Considine Plays in Shadows

Iowa senior Sean Considine often gets lost in the shuffle of a star-studded defense. But as the long as the Hawkeyes are winning games, the free safety feels comfortable with his spot out of the spotlight. Find out what the Illinois native thinks of his new safety partner, being left off of the all-Big Ten teams last season, the potential of the Hawks defense, his offseason drive to be more physical and more in the feature story.

Those people that follow Iowa football know that Head Coach Kirk Ferentz rarely singles out individual players for compliments. It's about team.

That's why when Ferentz questioned the absence of Sean Considine on last season's all-Big Ten teams, it spoke volumes. The Hawkeye free safety wasn't even tabbed as an honorable mention selection.

"I would love to be all-Big Ten," Considine said. "But the fact that we were 10-3 last year and went down to the Outback Bowl and had a good game against Florida, that's good enough for me. There's no bitterness."

As much as Ferentz appreciates Considine's football ability, you figure that the coach likes that team-first mentality even more.

Considine, a senior, worked hard to achieve is position as the quarterback of the secondary. He walked on at Iowa after receiving very little attention coming out of small Byron (Ill.) High.

Despite his being named first-team all-state as a senior running back, Considine didn't fit the physical mold sought by most Division I schools. But Iowa saw something in the 6-0, 180-pound all-around athlete who lettered three times in football, baseball and basketball.

Rick Considine, Sean's father, played football at Northern Illinois. The Huskies offered Sean a baseball scholarship and a chance to also play football.

Iowa arrived with a preferred walk-on offer. Sean believed he possessed what it took to be a Big Ten player.

Considine learned his craft playing behind Derek Pagel, also a walk-on that ended up being a fourth-round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2003. Both players earned their positions in large part by playing with great effort on special teams.

In his first year as a starter in '03, Considine racked up 66 tackles, three interceptions, five broken up passes, two fumble recoveries and two blocked punts. He has stuffed four punts in his career, three of which have been recovered for Iowa touchdowns.

Success has not softened Considine. During the offseason, he hit the weight room hard. He added seven pounds of muscle and is over 210 pounds.

"I kind of want to get a little more physical on the football field," Considine said. "I've always done pretty well in the weight room, but I felt like of I just maybe bulked up a little bit, put a little weight on, get a little stronger, that would help me."

Considine said that the weight will also be moving at a higher rate of speed.

"You're always getting faster around here," he said. "Coach (Chris) Doyle does a good job there. There's no getting slower."

Iowa ranked fourth in the Big Ten and 24th nationally in pass efficiency defense (110.3). The Hawkeyes rated first in the conference in red zone defense.

But defensive backfield staple Bob Sanders has graduated to the NFL. Some have wondered if his replacement, Marcus Paschal, can fill the void.

"I played with (cornerbacks) Jovon (Johnson) and Antwan (Allen) last year," Considine said. "Marcus has been here for two years. We've been playing together for more than just this year. So, I do think we're inexperienced."

The Iowa defense has garnered a lot of attention this preseason. As a result, a lot was being expected from the unit.

"Everybody says that we have the potential to be really good," Considine said. "But the fact is that we have to go out there and do it.

"If we work hard all year, I think we've set ourselves up with the chance to do well this year. But we have to put in the time, the preparation, all that stuff that goes into being a good defense. If we do that, I see good things and we'll win some ball games."

A strong campaign from the Hawkeye defenders could result in many postseason accolades. Maybe Considine will be recognized.

"There are a lot of great players in the Big Ten," he said. "(Wisconsin's) Jim Leonard and all of those guys that got it last year, they deserve it. They were good ball players.

"Hopefully, if I go out this year and have a good year, maybe it will happen. If it doesn't, hopefully we win ball games and go to another good bowl."

And if that happens, you can bet Ferentz again will be tooting the horn of his under appreciated defensive leader.

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