Iowa Football To Eliminate Running Back Position From Offense

Imagine how many more touchowns Canzeri will score now that he's no longer a "running back." (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

IOWA CITY, IA (AP) -- Kirk Ferentz announced at a press conference earlier today that, effective immediately, the University of Iowa football program no longer has any running backs on its roster. "Nope, no more running backs. All gone," said Ferentz. Asked if this move was being made in response to the recent departures of running backs Mika'il McCall and Marcus Coker, Ferentz responded in the negative. "No, not particularly. I've really been impressed by the New England [Patriots, of the NFL] offense the last few years and it just struck me: Why don't we quit messing around and adopt that offense whole-hog?"

Ferentz indicated that the remaining players on the team previously classified as running backs have not been released from the team. "No, they've just been reassigned. Damon Bullock is a slot receiver now. De'Andre Johnson is a Floridaback. And Jordan Canzeri is a Dannywoodheadback." When asked to clarify, Ferentz said that Johnson was a "Floridaback" because "it just seems like we've always got one of 'em from Florida, so why not call 'em that? And Canzeri's a Dannywoodheadback because I just love that [Danny] Woodhead kid and think Jordan is just the spitting image of him. Except for being a black kid from New York with 31 career carries instead of a white kid from Nebraska who's the all-time leading rusher in NCAA history, of course."

"In fact, this is kind of a test run. I'm thinking we could change a lot more titles to something more descriptive. Like James Morris could be a tacklebacker because he gets a lot of tackles. Or Tanner Miller could be a wanderback because he spends so much time wandering around the secondary. Or Mike Meyer could be a... well, I guess kicker already works pretty well for him," Ferentz added.

Ferentz was also asked if this move was made in response to the significant level of attrition Iowa has experienced at the running back position, which he denied. "Nope, nothing to do with that. I don't put much stock in hexes, voodoo curses, or some kind of divine retribution. It's just football. We're sorry [McCall and Coker] won't be with the team any longer and wish them well in their future endeavors. We're just going to focus on the next man in and take it one game at a time."

A full transcript of Ferentz's press conference announcing the move follows...

Transcript:

FERENTZ: Thanks for coming by today. Just got a brief message I wanted to get out there: effective immediately, we don't have any more running backs. The Iowa football team no longer lists any players as running backs. Thank you.

REPORTER: You don't have any running backs left on the team? Not a single one?

FERENTZ: Nope, no more running backs. All gone.

REPORTER: Wait, so they've all transferred or been kicked off the team?

FERENTZ: Nope.

REPORTER: So...

FERENTZ: They've just been reassigned to new positions.

REPORTER: /silence

FERENTZ: Damon Bullock is a slot receiver now. De'Andre Johnson is a Floridaback. And Jordan Canzeri is a Dannywoodheadback.

REPORTER: Floridaback? Dannywoodheadback? Can you explain those, Coach?

FERENTZ: Well, it just seems like we've always got one of 'em from Florida, so why not call 'em that? And Canzeri's a Dannywoodheadback because I love that [Danny] Woodhead kid and think Jordan is just the spitting image of him. Except for being a black kid from New York with 31 career carries instead of a white kid from Nebraska who's the all-time leading rusher in NCAA history, of course.

REPORTER: So, just so we're clear, you don't have any more running backs on the team?

FERENTZ: Nope.

REPORTER: No halfbacks?

FERENTZ: Nope.

REPORTER: No tailbacks?

FERENTZ: Nope.

REPORTER: No scatbacks?

UI ATHLETIC DIRECTOR GARY BARTA: Excuse me, but I would just like to make it clear that coprophagia is against the University of Iowa Student Code of Conduct.

REPORTER: So...

BARTA: No scatbacks.

FERENTZ: In fact, this is kind of a test run. I'm thinking we could change a lot more titles to something more descriptive. Like James Morris could be a tacklebacker because he gets a lot of tackles. Or Tanner Miller could be a wanderback because he spends so much time wandering around the secondary. Or Mike Meyer could be a... well, I guess kicker already works pretty well for him.

REPORTER: So there's been a lot of attrition in recent years at the running back position...

FERENTZ: /silence

REPORTER: Is this move a response to that attrition?

FERENTZ: Nope, nothing to do with that.

REPORTER: Do you think there's more than just random bad luck to this attrition? Do you think there's a supernatural explanation?

FERENTZ: I don't put much stock in hexes, voodoo curses, or some kind of divine retribution. It's just football. We're sorry [McCall and Coker] won't be with the team any longer and wish them well in their future endeavors. We're just going to focus on the next man in and take it one game at a time.

REPORTER: So this move wasn't made as a way to throw the being Iowa fans have started calling Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God off your scent, so to speak?

FERENTZ: /snort

REPORTER: So what was the motivation for this move, then?

FERENTZ: I've really been impressed by the New England [Patriots, of the NFL] offense the last few years and it just struck me: Why don't we quit messing around and adopt that offense whole-hog?

REPORTER: Did this move have anything to do with the departures of McCall and Coker?

FERENTZ: No, not particularly.

REPORTER: What do you find so attractive about the New England offense?

FERENTZ: Well, first, they score a lot of points. That's usually a good thing. And it seems like they win a lot of games.

REPORTER: Right. Do you really think you have the personnel to run the New England offense?

FERENTZ: I think we're getting there, yeah, getting closer. Canzeri, like I said, I just see Woodhead all the time when I look at that kid. Even called him Danny the other week. That was a little awkward, little funny. He kind of laughed, and I kind of laughed, and we all just sort of shrugged it off. /chuckle I look at [C.J.] Fiedorowicz and [Ray] Hamilton and I think, 'Why couldn't they be just like [Rob] Gronkowski and [Aaron] Hernandez? They're both big, fast athlete-types that can really catch the ball. Great hands. If you squint, [Kevonte] Martin-Manley kind of looks like [Wes] Welker, you know? And we think Keenan [Davis] can fill the [Chad] Ochowhatever role, too. He's already got the drops part down pretty well. /chuckle Just kidding, of course. I'm joshing. Keenan can be a big play guy like Chad is what I meant, of course.

REPORTER: Uh, Coach, it seems like you left out one part of the New England offense there...

FERENTZ: Hmm?

REPORTER: Tom Brady? The quarterback?

FERENTZ: Right, right. He's pretty good. Yeah, pretty good football player there.

REPORTER: So are you implicitly comparing James Vandenberg to Tom Brady?

FERENTZ: You said that, not me! /chuckle Well, you know, we like James a lot. Good leader, good kid. Real good kid, great character guy. Think he's really going to have a great senior season.

REPORTER: Coach, even with all of that, New England still has running backs on their team. I mean, they have Woodhead and --

FERENTZ: Who's a Dannywoodheadback. The original one, I guess you could call him. /chuckles

REPORTER: Uh, but there's also BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley.

FERENTZ: Brian [Ferentz] told me they call them The Law Firm and The Riddler, actually. Kinda funny names, you know. Little humorous. Where I got the idea from, really. Ours aren't so funny, though, because I'm not much of a funnyman. /chuckles

REPORTER: Coach, I think those might just be nicknames for those players. They're still called running backs.

FERENTZ: Could be, could be. I'm not sure, I'm not out there, you know? I'm back in Iowa, they're out there. You'd have to ask them, I guess.

REPORTER: Coach, this seems like a pretty big change for your offense. Since you've been here, it seems like you've always wanted to run a pro-style offense and --

FERENTZ: (interrupting) Well, New England's a pro team, right? I mean, they were last time I checked, so I think they are.

REPORTER: Uh, well, yeah. But it seemed like you always wanted to pound away at defenses with the running game and then hit them over the top with some play-action in the passing game.

FERENTZ: /shrugs You saw our offense the last few games, right? I know I did. Had a few issues there, few problems.

REPORTER: Can you elaborate?

FERENTZ: We weren't scoring points. I think that was a problem, kind of an issue for us.

REPORTER: So you think this change will help you score more points?

FERENTZ: I think so, yeah. I sure hope so. OK, that's all for today. I've gotta go hire a defensive coordinator.

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