Hawkmania football & basketball blog

Young guns

With his latest hires, Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz not only added a pair of former Hawkeyes to his staff, he also added both NFL experience and youthful vigor to the collection of coaches who will be preparing the Hawkeyes for competition next fall.
New linebackers coach LeVar Woods is 33 years old, new offensive line coach Brian Ferentz is 28 — two years older than his father was when Hayden Fry took a chance on a young offensive line coach in 1981 who had been working as a graduate assistant at Pitt.
Both new coaches are products of Iowa high schools, Woods from perennial small-school power West Lyon and Brian Ferentz from Iowa City High.
The pair know the state, understand the state and are two of the most personable players who have suited up for the Hawkeyes during Ferentz’ first 13 seasons in Iowa City.
Their shared collegiate experience allows them to know what they’re getting into at Iowa.
Beyond strong personalities which will only help them on the recruiting trail, the bring some NFL cred to the table as well.
Woods as a self-made player, who signed on with the Arizona Cardinals in 2001 as an undrafted free agent and enjoyed a seven-year career in the NFL, and Ferentz as a coach who has spent the past four years working in one of the NFL’s most-respected organizations. His work with rookie tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez over the past season as the tight ends coach of the Patriots illustrates the abilities and potential Brian Ferentz has as a coach.
The announcement of their hirings today add two solid young coaches to the Hawkeye staff, coaches who should only help Iowa compete in a Big Ten recruiting world which underwent an upgrade when Ohio State hired Urban Meyer as its new head coach last November.
Today’s hirings also leave Ferentz with one spot yet to fill.
The offensive coordinator’s role remains open and it likely will remain that way for a bit. Iowa’s coaching staff leaves Sunday on the annual week-long Hawkeye Cruise, a chance for fans to mingle with the coaches in a climate slightly warmer than Iowa at this time of year.
Ferentz said during a news conference on Feb. 8 that it is his preference to have his coordinator coach Iowa’s quarterbacks as O’Keefe did during the last 12 of his 13 seasons as Iowa.
Ferentz did leave the door open to other staff alignments during that news conference, saying that he was keeping an open mind that could lead to additional shuffling of Iowa’s offensive staff.
That could provide avenues for current assistants Lester Erb or Erik Campbell to move into the coordinator spot or Ferentz could opt to bring a coach in from outside to fill the vacancy.
It’s a safe assumption that Ferentz is doing the same thing he did as he re-shaped Iowa’s defensive staff a month ago following the retirement of Norm Parker and the departure of Rick Kaczenski for Nebraska.
In all likelihood, he is mulling over a number of possible scenarios that could involve the reassignment of remaining offensive assistants.
Ferentz has stated that he wants the process completed before the start of spring break.
That begins at Iowa on March 10.
Spring practices start two weeks later on March 24.

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