SPRING FOOTBALL IS (almost) HERE!
Not only did we get an early spring football depth chart yesterday, but Gary Bart and Kirk Ferentz met with the media ahead of spring football, primarily to announce that Will and Renee Moon, owners of the World’s Largest Truckstop on I-80 endowed the Iowa football head coaching position, henceforth known as the Moon Family Head Football Coach.
From the press release, the gift is as follows:
- “The creation of a new endowment fund that will support the needs and advancement of the Hawkeye football program.
- The establishment of the Will and Renee Moon Excellence Fund, which will provide unrestricted support for Iowa football and other athletics initiatives, as determined by the Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair.
- Support for the Kinnick Edge Campaign, which revitalized Kinnick Stadium’s north end zone seating and concourse.
In recognition of the Moons’ support, Kirk Ferentz and all future UI head football coaches will hold the title of Moon Family Head Football Coach.”
We did not receive a transcript that I saw, so here’s a video of the full press conference from Hawkeye Sports:
We got our transcript here. My highlights below!
Let’s start with the new coaching hires:
KIRK FERENTZ: Excited about two new additions to the staff. George has coached in the Midwest and really helped turn Miami-OH into a MAC champion. Tremendous coach. Ladell Betts is a name more familiar to everyone here. Tremendous player, one of the best I’ve been around, and went on to a long NFL career for a running back. I think that’s due to the way he operates and focuses. Then impressed with what he’s done coaching high school football. Kind of got into it unintentionally when another NFL player asked him to be an assistant and then that coach left, so Ladell ended up taking over and never looked back. He’s going to be a great fit here and excited about the addition.
SPRING OPEN PRACTICE NEWS:
Q: Noticed you said maybe a couple opportunities? May 1 and mid April?
KF: I think if we’re able to, that’s our plan...We’re hoping to have two opportunities and hopefully weather will cooperate.
OH KINNICK WE HAVE MISSED YOU.
Strength coach “news”:
Q: Braithwaite still listed as interim strength coach?
KF: That must be my error. My intention has been to turn it over to him since last June and Cody Myers moved up to No. 2. They’ve done a great job and I have total confidence in them. Full speed ahead.
So, there’s that.
An interesting tidbit regarding Chris Doyle’s “tenure” in Jacksonville:
Q: Kirk, last month the program was back in the news for racial bias issues when Chris was initially hired at Jacksonville. Did you have any communication with Jacksonville during that process?
KF: Yeah, I received a phone call from them.
Q: What did you tell them about Chris?
KF: That’s a personal conversation, but I spoke to the job Chris did here and answered their questions. That’s it.
Q: What was your reaction to the blowback there? Your program was back in the news again in relation to that.
KF: Like a lot of things, I hope everybody is going to move on at some point. I’m not passing judgement, I understand, but it’s unfortunate. Pertaining to our program, I think we’re in a really healthy spot at this point.
I think Kirk’s answer to that third question there tells you everything you need to know about the conversation. Good to hear though that there was a good response from the seniors about the changes in the program:
Q: Has everybody gone through diversity training at this point? How does the conversation continue?
KF: There’s been department wide, staff oriented, as well as players. I think everybody has worked at it. I’ll go back to June, I think our responses have been good. Not suggesting they are perfect, but I think they’ve been good. Really comes down to listening and then talking, having a communication about it with players. I think if you ask any of them, they’d say it was healthy. In the process of interviewing our seniors and they’ve said it was really good. What it gets down to is we made some changes, but important thing is continue to do the work and move forward.
Let’s hope so!
And finally, some QB talk!
Q: When you talked about Spencer [Petras], you talked a lot about not having a spring or summer last year. Is there an extra weight to that this year?
KF: I’d say it’s an opportunity. Especially goes for the guys in the trenches because you can’t block much without practicing. Going back through the season, one of Spencer’s highlights was Illinois because we played poorly early on, he played poorly, but then turned it around and made some great throws. That tells me a lot about him. We get to watch him with his teammates and in meetings and the way he operates with his leadership, it’s the way you want a quarterback to operate. I feel good about the room overall. We’re going to let them compete this spring and hopefully take a step forward. Being able to be a normal QB in the summer and work with his teammates, that’s a big thing, and will be beneficial. I know the average fan doesn’t take that into consideration, but we do. I’m excited to see Spencer and his growth and Alex and Deuce too, Connor as well.
We’re going to let them compete -eyes emoji- In all seriousness though, nothing has changed here. I kept the whole answer here to reiterate that this is the same line that we got last season. Spencer Petras will be QB1 come September, guaranteed.
There’s a lot of other stuff in the transcript that I didn’t put here — these are the highlights I thought were most pertinent.
Spring football, full speed ahead!