Jan. 14, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — If you don’t see Kirk Ferentz in public much in the near future, there is a reason. He vowed Wednesday to spend more time in the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center, moving forward a football program that is coming off back-to-back winning seasons — but also back-to-back bowl setbacks.
Ferentz met with media six days after releasing a depth chart Jan. 8 and said he needs to be more selfish with his time, spending it in the office visiting potential student-athletes, current players, and watching film.
“One of the first things I’ve got to do is a better job as a head coach which is spend more time in the building with our people and less time on the outside,” Ferentz said. “I need to spend more time in here watching more film.”
Ferentz, dean of Big Ten Conference football coaches, has a record of 115-85 in 16 seasons while in charge of the Iowa program. The Hawkeyes have been to 12 bowl games during that time, winning six postseason games.
As focused as Ferentz is on his Hawkeyes, he said he is not deaf to racket coming from outside. Iowa finished the season with three straight losses after putting itself in position for a Big Ten West Division championship late into the month of November.
“My sense is we needed to talk, it’s as simple as that,” Ferentz said. “There are certain things that have been out there floating around and I wanted to get those addressed. That way we can all move forward when the players get back (Jan. 20).”
“Since we got here our goal has been to be Big Ten champions and to be the best we can be in everything that we do, be it football, citizenship, or academic work. That has remained constant throughout the 16-year period.”
UI football coach
In personnel news, Ferentz said senior-to-be defensive end Riley McMinn will receive a medical redshirt and will not continue his football career. Two others — sophomore linebacker Reggie Spearman and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Colin Goebel — have requested transfer releases. Spearman played in 11 games last season (with seven starts), recording 39 tackles, three pass breakups, and a sack.
Ferentz said he has “great people” on his coaching staff and he is “open to anything” on what their coaching duties will be.
“What we’re going to do right now is make sure we’ve got people pointed in the right direction and sitting in the right seats,” Ferentz said. “Before we change anything we want to make sure we’re making the right changes.”
He added that like the depth chart, the coaching staff has a possibility of being altered.
“Other (programs) think we have good coaches, too,” Ferentz said.
Iowa returns six All-Big Ten players in 2015 after the Hawkeyes finished 2014 with a record of 7-6 overall. Coming back are junior offensive lineman Austin Blythe (second team coaches), junior defensive end Drew Ott (second team media), junior tight end Jake Duzey (honorable mention), junior cornerback Desmond King (honorable mention), junior free safety Jordan Lomax (honorable mention), and junior wide receiver Tevaun Smith (honorable mention).
That nucleus will be relied upon heavily as the Hawkeyes pursue their third conference championship since 2002.
“Since we got here our goal has been to be Big Ten champions and to be the best we can be in everything that we do, be it football, citizenship, or academic work,” Ferentz said. “That has remained constant throughout the 16-year period.”
Ferentz called Iowa football fans “second to none for a long, long time,” and said his program has to continue to work to earn fan approval.
“They want to come cheer your team,” Ferentz said. “That is the great thing about coaching at Iowa.”
National Letter of Intent signing date for football is Wednesday, Feb. 4. The Hawkeyes open the 2015 season Sept. 5 against Illinois State inside Kinnick Stadium. The Redbirds played in the NCAA FCS Championship on Jan. 10, losing to North Dakota State, 29-27.