Sept. 9, 2004
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Junior linebacker Chad Greenway has a copy of August’s Sporting News hanging in his locker. In that publication, Abdul Hodge, George Lewis and he were named the fourth-best group of linebackers in the country. But 81 pages later, the same magazine calls him the most overrated player in the Big Ten.
“If any player gets bad publicity, they’re going to put it up in their room or in their locker just to give them a little more motivation,” Greenway said. “It motivates me because anytime someone tells you that you’re not good enough or that you can’t do something, it’s something that’s going to motivate you to do the opposite.”
It apparently worked.
“Probably a little bit,” Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Chad’s one of those guys that doesn’t need a lot of prodding or pushing or motivation. He comes kind of ready equipped. I read somewhere that he had that posted in his locker, and sometimes those things help. I know it doesn’t hurt.”
On Saturday against Kent State, Greenway took a major step toward proving those preseason prognosticators wrong.
He led the Iowa defense with the first two interceptions of his career for 54 yards, including one 30-yarder for a touchdown. He also collected 10 tackles (6 solo, 4 assists), including two for a loss and recorded one pass breakup. In sum, the Hawkeyes held the Golden Flashes to minus-13 yards rushing and just 110 total offensive yards.
“Chad’s one of those guys that doesn’t need a lot of prodding or pushing or motivation. He comes kind of ready equipped. I read somewhere that he had that posted in his locker, and sometimes those things help. I know it doesn’t hurt.”
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz
After that performance, Greenway was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National 1A Defensive Player of the Week and the Big Ten’s defensive player of the week.
It also seemed that his performance was the best Ferentz has seen from one of his stars on defense.
“It’s probably fair to say,” Ferentz said. “That’s what you expect. Chad will be the first one to tell you that he did a lot of things last year with athleticism and hustle, but he has some areas of the game that need refining. His youth shows up that way.
“But he’s solid in all of his reads and when you combine that with his athleticism, he can be a pretty good player.”
Greenway doesn’t think that his game last Saturday was the best he’s had though.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think that may have been one of the best games I’ve played, but last year I had some more fundamentally sound games, made fewer mental mistakes and on Saturday the ball just popped in my direction and I caught it and ran. That’s really all you can do.”
However, Greenway does a lot to make sure he’s in the position to catch the balls that just pop in his direction.
“He’s a guy capable of making big plays,” says Ferentz. “He has a knack for being around when things happen. He’s got that characteristic about him. He and Abdul kind of contrast each other with their styles, but both are invaluable to our team. We’re fortunate to have both of those guys there.”
This week wasn’t the first he’s been named Big Ten Player of the Week either. Last season, he won that award after recording 11 solo tackles and six assists against Arizona State.
“I just try to go out there and play each snap as hard as I can and read my keys. If I do that, and run to the ball as fast as I can every play, I’m going to be around the ball. I just got lucky a few times the other day.”
Linebacker Chad Greenway
Through his collegiate career, the Mt. Vernon, S.D.-native has picked up 86 solo tackles, 61 assists, seven pass break-ups, two sacks and one block and one forced fumble.
But if you ask him, it’s just about running wherever the ball is. Small wonder why he won the team’s hustle award on defense last season.
“I just try to go out there and play each snap as hard as I can and read my keys,” Greenway said. “If I do that, and run to the ball as fast as I can every play, I’m going to be around the ball. I just got lucky a few times the other day.”
Whether Saturday’s performance was luck or talent will become clearer as the season goes on, and as the Hawkeyes (No. 13 USA/Today; No. 16 AP) face in-state rival Iowa State in the first event of the new Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series at 11:10 a.m. this Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium.
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com