116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - Kirk Ferentz is first worrying about Iowa’s bowl matchup.
“Right now our focus will be on getting ready for this game and trying to put a good football team out there on the field,” Iowa’s coach said Sunday evening.
But after the bowl game, Ferentz said he plans to do a “comprehensive study on everything we’re doing.”
“I really kind of foresee this year being similar to what we did — and I had this thought weeks ago — what we did in 2014,” Ferentz said. “(In) 2014, that's when we went to the morning schedule, etc.”
An in-depth review of what Iowa did is typical after the season.
“But I think this one will be a little bit more thorough and a little bit more detailed,” Ferentz said.
The outcome of the review that followed the 2014 season was obviously successful.
The Hawkeyes went from a 7-5 regular season and loss in the TaxSlayer Bowl to a 12-0 regular season and trip to the Rose Bowl in 2015.
Ferentz will be reviewing statistically one of the worst offenses of his career, if not the worst.
Iowa’s 255.4 yards per game and 4.2 yards per play are the lowest in Ferentz’s 24 years as head coach. The 30 percent conversion rate on third downs is tied for lowest with the 1-11 1999 team.
The 2014 team significantly outpaced the 2022 team in the aforementioned statistics, as well as yards per carry and completion percentage.
Ferentz remained optimistic about all facets of his team Sunday, though, including the Brian Ferentz-led offense.
“ I don't think anything is really broken right now,” Kirk Ferentz said. “But I think there's things we can do better, like every year.”
Iowa’s offense finished the regular season 130th out of 131 teams in yards per game and tied for 123rd in points per game.
Asked what metrics he will use to evaluate the offense and his offensive coordinator, Kirk Ferentz did not mention any specific statistics. Instead, he pointed to factors for why the metrics are low.
He said, as he did earlier in the year, it was “tough to get a fair assessment” of quarterback play “just because of the way we were operating.”
Charlie Jones’ departure from Iowa to Purdue via the transfer portal “was a loss,” Ferentz said. Jones had more catches and receiving yards than all of Iowa’s wide receivers combined.
It also is “reasonable,” Ferentz believes, to say early-season injuries “affected us.” He saw obstacles that “impeded” the development of younger players.
“We thought they would be further along,” Ferentz said.
The belief in Iowa’s current offensive philosophy, despite the unsavory numbers this season, extends beyond Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa football recruiting director Tyler Barnes, Kirk’s son-in-law, dissed spread offenses on social media after Purdue’s loss to Michigan in the Big Ten championship.
“All I hear is how these dudes want to go places where they just line up 5 wide and sling it?!?!?” Barnes wrote in the since-deleted tweet as he listed Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy’s more-modest stats. “Am I missing something?”
He included “#LotsofWaystoWinGames,” which has some irony considering Iowa did not win enough games to go to the Big Ten championship. Purdue did.
Of course, a completion percentage of 64.7 and a 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio — McCarthy’s stats from the Big Ten title game — would be an upgrade from what Iowa has done.
Iowa quarterbacks only completed 54.8 percent of their passes and had more interceptions than touchdowns.
“If you look around college football and the landscape, not every season turns out the way you want,” Ferentz said. “It would be great if it did.”