IOWA CITY – Kirk Ferentz won’t rush to make hires, but the Iowa football coach would prefer to fill the three vacancies on his coaching staff sooner rather than later.
Ferentz said Wednesday in a perfect world all three positions would be filled before mid-February and with recruiting out of the way, putting the pieces together becomes his focus.
“It’s important that the coaches get here and start learning and more importantly, start getting to know the players they’re going to work with,’’ Ferentz said. “The thing that’s most important is about doing it the right way, not the fast way, and doing our best to get the best people in the best seats to help us move forward.’’
All three of Iowa’s vacant positions are on the offensive side of the ball, created by the retirement of coordinator Greg Davis, the promotion of line coach Brian Ferentz to replace Davis and the decision to not renew the contracts of receivers coach Bobby Kennedy and running backs coach Chris White.
Strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, Brian Ferentz and tight ends coach LeVar Woods have worked to bridge the gap, overseeing personnel throughout the offense during offseason conditioning work and meetings until the staff positions are filled.
“We will keep working that way, but you want people in place to make sure everybody has a chance to get to know each other and have really good conversations before we start spring practice,’’ Ferentz said.
Iowa is tentatively scheduled to begin spring drills on March 22, with a public practice in the Des Moines area scheduled for April 7 and a spring game at Kinnick Stadium under the lights on Friday, April 21.
Ferentz likes the quality of applicants he received for the vacancies.
Now, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to make the pieces fit.
“I’ve got an open mind whether it’s experience, age, all those kinds of things, but you have certain parameters you might be working in, certain balances you like to keep, but the ultimate goal is to get the three guys that can help us move forward the best,’’ Ferentz said. “That’s what we’re setting out to do.’’
Ferentz said keeping Brian Ferentz in his role as the Hawkeyes’ offensive line coach in addition to working as the offensive coordinator would present some challenges, but at this point he is keeping all possibilities open.
One of the hires will likely be an assistant to handle Iowa’s quarterbacks, a position where no current staff member has ever coached at the collegiate level.
How the rest of it shakes out remains fluid, although Ferentz indicated he is close to filling the first of the three openings.
“We have a pretty good idea about how one is going to go, and now we’re focused on candidates for the second position and then the third we will get to,’’ Ferentz said. “So, there is still a little bit of wiggle room in there, but I think the plan is starting to come into focus.’’