Iowa staff shuffle makes sense

Derrick Foster takes over running backs; Ferentz OK with running back depth

New Iowa running backs coach Derrick Foster
New Iowa running backs coach Derrick Foster

IOWA CITY — Derrick Foster is from Goshen, Ala. He spent the last two seasons at Samford University in Alabama.

Foster has coached at Tennessee, Northwestern State University (La.) and Valdosta State University (Ga.). Yet, he might’ve been the happiest man in Iowa on Tuesday morning even as he brushed snow off his windshield at 6 a.m.

After interviewing and finishing as a finalist for a position at Iowa last year, Foster won over head coach Kirk Ferentz and was hired as Iowa’s 10th assistant in January.

Foster’s career at Valdosta State overlapped with Iowa linebackers coach and assistant defensive coordinator Seth Wallace. Wallace gave Foster a call and told him to apply. A few days later, Ferentz called.

“It is a big break for a young man like myself,” Foster said during a Wednesday news conference. “But I’m eager to learn and everybody does it differently. I want to learn how we’re going to do it here. I want to learn the best way of reaching my players here. I want to learn how Coach Ferentz has been so successful through the years.”

Ferentz announced Wednesday that Foster will coach running backs. Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz will pick up tight ends from LeVar Woods, who, as previously announced, will become full-time special teams coordinator.

Brian Ferentz came to Iowa in 2012 after coaching tight ends with the New England Patriots. Woods guided Iowa’s special teams last season and his seven-year NFL playing career was rooted in special teams.


“I think the transition offensively is really good. It’s logical,” Kirk Ferentz said.

Recruiting areas for 2019 haven’t been finalized, but Foster, who will make $200,000 at Iowa this season, said his familiar recruiting turf is Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

One more running back?

Iowa did consider offering a scholarship to one more running back. The Hawkeyes will have four scholarship running backs this spring — sophomores Toren Young, Ivory Kelly-Martin and Toks Akinribade and redshirt freshman Kyshaun Bryan.

Iowa signed running back Henry Geil (6-1, 215) in December. He’ll be in that mix this fall.

Akinribade had a medical procedure just after the season. Ferentz said Akinribade is back in school, but isn’t full speed and “there are a lot of steps he has to go through.” Bryan missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.

Wide receivers Tyrone Tracy and Samson Evans could shift to running back if needed, Ferentz said.

“Tracy and Evans have the ability to run the football,” Ferentz said. “We’ll figure all that stuff out this summer, but I think we have some guys in the class. If we didn’t feel that way, we probably would have looked at taking another back. We did consider that, but we felt we had the right guys.”


Offensive lineman Lucas LeGrand and wide receiver Adrian Falconer are no longer on the team.


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Ferentz said LeGrand graduated and Ferentz said he didn’t think he would continue to play football. Ferentz said he thinks Falconer will play somewhere else.

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