[Hello Iowa friends. I am taking a stab at Iowa's Smartest Guys in the Room, but I wanted to quickly say that BamaHawkeye will always be the gold standard for Iowa writing on this site. I am lucky to have written alongside him, and he brings credibility that I am slowly helping to destroy. If you don't have any idea why I am writing this, click here and tell Bama thanks for being awesome. His writing was great way before I was here and will be part of the lore that is the OTE legacy. Good luck getting more time to kick back Bama, and thanks again for your unique insight and entertaining articles. You will be sorely missed.]
The Head Coach -- Kirk Ferentz
For about the last decade and a half, the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Iowa football is Kirk Ferentz. Throughout B1G country, and really college football in general, KF represents consistency in ways that are truly amazing. Amassing a .590 winning percentage despite a truly horrific first season filled with growing pains and the misery of going 1-10, Ferentz has managed to make Iowa not only relevant, but extremely dangerous. In the last 11 years, he has led Iowa to 10 bowls with successes in 6 of those including the 2009 Orange Bowl against a Georgia Tech team that many said would run over the slow plodding B1G team. According to his Iowa Official Athletic Site bio, he has coached 39 NFL Draftees, and 90% of his Senior Starters have had the opportunity to play in the NFL. On top of that, he is routinely attached to NFL coaching rumors, and is a sought after commodity in the coaching ranks. He's a man that Bill Belichick calls a friend. Let's just say this guy has some major credentials. Still, as most of us know, there's always another side to the story.
As a relative outsider to Iowa Football, all I ever knew about Kirk Ferentz is the insane paycheck he pulls in each year. At $3.8 Million annually, he is the fourth highest paid man in NCAA Football behind Saban, Stoops, and Miles. The major difference between Kirk and them? Crystal Trophies. As many fans have pointed out over the years, if you're going to pay for championship level coaching, shouldn't you get championships? And so, despite a rocking winning percentage, an excellent bowl streak (often mired in playing up), and a ridiculous amount of NFL talent churned from the smallest of Iowa schools (and Millard North in Omaha because why wouldn't he poach from one of Nebraska's largest and most celebrated high schools), fans are often left wonting.
And to be fair, it's at least worth discussing, right? When I started this whole article, I mentioned that Kirk Ferentz is Mr. Consistency, but that doesn't really give it justice. How many times have B1G fans guessed exactly what KF was about to do? 2:00 left in the first half and more than 50 yards to go? Sit on the ball. 4th and 2 in the grey zone? Punt every time. FG or go for it? FG. Trick play? RUN THE REVERSE... Okay, maybe it's not really that bad, but you have to admit, Ferentz can be a little predictable, and when you have a passionate fan base like Iowa does, they would like KF to do something different every once in a while.
Still, throughout all this, he's the dean of the B1G Coaches, he's the fifth longest tenured coach in all of football, and if you were to ask Iowa fans to give their honest opinion on the guy they would tell you that Ferentz is a great coach and the right man for the job (at least if you didn't ask fans on BHGP after a loss). He is the consumate system guy and he has made Iowa relevant during a stretch where schools in the Midwest struggle to remain important in the national scene (I'm looking at you Kansas schools). He keeps a calm demeanor and for all the negative points I mentioned, I definitely think that the ROI for the Iowa Hawkeyes (Specifically AD Barta and his budget) is more than enough to merit the money he gets. Most schools would kill for a guy who turns down the NFL this often and that in and of itself is worth commending.
The other night we had 25 seniors in front of the team that have had a great job. They have done a great job academically, they've done a great job on the football field. You're not going to win 11 games as much as you'd like to. We're not going to win 11 games every year. That's part of the landscape. The media attention in a negative light, that's never a good thing certainly. But there's not a lot of focus on good things typically. There have been a lot of good things that happened this year. We have a lot of good people on the team right now.
-Kirk Ferentz at a Presser after the DJK drug story broke
I gave up chewing gum for #lent Unfortunately I reneged 3 1/2 hours later. #ForgiveMeFather— Fake Kirk Ferentz (@TypicalKirk) March 6, 2012
Obviously, this is Fake Kirk Ferentz. KF doesn't believe in that fancy social media stuff, but hey, son Brian got fans excited about the prospect. I'd prefer to take a wait and see approach. I just don't see it happening anytime soon.
Defensive Coordinator -- Phil Parker
Phil has played his part in the Iowa machine having served at Iowa for the past 13 years as Defensive Backs coach and from everything I have read, this looks to be a very similar system to Norm. He is a 4-3 disciple with Cover 2 NFL style pedigree, and unless Iowa unleashes a crazy scheme on the world, I don't know if that will change with Kirk in charge. Still, change isn't always a bad thing and for a staff that hasn't seen much of that, it seems to be a breath of fresh air to Iowa City. Can Phil do things differently enough that he gets his fingerprint on this team, or will the schemes feel like Norm retreads (in a good way), that all remains to be seen. Still, not much bad you can say. I might be wrong here, but this just felt like a really safe hire. Nothing good or bad about that... just safe.
Not that I can see, but I did read that Brian Ferentz wife is in the Social Media business. What exactly does she do? Well, I couldn't find out for sure, but Kirk said so. A quick LinkedIn search point to a Nikki Ferentz who works for CareerBuilder and her Twitter handle (or at least what I assume is her Twitter handle, who really knows) only has 99 followers, so I feel like she should maybe explain her job to Kirk a little bit more. Let's move on.
Unresearched O/U on Years it will take to become a Head Coach: If he hasn't gotten there yet, you gotta believe he's cool with being an assistant, right? Then again, you just never know. Maybe Iowa shuts out all of their opponents this year and wins the BCS Title Game. Vegas set those odds at 200/1 (h/t to mikjones24), so you can pretty much take that however you'd like.
Offensive Coordinator -- Greg Davis
There are few things in this world that are funnier to me than angst-filled Longhorn fans. One of those few things is when these fans collide with angst-filled Iowa fans ready for something different than KOK. Greg Davis is no slouch of a coach with a resume a mile long filled with coaching wins at Texas. He can say he coached Ricky Williams, Major Applewhite (Sidenote: Is there a more Texas name than this), Vince Young, and Colt McCoy (Oh wait, there is a more Texas name...). Davis won the Broyles award for best assistant coach, and he was more or less ran out of Texas for having no contingency plan on offense when the QB talent fell flat.
I am very interested in how he's going to mesh with the head coach. Greg Davis thrived on consistently boring screens, slant patterns, and QB's who could take it upon themselves to make the coach look good despite the obnoxious plays that were called. Of course, meshing a pipeline of talent as awesome as Iowa's has been in recent years does make one wonder if he can develop a rushing game to go along with the HORIZONTAL OFFENSE!!! I have heard positive things about how he will make better use of Vandenberg, but really, I have no idea how this is going to be a positive thing. Who knows? Maybe this will be the newest, fanciest offense in football... and maybe it was just a part of KF's plan to trick AIRBHG from destroying ACL's and arresting young men's futures.
First day on the job and Kirk has me going through O'Keefes playbook. I had to laugh like a billygoat at that reverse play!— Greg Davis (@Fake_GregDavis) February 28, 2012
Again, no real account, but I thought this was pretty funny stuff.
Unresearched O/U on Years it will take to become a Head Coach: Honestly, he's just happy to be working again after getting let go from Texas. Let's see what happens the next few years. In a similar fashion to Parker, I just see Davis being a career assistant from place to place. Kind of like Kevin Cosgrove, only more inexplicable.