Kirk Ferentz

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All in the Hawkeye family: Iowa names Brian Ferentz offensive coordinator

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Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz did not have to look very far to find his new offensive coordinator. Not only did he have to look outside the Iowa program, but he didn’t even have to look outside his own family. Brian Ferentz, son of the Hawkeyes head coach, has been named the new offensive coordinator of the Iowa program.

The younger Ferentz had been serving a role on the Iowa coaching staff as offensive line coach and run game coordinator. He was also a three-year letterman at Iowa and has been on the Iowa staff for the past five years. Under his leadership in 2016, Iowa’s offensive line won the Joe Moore Award, which is presented annually to the top offensive line in the country (Alabama won the inaugural award in the 2015 season).

“Brian has been an integral member of our offensive coaching staff for five years, bringing national recognition to our offensive line and new levels of success in our running game,” said Kirk Ferentz.  “Brian’s coaching experience here at Iowa, coupled with his time in the NFL, has prepared him well for his new responsibilities as the offensive coordinator for Iowa football.”

Brian Ferentz replaces Greg Davis, who retired from his position on the Iowa staff last week.

No. 17 Florida defense dominates Iowa in Outback Bowl blowout, 30-3

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Austin Appleby may not have been able to beat Iowa (8-5) while he was at Purdue, but he was able to do that on Monday in the Outback Bowl with the No. 17 Florida Gators (9-4). Appleby had early mistakes with a pair of turnovers on the first two drives of the game, but Appleby ended his day with 222 yards and two touchdowns to help the Gators pull away from the Hawkeyes in Tampa in a 30-3 victory.

The story of the game was Florida’s defense, which came up with three interceptions of Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard and held the Iowa offense to just 55 passing yards. Iowa was limited to just 226 yards of offense and went 4-of-16 on third down. Even a 100-yard day from Akrum Wadley (115 yards) was not enough to keep the Hawkeyes within reach once the game snowballed out of control.

Florida scored the first touchdown of the game on an 85-yard pass play to Mark Thompson with multiple missed tackles along the way. Chauncey Gardner padded a comfortable 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter with a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown, and the Gators tacked on two more field goals from there to pile on in the 27-point victory. Considering how Florida was embarrassed last season by a Big Ten team in the bowl season (Michigan), this must have been a little extra sweet to do the same to another Big Ten team.

The loss by the Hawkeyes clinches a losing bowl record this season for the Big Ten. At 3-6 and just one game remaining to play (Penn State in the Rose Bowl), the Big Ten had a rough postseason that included two New Years Six bowl losses by Michigan and Ohio State (in the College Football Playoff). A Penn State win would at least give the Big Ten a split in NY6 bowl games if it can beat USC in the Rose Bowl. The SEC is now 6-5 in the bowl season with two more games to play. Auburn faces Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl later tonight and Alabama will face Clemson in the nationla championship game next week.

Iowa has now been outscored 172-75 in its last five bowl games, which has culminated in a five-game bowl losing streak for Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. Florida head coach Jim McElwain picked up his first bowl victory of his career.

Iowa’s 2017 season will get underway on September 2 at home against Wyoming from the Mountain West Conference. Iowa will play key division game son the road against Wisconsin and Nebraska next fall, as well as on the road against Big Ten East opponent Michigan State (who can’t possibly be as bad in 2017 as they were in 2016, right). The Hawkeyes also host Ohio State in early November next fall.

Florida’s 2017 season will start in Arlington, Texas against the Michigan Wolverines on September 2 in the Cowboys Kickoff. Other non-conference games will include home games against UAB (the Blazers are back in 2017!) and rival Florida State. In conference play, the Gators host Tennessee as well as LSU and Texas A&M.

As a reminder, the Florida victory means you get a free bloomin’ onion at your local Outback Steakhouse tomorrow, January 3.

Kirk Ferentz to gets contract extension through 2026

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Coming off an undefeated regular season in 2015 and already off to a 1-0 start this season, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is reportedly set to get a contract extension. Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated reported, via Twitter, an announcement could be made as soon as today.

The terms of the new contract have yet to be reported. Ferentz is currently signed through 2020. (UPDATE: Iowa’s new contract for Ferentz runs through the 2026 season.)

Ferentz, 61 years of age, has been the head coach of the Hawkeyes since 1999 after a handful of seasons as an offensive line coach in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens. With Iowa’s season-opening victory on Friday, Iowa is now 128-87 under Ferentz with six bowl victories among them. Iowa played for the Big Ten championship last fall but came up short against Michigan State, thus missing out on a potential spot in the College Football Playoff. Ferentz has not coached Iowa to a postseason victory since winning the Insight Bowl in 2010, but the outlook looks promising for another solid-looking regular season.

According to the USA Today database of college football coaching salaries, Ferentz was the 14th highest-paid coach in college football in 2015, earning $4,075,000 in total pay. That was the fourth-highest among Big Ten coaches, trailing Jim Harbaugh (Michigan; $7,004,000), Urban Meyer (Ohio State; $5,860,000) and James Franklin (Penn State; $4,400,000).

Move from QB to WR seems to be working for Iowa’s Ryan Boyle

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It has only been a few days, but the position switch made by Iowa quarterback Ryan Boyle to wide receiver got off to a solid start if the spring football game this weekend was any indication. Boyle made the position switch on Wednesday and then caught two touchdowns on Saturday. Yes, that will work.

“The rest of us have been playing receiver for at least five years,” Iowa wide receiver Matt VandeBerg said, according to the Des Moines Register. “So him three days in, and he’s making plays like that? That says a lot.”

Boyle had a nice 38-yard catch and run for one touchdown. He also got his hands on a second touchdown off a six-yard pass on the final play of the game. Small sample size, sure, but Boyle’s highlights offer a glimmer of hope for Iowa’s offense as it looks to add depth at the wide receiver position. With C.J. Beathard locked in as Iowa’s starting quarterback, Boyle being a team player by converting to a position of need speaks volumes of his commitment to helping the team.

“Players like that, it’s just good to have those guys on your football team,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We’ll keep fooling around with this, and we’ll see where it goes. There are openings on the receiver position … so if he can make a contribution there, it’d be a great thing.”

It is expected Boyle will contribute on special teams in some capacity, if not just as a part-time wide receiver. It should also be noted Beathard needed to undergo an MRI this week after injuring his throwing shoulder in a practice on Wednesday. Fortunately, no serious damage was found other than a bruise.

Iowa’s Desmond King will return for senior season

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With a growing list of underclassmen declaring for the NFL in the past few days, Iowa received some exceptional news from one of its top players. Iowa cornerback Desmond King will pass on the NFL Draft in 2016 and return to play for his senior season with the Hawkeyes.

The Daily Iowan reports King’s decision to return for his senior season has more to do with unfinished business, a sentiment likely developed from Iowa’s loss in the Big Ten Championship Game and dismal performance in the Rose Bowl against Pac-12 champion Stanford. After an undefeated regular season, Iowa finished the year 0-2 in the two biggest games of the season, leaving a sour taste in the mouth of King. King also didn’t want to leave Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard hanging.

“He didn’t want to leave C.J. [Beathard] like that,” King’s mother, Yvette Powell, told The Daily Iowan. “We talked to C.J. and he was happy. I told him it’s time for you guys to lead your team and to see them on graduation day. That’s a beautiful thing. They want to stick together, that’s what it’s all about.”

King reportedly informed Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz of his decision on Monday.

“Everybody’s surprised,” Powell said. ” It’s not about the money all the time. The money is going to be there. He has more chance to make more with a degree.”

King was a consensus All-American player in 2015 and he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back. He also was named the Big Ten’s defensive back of the year and earned a handful of defensive player of the year honors during the regular season. His return to Iowa in 2016 will help anchor the secondary which will lose senior safety Jordan Lomax but pretty much have the same identity next fall. Iowa’s defense was in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten in terms of passing yards allowed, but the Hawkeyes had 19 interceptions to 17 touchdowns allowed. King was responsible for eight of those interceptions, and he returned one for a touchdown.