Despite what retailers think, its taboo talking about Santa before Turkey Day (respect Thanksgiving people, if your Christmas light are up at this moment, your property tax bill just increased 50%). But after last week’s excruciating result of losing our 3rd straight to the Nerds and now facing Illinois led by gray beard Lovie Smith, I can’t get Santa out of my mind. Rather than fight it (like Iowa’s Offense fights innovation), I will embrace the feeling REO Speedwagon: here is Hawkeye Nation’s Christmas list….
- For Iowa OC Brian Ferentz to stop being Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Something About Polly. The last 3 weeks have been coaching malpractice with play calling and personnel utilization. Brian thinks highly of his abilities, time to prove it and stop laying bricks. Iowa’s offense is now ranked 90th in the country. He has shown he can do it: see Indiana and Minnesota.
- Free Noah Fant. See above – #87 has been under severely utilized. It makes no sense that a 6’5 240 dude who runs a 4.5 forty and has 18 touchdowns is not on the field for 3rd down nor in the red zone. Over the past 3 weeks, the most athletic skill position player of the Ferentz era (the list of elite skill position talent at Iowa in the last 20 years is shorter than the average height in Italy) has seen his snap counts drop substantially. Kirk Ferentz has spoke highly of Fant’s character, so it’s really just a personnel decision??
- Tell us whats up with Fant. My only guess is the latest rumor that is accurate. Brian Ferentz (who also coaches tight ends) is jealous of Fant because he ate his first Frito Lay chip in early October to celebrate the Indiana win and managed to only eat one. Another trait evidencing Fants ridiculous abilities.
- Change and/ or stop the Iowa run game approach. For the 3rd straight year, Iowa will be in the bottom third of the Big Ten conference in rushing offense. Again see 1st point above as Brian was the run game coordinator in 2016 and OC for the last two years.
- Mark Stoops becomes the next Iowa head coach. All the above points are evidence that Brian Ferentz is not ready to take over for his dad in the near term.
- Stop comparing Hayden Fry to Kirk Ferentz. Kirk is great man, great leader, and great developer of men. But Hayden was innovative, and built the Iowa brand from the ground up. Hayden would play Miami, Colorado, and Tennessee in the non-conference and regularly play Michigan, Ohio St, and Michigan St, still averaged 8 wins per year (some years with an 11 game schedule). Kirk helped build Iowa back up, but the foundation was established, and he continues to fail to advance the brand when the Road of Opportunity looks like Lake Shore Drive at 7am on a Saturday morning.
- Accountability and Adaptability. Iowa is in the top 20 in producing NFL players, yet our 10 year record is not even close to that. Secondarily, Iowa is now 1-7 in one score games in the last 2 years. The explanation: scheme and game day coaching.
- Hawkeyes win the next 3 to finish 9-4. Not a bad season, but all key conference games were blown as the opportunity road was as smooth as Ron Burgundy’s cadence. Iowa should be in Indy this year, this is on the coaches.
Points 2 and 8 factor into Saturday’s contest in the oxymoron known as Champaign, (maybe they should rename Gary, Indiana Paradise) against Illinois. Sometimes we forget the Illini still play football, often we forget that Lovie Smith coaches them. None of this should matter. Iowa is better. Make it easy and use Noah Fant early and often. Coaching 18-22 years old isn’t easy and if Fant is causing problems behind the scenes/ at practice, stop with the passive aggressive approaches and motivate him. He can be an NFL superstar with that talent, and Brian Ferentz has seen how to use tight ends via his Patriots stint. Get us to 9-4 team Ferentz, stop being cute and boring, be aggressive and sexier than Hugh Hefner’s former roommates.
Stiks pik to clik: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears Head Coach. Chances are that watching the game Saturday, we will be reminded how grateful that Nagy coaches the Bears and hope that a Nagy protege can coach the Hawkeye offense immediately.
This game (2:30pm kick on the Big Ten Network) is one that Iowa should win by 4 touchdowns. If this is not the outcome, remember that even if our football coach loves showering in rigid offensive and personnel philosophies that generate the same mediocre results, we got the best stadium, the best tailgating scene, the best alumni, and the best logo in college sports. Hawkeye Nation: the basketball squad is 4-0 and just won a tourney in NYC, gotta keep living man, L-I-V-I-N (and #freenoahfant). In Heaven There is No Beer…