If you were hoping for some serious changes, then you may be disappointed.
Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz does not expect Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis to leave. And Ferentz still believes in his philosophy and scheme.
“It sounds like there are a lot of good rumors going around,” Ferentz said during his final weekly press conference of the season. “This won’t be as interesting and dramatic as maybe people want it to be.
“I don’t want to look at this as an impossible task by any stretch. Right now, our focus is on improving and finding solutions to what might have taken place. If there is a blessing in all of this, we get a little more time than we would in a normal situation.”
It doesn’t sound like Ferentz is going to change much – if anything. He believes in what he has done at Iowa, he believes in what he is doing at Iowa and he believes he still has what it takes to get the Hawkeyes back to a major bowl game.
And it looks as though he will go down that potential road with the services of Davis. Ferentz essentially said that if Davis wants to be back in Iowa City, the job is still his despite a horrific season from an offensive standpoint.
“Wow, the firing line, huh?,” Ferentz said. “I think Greg’s an excellent football coach. He’s a tremendous professional and a tremendous person. So I’ve got every bit of confidence that Greg will be in. Greg’s a tremendous football coach. We wouldn’t have brought him here 10 months ago or however many if we didn’t feel that way. I feel stronger about the kind of coaching person he is now after working with him.”
Ferentz did say he is not happy with how things went down this season. Iowa finished maybe its worst season in the Ferentz-era when they ended 4-8 following a loss to Nebraska on Black Friday.
The Hawkeyes were never really competitive on offense, had good but not great moments on defense and lost six games by a touchdown or less.
“If you break it down with all the eight losses, it’s really where our focus is right now. In two games, we were never really competitive. That’s disappointing,” Ferentz said. “We had six games that we lost by an average of four and a half points, and there were things that go on and are involved in that and lead to that. But we’re not in the excuse business. We’ll try to move forward and see if we can’t do things a little bit better.”
Iowa will lose a good chunk of seniors to graduation but only a handful of those guys truly impacted the program on the field, including James Vandenberg, James Ferentz, Micah Hyde, Keenan Davis and Matt Tobin.
So if there is any silver lining, the Hawkeyes return a lot of the talent it had on the field this season. That could be bad if you’re a pessimist, or it could be good if you are an optimist that feels like those guys can get better with age.
The downfall is that the Hawkeyes will break in a new starting quarterback to an offense that only scored about 20 points per game and featured an anemic passing game.
“It’s not what anybody wants to hear, but it’s a matter of getting back to basics and doing the basics better,” Ferentz said. “Usually the answers aren’t calculus equations. It’s a matter of doing things better on a more frequent basis, and that is the challenge ahead for us. It’s a little more involved in that.”
Ferentz hinted that after going 4-8 there may be changes to personnel, players and even where guys are lining up on the field. But don’t count on the long-time Iowa coach to change his way of doing things. He is proud of what he has done at Iowa and still believes what he does can work.
“What I’m married to is what’s going to work, to give us the best chance to win,” Ferentz said. “I know that defensively, if you give up missed tackles and big plays, you’re not going to be successful. Offensively, same thing. Whether you throw it 80 times a game or 10, you turn it over. You don’t block people. Some people can move the ball without blocking them. But I don’t think that’s going to ever fit here. It would be really tough to pull that off.
“The bottom line is we’ll do whatever we have to win, and philosophically, not talking about doing stupid stuff.”
The Hawkeye program is at its lowest point of the Ferentz-era, even though the head man says 2006 was the low point.
The program needs a jolt. It needs something to kick into high gear.
Some fans are clamoring for change at the top. Others wanted to see coordinators get dismissed.
It doesn’t appear any of that is happening.
If change is to happen, it will once again be under the watchful eye of Ferentz himself.
“We’re not that far away,” Ferentz said. “I think that’s at least the sense I have. We have a big recruiting weekend coming up next week. My guess is that is going to be the tenor. It’s like anything. Lot of times you lose a game on Saturday, and you feel like crap. Usually the best thing after a bad loss is to get on the field on Tuesday, and being around your players and feeling the energy that they have. My sense is the recruits will come in and do that same thing. They’re going to come in here. They’ve bought into this program for the right reasons, and they’re going to come in being committed to putting the thing where we want to put it.”