For the first time in a few years, Kirk Ferentz is going to have to get out his rolodex and find a new face to add to the Iowa coaching staff after Jim Reid departed to take over as defensive coordinator/LB coach for Boston College. (Ferentz did rejigger some coaching responsibilities after last season, but that was just a matter of reallocating the work -- no new faces joined the staff.) So who might he look to add? Honestly, we have no idea. Ferentz plays coaching searches pretty close to the vest most of the time and especially for a position line linebacker coach (one of the more entry-level roles on the staff) the possibilities for who it could be are considerable. There's a pretty good chance that the new addition to the Iowa coaching lineup is not someone listed below. And that's fine! But we're going to speculate anyway.
Option One: Move Levar Woods (Back) to Linebacker Coach
This would be the simplest option in terms of filling the LB Coach role -- Woods played linebacker for Iowa and the Cardinals, Lions, and Titans during his 7-year NFL career. He's also coached linebackers at Iowa (2012-2014) before being moved to tight ends for the 2015 season. Iowa's linebacker play during two of the seasons with him helping to coach linebackers was so-so (2012) and poor (2014), but personnel certainly plays a big role there. Iowa was trotting out three lightly-recruited freshmen at linebacker last year; they were going to struggle under anyone. And he had a hand in coaching the 2013 linebackers, who were very very good and one of the best three-man linebacker groups Ferentz has had at Iowa. If he takes over the linebackers (again), things will probably be just fine, assuming Iowa continues to recruit decent options there -- and isn't forced to play them too early.
If Woods moves to Linebacker Coach, then Iowa would need to find a new coach on the offensive side of the ball. That would be at Tight Ends Coach, unless they do another rejiggering of coaching responsibilities, although that seems less likely after the success Iowa had in 2015. You shake things up when things aren't working and from a coaching standpoint, there was an awful lot that worked pretty darn well in 2015 (Rose Bowl aside). It makes more sense to just plug in the newcomer at TE Coach if Woods moves back to LB Coach. Who could be options there?
Friend of the Pants Marc Morehouse listed a few names in his post yesterday:
Bruce Kittle -- former Iowa offensive tackle and (of course) the father of current Iowa tight end George Kittle. He has experience coaching -- and coaching tight ends, no less -- at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops in 2011 and 2012 (he was also Co-Recruiting Coordinator at OU in 2010). He wasn't particularly well-thought of by Oklahoma fans (they were happy to see him go after 2012), he hasn't coached since then, and his overall coaching experience is pretty light. Grantland had an interesting profile on Kittle a few years ago.
Marv Cook -- a legendary former tight end at Iowa and the head coach at Iowa City Regina, which he's turned into the dominant powerhouse at the 1A level (six state championships in nine seasons). His situation echoes a current member of the Iowa staff just a bit -- Reese Morgan. Morgan will probably be looking to retire before long, which will be a blow to Iowa given his solid coaching on the offensive and defensive lines and his ability to recruit the state of Iowa. Could Cook take over Morgan's role as the "Iowa whisperer" on the staff? Of course this assumes that Cook has any interest in leaving his current situation and jumping into the grind of college coaching, which is a total mystery. But if he does, this would be a pretty great spot for him.
David Raih -- former backup QB and graduate assistant at Iowa under Ferentz, so he knows the program better than most "outside" candidates. He also (briefly) coached tight ends for Iowa (2012) and has coached receivers at Texas Tech and currently handles a variety of duties with the Green Bay Packers, including some special teams coaching. So he's got a variety of experience on the coaching front. If Iowa brought him back he could just slide in as TE coach -- or he could trigger a new round of coaching role rejiggering.
If we're mentioning Iowa alums, we're probably obligated to mention guys like Dallas Clark and Tim Dwight, although none of them have shown any interest in getting into coaching since leaving the NFL.
Cornell Ford -- He's currently Missouri's RB coach and before that he served as their CB coach; he's also their lead recruiter in St. Louis (and a damn good one -- Rivals named him one of their Top 25 recruiters last year). He doesn't have any Iowa ties and he's coached at Missouri for 16 (!) years, so the odds of Iowa luring him seem very low (especially since he's already planning on staying after the transition at the head coaching spot -- from Gary Pinkel to Barry Odom -- this year), but there was some chatter about Iowa talking to him last month and he would be a very nice get. Bringing him aboard would probably require Iowa to rearrange coaching responsibilities.
Option Two: Bring in an Outside Candidate to be Linebacker Coach
In this scenario, Woods stays put at TE coach (he seemed to do pretty well there this year) and the new face that Iowa adds to the staff simply slots right in at Reid's position as LB coach.
William Inge -- has Iowa ties as a former player under Hayden Fry (1993-96). Inge has been the LB coach and co-defensive coordinator at Indiana since 2013. Before that he was the DL coach with the Buffalo Bill in 2012 and the defensive coordinator and LB coach at the University of Buffalo in 2010 and 2011 (where he helped develop Khalil Mack). Before that he was LB coach at Cincinnati (2008-09) and San Diego State (2006-07). We considered him a name to watch when Iowa was looking for a defensive coordinator three years ago and he'd certainly be qualified to be LB coach here. If anything, he'd probably be over-qualified for the job now and if he's calling plays on defense for Indiana, there's basically no chance that he would voluntarily take a step back to being just a LB coach for Iowa. But he would probably be a great fit if Iowa could get him.
John Jancek -- was Tennessee's defensive coordinator until, uh, yesterday. He has no Iowa ties (which is perfectly OK -- Iowa ties are nice, but by no means should they be a prerequisite to hiring), though he does have midwestern roots -- he was born in Michigan, went to school at Grand Valley State, and spent a fair amount of time coaching in the midwest (Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, Wayne State, Cincinnati). While his last few jobs have been as defensive coordinator (Tennessee 2013-15, Cincinnati 2010-12, Georgia 2009), he has extensive experience as a LB coach, too (Grand Valley State 1999-2002, Georgia 2005-09, Cincinnati 2010-12). In truth, he's overqualified to be Iowa's LB coach -- but that was the case with Jim Reid, too, and that worked out well. Iowa would just be a stopover job for Jancek (just as it was for Reid, ultimately), but that's fine -- coaching continuity is nice, but you don't need lifers at every position coach job.
Jim Herrmann -- may soon be looking for work. Herrmann's been in the NFL for a decade, as the LB coach for the NY Jets in 2006-08 and as the LB coach for the NY Giants from 2009 to present. Herrmann's boss, Tom Coughlin, just resigned from his head coaching role earlier this week, leaving Herrmann's job currently in limbo. While he's been a pro guy lately, Herrmann has deep Big Ten ties -- he played linebacker for MIchigan from 1980-1982 and was an assistant coach there for 20 years (1985-2005), which included stints as LB coach and defensive coordinator (1996-2005). Like Inge, he's another name we pondered when Iowa was looking for a defensive coordinator a few years ago. Like Inge and Janceck, he's overqualified for the job of LB coach, but if he's looking for a stable gig to regain his coaching footing (assuming the next Giants coach doesn't retain him), he could do a lot worse than Iowa.
Paul Rhoads -- wait don't laugh. (OK, laugh a little.) Rhoads was, of course, the Iowa State head coach until last month. So he's looking for work, he has ties to the state of Iowa, and he has a defensive background -- he's been a DB coach for Pacific (1992-93), a LB coach for Iowa State (1995), a DB coach for Iowa State (1996-99), a defensive coordinator for Pitt (2000-07), and a DB coach/defensive coordinator for Auburn (2008). He doesn't seem too interested in going for Power 5 head coach to a position coach -- he's a finalist for the Texas State head coach gig -- so that, coupled with the, uh, awkwardness of him going from Iowa State to Iowa are enough to make the odds of this hire happening ridiculously low... but hey.
From an Iowa alum standpoint, there are some good recent players from the Ferentz Era who could be considered -- Pat Angerer, Abdul Hodge, and Chad Greenway (if he would decide to retire from the NFL after this season, which is no sure thing) spring to mind. Of course, none of those guys have any coaching experience at all and it's unclear if they have any interest in getting involved in coaching at this point. But if we're just throwing names at a wall...
Again, the actual new face that Iowa hires to join the coaching staff is could very well be someone we didn't list here or that isn't even on our radars right now. That's the nature of coaching searches, especially low-profile ones like position coaches. Ferentz showed he wasn't afraid to go fairly big when he added Reid to the staff three years ago, so even though he's looking to fill a "lesser" role on the staff now, it doesn't mean he'll necessarily settle for a "lesser" name.