As we all know (and if you don’t know, where have you even been?), Greg Davis retired from coaching this past Friday to spend more time with his family and enjoy the retired life. Congratulations to him! Hope the retired life treats him well.
But now that we’ve had some time to think about it, we need to start shifting the focus to who Iowa might hire to be their next offensive coordinator. Kirk Ferentz holds a press conference today at 3:30 and very well could be making the announcement today (or it could be business as usual, which is a very strong possibility). Let’s take a look at five names that have been thrown around in the rumor mill, and quickly analyze their resumes and their fits into the Iowa program.
Brian Ferentz: This is the option that makes the most sense, honestly. Brian Ferentz is already in the program as “offensive line coach/running game coordinator” and, well, he’s the supposed heir apparent to Kirk’s spot. Becoming the offensive coordinator would be the next logical choice, no? I feel like this is also probably the best choice because I feel as though Brian might be able to implement some of his own ideas into the offense. I mean, he has helped pave the way for an offensive line that can move the ball on the ground, as evidenced by Iowa’s two 1,000 yard rushers this past season.
However, I could be completely wrong, and if the offense continues to slip, it’d be hard for Kirk to show his kid the door. That would create a pretty big mess...
Ken O’Keefe: Ooooooh, the old “hire your old offensive coordinator to get back to the glory days” move. Well, after O’Keefe bolted for the Miami Dolphins, things weren’t always so great on the offensive side of the ball here in Iowa City. Things weren’t actually spectacular during his time here, either, but at least he’s a known commodity that would have Iowa in the middle of the pack in terms of offensive production. One would wonder whether or not he’d be willing to make the return to college football after going to the NFL, but the Greg Davis days have people pining for his return.
Joe Philbin: This one seems a little far fetched, but there have been rumors that he, too, could be a possible candidate for the job. Philbin was Kirk Ferentz’ first offensive line coach at Iowa from 1999-2002, so they have a history that goes a ways back. Philbin left Iowa City to go to Green Bay, where he spent nine seasons, including five seasons as offensive coordinator. As the OC of the Packers, Philbin led Green Bay to five consecutive top ten finishes in total offense and points scored, winning a Super Bowl. He moved onto Miami to be a head coach, but achieved moderate success, topping out at 8-8.
I think he would be an intriguing fit as offensive coordinator here at Iowa, but I don’t know if Philbin wants to return to college football. He’s definitely more of an NFL guy, as he left here once to take the same position in the NFL and has been there since 2003.
David Raih: This is one that I wouldn’t have thought of if not for an article that Marc Morehouse wrote about coaches who might fit the mold as Iowa OC. This one would make some sense. Raih was an Iowa player from ‘99 to ‘03 and and a graduate assistant from ‘10 to ‘12, coaching QBs, TEs, and the offensive line. He knows Ferentz and what kind of offense he wants to run already. The biggest issue, in my opinion, is that he’s never been a playcaller. He’s currently the assistant offensive line coach in Green Bay, so he has plenty of experience as a coach, but not as a playcaller. Morehouse notes in his article that the NCAA might approve a 10th assistant coach next year, which might make his lack of playcalling experience irrelevant, but it makes me unsure.
Iowa could go the Co-Offensive Coordinator route and tab him and Ferentz to work together. That would be an interesting option if the two could bounce ideas off each other in an effective manner.
Chip Kelly: Alright. This name is in here for one reason, and one reason only: I’ve seen a lot of people talking about Chip as a person that Iowa should hire. But it’s NEVER going to happen. First off, even though Kelly was a failed NFL coach, there are probably going to be a handful of schools that want to employ him as a head coach based off his track record at Oregon. Secondly, Chip and Kirk have polar opposite offensive strategies, and this would never mesh in a million years. Ferentz wants to run the ball down your throat from the I-Formation; Kelly has likely never used a fullback in his life. Ferentz wants to methodically move the ball down field; Kelly’s ideal posessions last about 30 seconds. It just wouldn’t happen, even if he wanted to come to Iowa.