Staff shuffle 2 done, stage set for No. 3

Iowa's staff got younger, NFL-ier, but the most important spot remains wide open

Marc Morehouse
Published: February 18 2012 | 1:44 pm - Updated: 3 April 2014 | 12:44 pm in
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A few summers ago, when he had a desk out in the hall while breaking down for the Patriots, Brian Ferentz dropped a bomb on his dad.

Brian was home on a visit. Of course, his folks live in Iowa City, his dad Kirk being the head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes and all. Brian's wife, Nicole, also is from Iowa, so Iowa was a draw for obvious reasons.

It was time to go back to Boston. Kirk drove Brian up to the Eastern Iowa Airport. And, as we've seen Kirk do a few times after big wins, he started to choke up a little bit.

Brian said, well, you know you could hire me. He then turned and got on the plane, according to Mary Ferentz, Brian's mom and Kirk's wife.

The message was sent and now the father has hired the son.

Iowa announced Saturday morning that Brian Ferentz and LeVar Woods have been hired as offensive line and linebackers coaches, respectively.

“I am excited to have LeVar and Brian, two men with strong ties to our program and high school football within the state of Iowa, join our staff,” Kirk Ferentz said in a release. “LeVar and Brian had great careers at the University of Iowa and both have enjoyed unique experiences and opportunities since their graduation. I am confident they will make positive and significant contributions in all areas of our program.”

The biggie is yet to come, with the offensive coordinator position still open after Ken O'Keefe's departure to the Miami Dolphins.

Tom Moore has been connected to Iowa, which also is in the market for a quarterbacks coach, the subtitle to O'Keefe leaving (he also was quarterbacks coach). Moore, 74, played quarterback for the Hawkeyes from 1957-60 and was a graduate assistant at the UI from 1961-62.

You know Tom Moore from his stint with the Colts and Peyton Manning and a Super Bowl championship over the Bears in 2007. But Moore has been coordinating offenses since 1974, when he was OC for the New York Stars of the World Football League.

Moore also was offensive coordinator for Chuck Noll and the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1983-89.

You could see Ferentz's logic with Moore, a seasoned "Yoda" type imparting knowledge and wisdom.

Iowa wide receivers coach Erik Campbell also is a logical candidate. Perhaps Campbell or running backs coach Lester Erb becomes coordinator with Moore as quarterbacks coach.

That's speculation. As it stands right now, Iowa has eight coaches on staff, including defensive coordinator Phil Parker, D-line Reese Morgan, secondary Darrell Wilson and tight ends/recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson.

If the final hire is a coordinator/quarterbacks coach, that's it. NCAA rules mandate only nine coaches on staff. If the offensive coordinator hire isn't a QB coach, then another move would need to be made. Or moves. The remaining moves could be configured in any number of ways.

On Saturday, Iowa's staff got younger. Brian Ferentz will turn 29 next month. Woods is just 34.

Iowa's staff also took on a greater NFL flavor.

During his NFL career, Woods played for Tennessee, Arizona, Chicago and Detroit. He signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2001 and spent the first four years of his career in Arizona. In 88 career games Woods totaled 168 tackles, 2 ½ sacks, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

Brian Ferentz was with the New England Patriots organization for the past four years. He served as tight ends coach in 2011, helping the Patriots win the AFC championship and a spot in the 2012 Super Bowl. Brian was an offensive assistant coach in 2010. He spent 2009 as a coaching assistant after serving as a scouting assistant for the Patriots during the 2008 season.

Woods and Brian Ferentz were recipients of the Hayden Fry “Extra Heartbeat Award” as seniors. The award goes to the Hawkeye player who gives extraordinary effort on the field. They will need that kind of effort in their first full seasons on the recruiting trail, a wholly different beast in the Big Ten.

Ferentz and Woods aren't that far from their playing days. Iowa's recruiting voice will reflect that.

And considering the shark tank that Big Ten recruiting has become with Ohio State's Urban Meyer squeezing yes out of Wisconsin and Michigan State commitments, Iowa's recruiting voice needs to be as vibrant as ever.

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