By Marc Morehouse
IOWA CITY – IOWA CITY — They laugh about it now, but it happened.
For the December practices going into the 2006 Alamo Bowl, Shonn Greene was a backup safety for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“I was fresh off knee surgery coming back,” Greene said. “I guess they needed some guys back there. Coach talked to me. I didn’t mind it. I went back there and it didn’t work out that well.”
Or did it?
Greene was back at running back in January and after missing last season because of academics, he’s really back at running back.
Greene earned Big Ten offensive player of the week honors with his dominating performance in the Hawkeyes’ 38-16 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday. Greene rushed for a career-high 217 yards on 25 carries (8.7 average) and tied a school record with four touchdowns. According to Iowa sports information, he also is the only running back in Football Bowl Subdivision this season to top 100 rushing yards in each of the first eight games.
Greene is Iowa’s first offensive player of the week since wide receiver Ed Hinkel scored four TDs against Minnesota in November 2005.
Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer made it a clean sweep for Iowa’s offense and defense this week. He earned the defensive honor with a career-high 16 tackles, the most in a single game by any player in the Big Ten this season. He also had two interceptions and leads Iowa with four this season.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz laughed about the Greene safety experiment after the UW game. It’s OK to laugh now.
“We did fool around that one December. That was good coaching there,” he said. “It’s like having Dallas Clark (Indianapolis Colts tight end) at third-team outside linebacker.
“We did figure that one out, yeah.”
Greene’s effort was the sixth-best single-game showing in Iowa history. It was Iowa’s best rushing total since Albert Young gained 202 yards against Northwestern in 2005. Greene’s four TDs were the most since Tavian Banks did it against Iowa State in 1997.
The spotlight is shining down on Greene like no other Hawkeye since quarterback Brad Banks finished second in the Heisman in 2002.
Greene doesn’t enjoy the spotlight.
“I don’t like it,” he said with a laugh. “Too much (attention on him). I just want to play football. That’s all I want to do. It comes with it, I guess.”
In other Iowa football news, the Big Ten game at Illinois on Nov. 1 will kick off at 2:30 p.m. and will be telecast on ABC Regional.