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If Hawkeye football’s offense ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Wait, what?
Come on, you didn’t really expect Kirk Ferentz to demote or even fire Brian Ferentz, did you?
The take-away from Kirk Ferentz’s press conference Wednesday was unbelievable. Stunning, in fact.
Not from the Iowa football head coach retaining his offensive coordinator and eldest son, Brian Ferentz. Nay, the shocking part was that so many seemed frustrated and angry about it, that so many had thought it possible that the father would revamp his offensive staff and send his son back out into the world to labor elsewhere for far less than $900,000 a year.
What family business does such a thing?
I was at a recent gathering in which adults were almost pleading to me for scraps that might suggest a possible change in the Hawkeyes’ offensive hierarchy. I felt like Jeff Probst telling losers in “Survivor” immunity challenges, “I’ve got nothin’ for ya’.”
After that press conference, writers and other pundits in Iowa who have produced volumes of tributes about Kirk Ferentz over his 24 years of leadership found the “decision” to keep Brian Ferentz as OC to be disappointing, gloomy, selfish.
Me, I think it’s terrific. The reason is obvious. The 2023 Hawkeyes will be fascinating no matter what. If the offense rises from the wreckage of its dismal 2022 performance, it’s one of those redemptive stories that everybody loves even if some momentarily choke on it.
Laughing stock? Iowa? Who’s laughing now, they’ll ask as quarterback Cade McNamara and an improved offensive line take Iowa fans on scoring sprees all autumn long?
The natives go from restless to reconciled, and the beer goes down great in Indianapolis on the weekend of the Big Ten championship game and at the site of prestigious bowl that follows.
Or … the offense remains in disorder, the natives go from restless to raging, the beer tastes like stale vinegar, and the concept of Iowa playing in Detroit’s bowl game turns from a weird dream into a post-apocalyptic nightmare.
If Iowa gets to 6-6, that is.
Either scenario is terrific. Why? I already told you. Because the Hawkeyes will be interesting. Which is something you can never count on in any given season for any given team.
Wouldn’t you rather have a 7-5 regular season like 2022, which drove so many to the heart of darkness, than a boring team that gets to 7-5 with games that are hard to remember by the following Monday mornings?
Come on, last season was spectacular. You start it by beating an FCS team — FCS champion-to-be South Dakota State — with a 7-3 win on a field goal and two safeties? That’s gold!
You go to Illinois, which had losing records in each of the previous 10 seasons, and lose 9-6? You beat Wisconsin by two touchdowns with 146 total yards? You get drubbed 54-10 at Ohio State and your defense actually played pretty well?
⧉ Related article: It was Hawkeye football’s strangest season, and here are 10 examples
Last season was a book, a documentary, a curiosity for historians. If you can’t make a run at the national championship, that was the next best thing. It was illogical. It was incomprehensible. It was winning Powerball as your child is born in a taxi on the way to the hospital while Halley’s comet is visible.
You thought Kirk Ferentz might dismiss Brian Ferentz? Now that would have been stretching reality.
Let’s say you’re the head of a corporation that has done well over the last quarter-century. It could do better, but who couldn’t? It is profitable. It does better than most, in fact.
However, one of your divisions ranks 130th out of 131 of its kind nationally, and that’s after being in the bottom 10 the year before. What do you do? You remove the manager of that division. No one faults you, not even that manager. It’s expected.
But what if that manager is your child? Then you call audibles. You blame the employees for being too inexperienced. You blame the number of times they called in sick. You blame the ones who would have helped you had they not suddenly left for better professional opportunities to leave you short-handed.
Even though you and your managers are the ones who recruited and hired all those people.
Is that a solution? No, but so what? You’ve been making money for your shareholders for a long time. Your athletic director, er, the chairman of your board of directors, isn’t going to rock the boat.
It’s seven months until kickoff. Good times.