The Iowa Hawkeyes entered fall practice with some coaching changes and questions about who will step up to fill key positions.
On media day Saturday, head coach Kirk Ferentz says that’s nothing unusual for him. “This is my 28th year now at Iowa — 19th as head coach — and it’s like every year, every time you start a new season you have new challenges, new opportunities. It’s a different equation than any other year and the trick is to put it all together. And that’s the beauty in my mind of college football. That’s probably why it’s such a popular sport,” Ferentz says.
Ferentz is looking for a new starting quarterback and says Nathan Stanley and Tyler Wiegers have both done a good job competing and are making strides. He says the decision on the starter will come down to one thing for the coaching staff.
“It really gets down to leading the team, that’s what it gets down to,” Ferentz says, .”an all of us have an opinion on that certainly. We’ll keep observing, we’ll watch, we’ll pull information. At some point, we’ll have to make some decisions and go from there. But it will be a group effort.”
Ferentz doesn’t have to worry about experience at running back as Akrum Wadley enters his senior season. “We’ve seen him, we’ve witnessed him, and he is, you know — boy, he’s right on task right now. His weight’s good, his attitude has been tremendous. He’s practicing really well. Again, only six workouts, but he’s looking like a senior player and a good senior player, and that’s — referencing the quarterback, we know whoever it is, we’re getting a new quarterback. So our best guys better be out there doing it,” Ferentz says.
He says graduate transfer James Butler has added important depth at the position. “Like last year, we were better when we had two guys that could help us there,” Ferentz says “If we have three, that would be great too. So that’s just going to give everybody a better chance to play better. That will be easy to have those guys complement each other. We’ve got to make sure all three are ready to go.”
Another big change has Brian Ferentz taking over as offensive coordinator this year. He will be calling the plays, and the elder Ferentz says while he called plays one year as a coach, that was never his dream. He says Brian is ready for the new challenge.
“Brian’s been intrigued. A lot of that goes back to his time spent in New England, worked on both sides of the football. That’s a pretty cerebral outfit up there, certainly, with their quarterback starts there, Bill O’Brien as coordinator, and then Coach Belichick. He’s run some guys. I think he’s very inquisitive that way. I was more of just like a dumb line coach, just block that guy or whatever. So we’re cut from a little different cloth that way, and I think he’s ready for it,” Ferentz says.
He knows it’s a position that’s always in the spotlight and everyone has an opinion on. “You know, he’s good right now until the first time we have to punt,” Ferentz says.
Iowa opens the season September 3rd hosting Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium.