This is the latest in a series of features on the 2010 University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor inductees.
FAYETTEVILLE – For every great Razorback offense, there are equally impressive offensive linemen in the trenches, helping earn every yard. It was no different from 1973-76 as Arkansas’ Greg Koch made his presence known to opposing defenses. Koch proved his versatility during his time at Arkansas by not only excelling at guard, but also proving his worth after switching to tackle. An All-Southwest Conference honoree in 1975, Koch knew the value of outworking everyone he faced.
To be better in the gridiron trenches, one must be stronger than his opponent. Koch subscribed to this philosophy wholeheartedly. Speaking to The Gazette in August of 1975, Koch explained how he’d been an avid lifter since high school.
"…I had gone through a weight program in high school," said Koch, a native of Houston, Texas. "So I had a head start on most of the people here. Now everybody does. I really think this is the best weight program and conditioning system I’ve ever seen. I think the key thing in the offensive line is just to beat our man off the ball."
Koch and his fellow offensive linemen did just that in 1975. The Razorbacks rushed for a then school-record 3,523 yards.
Koch’s transition to tackle before his junior season didn’t come without tribulation. He had established himself on the line as a freshman in 1973 after making frequent appearances at guard. UA put up a 5-5-1 record. Koch then staked claim to his spot, starting there every contest of his sophomore campaign. The Razorbacks posted a winning record of 6-4-1 in 1974.
During spring practices in 1975, Koch fell to back-up responsibilities during his role transition. The Arkansas’ lineman found new incentive to improve his game.
"Yeah, I was motivated," Koch said to The Gazette at the time. "The only time I’d been on the second team was during my freshman year here."
That determination spurred forward the 1975 Southwest Conference co-champion and 1976 Cotton Bowl-winning Arkansas squad, claiming a 10-2 record. In Koch’s time at UA, the program posted an impressive record of 26-16-3. To cap his Razorback career, Koch represented UA in the 1976 All-American Bowl all-star game.
Fans recalled Koch’s tenacity in the trenches, especially at guard by voting him a member of UA’s 1970s All-Decade team in 1994.
Koch’s outstanding play at offensive line carried into the professional ranks. He played in the NFL for 11 seasons, including nine years with the Green Bay Packers. He played in 159 games in his career and was inducted into the Packers’ Hall of Fame this year, July 17, 2010.
UA Sports Hall of Honor members are selected by a vote of former letterwinners in conjunction with the "A" Club. The official induction is Friday, Sept. 3, at the Springdale Convention Center. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased from the Razorback Foundation. For more information, call the Razorback Foundation at 479-443-9000.