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By now, the dead horse has been beaten for several months. Brian Ferentz was not getting the job done as Iowa’s offensive coordinator. He didn’t get the job done a season ago. Departed athletic director Gary Barta imposed the absurd 25 points per game minimum for Brian to be retained and long after it became crystal clear the Hawkeyes wouldn’t reach that threshold, interim AD Beth Goetz announced publicly that Brian would not be retained.
Iowa ended the season scoring an absurdly low 16.6 points per game. It was somehow worse than a season ago and marked the lowest offensive output since Kirk Ferentz’s first year in Iowa City back in 1999.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel and Brian’s contract expiration means Hawkeye fans have the opportunity to speculate and daydream about who could replace him. Over the last several weeks, we’ve all done just that and a few candidate names have surfaced. Along with those, we’ve seen some pipe dreams tossed out as well as some laughable rumors.
At the end of the day, there appears to be the most smoke with three primary candidates, which aligns with Ferentz the elder’s comments earlier this week.
While not his formal press availability, which comes on Wednesday along with national signing day, Kirk seemed a bit more open as he was more casually asked and answered a number of questions from the practice field. There were several nuggets in there, but the key bit as it pertains to the coaching search was this:
“I’ve made all three phone calls... three phone calls so far, hopefully make one more this week.... we’ve got to have some face-to-face meetings.”
Those comments start around the 5:40 mark of the linked video if you’d like the full quote.
Again, the key here is there appears to be three, maybe four front-runners for this job. It’s good to hear Ferentz say there’s been good interest in the position and that makes sense. The leash Brian had the last few years should give a potential OC confidence he/she would not have their job at risk for one (or three!) years of struggle. And on the flip side, if you can take this offense and make it hum, your career opportunities explode.
So who could those candidates be?
The big rumors for some time have been around former Wisconsin OC and head coach Paul Chryst, who is currently an analyst at Texas. He, along with former Iowa OL coach turned Green Bay Packers OC/interim HC and Miami Dolphins HC Joe Philbin. Philbin, like Chryst, is currently an analyst, though at Ohio State. And finally, Utah OC Andy Ludwig is a name that has been linked to this opening for some time based on not only his philosophical fit, but the fact his son played for Ferentz.
But those certainly haven’t been the only names tossed out there and with Ferentz looking to speak to a fourth candidate, there is some air of uncertainty here. Could we see an NFL guy look at the role? Perhaps an OC from a school that just had head coaching turnover is all of a sudden available.
We want to know who you think Kirk Ferentz will hire to replace his son. And perhaps more importantly, do you think that person will be the same as who the captain should hire for the role?
Let us know via this week’s Reacts poll and be sure to add your thoughts in the comments below.