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Kirk Speaks: the Preseason

With little more than two weeks until the return of Iowa football, we wet our collective beaks with words from the head man himself.

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NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Southern California vs Iowa Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Ferentz and a handful of other coaches on the Iowa staff addressed reporters in a clamped-down, socially-distant media day of sorts, and like all other Iowa media days, this one failed to lift much of a curtain on a team that’s full of questions.

Football wasn’t the only talking point that lingered in the football complex, as coaches addressed the events from over the summer that led to the dismissal of Chris Doyle and instigated an entire culture shift from within the locker room.

If and how that will affect the performance of this team is yet to be known. Throw in the fact that there’s like a pandemic and few other things going on, and this chili has some SPICE.

I’m not here to comment on whether I think coaches doing the right things. It’s all too early to make that distinction, and I’m not sure if we’ll ever be privy to that. But right now, they seem to be saying the right things. Only those inside the locker room will ever truly know if the walk is being walked.

So we got a depth chart yesterday morning, and one of the first things KF addressed was Cole Banwart’s absence. It’s a typo!

One thing of note came to my attention that Cole Banwart’s name was not on the two deep that we issued you. And that’s probably a reflection of my real kind of lack of concern for a two deep at this time of the year, especially when we put this out. So Cole’s definitely in the two deep, he’s working, doing very well, want to make sure you guys know he’s healthy, doing fine and right in the thick of things. So I just want to go with that.

Finally, they’re projecting our lips to Kirk’s ears:

Q. Your wide receiver corp has developed, do you feel like this could be one of the most diverse offenses you’ve coached here?

Somebody asked is this going to be the best receiving corp in the history of Iowa football or in the country or something like that. I would be happy if we just play good, first of all, and if we were like in the Top five in the Big Ten.

But in all seriousness we have a good group of players at that position, certainly with Ihmir and Brandon, who got thrown in probably, not probably, but before they were ready to play and played successfully. But I think that experience has ended up paying off for them because they have made it pay off for them. They work hard, they’re both doing a good job out there and so it gives us two seniors that are really well established. Nico certainly played well last year. Tyrone Tracy’s a young up and coming player.

So I think we’re on the right track certainly and to your point, I think our skill positions are, outside of the quarterback where we’re inexperienced, but our skill positions are experienced and we feel good about the guys playing there and hopefully we’ll have a balanced attack and I think that’s really important because you just never know how people are going to attack you defensively week-to-week. So if you don’t have answers you’re going to be in a problem and it’s good to have receivers.

That’s about as high a praise as any player still in the program gets from his coach, but we already knew this was a special group.

Will overthrowing them still be a problem? Only time will tell.

I didn’t know they had planned this, and the fact it’s not happening this year makes me really sad:

Q. The Hayden Fry tribute this year on your guys’ jerseys, how did that come about, what was the decision-making process with that?

It’s one more unfortunate thing about the pandemic. We were planning on honoring him for the public back in the spring. And then obviously we had to pull the plug on that. That would have been in April.

What I feel worse there is the family was looking forward to coming up here and interacting with Iowa fans, Hawkeye fans because, I mean, Coach meant so much to this program, this state, what he did, when he did it.

So to have that opportunity, that was hard. And we still would have honored him on our jerseys, that was the plan. I talked to Robin and the family about that when we were down in Dallas. So we’re not able to do that, but this is the next best thing and it’s just, I think, a fitting tribute to somebody that really impacted this program just in immeasurable ways. So we’re honored to have that on our shirt all season long.

I suspect the patches are a forever thing, and that’s fantastic. Fryfest will be something special once the world plugs itself back in.

Q. Brian talked about being committed to being more empathetic and understanding. Have you seen him change as a person a little bit over the last several months and how proud are you just as a father of a son that you’ve raised that is committed to always growing as a person?

Yeah, I think our whole staff’s committed to doing the right things. And one thing about life, we all learn and we all grow, hopefully. And if you’re not, then you’re really not living, in my mind, and you’re not going to survive or do well in life, in my personal opinion.

So I’m 65, and one thing you learn about life is humbling, the sport’s humbling, what we do can be very humbling. You have to pay attention, you have to listen and then you have to find what works for you.

So going back to Brian, I think he’s done that, I think a lot of our guys on our staff, we have all given things a lot of thought and what can we do better, how can we do it better and still hold on to the things that we deem to be really important. And that’s what life’s all about, but I think he’s taking advantage of this.

So this is what I was alluding to a little bit about walking the walk and talking the talk. Brian gave a half-apology of sorts yesterday, but you just have to believe there is no longer any wiggle room for his, or anyone else’s, crap in that football complex.