July 26, 2009
- 2008 Highlight Video
- 2009 Spring Camp Central
- New and renewal season ticket customers: Purchase yours online!
- Outback Bowl Central
- Iowa and the Big Ten Network
- Iowa Football wallpaper
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa strong safety Tyler Sash led the Big Ten Conference in interceptions as a freshman in 2008 (five in 12 games, 0.42 per game). In fact, when reflecting on Sash’s first season as a Hawkeye, one of the most difficult things could be choosing a favorite `pick.’
Was it the one in the end zone that thwarted an Iowa State scoring opportunity during a 17-5 win on Sept. 13? How about the one in the fourth period against Penn State that set up the final scoring drive of a 24-23 win on Nov. 8? Was it the one with a 58-yard return against Minnesota on Nov. 22, leading to Iowa’s seventh and final touchdown during a 55-0 Hawkeye rout? How about one of the two Sash returned for a total of 74 yards during a 31-10 win in the Outback Bowl against South Carolina?
It’s nice to have so many options.
Sash played in 12 games last season, recording 53 total tackles (28 solo, 25 assists) with six pass break-ups and five interceptions for 147 yards (an average of 29.4 yards per return). He injured his shoulder against Pittsburgh in the fourth week on Sept. 20. Following the season in which Iowa finished 9-4 overall (5-3 in the Big Ten), Sash and defensive teammates Brett Greenwood and A.J. Edds had similar shoulder surgeries. Good news for Hawkeye fans is bad news for the rest of the league: Not only was the surgery a success, but Sash has never felt healthier.
“I feel better than I did last season, so I’m ready to get going,” Sash said. “All three of us are coming around and we’re recovered.”
Rehabilitation might have kept Sash from participating in spring drills, but it didn’t keep him from fine-tuning his game.
“We’ve been getting after it even when we were in our slings,” Sash said. “Workouts are going well. I can’t wait to get going. Camp starts in a couple weeks and we’re ready to go.”
“We can be as good as we set our minds to. It’s basically up to us. Our coaches are going to give us a game plan, but it’s up to the players to get the job done. It’s on the defense’s shoulders. I want the team to do as well as it can and go as far as we can. That’s the No. 1 priority.”
UI strong safety
Head coaches and select players will convene in Chicago tomorrow and Tuesday for the annual Big Ten Football Media Days. Sash will not be in attendance, but he took time from summer training to share his thoughts with hawkeyesports.com.
Iowa returns eight starters from a defense that ranked fifth in the NCAA in scoring (13.0 points per game), ninth in fewest rushing yards allowed (94.0 yards per game) and 12th in total defense (291.31 yards per game). Joining Sash as returning defensive starters are ends Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard, linebackers Edds, Pat Angerer and Jeremiha Hunter, cornerback Amari Spievey and Greenwood, a free safety.
“We can be as good as we set our minds to,” Sash said. “It’s basically up to us. Our coaches are going to give us a game plan, but it’s up to the players to get the job done. It’s on the defense’s shoulders. I want the team to do as well as it can and go as far as we can. That’s the No. 1 priority.”
The Hawkeyes take pride in their stout defense, but when asked why he is so optimistic heading in to the season-opening game against Northern Iowa on Sept. 5, Sash highlighted the other side of the ball.
“Rick (Stanzi) is coming back,” Sash said. “We have an experienced quarterback.”
Stanzi played in all 13 Hawkeye games last season and posted an 8-3 record as a starter. Iowa enters the 2009 campaign on a four-game winning streak, and if not for a three-point setback at Illinois on Nov. 1, would have seven wins in a row. The Hawkeyes not only return eight starters on defense, but six on offense and both the kicker and punter. Sash knows that performance, not seniority, is required in order for Iowa to play in its sixth January bowl game since the 2002 season.
“We have a lot of experienced guys, but experience doesn’t mean anything unless you go out and prove it every day,” Sash said. “We do have experienced guys, but it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t come out and show up to play every day.”
A native of Oskaloosa, Iowa, Sash was twice named first team all-state in football. He was also a first-team all-state guard in basketball and a state place-winning sprinter in track. From a young age, Sash was anxious to trade his maroon Indians uniform for the Hawkeye colors.
“Playing for Iowa is a dream come true,” Sash said. “My whole life I wanted to be in the black and gold — in any sport that I could play. I’m just happy it’s football. I love football.”