“All that being said, we thought we could win it last year,” Brands added. “Two years ago we were hoping to get hot and that’s not how you want to live. You want to live with domination and winning even on your down weeks and getting performances out of guys that are meaningful. And that’s what we did this year.”
Norm Parker, defensive coordinator for the University of Iowa football team was also in attendance on Wednesday. Parker’s defenses have led the Hawkeyes to a pair of Big Ten titles in his 10 years on head coach Kirk Ferentz’s staff.
In 2007, the Hawkeyes were 6-6 overall and 4-4 in Big Ten play. Iowa started the season 2-4, then closed the season 4-2 and just missed a making it to a seventh straight bowl game by losing their final game to Western Michigan.
“At the end of the season, we had to win five games to go to a bowl,” Parker said. “We won four as everybody knows and we lost the last one. I think if we would have won the last game it would have been as satisfying a season as I have been a part of.”
Parker’s defense will return five starters in 2008 as they lost six to graduation.
The defensive signal caller will look to some promising prospects to fill the holes vacated by defensive ends Bryan Mattison and Kenny Iwebema; linebackers Mike Humpal and Mike Klinkenborg; and cornerbacks Charles Godfrey and Adam Shada.
On the defensive line, Parker feels last season’s back-ups will fit in nicely.
“I think Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard could be very good football players,” Parker said. “Iwebema and Mattison are darn good football players, they are with pro football teams right now, but I expect Clayborn and Ballard to come in there and be the same kind of players.”