This won’t be a manifesto because a) I want to hear what Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz has to say Wednesday afternoon before giving concrete thoughts about this and b) I’m tired. I’ve spent seven of the last nine nights in motels, and changed motels three times. Two of the four motels were nice. Two were not.
My reaction to Phil Parker from defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator, Reese Morgan from offensive line to defensive line and Darrell Wilson from the D-line to the secondary is this: Ferentz almost surely knows what he’s going to do with the whole staff and is giving us the first half of the equation now.
Wilson has been on the Hawkeyes’ staff for 10 years and was interim co-defensive coordinator with Parker in 2010 when Norm Parker was sidelined for several weeks because of health issues. He has been a key recruiter for the program.
I’d be shocked if LeVar Woods, a former Iowa and NFL linebacker, doesn’t become the linebackers coach. I don’t know if Erik Campbell will move to move from receivers coach to offensive coordinator as is widely suggested, but I wouldn’t bet on anyone else getting the job over him. I don’t know if Brian Ferentz will come in and be offensive line coach as is widely suggested, but why would Morgan be getting moved from that job if Kirk Ferentz didn’t have a very specific person waiting in the wings?
That leaves one opening. It’s been suggested in some circles that current graduate assistant coach David Raih will become the quarterbacks coach. I think that’s with the assumption Ken O’Keefe’s replacement as OC isn’t a quarterbacks coach like O’Keefe was.
I wouldn’t have criticisms about any of those moves. For one thing, they would make the staff considerably younger, and it could use that. For another, they would involve three people who have a lot more than youth going for them. They all strike me as smart and personable, people who would be good at connecting with players and with recruits and their families. They’re all men who, while they attended Iowa and played for the Hawkeyes, have lived and worked far from Iowa City. Woods was an NFL player, Brian Ferentz is an NFL assistant coach. Raih spent two years interning on the UCLA football staff.
I think Phil Parker is fully qualified to be defensive coordinator. I put a lot of stock in what former players say, since they know the coaches better than anyone and they have also have a little distance and perspective. If they don’t have anything good to say about a coach, they’re likely to just say nothing. Sean Considine and Tyler Sash have both given ringing endorsements of Parker, and their last seasons with the Hawkeyes were six years apart.
I’ll wait to see how the staff actually is filled out before making an overall critique of it, and of why it was chosen.