We haven’t heard this much rejoicing among Iowa football fans since LSU went to sleep on Warren Holloway.
Ken O’Keefe is gone, exiled to the Miami Dolphins, and for the first time in 13 years, the Hawkeyes are going to have a new offensive coordinator.
The opinions we’ve heard from Iowa backers regarding O’Keefe’s exit range from “Hallelujah” to “Good riddance.” The consensus is that it’s a good thing.
Just don’t get your hopes up too much, Hawkeyes fans. It’s not as if the replacement is going to be some innovative genius. It really won’t matter how many diabolically clever offensive schemes the new guy devises if Kirk Ferentz — aka Captain Caution — doesn’t let him use them.
One of the big complaints we’ve heard from fans in recent years concerns how conservative the Hawkeyes are at the end of halves. We’ve lost track of how many times they got the ball at their own 25-yard line with more than a minute to go in a half with timeouts, and they opted to just run out the clock.
That wasn’t O’Keefe. That was Ferentz.
So regardless of who they get to call the plays, you’re probably still going to see the Hawkeyes waste those end-of-the-half possessions.
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No word yet on who might replace O’Keefe, but the Hawkeyes created an intriguing situation last week by shuffling some current coaches to different jobs. Among other things, offensive line coach Reese Morgan was moved to defensive line coach.
Many Iowa fans interpreted that as a ploy to open the O-line job for that young guy who coached the New England Patriots’ tight ends this past season: Brian Ferentz.
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Even though he would be going from a top-of-the-line NFL franchise to a middle-of-the-road Big Ten program, Brian Ferentz might not face much of a pay cut if he decided to go work for his dad.
NFL assistant coaches’ salaries generally range from $150,000 to $450,000, and Brian Ferentz, at age 28 and in only his second year as a full-time assistant, probably was toward the lower end of that. According to numbers reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last summer, salaries for Iowa assistants ranged from now-departed defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski at $130,625 to O’Keefe at $260,024. Most of them were in the $180,000 to $190,000 range.
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Little known fact: Brian Ferentz was one of three tight end coaches in the NFL last season who are Iowa grads. Cincinnati’s tight ends are coached by Jonathan Hayes, the New York Jets’ by former Hawkeye center Mike Devlin.
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A few days before the Super Bowl, New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro wrote a nice piece on New York Giants safety Tyler Sash and his relationship with former Iowa teammate Brett Greenwood, who is battling to come back from brain damage in connection with an apparent heart attack.
“Brett has been with me every step of my life the last four years,” Sash told Vaccaro. “And I can promise you he’ll be there on Sunday. I’m playing for two.”
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For anyone who doesn’t think of the Big Ten as a major supplier of football talent, consider this: Nine of the 12 schools in the league had at least one alumnus on the roster of the world champion Giants. The only exceptions: Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern.
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Remember how just a few years ago, everyone was talking about the superiority of the AFC in pro football? It’s the other way around now. A team that went 9-7 in the NFC just won the Super Bowl. Last year, it was won by an NFC wild-card team.
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The selections for our annual All-Metro high school basketball teams are going to be more difficult than ever this year. As we close in on the end of the regular season, there are perhaps a dozen players who could make a case for being on the five-man first team.
The Western Big Six has two guards who score points in bunches in Alleman’s Tyler Yeocum and Moline’s Anthony Lindauer, and the league’s best all-around player might be United Township’s Tayvian Johnson.
Assumption has clinched the Mississippi Athletic Conference title thanks largely to the efforts of Billy Daniel and Peter Finn, but Davenport Central also has a dynamic duo in Demetrius Butler and Zach Burnham and you’d be hard-pressed to find better guards than Davenport West’s Joe Scott and Bettendorf sophomore Cole Clearman. Even Davenport North, buried deep in the standings, has two of the MAC’s top three scorers in Xzavion Jones and James Randolph.
There’s not going to be room on the first team for all those players. Some aren’t even going to make the second team.