Many Happy Returns

Dec. 10, 2004

There seemed to be a theme to Iowa’s visit with the media Thursday as the Hawkeyes continued their preparations for the 2005 Capital One Bowl in Orlando: Many Happy Returns.

For some of the Hawkeyes, Iowa’s third trip to the state of Florida beckons memories of their first, the 2003 FedEx Orange Bowl. It’s a benchmark that proved to be useful a year ago when Iowa ripped Florida in the 2004 Outback Bowl.

“We’ll never forget what it felt like to come home after (the Orange Bowl). We squandered an opportunity for the program.”
UI linebacker Chad Greenway

“We weren’t as focused as we should have been,” said UI linebacker Abdul Hodge. “We were taking pictures of the beach, South Beach, our hotel, the stadium.”

Senior defensive back Sean Considine said Iowa’s loss to Southern Cal was tougher than tough. “It was a complete embarrassment,” he said.

The Hawkeyes did what good teams do, however, when they returned to Florida last year. They learned from their mistakes. They plan to take the same approach to preparations for this year’s date with Lousiana State, the team favored to win this year’s New Year’s Day assignment — enjoy the environment, but only after taking care of business.

“We’ll never forget what it felt like to come home after that one,” said UI linebacker Chad Greenway. “We squandered an opportunity for the program.”

Hodge used Thursday’s forum to indicate that the Capital One Bowl won’t be his last in an Iowa uniform. “I’m coming back for my senior year,” said the all-Big Ten defender. That announcement undoubtedly put smiles on fans of the Hawkeyes, frowns on the faces of Iowa’s opponents, a furrow in the brow of his talented younger brother who is currently making recruiting visits.

And, according to the Hawkeyes, there’s never been a question about Kirk Ferentz vis-a-vis if he was coming, going, staying, or leaving Iowa City. Ferentz’s name continues to be linked to virtually every job opening in college or professional football despites his on-going efforts to convince everyone otherwise.

“We figure our coach is going to be at the top of every list because of what he’s done here,” said Greenway. “We take it as a compliment. And we also have confidence that in addition to be a great coach, he’s going to be our coach.”

The Hawkeyes will leave Iowa City Dec. 23 for Orlando.