Kirk Ferentz wants to make changes at Iowa without making changes

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Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is almost ready to consider making changes within the program he’s led since 1999.

Ferentz met with the media Wednesday. Like any good politician, the coach discussed change, but he didn’t actually offer any legitimate solutions that would improve the program after an underwhelming 7-6 campaign.

“Football-wise we’ve got to look at everything,” Ferentz said, via The Gazette. “Maybe not what we’re doing, but how we’re teaching it, making sure we’re getting it taught and executed the way we need to if we’re expecting to be successful against good competition.

“The big thing is before we change anything, we want to make sure we’re making the right changes. There’s no sense to change things just to change things. There are some things that are going to look different. I don’t how dramatic they’ll be, but they’ll look different here.”

Got it.

Iowa’s coaching staff likes the way everything currently is. The group of coaches just need to find a better way to do what they were already doing.

Makes sense…I guess.

Something certainly needs to be done to infuse some excitement into the program. Since the Hawkeyes finished 11-2 overall with an Orange Bowl victory and Top 10 ranking in 2009, the program owns a 34-30 overall record.

The only legitimate change the program experienced since an embarrassing 45-28 loss in the TaxSlayer Bowl to the Tennessee Volunteers was a shift within the quarterback depth chart.

C.J. Beathard replaced Jake Rudock as the team’s starting quarterback as the Hawkeyes prepare for spring practices. However, the change may not be permanent.

“I think it’s very, very close between the two of them,” Ferentz explained. “At this scheduled point, I think we’re all in agreement that the thing that gives us, at this point, what we believe gives us the best chance is to move forward right now is to give C.J. a chance to be the starting quarterback.”

What Ferentz’s press conference essentially boiled down to was a coach that felt the need to address growing displeasure in the program after 16 seasons at the helm.

“He felt, and I certainly supported it, that between now and signing day is too big of a chasm,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said. “People have shared rumors with me. Kirk’s out, I’m out, we’re both out. He’s the new AD, etc., etc. Just to talk about all that’s out there. To hear directly from our head coach, here’s where we think it went sideways in ’14 and here are our plans for ’15. I know he didn’t lay out every particular plan, that will come later.”

Iowa’s problem is that Ferentz is essentially locked into a nearly unbreakable contract until it ends in 2020.

Some type of change is eventually coming. Hopefully, it proves to be enough to put the program back on the right track.

Jerry Kill joins Virginia Tech support staff

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Jerry Kill stepped down as Minnesota’s head coach in the middle of the 2015 season, but he’s remained active as ever in “retirement.”

He spent 2016 as an assistant AD at Kansas State, returned to coaching as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Rutgers in 2017, but, after the same epileptic seizures that chased him out of coaching followed him to Piscataway, Kill stepped down after just one season. He was quickly scooped up as the athletics director at Southern Illinois, but now Kill is returning again to coaching — sort of.

Virginia Tech on Monday announced Kill as the new assistant to the head coach for Justin Fuente. In this newly-created role, Kill will use his experience to assist Fuente with “a myriad of duties.”

“Jerry Kill will serve as a tremendous resource for our football program,” Fuente said. “Coach Kill possesses over three decades of expertise and will be great addition to our staff. In addition to over 20 years of experience as collegiate and high school head coach, he’s served as a coordinator on both sides of the ball. He can dissect the game from virtually every angle and will be able to provide his unique perspective on everything from recruiting, to personnel and facilities. ”

“While it was a difficult decision to leave so many wonderful friends and colleagues at Southern Illinois, I am thrilled for the opportunity to join Coach Fuente and his staff at Virginia Tech,” Kill said. “I’ve long appreciated and admired Justin as a coach and teacher of the game. I respect his penchant for identifying talent and helping young men reach their potential. He has assembled a fabulous coaching staff and roster of talented players at Virginia Tech. I can’t wait to help the Hokies in any way I can.”

Kill will join the Virginia Tech staff effective immediately. He went 152-99 as a head coach at five different schools from 1994-2015.

 

Pac-12 admits refs botched Arizona State-Michigan State ending

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No. 24 Arizona State beat Michigan State 10-7 on Saturday, a win that was preserved by a 12-men-on-the-field penalty that wiped away a game-tying field goal for the Spartans. Matt Coghlin‘s second attempt, this one from 47 yards, sailed wide right, allowing the Sun Devils to hold on for the win.

But it turns out there should have been a second penalty called.

The Pac-12 has announced its officials missed a penalty on Arizona State on Coghlin’s second, missed attempt.

“An Arizona State defensive player took a running start and leapt over the kicking team’s line in an attempt to block the kick. In the process, he leapt into the frame of the body of an opponent. The penalty would have been 15 yards from the previous spot and an automatic first down.

In this case, it would have been administered as half the distance to the goal and Michigan State would have been provided one untimed down.”

That penalty would have moved the Spartans up to the Arizona State 14-yard line, giving Coghlin a third attempt from just 31 yards out.

The Pac-12 provided no word on what, if any, internal accountability the officiating crew that missed such a crucial penalty will face.

 

Chip Kelly won’t make QB change despite UCLA offensive woes

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Chip Kelly revolutionized college football back when he was at Oregon, becoming so successful that not one but three NFL teams tried or succeeded in hiring him.

Kelly’s return to the sidelines in the college game however… could be going better. UCLA was blown out of the water on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl by No. 5 Oklahoma and the Bruins offense is actually among the worst in all of FBS.

They’re dead last in yards per play, second to last in total offense and No. 127 in scoring offense. Oh and sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is No. 99 nationally in passer rating.

Despite those numbers, it appears Kelly isn’t contemplating a new face behind center as the team moves into Pac-12 play.

“We didn’t,” Kelly said when asked by the LA Times whether he thought of making a change at quarterback on Saturday. “…we felt confident in Dorian.”

To be fair, Thompson-Robinson did seem a little improved against the Sooners than he did in his first two starts of 2019 against Cincinnati and San Diego State. But those numbers speak for themselves with road trips to Washington State and Arizona coming up for the 0-3 side from Westwood.

Pony Up! SMU off to best start since 1984 at 3-0

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TCU may have moved into the top 25 of the AP Poll this week after dispatching Purdue on Saturday but upcoming opponent SMU is off to an equally hot start coming into Week 4 after topping Texas State.

In fact, it’s a historic one down in Dallas.

As the school noted recently, the 3-0 start to the 2019 campaign is the Mustangs’ best since… 1984. That’s just after the Pony Express days on the Hilltop and right before the program got hammered by the NCAA for major violations.

Sonny Dykes’ tenure got off to a rough start after going 5-7 last season but the team looks much improved thanks in part to the play of Texas transfer QB Shane Buechele.

We’ll see if the two can keep things rolling against the rival Horned Frogs but the AAC might just have another intriguing team in the mix after such a hot start by SMU.