Aug. 5, 2010
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CHICAGO — University of Iowa graduate assistant football coaches Charlie Bullen and David Raih joined Illinois head coach Ron Zook on a 13-day journey to the Persian Gulf beginning May 13. The event, called the Coaches Tour 2010, and the opportunity to meet Bullen and Raih, still sticks out to Zook.
“Two great guys first of all,” Zook said Tuesday at Big Ten Football Media Days in the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. “We had an unbelievable experience. I really enjoyed getting to know them and being around them, talking about Iowa and talking about (Illinois), them having played against Illinois and the rivalry and so forth. It was fun because we were there for the same reason and we had a great time. Charlie and Dave…they are good people.”
Bullen, Raih and Zook were among 34 in a group organized by Morale Entertainment with the support and sponsorship from Armed Forces Entertainment and United Services Organizations (USO). Once the party took off from Wichita on May 23, it made eight stops in eight days, traveling 17,000 miles and visiting 15,000 United States troops serving overseas.
“I was humbled. I think we were all humbled by what we saw, the attitude of the troops, how they work,” Zook said. “We were trying to some way thank (the troops) for what they do. It wasn’t a joy ride, it was a mission and we covered a lot of ground, ate and slept when we could. (Bullen and Raih) kept everything going.”
Iowa and the Illini do not meet on the gridiron this season, but they will resume the rivalry in 2011.
Preseason defensive MVP would vote for Clayborn
For the second consecutive season, Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones has been tabbed preseason Big Ten Conference Defensive MVP. Jones, a senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, doesn’t vote for the honor, but if he could, he would choose University of Iowa senior defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
“When we played them (a 15-13 Hawkeye victory Oct. 24 in East Lansing) he was tremendous,” Jones said. “He was a game-changer. He gave (Michigan State quarterback) Kirk (Cousins) a very, very hard time. I would vote for him.”
Jones and Clayborn do not know each other personally. Instead, Jones said he spoke more last season with Hawkeye linebackers Pat Angerer (now with the Indianapolis Colts) and A.J. Edds (now with the Miami Dolphins).
What is it about Clayborn that Jones likes so much?
“He has great hands,” Jones said. “He gets offensive linemen straight down and he goes after the quarterback. He plays team defense — he’s not out there always trying to make plays; he does what he can for the team. I think he’s a great, physical player.”
The Hawkeyes host Michigan State on Oct. 30.
The Hawkeyes will hold their annual media day tomorrow (Friday, Aug. 6). The season-opener is against Eastern Illinois at home Saturday, Sept. 4.