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The Rivalry, Esq. Gets an Exclusive Interview with Brad Banks

Ocasionally a college football player or a team will take on a personality or reputation and become "legendary." At the risk of referring to these football players too grandiosely, Google Brian Bosworth, or the 1987 Miami Hurricanes and the word "camouflage," and you will get a feeling for the stories and memories that follow certain players. It is for these kind of players and teams that we at The Rivalry, Esq. present a series called Big Ten Greats.

We aim to interview some of the best and well known players and coaches to compete during the Big 10's storied history and give a small glimpse inside their football success and their lives. And in case you were interested, the "what are they doing now" card will also be played to inquire what these gridiron greats did after their time in the Big 10.


Take it to the Banks

The Rivalry's first subject is Brad Banks, the quarterback for the insanely successful  2002 Iowa Hawkeyes. Banks led the Black and Gold to an 11-2 season, a Big Ten Co-Championship, and a Orange Bowl appearance.  Thanks to his gaudy statistics (26 passing touchdowns, 435 yards rushing) and his nation leading QB rating, he also compiled a stash of awards that rivaled any 2002 college football player. Banks was awarded the AP Player of the Year, the Davey O'Brien Award, and finished as runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

Mr. Banks allowed The Rivalry a good half hour to ask him about anything. Enjoy The Rivalry's first installment of Big Ten Greats.              


Black Heart Gold Pants (BHGP), the SBN Iowa Hawkeye Blog, has supplemented our interview with Banks by writing a meandering post about Brad Banks that is so thrilling and sincere that it makes me want to teleport back to Iowa City, circa Fall 2002. I am sure you will enjoy BHGP's passion for Iowa football and their appreciation for the outstanding career of Banks.

Route to Iowa

Brad, thanks a lot for your willingness to talk about your career in football and your current playing status.

No problem.

I want to jump right in to your development  as a football player. How did you become a quarterback; some of the moves you put on defenders at Iowa were wide receiver-esqe…and how did you end up at Iowa in the first place?

I’ve played quarterback since I was ten years old. I played wide receiver and quarterback in junior college at Hinds Community College.

My coach at Hinds knew the Defensive Line coach in Iowa and was recruiting the area so…

Your coaches at Iowa had to be important, tell me about Coach Ferentz first. Is he a Lloyd Carr type or an in-your-face coach?

Coach Feretnz is a great coach. He’s definitely a calm coach, he will "coach you up" instead of pump you up…He is a details focused coach.

Tell us about your Iowa strength coach.

You spend the most time with your strength coach; he definitely kept us motivated…

Are you stronger now in 2008 than you were in college?

I definitely worked out more at Iowa. Not that much has changed with workouts and lifting, so I would say I was stronger at Iowa.

The Magical 2002 season

Now, the 2002 season was one of the most successful seasons in Iowa’s recent history. Was there a play or moment in that season when you said: "Oh my god, something really special is happening."

There wasn’t one moment, but going into Michigan and winning was a huge deal. The whole season was really fun and we got to do good things for the school. It never really hit me how big the season was, I just think I had a great team to play with. We did some fabulous things that year

What was the key to the 2002 season? I mean that’s a broad question, but was there one thing that was the catalyst for the success?

Everything came together that year, the coaching was there, the right players were there…You could tell the players listened to the coaches because we were so disciplined on the field.

You didn’t throw the ball 30-35 times a game in 2002; what exactly did the coaches ask you to do in the offense?

They didn’t ask me to do too much. We were dominant up front on the offensive line, so that made things easier for me.

You are pretty athletic for being a quarterback, did the offense set up running plays for you or were you just supposed to scramble out of trouble?

I ran the ball a little bit…There were a lot of plays set up for me to run, draws and scrambles.

Who is the best player you saw play during that 2002 season?

Well no one sticks out, it was the Big 10, so everyone was solid. I mean…Bob Sanders, Dallas Clark, they were great players.

Now you won the Davey O’Brien Award for the nations top quarterback and you were runner up for the Heisman Trophy; tell us about that.

I loved that, it was lots of fun and you just meet a lot of cool people. That was a good time, flying all over the place to award presentations.

Career After Iowa

After Iowa, you were on the Redskins training camp roster, competing for a spot on the team…

I was there during training camp with Rob Johnson, who the Redskins had brought in to be a backup. And Patrick Ramsey was there, who they had given first or second round money the year before, they wanted him to be the starter eventually. There were not enough snaps to go around so...

You are currently playing football in the CFL with the Montreal Allouettes, tell me about that situation.

I love Montreal, we are 4-3 and leading the division. The starting quarterback is Anthony Calvillo, who has been in the CFL for a while. I think this is his last year in the CFL though.

What kind of offense do you run in Montreal?

We run a West Coast offense, our coach used to be with the Raiders and runs everything West Coast.

What’s the biggest difference between the Canadian game and College Football?

The game seems slower in Canada, which is odd because the play clock is only 20 seconds in the CFL. Maybe it’s the way the referees call the game.

The players in Canada are mostly veterans, so that’s a big difference.

Brad Banks: The Person

Enough about strictly football subjects, do you miss Iowa City? Do you ever go back?

Iowa City is a great college town. Everyone is so relaxed and loves football; it’s a very sports-oriented campus. There are a lot of good people there.

Do you pay attention to Iowa football?

Oh yeah, I pay attention, I try to go back occasionally, I was supposed to go back this year but I haven’t yet.

On a more personal note, do you love the game of football or is it sort of a job?

I love the game, I’m going to play football for as long as I can milk it out.

Do you have thoughts or plans for after you get out of football?

I want to teach kids football and pass on the things I know. I also want to reach out to people by teaching the game and sharing the game with other folks.

Is there something that really impacts you or has guided you in your life?

My faith. I grew up in the church, it impacts how I live. There are a lot of Christian football players up in Canada. We pray at midfield…There is an Athlete’s in Action for football players too.

Brad, I really appreciate you taking time to give me some insight about your career and your skill. But I have to ask, do you dislike interviews and being questioned? Does it bother you to be questioned about all aspects of your life...or about football games from six years ago?

Not at all, I like that people appreciate what I can do on the field. That's a good thing that people want to know about how I played or what I did. It means they recognize my talents.

Alright, again I want to thank you for giving me some of your time, it’s been a pleasure talking to you and I appreciate you opening up about football and yourself.

No problem.

Post-Interview Notes and Highlight Clips from The Rivalry, Esq.

- Montreal's record is 6-4 now, Cavillo is having another huge season. Cavillo played at Utah State and according to my CFL following godfather, Cavillo is one of the best quarterbacks in recent CFL history.

- Banks also expressed his hope/thought that he would become the starting quarterback once Cavillo left.

- Banks is humble and soft spoken. He refuses to make too big a deal of his accomplishments at Iowa.

- Apparently, Banks loved Iowa City and says its a fun, sports focused town. Why have I never been there?

- Enjoy the USC-Iowa Orange Bowl Highlights with Brad Banks showing some presence in the pocket. Also enjoy a fuzzy clip of Banks leading Iowa for a key touchdown drive against Purdue - the fuzziness of the clip cannot diminish the Bank's outstanding scrambling abilities, however.

2003 Orange Bowl - USC vs Iowa (via sckego)

Brad Banks Heisman Run (via u02ixdb)