CHICAGO - Dave Revsine spent a year working in sports as a television anchor and reporter. He then moved onto ESPN, where he stayed for 11 years.
Revsine, a Northwestern graduate, jumped at the chance to become the inaugural lead studio host for the Big Ten Network when it launched in 2007. In his two years there, he has traveled to all the schools for practices and gotten to know coaches and players from around the league.
Hawkeye Nation Senior Writer Rob Howe caught up with Revsine in Chicago last week here and was able to fire off a few questions before the Big Ten Network talent had to shove off for another appointment:
Q: Can you just give me some quick thoughts on Iowa and how you see the Hawkeyes?
Dave Revsine: I look at Iowa as a team, and this is how I look at them kind of year after year but this year might be the ultimate case in point of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. I was out there in the spring. I watched them practice. Frankly, there aren't that many guys that jump out at you. Yet, there aren't any players that jump out at you in a negative way. There's no position where you look at it and say, "Man, you know, they're really going to struggle here."
I just think they're a solid, solid team. The road schedule hurts them an awful lot. I mean, that is as tough as it comes. But I think it's a team that could sneak up and be in that top echelon, that Top 2 or 3 in the conference. Maybe if things fall the right way and they win some games on the road and some other teams lose, they're going to be in the hunt. I just don't think they're a team that can go through the conference with one loss. It's going to need to be one of those years where the conference chance loses two games. And then, I think they have as viable a chance as anyone.
Q: When you look at the roster and the two-deeps, what does success hinge on for them? What are the areas that you look at and think this has to happen for them to be successful?
DR: I think there is the pretty obvious defensive tackle position. You lose (Mitch) King and (Matt) Kroul and you lose an awful lot. But I do think they got better at both of the ends last year and the linebacker corps is really, really solid. I do think that defensive tackle is sort of the glaring, obvious question mark anyone that has followed them at all would say. But as long as they get passable, solid play there I think they'll be OK. They don't have to replace King and Kroul. I think they just have to be solid, acceptable. And from what I saw in the spring when I was out there, I think they will be.
I worry a little bit if (Rick) Stanzi were to get hurt. I think that really is an issue. I don't think they have great depth at that position. Hopefully that won't happen.
Running back, I'm not that concerned. You're clearly not going to replace Shonn Greene. But for all of the handwringing we did last year about what are they going to do at running back? Then, they end up having the Doak Walker award winner. Guys always emerge there. You think back to the year, what was it '04 or whatever when they had like six running backs hurt, as long as something catastrophic doesn't happen they'll be fine at running back.
(Jewel) Hampton obviously is very good assuming he comes back healthy. But I was impressed when I saw (Jeff) Brinson last year. I know they're really excited about (Brandon) Wegher. They have a lot of different guys that I think could make an impact there.
Last one and I'll let you go. You get to talk to a lot of different coaches, players and media members from throughout the conference. What do you think is the image of Iowa around the league, to other coaches and players, etc.?
DR: I think they view the program very positively. I think they have a ton of respect for Coach (Kirk) Ferentz. I think it's seen as a kind of workmanlike, kind of blue-collar type program that does things the right way; that develops its players and yet occasionally have a great superstar. I don't think they are viewed as a team with inferior talent. But I think they're viewed as a team that gets the most out of the talent that it has and takes advantage of all of the really, really good guys that do come through there, your Shonn Greenes, your Brad Banks, guys like that. So, I think that's the perception of Iowa, one of the good, solid, upper echelon programs thanks in large part to what Kirk Ferentz does.