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Iowa’s Brian Ferentz Done at Season’s End, Kirk Ferentz Reaction

Brian Ferentz Iowa

University of Iowa interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz announced that offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz will not return to the team in 2024. Kirk Ferentz’s son will continue to lead the Iowa offense through the remainder of the 2023 season including the bowl game. The decision comes following Iowa’s bye week with four regular season games remaining. Iowa’s offense is scoring 19.5 points per game this season and the well-known “Drive for 325” is looking out of reach. 

Brian Ferentz’s Downward Trend at Iowa

Ferentz was elevated to the offensive coordinator position in 2017. His offense beat the #3 Ohio State Buckeyes that season 55-24 and expectations grew at the beginning of his tenure. However, after seven years of running the Iowa offense, the performance has done nothing but decline. Iowa finished 2017 ranked 117th nationally in total offense. He improved to 92nd in year two, and slipped to 99th in year three. 2020 was an outlier for the offense, as the younger Ferentz climbed up to 87th nationally. That season, Iowa finished with a six-game win streak, averaging 35.7 points per game in that stretch. 

The 2021 season is where the decline really became visible. Ferentz’ offense finished 121st nationally that season with 303 yards per game. In 2022, it averaged 251 yards per game and finished 130th nationally. Where it almost couldn’t get any worse, it has thus far in 2023. Iowa is currently dead last in the nation, averaging 232 yards of offense per game. Not to add insult to injury, but Iowa is the only FBS team that has not surpassed 2,000 total yards on the season. It has 1,859 through eight games. The next lowest is Kent State with 2,078.

The Head Coach’s Reaction

During Kirk Ferentz’s weekly media availability, he addressed the University’s announcement in his opening statement and took questions. The interim athletic director was in attendance. He did not get into any specifics of the conversations, who was in the meetings, or anything beyond what was formally released. Ferentz referenced it as “the University’s position” and stated that the program is moving forward with its focus on the Northwestern game this Saturday. 

Reading the tea leaves, Ferentz had an irritated demeanor at the podium. He spoke briefly toward every question asked and did not elaborate on the timeline of events regarding the announcement. Ferentz said that the decision to move on from his son as offensive coordinator mid-season was a departure from his normal practice in the past 24 seasons he’s been in charge at Iowa. Ferentz was also asked about the possibility of his own retirement after this season. He responded that his only plans were to worry about their next game. 

Putting all of this together, it is apparent that the head coach at Iowa was not pleased with the decision or the process by which it was made. His reluctance to speak about his own future or about anything other than the game at hand raises questions. Could this be Ferentz’s final season as the head coach at Iowa? This announcement was clearly the Athletic Department’s decision. Based on Ferentz’s reaction at his press conference, he is not happy about it. In an athletic department, he had virtual control over for 24 years, the power has clearly shifted. The future of the football program in Iowa City is at a crossroads. It’s apparent the Dean of College Football is not on board. 

 

Brian Ferentz Iowa
Photo courtesy:  Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

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