The hopes of many to turn Kinnick Stadium into one giant Diet Mountain Dew bottle this Saturday now has the pizazz of day-old fountain pop from UI’s marketing perspective. Any plans to turn the stadium into a “Greene Out” against No. 3 Penn State are now on the shelf next to those “Built Al-Ford Tough” T-shirts.
Iowa junior running back Shonn Greene has rushed for more than 100 yards in nine consecutive games, the only runner in the nation to do so. He ranks third nationally in rushing yards and outperformed fellow Big Ten runner Javon Ringer of Michigan State, the nation’s yardage leader both in consistency and head-to-head.
But don’t expect any buttons from Iowa that read “The Grass is Greener in Iowa.” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz has preferred to let his players’ on-field accomplishments speak louder than off-field gimmicks. Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta, who led North Dakota State to a Division II national title 22 years ago, apparently thinks the same.
When asked if there’s a speciaI marketing plan for Greene, Barta said, “I think this week is a big week for the Hawkeyes on a great national stage against a great team, and it’s a great opportunity for Shonn to continue what he’s doing all year and that’s just playing great football
Barta does appreciate the students and fans wanting to rally the public for a “Greene Out” this Saturday. It’s just Iowa prefers the low-key approach.
“What I love to hear and see is our students wanting to support one of our own, supporting Shonn Greene and wanting to get behind him, and I think that’s fantastic,” Barta said. “What I also admire is the way our football team and Shonn is handling it. They’re just wanting to win football games, and they’re just focused on the team game. They appreciate all the support, but they’re really focused on trying to beat Penn State.”
So for the slogans “Iowa has Greener Pastures,” “Gordon Gekko says Greene is Good,” “Going Greene,” “Greene Acres,” and “Greene House Effect,” it’s more like Kermit the Frog’s “It’s Not Easy Being Greene.” There’s little impact of wearing green at Kinnick Stadium in November unless you’ve completed your early morning pheasant hunting. Nice try to those wanting to get Greene into the Heisman race, but chances are, Greene will see plenty of “green” next year.