Next week’s Outback Bowl game against Florida will be the final game for an Iowa senior class that has led the program to unprecedented heights. The Hawkeyes will be playing in their fourth straight January bowl and have also captured a pair of Big Ten championships during that span. Coach Kirk Ferentz says the seniors were instrumental in turning the season around after the Hawks suffered their second straight loss at Northwestern to fall to 5-4 on the season. He says the focused on looking ahead instead of focusing on what’s behind them.
One of the seniors is linebacker Chad Greenway who could have opted for the N-F-L draft last spring. Greenway on how he has improved in the past year, saying the biggest growth has come as a leader for the younger guys. He says he’s also gotten better at getting off of blocks. Greenway says with one game left in an Iowa uniform he is not even thinking about what lies ahead. He says it’s not difficult to focus as he says they have to be ready for Florida or the sting of the last loss will be with him for a long time.
Greenway has teamed with fellow senior Abdul Hodge at linebacker and both played in Iowa’s 2004 win over Florida in the Outback Bowl. Hodge says this is a much better Gator squad that’s better coached on both sides of the ball.
Center Brian Ferentz is just happy to be playing in this year’s game. He missed the Outback Bowl two years ago. He was injured in October and made the trip. Ferentz says it’s a good Florida team and a good bowl trip for the seniors. This current class of seniors has a record of 38-11 heading into next weeks game.