B1G 2013 // Iowa's Newest Guys in the Room

This is the only picture of Jim Reid I could find... - Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

You know Kirk Ferentz. You know Greg Davis. You know Phil Parker. So why don't we talk about the newest guys on the Iowa football coaching staff.

This should be the piece where I re-introduce you to Iowa's head coach Kirk Ferentz, offensive coordinator Greg Davis and defensive coordinator Phil Parker. It isn't. You know Kirk Ferentz. He's the dean of Big Ten coaches. Hired in December of 1998, Ferentz has outlasted Tressel, RichRod, Bielema, The Zooker, John L, Glen Mason and Danny Hope. He witnessed TreselGate, the passing of Joe Paterno, something known as "The Juice Williams Era" and Northwestern winning a bowl game. He's seen it all.

And he'll continue to see it all. Ferentz's contract is like the Ark of the Covenant. It looks quite nice on the outside but when you open it your face melts and everyone around you starts crying. Patrick Vint has the numbers:

In simple math, Kirk Ferentz has a contract through January 31, 2020, that pays him between $1.87M and $2.07M per season in base salary, plus another $1.48M per season in "recurring supplemental payments" which is just a fancy way of saying that [athletic director] Gary Barta has to pay him $370,000 four times a year on top of his salary.

In short, Ferentz is Iowa's head coach through 2020 until he says differently. The Ferentz era has been defined by two "runs." The first was from 2002-2004 and included 2 Big Ten Championships, a BCS Bowl appearance and the The Catch. The second was 2008-2009 and included dominating wins over South Carolina in the Outback Bowl and Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl giving Iowa their first ever BCS Bowl victory. What has yet to be seen is whether Kirk Ferentz has a third run in him. Since the Orange Bowl the Hawkeyes have gone 19-19 (10-14) and the records are getting worse with each passing year. If Ferentz is going to rebuild the program it's going to take some patience...and Iowa fans aren't exactly known for being patient people.

So instead of getting too in-depth with Ferentz and his coordinators I thought I'd talk about the newest guys in the room. Adam Rittenberg labeled the past two seasons for the Iowa coaching staff an "extreme makeover" in a February article. Prior to the 2013 season running backs coach Lester Erb, wide receiver coach Erik Campbell and secondary coach Darrell Wilson announced that they were leaving the program. Thus, there was some re-shuffling. Brian Ferentz moved to offensive line, Eric Johnson took over tight ends and three coaches were hired: Chris White, Bobby Kennedy, and Jim Reid. We'll take a look at the new guys.

The Running Backs Coach: Chris White

Who is this guy anyway?

With all of the things that were happening to Iowa's running backs under Lester Erb's watch fans started asking "IS LESTER ERB A PROBLEM AT RB COACH?" Whatever the answer, he moved on and Chris White was hired to manage running backs and special teams. White, who spent the past four seasons as an assistant special teams coach for the Minnesota Vikings hasn't coached running backs since...ever. A graduate of Colby College (Maine) and Syracuse, he started his career on the East Coast before heading west and coaching LBs and special teams for UNLV from 1996-1998 and was special teams/defensive coordinator at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in 1999. White was then hired by Paul Pasqualoni at Syracuse to coach tight ends and special teams in 2000.

Pasqualoni, who White had served as graduate assistant from 1990-1991, was fired in 2004 and the GERG area began. Under Greg Robinson White served as special teams and recruiting coordinator until GERG and (I assume) his entire staff were shown the door in 2009. Following that, White headed for the NFL and coached the likes of Percy Harvin, Chris Kluwe and Ryan Longwell.

Iowa is in sore need of a breath of fresh air in the special teams department. After onside kick debacles in uh...well..."every season ever" it's good to see the Hawkeyes bring in someone who has over 20 years of expierence. Of greater concern is the fact Iowa's running backs coach has never coached running backs. In a press conference White was asked what type of challenge coaching running backs presented and responded with:

Well, I think if you coach football, especially, you know, like you said, I've coached offense and defense, and special teams I think kind of puts everything together, and to me running backs has been my special teams world.

I used running back drills to teach the returners, in terms of ball security, how to catch a football, how to tuck it high and tight. And I'm very fortunate that I have an older brother that coaches running backs at University of Florida. He was at Wisconsin for a bunch of years, the offensive coordinator. He coached Ron Dayne, and I may be biased, but I think he's the best running back coach in the country, and I lean on him for drills and rephilosophy a lot.

On the other hand what does an Iowa running backs coach have to do? Go find random guys on the street to play running back? Pick up a sword and fight a vengeful, omnipresent and jerk of a deity?

Quote Worth Posting on Your Facebook Wall:

I don't know if I have a philosophy. I think I just try to my deal is everyone has a story to tell. I don't care who you talk to. And I don't try to pitch myself. I don't try to pitch really the program. I want to see if it's a fit for the kid, family and Iowa. And if it's not a fit, then you don't try to force that fit, because it's not going to happen. He's either going to transfer or he's going to get in trouble, those type of things. We need the kid who fits our profile and he wants to be here and I'm going to go out and attack that guy.

White on his recruiting philosophy (or lack thereof)

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White continues of the tradition of "Iowa coaches not named Kirk Ferentz who are on Twitter." Most of his Tweets deal with recruiting and how awesome the Minnesota Vikings are. Silly Minnesota Vikings.

The Wide Receiver Coach: Bobby Kennedy

Who is this guy anyway?

Please, no RFK jokes. With the departure of "Soup" Campbell comes the hiring of former Colorado Buffalo wide receiver coach Bobby Kennedy. He grew up in Colorado, graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and got his introduction into collegiate football with Illinois and Penn State from 1990-1992. His first full time job as a wide receivers coach came in 1993 when he was hired by the University of Wyoming. Over the next ten seasons Kennedy spent time at Wake Forest and Arizona before putting on his big boy pants by joining the University of Texas as wide receivers coach in 2004.

At Texas, Kennedy coached Jordan Shipley, Quan Cosby, three Biletnikoff Award candidates and two BCS Championship games. No, Tim Brewster, he isn't taking credit for those coaching victories. He was only there as a wide receivers coach. Bobby then moved on to the black hole known as "Colorado football" in 2011 and spent a few years in obscurity before Kirk Ferentz came to the rescue and paired him back up with Greg Davis.

Quote Worth Posting on Your Facebook Wall:

Well, I think this: Obviously there's a standard at Iowa. coach Ferentz has had a tremendous career and record here in this program. I mean, going back with coach Fry.

To me, when I walked in this place, I understand that it's a football place, and I think any time that you go 4-8 and you don't go to a bowl game, I think there is some embarrassment. They might not say it, but their actions in terms of doing extra things, working; they want this thing to turn around.

Kennedy, on Iowa wide-receivers being embarrassed about the 4-8 season

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Kennedy doesn't have a Twitter account. I'll assume he was banned from Twitter...

Not really.

I think.

The Defensive Assistant: Jim Reid

Who is this guy anyway?

Jim Reid has been the game for 38 years so I could spend a great deal of time on his background. Instead, I'll hit the highlights. He graduated from Maine/UMass in the 1970's and was head coach of the Minutemen from 1986-1991. In his years as head coach UMass won two Yankee Conference Co-Championships, one outright championship and finished with a record of 36-29-2. After spending a few years as a defensive coordinator for Boston College and Richmond, Reid took over head coaching duties for Richmond from 1995-2003 and led them to a couple of A10 Championships before heading to Syracuse.

After a disastrous stint at VMI and coaching linebackers for the Miami Dolphins he finally landed at Virginia with Mike London as the Cavaliers defensive coordinator. Per Streaking the Lawn, Reid had the tough task of transitioning a 3-4 defense into a 4-3 defense. From the article:

Virginia's defense was inconsistent during Reid's tenure as defensive coordinator, showing signs of progress at times, and struggles as well. Reid is also responsible for heading up the recruitment of many players who have signed with the Cavaliers in the London era, specifically from both the Richmond area and New England.

Based upon some comments and articles I've found it appears that Reid was popular among Virginia fans and his firing came as a surprise for many. But that's the politics of college football. When your team goes 4-8 changes need to be made. Ahem.

The title of "defensive assistant" is fairly straightforward. Reid was hired to give defensive coordinator Phil Parker some pointers because Iowa's defense struggled mightily last season.

Quote Worth Posting on Your Facebook Wall:

Also, you have to remember, and I said this a couple of months ago, I coached Matt Roth, so when you coach Matt Roth, what you coach is exactly the impression I had of Iowa. So when I coached Matt, that kind of impression that I had initially was -- then I knew that it was true, the impression, because Matt was a tough, physical player who wanted to win every drill. I mean, it wasn't just on Sundays. He wanted to win every single drill he was in.

...

So when you think about Iowa football and you think about Matt Roth and now you have a real good feeling that everything I said about the consistency and the attitude, all that...

Reid on his perception of Iowa football...and Matt Roth

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Reid uses telegrams to communicate with people.

What Does it All Mean?

Kirk Ferentz is smart enough to realize that if he's going to make another run things need to change. White's credentials are lacking in the running back department but his experience with special teams is unquestionable. Kennedy has taught some of the best wide receivers in college football over the past 10 years. Reid has been in the game for over 30 years. The past two seasons have seen extreme shakeups in Iowa's coaching staff and I believe Ferentz understands the program needs to evolve. Naturally...it took years for him to see this but that's besides the point. Change is here and I'd argue that it's for the best.

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