Todd Brommelkamp/KGYM Radio
Maybe the wind will be blowing out at Wrigley Field this November when the Iowa football team takes on Northwestern at Wrigley Field.
After all, those gales off Lake Michigan have led to some offensive explosions from time to time. The Philadelphia Phillies once beat the Chicago Cubs, 23-22, at a game in the Friendly Confines in 1979 that featured 11 home runs.
Maybe if Phillies skipper Danny Ozark had managed to maintain that type of offense he wouldn’t have been sacked by the team’s general manager that September.
By now, you’ve heard the news that emanated from Iowa City late Monday afternoon regarding Offensive Coordinator Brian Ferentz’s restructured contract for the upcoming season. Back to back underperforming seasons have cost the son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz roughly $50,000 and tarnished his reputation with fans as well.
He can, of course, get that money back and then some if he meets the comically low bar of averaging 25 points per game to go along with at least seven victories this fall.
If he doesn’t, of course, he’ll likely lose his job. More likely than not that would involve “leaving” Iowa City for another opportunity coaching in the National Football League. After all, Iowa doesn’t fire coaches. Hayden Fry didn’t. Kirk Ferentz hasn’t. While the rest of the college football world continues to embrace the hedonistic pursuit of winning at all costs, Iowa clings to its mom and pop family values.
Can Iowa’s offense reach the point of being average this fall? Certainly. There’s nothing wrong with average, by the way. There are plenty of average people in the world.
And so average is the bar, though as critics quickly pointed out the language in Brian Ferentz’s reworked contract states it is the team that must average 25 points, not merely the unit he’s responsible for. Iowa amassed 230 points last fall. Of those, 114 points came via offensive touchdowns. The other 116 points, as noted by Mitch Fick of Iowa News Now, were from extra points, field goals, and defensive plays.
Joe Cocker knew what he was talking about when he sang about getting by with a little help from his friends.
There’s no reason to believe the Iowa offense won’t be better in 2023. Michigan transfer Cade McNamara gives the Hawkeyes an experienced hand under center and, notably, one that’s a tad more mobile than previous starting quarterbacks Spencer Petras and Nate Stanley. McNamara’s former teammate and roommate with the Wolverines, tight end Erick All Jr., will team with Luke Lachey to give Iowa perhaps the best 1-2 punch at that position in the Big Ten. The Hawks have added Charleston Southern wide out Seth Anderson and the offensive line has been bolstered by transfers as well, notably center Rusty Feth.
If that group can’t team with another near-elite Phil Parker defense to win seven games even Brian Ferentz would admit to having failed, which underscores just how empty of a gesture reworking his contract was.
Kirk Ferentz didn’t want to do anything different after 2022. He blamed injuries and player defections and the NFL and everything else that wasn’t a DNA match for the program’s offensive woes. Athletic Director Gary Barta likely found himself the lightning rod for the fan furor that followed last week’s announcement that Kirk Ferentz didn’t anticipate any staff changes. Barta, simultaneously under the thumb of Kirk Ferentz and technically Brian Ferentz’s direct superior, had to come up with something to show disgruntled fans he was on their side.
The result? A reworked contract for a problem that would have worked itself out one way or another in the end.
If Iowa is marginally better at putting points on the board this fall the Hawkeyes are once again competing for a Big Ten West title. If they are as lifeless on offense as they were much of the last two seasons, there’d be no avoiding who to blame.
Which brings us back to baseball, where everyone knows it’s three strikes and you’re out. Brian Ferentz is digging his heels into the batter’s box down 0-2 before he’s even seen a pitch in 2023.
The host of The Todd Brommelkamp Show, Todd Brommelkamp has covered and commented on Iowa athletics since 1999. The Todd Brommelkamp Show can be heard on KGYM weekdays from 4-6 PM.