Abdul Hodge is one half of a terrific twosome of linebackers for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
August 15, 2004
hawkeyesports.com note: The following was written by Kevin Evans and first appeared in August 15, 2004 editions of the Waterloo Courier.
In addition to being one of the best sets of linebackers in the nation and teammates on the Iowa football team, Hodge and Greenway are competitors.
They are competitors in everything they do, on and off the field.
"Competition makes you better, so we try to compete with each other in anything we do."
UI linebacker Abdul Hodge
"Competition makes you better, so we try to compete with each other in anything we do," said Hodge, a junior from football rich Florida.
"You name it," said Greenway, who came from a small South Dakota town. "The other day we were signing some Big Ten forms to make sure you are eligible, and we competed to see who could get done the fastest. We compete in everything we do."
That competitive spirit served the Hawkeye defense well a year ago.
Hodge, a 6-foot-2, 232-pounder, led the team with 141 tackles. Greenway, 6-4 and 239, was second with 132, 60 stops ahead of the team's third-best tackler.
"We have two dynamic inside linebackers," acknowledged Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz. "We certainly expect Chad and Abdul to be better this year, and they were pretty good last year."
The competitiveness between the two is obvious, but so is the admiration between two guys with different backgrounds.
Hodge was born in the Virgin Islands and played high school football in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., one of the most football-crazed states in the nation. He was a high school All-America linebacker.
Greenway's high school in Mount Vernon, S.D., played eight-man football, and he did it all on the field. He played quarterback and free safety and returned kickoffs and punts.
"Chad is a very good athlete, a smart guy and fun to play with," said Hodge. "We are buddies. He's a real low-key guy, a fun guy, a crazy guy. He's pretty cool."
The admiration is mutual. "He's tenacious, tough, smart," said Greenway. "Off the field he is a good kid. He has a daughter, he's smart, he goes to class, and he's an all-around great guy. My parents love him."
On the field, both are all business. They were the key ingredients in a defense that carried much of the load last year during a 10-3 season that culminated with a win over Florida in the Outback Bowl.
"Both Chad and Abdul, we had great feelings about them (during the recruiting process) and as soon as they hit the field, you could tell these guys knew how to play the position." Ferentz said. "Thos two guys feed off each other. We are in good shape there, we really are."
Things didn't come quite as naturally at linebacker to Greenway, who never played there until he got to Iowa.
"Abdul makes me good," said the likeable South Dakota farm boy. "I have played linebacker for two years, and he's played all his life. I came here having everything to learn, and he taught me how to play the position, what kind of demeanor you should bring to the position. His demeanor has rubbed off on me, which in turn has rubbed off on the team."
"Abdul makes me good. I have played linebacker for two years, and he's played all his life. I came here having everything to learn, and he taught me how to play the position, what kind of demeanor you should bring to the position. His demeanor has rubbed off on me, which in turn has rubbed off on the team."
UI linebacker Chad Greenway
Competitive or not, both share the same goals for the team and the defense.
"We have a lot of guys back, and we should be pretty good," said Hodge.
"We can be as good as we want to," said Greenway. "We have a lot of talent at all positions, and we could be one of the best in the Big Ten and country, or we could be at the bottom of the barrel. We just have to figure out what we want to be, and I that happens in camp."
It also started during the summer workouts, another place the duo is competitive.
"This summer in strength and conditioning we competed in everything," said Hodge. "We tied."
What about the tackle chart?
"Yeah, he got me last year," smiled Greenway. "But we've got a couple of years left."