Brian Ferentz, a three-year letterman as an offensive lineman at the University of Iowa, was named offensive coordinator following the 2016 season. He also coaches Iowa’s quarterbacks. Ferentz coached Hawkeye running backs in 2017 and Iowa’s tight ends and fullbacks from 2018-21. Ferentz served as Iowa’s offensive line coach for five seasons (2012-16) and served as run game coordinator in 2015 and 2016.
Ferentz joined the Hawkeye staff after spending the previous four years with the NFL’s New England Patriots.
Iowa posted an 8-5 record in 2022, concluding the season with a 21-0 win over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl and wins in five of its final six games. Iowa’s streak of 10 straight bowl invitations is the longest in school history and the Hawkeyes have been in the Top 25 final rankings in four of the last five seasons. Iowa’s streak of 10 straight winning seasons ranks 10th best in the nation.
The Hawkeyes won 10 games in 2021, winning the Big Ten’s West Division title and advancing to the conference championship game. Iowa concluded the season with an appearance in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl and was ranked 23rd in the final national rankings.
Iowa closed the 2021 regular season with four straight victories to earn the West Division title for the second time since 2015. Iowa earned 24 conference wins from 2018-21, matching Iowa’s highest four-year conference win total since 2002-05.
Following back-to-back narrow losses to open the 2020 season, Iowa won six straight games, all in Big Ten play, to complete the regular season. The Hawkeyes scored at least 26 points in each of the six wins. The winning streak included road wins at Minnesota, Penn State and Illinois, and trophy game victories over Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes were ranked 15th in the final CFP rankings and coaches poll, and 16th by the Associated Press. The Hawkeyes were selected to compete in the 2020 Music City Bowl, but that event was canceled.
Iowa won 47 games from 2015-19, the highest total in school history over any five-year period, and a total that ranked ninth nationally. Iowa won its final four games in 2019 and ranked 15th in the nation in the final Associated Press and coaches polls.
Tight end Sam LaPorta led Iowa receivers and was named one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award after leading Iowa in receiving for the third straight season. He was named the Kwalick-Clark Big Ten Tight End of the Year while earning first-team All-Big Ten honors. Among Iowa’s all-time tight ends LaPorta ranks first in receptions and second in yards. LaPorta was selected in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft by Detroit. True freshman running back Kaleb Johnson led the team in rushing and earned Freshman All-America recognition.
Junior center Tyler Linderbaum anchored the Iowa offense in 2021, earning unanimous consensus All-America honors and the Rimington Trophy. Running back Tyler Goodson rushed for over 1,100 yards and moved into the top 10 in career rushing, while LaPorta led the team in receiving.
Linderbaum was selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, taken as the 25th selection by Baltimore. In addition, offensive lineman Kyler Schott (Tampa Bay) and Goodson (Green Bay) each signed free agent contracts immediately following the draft. Linderbaum is the fourth Hawkeye lineman or tight end selected in the first round since 2014.
Tight end T.J. Hockenson earned the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in the nation and was named the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year in the Big Ten in 2018. Iowa’s tight ends combined for 90 receptions for 1,330 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Hockenson was the eighth player selected in the 2019 NFL Draft (Detroit) and earned Pro Bowl honors in 2020 and 2022. Noah Fant was the 20th player selected in the first round (Denver). It marks the only time in the history of the NFL Draft that two tight ends from the same program have been selected in the first round. Senior tight end Nate Wieting was signed to a free agent contract by the Cleveland Browns immediately following the 2020 NFL Draft.
The 2017 Iowa offense featured 1,000-yard rusher in senior Akrum Wadley, and a first year starting quarterback in Stanley, who passed for over 2,400 yards. Senior offensive lineman Sean Welsh earned first team All-Big Ten honors, while redshirt freshman lineman Alaric Jackson earned freshman All-America recognition.
The Iowa offensive line earned the 2016 Joe Moore Award, which is presented to the best offensive line in college football. Iowa boasted two players who rushed for over 1,000 yards in the same season for the first time in school history, as Wadley and senior LeShun Daniels, Jr., each surpassed 1,000 yards. Iowa was a finalist for the award in 2015.
Four members of Iowa’s 2016 offensive line earned All-Big Ten recognition, including Ike Boettger, Cole Croston, Daniels, and Welsh. Croston signed a free agent contract with the New England Patriots following the 2017 NFL Draft and was on the active roster the entire 2017 season. In 2015, guard Jordan Walsh earned first team all-Big Ten honors, while center Austin Blythe was one of three finalists for the Rimington Award and a second team selection.
Iowa’s offense in 2015 averaged 30.9 points and 386.1 yards total offense, including 181.7 rushing and 204.4 passing yards per game. Iowa ranked in the top 25 nationally in fourth down conversions, fewest penalties and fewest turnovers.
Left tackle Brandon Scherff won the 2014 Outland Trophy, was the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Big Ten and earned unanimous consensus All-America honors. Scherff was the fifth player selected in the 2015 NFL Draft (Washington Redskins), while right tackle Andrew Donnal was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the fourth round. Scherff was named to the NFL Pro Bowl in 2017, 2020 and 2021.
Iowa’s offensive line in 2013 led the way for an offense that averaged 377 yards total offense, including 180 rushing yards and 197 passing yards. The Hawkeye offensive line allowed just 15 sacks in 13 games, a total that led the Big Ten and tied for 12th best in the nation. Iowa won eight games while participating in the 2014 Outback Bowl.
Iowa’s offensive line featured the same five starters in all 13 games in 2013, with four of those Hawkeyes earning Big Ten honors. Scherff was a first team selection, while right tackle Brett Van Sloten was second team and Blythe and left guard Conor Boffeli each were named honorable mention. Iowa led the Big Ten and ranked eighth in the nation in fewest penalties per game. Boffeli and Van Sloten signed NFL free agent contracts immediately following the 2014 NFL Draft.
Senior center James Ferentz and senior tackle/guard Matt Tobin led Iowa’s offensive line in 2012, as both players earned All-Big Ten recognition. In addition, Blythe earned FWAA Freshman All-America honors. Iowa’s offensive line put together a string of four consecutive games without allowing a quarterback sack and allowed less than two sacks in six of 12 games overall.
Ferentz served as New England’s tight ends coach in 2011, helping the Patriots win the AFC championship and a spot in the 2012 Super Bowl. Ferentz was an offensive assistant coach in 2010, working exclusively with the tight ends. He spent 2009 as a coaching assistant after serving as a scouting assistant for the Patriots during the 2008 season.
Under his direction, two Patriot rookie tight ends made a big impact in 2010. The New England duo ranked first and second, among all rookie tight ends with 10 and six touchdown catches, respectively. They became the first pair of rookie tight ends with at least five touchdowns in the same season in NFL history. Rob Gronkowski’s 10 touchdown receptions rank second in NFL history for a rookie tight end, as only Mike Ditka (12) had more touchdowns as a rookie.
Gronkowski set additional records in 2011, including individual records for receiving touchdowns by a tight end (17), total touchdowns by a tight end (18) and receiving yards by a tight end (1,327). As a tandem, the Patriot tight ends also set three NFL single season records: total touchdowns by a tight end tandem (24), receptions by a tight end tandem (169) and total yards by a tight end tandem (2,237).
Ferentz played both offensive guard and center during his Iowa career. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 2005 and was Academic All-Big Ten in 2003. He was a team captain as a senior and played on Iowa teams that were among the most successful in school history. Ferentz was part of two Big Ten championship teams (2002 and 2004).
Ferentz started at center in every game as a senior in 2005. He started eight games at right guard in 2004 as the Hawkeyes earned a share of the Big Ten title and a bid to the Capital One Bowl. Iowa won each of the eight games he started after he missed the first four games of the year due to injury. Ferentz earned the starting center position as a sophomore and started five games before missing the second half of the season due to injury.
During his tenure as a player, Iowa participated in the BCS FedEx Orange Bowl, two Outback Bowls, and a Capital One Bowl, compiling an overall record of 38-12. The Hawkeyes defeated Florida in the 2004 Outback Bowl and defending national champion LSU in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.
Ferentz was a member of Iowa’s Leadership Council and as a senior was the recipient of the Hayden Fry “Extra Heartbeat Award”. The annual award goes to the Hawkeye player who gives extraordinary effort on the field. He was recognized with the “Next Man In” award as a junior.
Ferentz was selected to participate in the 2006 Hula Bowl following his Hawkeye career. He signed a free agent contract with Atlanta and was a member of the Falcons practice squad in 2006. He was with the New Orleans Saints throughout their 2007 training camp.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Iowa in 2006.
Ferentz was born March 28, 1983, in Iowa City. He and his wife, Nikki, have three daughters, Presley, Connolly and Jolie, and a son, John.
Ferentz’ Coaching Career
School/Team – Position, Years
Iowa – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks, 2022-Present
Iowa – Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends, 2018-21
Iowa – Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs, 2017
Iowa – Offensive Line, Run Game Coordinator, 2015-16
Iowa – Offensive Line, 2012-2014
New England – Tight Ends, 2011
New England – Offensive Assistant/Tight Ends, 2010
New England – Coaching Assistant, 2009
New England – Scouting Assistant, 2008