IOWA CITY, Ia. – They’ve been on college football coaching sidelines a combined 75 years, working with or for such notables as Mack Brown, Bobby Bowden and Jackie Sherrill.
Wally Burnham of Iowa State and Greg Davis of Iowa – they have more tales about the rock’em, sock’em world of the sport than anyone watching Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. annual Iowa State-Iowa rivalry at Kinnick Stadium.
They’ll shake hands and converse on the field before the game, just as they have done in the past – maybe even discuss that October afternoon in 2010 when Burnham’s Cyclone defense beat a Texas offense coached by Davis in Austin.
Then they’ll adjorn to their places – one on the sidelines plotting defensive strategy, and the other in the press box running an offense.
“And if we’re lucky, we’ll do it all over again next year,” Burnham said with a slight chuckle.
Burnham is in his 41st year in the college coaching business, since 2009 blueprinting Iowa State defenses. Davis is in his 34th coaching season –after a 13-year run at Texas, he’s now drawing up the offense for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.
“When coaching gets in your blood, you can’t get rid of it,” Davis said.
They’ll be cutaway video targets during Saturday’s Big Ten Network telecast — as will players they coach. The camera will zero in on:
– Iowa State linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein, the best one-team tandem at that position Iowa will face this season.
“Extremely talented players who never come off the field,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “They play near the line of scrimmage as well as they play back in (pass) coverage.”
– Damon Bullock, the Iowa running back who responded to his inaugural start last Saturday with 150 rushing yards on 30 carries. He’ll have to avoid the Cyclones’ talented linebacking duo for a second 100-yard rushing game in a row.
Then the cameras might focus again on the veteran coordinators – especially if the game comes down to a potential game-changing play in which Burnham’s defense is forced to stop Davis’ offense in a critical, game-changing situation.
The Cyclones might recall plays Texas ran in 2010 – when Iowa State beat beat the 22nd-ranked Longhorns for the first time in history, 28-21, a week after losing 52-0 at Oklahoma.
“You know those plays are all installed at Iowa,” Knott said.
Or, Burnham can mentally replay Iowa’s game-winning play last Saturday – the third-and-nine call from the Northern Illinois 23-yard line with just more than 2 minutes remaining. That’s when Bullock scooted left for a touchdown.
“Pretty crafty, that Greg Davis,” Burnham said. “Crafty – hell, it was gutsy, if you ask me. You’re usually looking for a pass in that situation.
“I’m not sure Vince Lombardi – if he was calling plays – would have called that. That’s Greg Davis for you.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football