116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kirk Ferentz didn't have to think long and hard about what to do when defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski left the Hawkeyes last week to take a similar job at Nebraska.
Ferentz inserted LeVar Woods, who played linebacker on Ferentz's first two Iowa teams (1999 and 2000), as the fill-in for Kaczenski. Last year, when defensive coordinator Norm Parker was hospitalized and away from coaching for several weeks, Woods moved from his job as administrative assistant to help coach Iowa's defense.
"When I was a freshman walk-on at Iowa," Arizona Cardinals safety Sean Considine said Tuesday after Iowa's practice at Chaparral High School, "Coach (Ferentz) was trying to build this program to what it is, to get guys to become a certain kind of player. They told everybody to watch a guy like LeVar Woods.
"The guy's a professional, he works hard, he's a real strong leader, and it doesn't surprise me he's coaching at Iowa. I guarantee you he's an asset to the program."
Woods grew up in little Larchwood, Iowa, and attended West Lyon High School. He wasn't drafted out of Iowa in 2001, but signed a free agent contract with the Cardinals and played here in Phoenix with the Cardinals for four years, then played three more years in the NFL before joining Iowa's staff in September 2008.
"It's been years since he's been down here (with the Cardinals)," Considine said, "but people with the team talk about him quite a bit. He must have made a good impression."
I don't know that Ferentz will add Woods to the coaching staff after the bowl game, but I'd be very surprised if he doesn't. This seems like an ideal candidate. Woods is 33, so he's young which isn't a drawback. Kaczenski was the team's youngest coach, at 36. Now the youngest is Eric Johnson, 39. Iowa could use a younger coach on an old staff.
Of the other coaches, Reese Morgan is 61, Ken O'Keefe 58, Darrell Wilson 53, Phil Parker 48, Erik Campbell 45, Lester Erb 42.
Woods has a pleasant personality, mature and smart. He is charismatic without being overbearing. He's someone who I think would relate to recruits and their parents.
If you want something on his resume that says a lot, go no further than the fact he was a Walter Payton Man of the Year finalist while an NFL player. If you do some research and see who has won that award and for what reasons, you'd say anyone who's been as much as a finalist has the right stuff.
Look at the people who served as instructors at his football camp in northwest Iowa last summer. That'll tell you something.
Woods is active in the Iowa City community. He and his wife, Meghann, have two children. Given his druthers, he'd prefer to raise them in Iowa City than elsewhere.
Tuesday on the practice field, Woods was working his defensive linemen just like a coach. Which he may soon be. If so, it will be a good move for the program.