Three out and, so far, two in.
Iowa announced yesterday that Bobby Kennedy and Jim Reid were joining the Hawkeye coaching staff for the 2013 season. Kennedy will assume the wide receiver coaching position vacated by Soup Campbell. Reid will coach on the defensive side of the ball, but his position has not yet been defined.
Kennedy's name has been floating around message boards since mid-season. He just finished two seasons on Jon Embree's staff at Colorado, which, frankly, did not go well. He's not here for his contributions for the Buffaloes, though. Kennedy got the job because he spent seven seasons as wide receivers coach at Texas under Greg Davis. He has a keen understanding of whatever it is Davis is attempting to do with the passing game, and should be an effective teacher. Kennedy also had stints as wide receivers coach at Washington and Wyoming, as running backs coach at Arizona, and as both at Wake Forest.
In addition to his work as receivers coach, Kennedy spent six seasons as recruiting coordinator for the Longhorns, and took his Texas contacts to Colorado with him. He only had one season to truly recruit, but managed to land three wide receivers and a tight end out of Texas for the Buffs. Two of those players, Gerald Thomas and Vincent Hobbs, contributed more than 15 receptions as true freshmen. Iowa can either use Davis (in limited capacity), Kennedy, and LeVar Woods as the tips of a trident aimed deep in the heart of Texas, or can move Woods to other areas and rely on Kennedy to recruit Texas. Regardless of what they decide, Kennedy and Davis represent an effort to recruit the Lone Star State not before seen under Kirk Ferentz.
Kennedy's hire -- and Campbell's departure -- also shows that Ferentz is willing to give Davis full control of the passing game, from coaching personnel to recruiting to playcalling. Davis likely spent most of 2012 telling Ferentz that he didn't have the position coaching or the players to run the offense he wants to run. He now has five new scholarship wide receivers, and a hand-picked wide receivers coach to teach them this offense. It's time to put up or shut up.
Jim Reid spent the last three years as the defensive coordinator at Virginia, with past head coaching experience at VMI, Richmond, and UMass. For a coach with 30 years of experience, Reid has remarkably little background as an assistant coach, serving brief stints as defensive line coach at Syracuse and Bucknell and outside linebackers coach for the Miami Dolphins under Tony Sparano. He's got some tangential Bill Parcells ties, having coached under Sparano and Dan Henning. He also overlapped with Ferentz as a Yankee conference head coach; Reid was running UMass while Ferentz was head coach at Maine.
Reid is a devout 4-3 proponent. He was responsible for turning Virginia's defense from a 3-4 back to the traditional 4-3 setup. His defense last year was not exactly solid (28.9 points per game allowed, 71st nationally), but his termination was surprising to many fans who blamed the sputtering Virginia offense for the team's 4-8 finish. Coach Mike London said he wanted a more aggressive defense and immediately jumped into bed with Jon Tenuta, so you can see why Kirk Ferentz found Reid attractive. Reid's recruiting background fills some gaps left behind by Wilson and Ken O'Keefe. He successfully recruited the mid-Atlantic for Virginia, and his long background in New England fills the Northeastern quota on staff.
The press release announcing yesterday's hires listed Reid as a "defensive assistant," but coach limitations leave little room for a generalist on staff. Presumably, Reid will move to a specific position or become defensive coordinator. His lack of specific defensive back experience shouldn't be an issue; Ferentz has shown that he is perfectly willing to move an experienced coach to a new position, as he did with Darrell Wilson and Reese Morgan last season. But the engineer of Iowa's golden age of defensive backs is still on staff and just finished a first moderately successful season as defensive coordinator. Moving Parker to defensive backs coach, giving Reid the old Norm Parker position as inside linebackers coach, and making Phil and Reid co-coordinators could make the most sense.