Nov. 24, 2004
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NOTE: This article is one of five profiling the senior class of the 2004 Iowa Hawkeyes. It originally appeared in one of the football game programs.
Sean Considine admits he didn’t know too much about the University of Iowa football program before he walked on in the 2000 season.
The Hawkeyes were then ranked 11th in the Big Ten after failing to record a conference victory and posting a 1-10 overall record under first-year coach Kirk Ferentz. And Iowa barely improved his first season on the team, with a 3-9 record and an eighth place conference finish.
But the success the team has had since then – three straight bowl game appearances and a share of the Big Ten Championship in 2002, just to name a few – has left the senior safety feeling like he walked into a “gold mine.”
“When I look back on it, I couldn’t have been any luckier,” Considine says. “Coming in on a new coach, who wasn’t nationally recognized, and I walk into this program. Now, four years later, he’s considered one of the top football coaches in the nation.”
Like other walk-ons, Considine used special teams as his “ticket” to the field.
“I took the attitude that there were a lot of guys who looked at special teams and said, `I don’t feel like doing that,’ or `It’s for other people,'” he said. “When I came here, special teams were my ticket to get out there, so I took it real seriously.
“I still do to this day.”
Indeed, Considine was never going to reprise his role as running back – a position he had on the Byron (IL) High School team that won the state title in 1999, and the role where he was able to accumulate school records of 4,010 rushing yards and of 34 career touchdowns.
Considine replaced fellow walk-on Derek Pagel, who graduated in 2002 and was taken by the Jets in the fifth round of the NFL draft.
In his first season, Considine saw action in all 12 games because of his willingness to take the tackles and blocks on special teams.
During the 2001 season, Considine was able to recover a Penn State fumble on a kickoff return that kept the Nittany Lions from gaining momentum after the Hawkeyes had given up a safety in the second quarter. The recovery led to an Iowa touchdown just before the half.
Iowa won that game by just six points.
But Considine’s career has not just been highlighted by such decisive plays. They seem to be a routine occurrence.
One half, however, stands above the rest for Considine.
“It was just unbelievable. I’ve never been in a game where we’ve come back and won it like that. It was a great experience, and the fact that I was even around on the last play of the game was unbelievable.”
Safety Sean Considine on the 2003 Wisconsin game
In the final game of the season last year – a game that would do much to determine bowl selection – Wisconsin looked to down the Hawkeyes at Madison in less than ideal conditions: fog, mist, cold, and darkness.
Sean returned a 24-yard interception, in the third quarter, to the Badger’s one-yard line that set up Iowa’s go-ahead touchdown. Considine could have easily been the Hawkeyes’ player of the game.
But he wasn’t done.
Wisconsin made a late charge in the fourth quarter that culminated in a make-or-break pass play with seconds remaining in the game. John Stocco’s fourth-and-goal pass from the four, intended for Jonathan Orr, was incomplete. Considine batted it down to preserve the Hawkeye victory.
“It was just unbelievable,” Considine says. “I’ve never been in a game where we’ve come back and won it like that. It was a great experience, and the fact that I was even around on the last play of the game was unbelievable.”
In addition to his work on pass breakups and fumble recoveries, Considine has recorded four blocked punts, three of which were recovered for touchdowns.
It’s no small wonder that he’s earned the team Hustle Award three years in a row.
“I really felt he was one of the most underrated players on our team last year, and we had a lot of good players,” says Ferentz. “I just think he’s a nice football player, and we’re really counting on him to be not only a great player but a great leader.”
Considine is more than just an athlete. With three academic all-Big Ten awards, the marketing major has mastered the student-athlete balancing act.
“It’s all about learning the system,” he said. “I’m not going to tell you that I study more than anybody else. But, I’ve learned how to manage my time well. When I have something to do I get it done.”
During the football season Considine averages 5 ½ hours of sleep per night, with early-morning lifting and late-night film sessions. But the hours of practice and study have paid off, according to his coach.
“He’s a very good athlete. He has good football instincts and really studies the game,” Ferentz said. “It’s a combination of a lot of good physical attributes and the right mental traits that allow him to get into position to make some pretty good plays for us.”
Barry Pump, hawkeyesports.com