Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Gallery teaching defenses a lesson

The fans and players were going crazy. It was not because Iowa was on its way to a 41-10 victory over Illinois or because receiver Calvin Davis had just caught an 18-yard pass. It was offensive lineman Robert Gallery who had generated all the excitement. Gallery, 6-foot-7 and 320 pounds, flattened 6-foot-1, 175-pound Illini cornerback Alan Ball as he ran down to block for his receiver. Plays like this are why Gallery wanted to come back to Iowa City for his senior season with the Hawkeyes.

“I love getting out there and laying guys out,” Gallery said.

He and hard-hitting senior safety Bob Sanders often compete to see who can get the bigger hit on their opponents.


“I’ve had some good ones, but he probably takes it. He also gets more opportunities,” Gallery said.

With his size and mullet-like haircut flowing out the back of his helmet, Gallery instills fright in defensive players all over the Big Ten.

The gigantic offensive lineman may be menacing on the field, but the elementary education major is very approachable off of it. When he is not pancaking an opposing player, he is a fourth-grade teacher at a local elementary school in Iowa City.

“When I first walked in they were pretty scared, but once they got to know me they realized I am a pretty nice guy,” Gallery said.

Although he may not appear to be your typical teacher, he is very good with children and hopes after his football career is done, he can go back to teaching. Right now, though, his focus is on helping the Hawkeyes go to another bowl.

After helping lead Iowa to an 11-1 season in 2002, in which the Hawkeyes were co-Big Ten champs and finished as the No. 8 team in the country, there was not much left for Gallery to accomplish at the University of Iowa. After playing in the Orange Bowl, Gallery had to decide what his future held. The first-team All-Big Ten and academic All-Big Ten offensive tackle was assured to be a top five pick in the NFL draft if he decided to leave school after his junior season. All four of the other starting offensive linemen, including two first-team All-Americans, and Heisman Trophy runner-up quarterback Brad Banks were graduating and tight end Dallas Clark was leaving school early, but Gallery decided to stay in Iowa City for another year.

“Last year I could have been the top lineman, but it wasn’t a sure thing. I wanted it to be a sure thing,” Gallery said.

Gallery is not the first of his family to play a sport for the Hawkeyes. His older brother, Nick, was an All-Big Ten punter for the Hawkeyes from 1993 to 1996, and his sister, Julie, competed for Iowa’s track and field team. His younger brother, John, is a sophomore on the Hawks and is the backup punter.

“It’s fun having him on the team. My parents travel to every game, home and away, to see us play,” Gallery said.

Gallery came to Iowa City as a 235-pound tight end from Masonville, Iowa. In high school, along with playing tight end, he played outside linebacker and punter and did the kickoffs for his high school. Now, the fifth-year senior has put on 85 pounds and is ranked by Mel Kiper Jr. as the best offensive lineman and third-best senior prospect in the country, regardless of position.

He credits head coach Kirk Ferentz, a former offensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns, and his other coaches for his development as a player and as a person.

Expectations were not high for the Hawkeyes entering the season. They were picked by most to finish in the lower half of the Big Ten. There were questions of how the team could respond to the transition from the fleet-footed Banks to the 6-foot-7, 250-pound pocket passer Nathan Chandler.

The inexperienced line has had some problems so far this season with youth and an outbreak of injuries. Although the team has struggled with injuries so far this season, the durable Gallery has started 41 games in a row, the longest active streak of any O-lineman in the Big Ten.

“Last year, we really didn’t have any injuries. This year I have had to step up and become much more of a leader,” Gallery said.

With Gallery’s senior leadership, the line has overcome the injuries, and the offensive has the fifth-best running offense in the conference. With a record of 8-3 (4-3), and impressive wins over Michigan, Minnesota and Miami (Ohio), Gallery and the Hawks have proved the experts wrong. They are currently ranked 18th in the BCS.

“Most people didn’t think we would be good, and it feels good proving people wrong,” Gallery said.

Last week many of the players on the Hawkeyes were suffering from the flu. Before the game in the locker room, Gallery was throwing up, but when the game started, he was out there helping Iowa destroy Minnesota.

“It’s [something] you got to play through,” Gallery said. He said he is feeling better and hopes to be at 100 percent for this Saturday.

“Hopefully we can get everyone healthy because we have a tough game in Madison this weekend,” Gallery said. No matter how Gallery is feeling come Saturday, he will go down as one of the greatest offensive linemen in Iowa Hawkeye history.

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