Some ESPN.com folks are reporting that Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe is interested in the Indiana job.
Here’s the link. The O’Keefe mention is toward the end.
I’m not buying it, but there you go.
Here’s a story from 2007 where I flat out asked why Ferentz hasn’t fired O’Keefe:
IOWA CITY – The criticism of Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe has stepped up in the face of the Hawkeyes’ struggles this season.
Iowa goes into Saturday’s game ranked last or next-to-last in every Big Ten offensive statistic that matters. It’s also nearing some national lows, in scoring offense (117th out of 119 FBS teams), sacks allowed (116th) and total offense (109th).
Fans are grumbling for O’Keefe’s job. Head coach Kirk Ferentz understands fans’ frustration, but he’ll keep his offensive coordinator.
“First of all, I think he’s a quality coach, an outstanding coach and I can’t imagine us having someone better in that position,” Ferentz said. “That’s the major problem on that request.”
In five Big Ten games, the Hawkeyes have scored just six touchdowns, averaging 11.2 points a game. The Hawkeyes also are last in the conference in red-zone offense. Iowa has scored just eight times in 12 (66.7 percent) trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Ferentz referenced a Big Ten school that fired a few assistants in the early 1980s, during Ferentz’s first run as offensive line coach at Iowa. That left a bad taste in his mouth and has colored his beliefs on staff continuity, even in times of struggle.
“That was the first time I really saw bodies coming out, coordinators or assistants coming out, trying to stay a step ahead of the posse, divert the attention,” Ferentz said.
Instead of firing coaches, Ferentz said his focus will be on “working through problems.”
“I’m not of the school that you fire four people and assume everything is going to be fine, just to take the heat off yourself,” Ferentz said. “I think that’s a cop-out. If there’s a legitimate reason to do it, that’s fine, but we certainly don’t have any of those, in my mind. Other people are entitled to their opinions.”
Ferentz and O’Keefe began working together in 1978 at Worcester (Mass.) Academy. But Ferentz was quick to point out that personal relationships have nothing to do with what’s going on in the Iowa football offices.
“Business is business. Coaches get fired all of the time,” Ferentz said. “(But) I think he does an excellent job.”
Ferentz was asked what he’d do if Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta told him to restructure his staff.
“That’s a hypothetical. It’s a good question, though,” he said.
Barta told me yesterday he’s not a micromanager and so that is not his approach.
The concept of changing Iowa’s offense was discussed in the lead up to the 2006 Alamo Bowl.
“It’s just who we are and it’s not going to change,” O’Keefe said. “Kirk has had a plan and has a plan and we’re sticking to the plan.”
Here’s an online petition to fire O’Keefe.
Here’s a Facebook group that is unflattering, though I’m not sure it’s real.
I’m not sure there’s a more polarizing figure in Iowa sports unless Steve Alford still counts.