James Ferentz knew it was coming and so he stood up and didn’t dodge anything.
Yes, he screwed up. Yes, he needs to make better decisions off the field. And yes, he’s very much looking forward to the season ahead.
“I just need to be smarter and make better decisions,” the redshirt freshman center said. “I learned a lot about myself this past season. I didn’t make wise decisions. Now it’s time to just get ready and get going for the season.”
We’re having this conversation because last October he received a ticket for underage possession of alcohol (PAULA). Then, in April, he was arrested for public intoxication. His dad, Kirk, happens to coach the Hawkeyes, so these incidents received copious amounts of media attention.
Kirk Ferentz the dad offered moral support and a counsel.
“We rely on each other for support in tough times,” James said. “We’re there for each other and it’s comforting knowing that.”
Kirk Ferentz the coach was forced to suspend James. He was suspended for about half of spring practice. He’ll also sit out a game this fall.
“I made a mistake,” he said, “but at the same time, I still think I’m in the right place and with the right people.”
There’s no gauge for how James Ferentz was doing or where he stood on the depth chart last spring. Right now, senior Rafael Eubanks and junior Josh Koeppel are listed Nos. 1 and 2, but O-line coach Reese Morgan quickly throws James Ferentz’s name into the mix.
“This is the one thing in my life that I really love and enjoy doing every day,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter where I’m at or what my position is on the team. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”