Matt Bowen, the former Iowa/NFL football player now of television, radio, print (with the Chicago Tribune) and Internet (with the National Football Post), is always a good source when the subject is football.
In fact, before you get in to what he has to say about Iowa’s newest assistant football coaches, I’d recommend you read this column he wrote about when he attended the NFL Combine as a player. This week, he’s going to the Combine in Indianapolis as part of the media. That’s less torturous, I’m sure.
Bowen was a teammate of LeVar Woods’ at Iowa in the late 1990s, so I called him to get his observations about new Iowa linebackers coach Woods, as well as new Hawkeyes offensive line coach Brian Ferentz.
“I’m biased,” Bowen said. “LeVar is one of my best friends. I talk to him every week.
“But I do think he’ll be an excellent coach. I’ve told him before that I think he’d be an excellent teacher in the classroom, whether it was elementary school, junior high, high school, whatever the case might be. And the best coaches are the best teachers. The best coaches connect with the players.
“I think he’s a great choice because he has ties to the state of Iowa, and he knows how we coach and prepare players at our school. And, he has the NFL background (seven years as a player) that you don’t find everywhere. I think in today’s game that means a lot, more so than when I came in to Iowa in ’95.
“Everyone sees how big the NFL is, and want to be coached and taught by guys who have that experience. Every college player’s goal is to play on Sundays.
“LeVar didn’t get anything handed to him. He was no 5-star recruit, and he was undrafted in the NFL. He’s had to work for everything he’s gotten, and people respect that. I think that makes for a much better coach when you’ve experienced adversity and can relate to players.
“With Brian Ferentz (formerly the New England Patriots’ tight ends coach), I think that respect will be there. All the players know about Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and that the Patriots were in the Super Bowl. That experience he’s had adds a lot of value in the minds of young players.”
The following video is of current Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch running a 300-yard shuttle against Bowen at a LeVar Woods Football Academy session in Okoboji, Iowa. Vanden Bosch and Woods were teammates at West Lyon High School in northwest Iowa. Vanden Bosch and Bowen were among the many instructors of note at Woods’ camp. (Sorry, Matt)
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