Oct. 31, 2014
- Hawkeye Football Game Day
- 2014 Fall Camp Central
- Read the October issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone/iPad app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye android app
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It was summer conditioning one day early in the career of University of Iowa defensive tackle Mike Daniels.
Daniels was tired. He was hot. But he listened.
“(UI strength and conditioning) coach (Chris) Doyle said you have to dig deep and keep going, you have to love this and tell yourself this is good for me,” Daniels said Friday after walk-through at the UI Indoor Football Practice Facility.
“When the game is on the line and you need it and you didn’t put the work in, you’ll reach deep down and it won’t be there. That’s why you put the work in now so when you need it, it will be there.”
Not only does Daniels remember that message, he uses it often during practice or games as a starter for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.
“That sticks with me and I carry it with me in my training so I can make deposits and have good withdrawals on game day,” Daniels said.
Daniels will serve as honorary captain when the Hawkeyes (5-2 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) host Northwestern (3-4, 2-2) on Saturday in Kinnick Stadium (11:01 a.m., BTN). Daniels is in his third season with the Packers. He has started all eight games, recording 24 tackles and 2 ½ sacks. He has played in 38 NFL contests.
“How badly do you want to do it? This goes past fundamentals, past watching film, past X’s and O’s and it gets down to this man versus that man. Who wants it more? How bad do you want it, and how bad are you going to get after it so you can get it?”
Football Honorary Captain
A native of Blackwood, New Jersey, the 6-foot, 305-pound Daniels was lightly recruited out of Highland Regional High School. By the time his Hawkeye career ended, Daniels was second-team All-Big Ten, permanent team captain, and recipient of an Iron Hawk Award.
“You can’t put a dollar sign on what you learn at Iowa and the values you get from coach Ferentz, coach Doyle, the whole staff,” Daniels said. “I see why coach chooses to stay here. NFL teams want him and coach Doyle every year, but he chooses not to work with men with egos so he can help raise young men into men. I respect that because I see how much I have grown up being here.”
Daniels was a Hawkeye student-athlete when the current upperclassmen were cutting their teeth on Big Ten football. A mentor to them then, Daniels is now their No. 1 advocate.
“I brag about these guys all the time,” Daniels said. “I tell everybody about Carl (Davis) and Kevonte (Martin-Manley), Louis (Trinca-Pasat), Mike Hardy, Big Daddy (Brandon) Scherff, (Jordan) Walsh. I talk about all those guys. I’m very proud of them.”
There have been plenty of highlights in Daniels’ career — 35 Hawkeye wins, three bowl victories, an NFL career — but Friday’s invitation to be honorary captain moves toward the top of his personal list.
“It is one of the biggest honors I have received in my life,” Daniels said. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for coach Ferentz, my family has nothing but the utmost respect for coach Ferentz, and for him to choose me as a guy he wanted to speak to his team is amazing.”
Daniels’ message was simple: the difference between a win or loss against Northwestern comes down to desire.
“How badly do you want to do it? This goes past fundamentals, past watching film, past X’s and O’s and it gets down to this man versus that man,” Daniels said. “Who wants it more? How bad do you want it, and how bad are you going to get after it so you can get it?”
Daniels will accompany Iowa captains Scherff, Trinca-Pasat, Mark Weisman, and Quinton Alston to the center of the field for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game, and on the sidelines during the contest.