Bower back to business

Iowa+line+backer+Bo+Bower+points+to+the+crowd+as+the+team+runs+in+after+the+game+against+Maryland+in+Kinnick+Stadium+on+Oct.+31%2C+2015.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Terrapins+to+stay+undefeated%2C+31-15.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FAlyssa+Hitchcock%29

Iowa line backer Bo Bower points to the crowd as the team runs in after the game against Maryland in Kinnick Stadium on Oct. 31, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Terrapins to stay undefeated, 31-15. (The Daily Iowan/Alyssa Hitchcock)

By Courtney Baumann 

[email protected]

It’s been 14 games since Bo Bower started at linebacker for Iowa, but come Saturday, that streak will finally end.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz announced Tuesday that Bower has regained a starting position in the lineup, and he will take the field at Kinnick Stadium as the weakside linebacker.

The position is different from what he’s played in the past; in 2014, he played strongside.

Transitioning to weakside was not too difficult a task, according to the West Branch native, because all of the linebackers have a pretty good grasp on all three positions.

“When you get here, you try to get a grasp of all the different positions,” Bower said. “Nothing is ever easy, but I think all of us know different positions and are ready to fill in at different spots.”

Bower was a walk-on for the Hawkeyes in 2013 and took just one year to gain a starting spot in the defensive lineup. As a redshirt freshman, Bower started all 13 games of the 2014 season at strongside linebacker. He had a solid season, recording 38 tackles and 2 interceptions, until he was benched in the second half of the Taxslayer Bowl.

Ben Niemann went in to replace him and has held the position ever since.

With Cole Fisher starting at the weakside spot last season, Bower was stuck being No. 4 in the rotation.

Earlier this year, it looked as though sophomore Aaron Mends would take over for the graduated Fisher, but he and Bower battled through camp, and Bower came out on top.

Iowa linebacker Bo Bower runs for 88 yard interception return in the fourth quarter during the Iowa-North Texas game in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Mean Green, 62-16. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)
Iowa linebacker Bo Bower runs for 88 yard interception return in the fourth quarter during the Iowa-North Texas game in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. The Hawkeyes defeated the Mean Green, 62-16. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

Even after losing his starting job, Bower didn’t allow himself to obsess about what was out of his control.

“You don’t really have time to do it,” he said. “You just have to kind of swallow everything you have, and you just have to do what you have to do and do anything to help the team.” 

His dedication has not gone unnoticed by Ferentz and the rest of the coaching staff.

“The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Bo is his attitude … He’s always an eager, hard-working guy, very good vibe to him, and he got beat out a year ago, but never deterred him at all. His attitude never changed,” Ferentz said. “He’s been unselfish, kept a great attitude.”

The fight between Bower and Mends was something their teammates noticed during camp, too.

Senior defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson watched the Hawkeyes battle it out for the past month and was impressed by the efforts made by both.

“Both of the guys are very competitive,” Johnson said. “They’re high-effort guys that give effort every time.”

That effort, combined with the positivity and flexibleness Ferentz noted, factored into Bower earning back a starting spot for his junior year.

When asked, he said repeatedly that he would go wherever he is needed and do whatever is needed in order to help the team succeed.

But as much as he is a team guy, Bower will admit that having the starting spot back is a good thing.

“It’s nice,” he said. “Then again, all of us are in it to win it, and it doesn’t matter where we’re at or where we’re playing, as long as we’re a team and playing together.”

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