Dec. 30, 2009
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MIAMI – Any true Hawkeye fan knows what Iowa football is all about. Terms like hustle, hard work and character are words that not only describe Iowa football, but the attitude of the state itself. While some people take these things for granted, experts in the world of college football are quick to make comparisons between these terms and the long line of success of Hawkeye football.
Football announcing veteran Dick Stockton and his broadcast partner, Charles Davis, were at practice Wednesday in preparation for the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl. Stockton and Davis, who will be calling the game for FOX, also chatted with Ricky Stanzi, Tyler Sash, Norm Parker, Ken O’Keefe and Kirk Ferentz after practice, to get a deeper knowledge of Hawkeye football. Both television personalities agree; it doesn’t get much better than the Hawkeyes.
Stockton and Davis were both quick to point out the type of person leading the football program in Iowa City. Iowa fans know that Ferentz is one of the best, both on and off the field, but that image is upheld on a national stage as well.
“I think the Iowa program in general is one of the better programs in the country,” Davis said. “I don’t say that because I’m fortunate enough to work this game. Take a good look at what is going on with this program. Take a look at the people at the top pruning this program, and what type of person leads this program. Values still exist at Iowa.”
Those values, Davis believes, are the reason why Iowa is playing in a BCS bowl game. Look at the type of kid that wants to be a Hawkeye,” Davis said. Iowa kids, they want to be Hawks. That’s a big, big deal.”
Stockton is also a firm believer that team values equals success.
“I just think that all you have to do is look at the history of the Iowa program and some of the people that have come out of there,” Stockton said. “Not just looking at the professionals that have come out, but the guys that play now for the team. The program has values.”
Ferentz’s career has crossed paths with many other successful coaches. Bill Belichick, Joe Paterno and Bill Parcells to name a few. Stockton believes that the similarities have helped build another solid winning tradition at Iowa.
“The program has values.”
FOX Announcer Dick Stockton
“You see the kind of person that we are talking about,” Stockton said. “All their histories have been values, hard play, you know, just solid people who have been winners. That’s what I see in the coach (Ferentz), and that’s what I see in the program.”
As far as the FedEx Orange Bowl itself, both announcers expect an exciting game. Davis is anxious to see the talented Iowa defense work against the high-powered Georgia Tech offense.
“It’s a potent offense versus a defense that prides itself in stopping whatever you throw out there,” Davis said. “That’s Iowa football. Even if you think you are bigger, better or faster, Iowa seems to find a way to slow you down, if not outright stop you.”
“It’s going to be a chess game,” Stockton said. “The key is, I think, how does Iowa, even though they have had time to prepare for this, you can’t simulate what Georgia Tech has on the field. The key is how does Iowa nullify that?”
Iowa’s come from behind victories not only vaulted Iowa into a BCS game, they impressed a broadcast legend as well. When asked what impressed him most about the 2009-10 Hawkeyes, Stockton was quick with a response.
“The fact that they’ve been able to trail and come from behind,” Stockton said. “The fact that they play to the final gun. This team will not give in. Sometimes, having that trait of not giving in will pay off. If you are close in the game, even against a team like Georgia Tech with all their offense, you can hang in until the end.”
Sounds like perseverance might be the term that fits this team the best.