Embattled Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz met with the media on Thursday. For a while it was business as usual with Ferentz discussing new quarterback Cade McNamara and if he felt the offensive line play had taken a step forward.
Eventually the conversation turned to the revised contract for Ferentz, which requires an average of 25 points per game and at least seven wins this season. That’s when the press conference got pretty interesting.
We have our three takeaways from what Ferentz had to say to the media on Thursday afternoon.
FERENTZ AT PEACE WITH HIS FATE
While some coaches might be on the edge after having their contract restructured and filled with goals in order to retain their job, Brian Ferentz is comfortable with what he faces this year.
As referenced earlier, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta restructured the contract of his offensive coordinator, who is his direct report due to nepotism rules at the University of Iowa. The changes were the already mentioned 25 points per game and seven wins this season.
“I’m going to approach my job the same way I have. The reason I’m here is I care about this University and the program and I’m going to continue to do my job in the same manner,” Ferentz said. “If this is my last year as offensive coordinator l at Iowa, I’m at peace with that. If we’re beating Wisconsin 24-10 with 30 seconds left, you can bet your *** I’m at peace with that.”
IMPRESSED BY MCNAMARA’S LEADERSHIP
It’s always challenge for a new player to come into a college football program and establish themselves as a leader on the team. It’s particularly challenging and important for a new quarterback. That was the challenge for Cade McNamara, who arrived in January after leaving Michigan.
The other challenge was that McNamara was still recovering from knee surgery and that limited his time on the field. Based on what Brian Ferentz said today that McNamara has done a terrific job on the leadership front.
“The guys in our room understand that Cade is our starter. His actions have established himself as that person. He’s physically tough, mentally tough, and ultra-competitive. You know leadership when you see it and he radiates it. People gravitate to him. We knew that, but now we’ve seen it as soon as he got there. It’s been fun to watch and excited to see where it goes.”
IMPROVEMENT ALONG THE OFFENSIVE LINE
One of the real keys to the Iowa offense is the play of the five players up front doing the blocking. Last year the Hawkeye offensive line really struggled. Iowa averaged under three yards a carry and gave up over thirty quarterback sacks.
If the Iowa offense is going to get better, then it starts up front. Thus far, Ferentz says things are going well.
“I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen, but it’s a process. Far from a finished process,” Ferentz said. “I think for anyone to have success you need to run the football. You need to be able to block, throw and catch, and run the ball. The reality is until you can block, you can’t do the other two. I’ve seen some improvement.”