Pat Angerer burst on the Iowa football scene last year on defense almost as big as Shonn Greene did on offense.
The 6-1, 235-pound linebacker from Bettendorf, who was injured on and off his first two years, led the team in tackles with 107 and picked off five passes– which tied Tyler Sash for the team lead.
Pat was voted second team all Big Ten and is one of three seniors named to the 2009 leadership group for the Hawks.
“It was kind of a relief,” said Pat, who also had mono his sophomore year. “It showed that all of the hard work finally paid off. I’m thankful to have played behind Mitch King and Matt Kroul. I think they really helped me out a lot. I made some mistakes and they were always there. They had my back and it was fun.”
The Hawkeye defense gave up only 13 points per game, which led the Big Ten. Iowa also tied a school record with 23 interceptions.
“Coach Parker likes the defense really simple,” said Pat. “As long as everybody’s doing their job we’re in good shape. Everybody was really accountable and I think that was a key to our success.”
Pat was voted Big Ten Player of the Week against Wisconsin. He had a career-high 16 tackles against the Badgers and also picked off two passes.
Pat’s five interceptions were second best in the Big Ten.
“It was good,” Pat said with a laugh about his five picks. “I don’t think any of them were that cool. I think the ball was thrown right to me. I was just in the right place at the right time and the credit goes to the d-line for putting pressure on the quarterback, plus our secondary covering the guys long enough to make the quarterback make a bad decision.”
Karl Klug and Mike Daniels are listed as the top two tackles replacing Mitch and Matt.
“Those guys are great guys,” said Pat. “They are guys you can trust. They’re both really goofy. They have a lot different personalities than Mitch and Matt, but I think we can really count on them next year to step up big and fill those shoes.”
Pat also likes the two defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard. Both are juniors and have a shot at all conference this fall.
“Those guys are really fun to play with,” said Pat. “They’re big play guys, they work hard and they’re tough. You just can’t say enough good things about them.”
Pat had an outstanding career at Bettendorf where he also lettered in wrestling, track and soccer. In 2004 he helped his team to the state soccer championship.
When it came to picking a school it didn’t take long to decide once the Hawkeyes offered.
“Before my senior season I was kind of open,” Pat said. “Then when Iowa offered I knew I was going to go there. I think if I didn’t go there my dad would have probably beaten me up.”
Pat struggled his first two years with numerous injuries plus mono. He had some doubts and even thought of hanging it up.
“Not everything in life is easy and not everything in life goes your way,” said Pat. “Thankfully I had the opportunity to have some downs and realize how really important certain things are in your life. I worked really hard and the last two years basically isolated myself and pretty much focused on football and getting better. It’s really paid off.”
Pat has had an opportunity to play for one of the best and most colorful defensive coordinators, Norm Parker.
“It’s been good,” said Pat about coach Parker. “He always pretty entertaining. I don’t know how he comes up with some of the stuff but there isn’t anything he hasn’t seen. There isn’t anything he hasn’t done so thankfully he’s on our side. He’s definitely a football genius.”
Pat feels good about the running back situation at Iowa with Jewel Hampton and Paki O’Meara back and red shirt freshman Jeff Brinson ready to compete.
“They’re all pretty good and they all work hard,” said Pat. “When you tackle those guys it hurts you just as much as it hurts them. They definitely bring out the best in us.”
I couldn’t let Pat go without asking him about going against all American Shonn Greene, who passed up his senior season and was drafted by the New York Jets.
“Every time I saw him coming I sort of ran the other way,” Pat said with a laugh. “He’s a great guy, really modest, really down to earth. A quiet guy who works hard and gets the job done. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to play with him and be friends with him.”
Well, with a little help from Pat’s dad Cliff, I think most Hawkeye fans are thankful Pat became a Hawkeye.
This year’s team could make a nice run and I know Pat will be right in the middle of it.