Iowa Offensive Coordinator Brian Ferentz met with the media on Thursday afternoon after the team’s second-to-last spring practice. It was Ferentz’ first press conference this spring and he took time to address personnel, injuries, and, of course, his contract amendments. For two seasons now, Iowa fans have dealt with an offense that’s not only below average, but nearly dead last in every major category. Ferentz’ message to the Hawkeye faithful: “I don’t have a message to them.”
Ferentz’ Attitude into 2023
The offensive coordinator’s demeanor at the podium was straightforward and direct when answering the media. He knew he’d be fielding tough questions, and he chose to take them head-on. That included his message to the fans. At a minimum, it felt like Ferentz could have expanded on how the offense is trending this spring. He chose to keep it brief. In fairness, the performance will speak loudly this fall, and Ferentz might very well just be implying that it will speak for itself in September.
Ferentz’ new contract now requires his team to average north of 25 points per game. A great question was brought up by Scott Dochterman of The Athletic asking how that will affect play-calling going forward. Against Wisconsin last season, Iowa had a 24-10 lead with 30 seconds left and possession at the Wisconsin 31-yard line. They took a knee and won by 14. However, that result would not meet the requirement for the season, negatively impacting the team’s season average. Dochterman asked if, in that situation, would he kick a field goal or just take the knee and the win. Ferentz responded, “If we’re beating Wisconsin 24-10 with 30 seconds left, you bet your ass I’ll be at peace with that.”
The offensive coordinator says he is at Iowa because he cares about the people in the building, the players, and coaching football. He said the play call in that Wisconsin situation is a better question for the head coach, who happens to be his dad. But added that he, “Could care less” about the points total in that situation. Ferentz is here to win football games, and he said, “If this is my last year being the offensive coordinator at Iowa football, I’m at peace with that.”
Iowa Offense: Do the Same Things Better
Ferentz also spoke directly about any possible changes to the offense coming up this season. “We’re going to do the same things we do, we’re going to do them better,” he said. No, Iowa isn’t moving to a spread. No, we won’t see an RPO offense this fall. We are going to see the same Iowa offense that’s founded in a solid run game, the use of tight ends, and field position to take control of the game.
The difference in 2023 will be the players running this offense. Cade McNamara is obviously the biggest change to the offense, but it’s deeper than just a proven starting quarterback. The Hawkeyes will have two high-level tight ends in Luke Lachey and Michigan transfer Erick All. Both have multiple years of experience with north of 500 reception yards and over 830 snaps each.
The offensive line has Logan Jones in his second year at center and Ferentz noted his increased confidence not only in his position, but with the offense as a whole. At wide receiver, Ferentz said that Alec Wick is ascending and putting together a really good body of work. Nico Ragaini, Diante Vines, and Seth Anderson will be the premier guys next year.
Final Spring Practice Outlook
Saturday’s final Spring practice is open to the public and is not a traditional Spring game. Rather, it’s an open practice in which the team goes through situational drills and 11-on-11. McNamara may get some work in the final practice, but will not participate in 11-on-11 workouts, as he is still rehabbing his knee injury. To this point in the spring, he has not seen any 11-on-11 action but has been getting key reps in seven-on-seven.
The final practice on Saturday will provide a great look at what’s to come in 2023 for the Hawkeyes. While there are no dramatic changes to note in the offense, its personnel has changed and returning players have continued to develop. Iowa’s offense will continue to do the same things, but they’ll do it better.
Photo courtesy: Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK