CHICAGO - You would think that after a record-setting season, there would be some level of satisfaction for the Iowa football team.
After all, the Hawkeyes equaled a school record for victories in a season (11) last fall. They got off to the best start (9-0) of any Iowa team. They claimed the school's first victory in a Bowl Championship Series game.
But the three players who represented the Hawkeyes at the Big Ten's preseason football media extravaganza said it wasn't quite enough for them.
The Big Ten event often affords participants a chance to revel in the past, but the Hawkeyes are riveted on the future.
"We finished second in the Big Ten," defensive end Adrian Clayborn said. "That's not No. 1. That's what we're trying to reach is No. 1."
Clayborn, defensive tackle Karl Klug and quarterback Ricky Stanzi said that will be the mindset of the team when it begins preseason preparations this week. They feel they have unfinished business.
"The success we had last year is basically behind us," Stanzi said. "We're not going to go there, not even going to think about it. We're just thinking about Thursday when we start camp and where we go from there."
Klug said, "last year doesn't matter right now.
"I don't think anyone is getting complacent," he added. "We're not satisfied with where we're at. Obviously the Orange Bowl was a great win, but we aren't satisfied."
The Hawkeyes open camp this week with 26 seniors on the roster. They return 16 starters and will be in almost everyone's preseason top 25.
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Some preseason publications are even saying Clayborn and Klug are part of the best defensive line in the country.
"Somebody can say we have the worst defensive line in the country for all I care," Klug said. "It doesn't really matter what they say. All that matters is what happens on the field."
Clayborn admitted he would love for the Hawkeyes to be the team that punctuates Ohio State's run of five straight Big Ten titles. But he said he learned a long time ago that the Hawkeyes can't just hope it happens. They'll need to make it happen.
"Once you settle for something, you're not going to reach your goals," Clayborn said. "If you want to be the best, you need to prepare the best."