagine Jake will buy a ticket on Saturday. Maybe while he's sitting in the stands he can think about what he's said to hurt his former teammates and coaches. Who knows, perhaps he can reach out and apologize? It would be a start.

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