Iowa Football: Phil Parker Promoted to Hawkeyes Defensive Coordinator
Former defensive coordinator Norm Parker announced his retirement on Dec. 11.
Most, including me, felt the logical replacement would be Parker, who has been Iowa's defensive backs coach since Ferentz took over in 1999.
However, the longer the job search dragged on, the more unlikely it seemed that Parker would take over.
After all, why would Ferentz wait more than a month after the bowl game—during the final stretch of the recruiting season—to name the person everybody assumed would get the job anyway?
Due to the wait, two previously unexpected names that popped up as potential candidates were former Penn State DC Tom Bradley and former Michigan DC (and current New York Giants linebacker coach) Jim Herrmann.
Although, according to Hawkeyenation, "the reactions [to Parker's promotion] were more negative than positive," count me as someone who feels Ferentz made the right choice.
Despite Parker's lack of experience as a DC, he has honed his skills under a number of top quality coaches, including Michigan State's George Perles, Nick Saban at both MSU and Toledo, Gary Pinkel at Toledo and, of course, Norm Parker.
I suspect the sour grapes elicited by a number of fans stem from three key issues.
First, fans want change for change's sake. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Every ship is a romantic object except that we sail in."
Needless to say, there is nothing that could nor would realistically satisfy such people.
Secondly, a number of fans blame Parker and linebackers coach Darrell Wilson for the fourth-quarter defensive meltdowns that defined Iowa's 2010 campaign.
During that season, Norm Parker was out of commission due to diabetes, and Phil and Wilson served as temporary co-defensive coordinators.
It's hard to say one way or the other if they were to "blame" for the meltdowns; nonetheless, even if they were, the situation was impossible and likely not indicative of how either Parker or Wilson would have handled their responsibilities if put in a more ideal situation.
Finally, some people feel that Phil Parker will serve as a "yes" man to Ferentz when what the program sorely needs is a counterpoint to Ferentz's stoic conservatism.
While I agree with that mentality, I also feel that Iowa does not need a defensive makeover.
Under Ferentz and formerly Norm Parker, while occasionally frustrating, the Hawkeyes' defense has never given fans any reason for sustained complaints.
In short, if Phil Parker continues along the same path Norm Parker tread, Iowa fans should be pleased.
Of course, you won't catch me complaining if Phil Parker does more substituting on obvious passing downs, but that is for a later time.
No, if there is to be a liberal counterpoint to Ferentz, it needs to come from the offensive side of the ball.
Iowa undertook a bit of a staff shakeup to go along with Parker, and the Hawks will also be hiring a new offensive coordinator in the coming days, so hopefully this is part of the plan.
As for that staff shakeup, the aforementioned linebacker coach, Darrell Wilson, has been moved to defensive backs.
Moreover, the offensive line coach of nine years, Reese Morgan, will be the new defensive line coach.
Common, and logical thinking is that LeVar Woods, who has served on the Hawkeyes' staff for four years in an administrative capacity, will take over coaching the outside linebackers. Meanwhile, Phil Parker will take over inside linebackers as Norm Parker formerly did before health issues forced him to give up position coaching duties.
This leaves an opening for an offensive line coach, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.
Moving Morgan from O-line to D-line leads one to believe that Ferentz has a plan in place, as the timing of the departure of former OC Ken O'Keefe left little doubt that this had been in the works for a while.
There is a distinct possibility that all of this waiting was because Ferentz had to wait until the end of the NFL season to make his announcement.
In other words, either a New York Giants coach—or, more likely, a Patriots coach—will be joining the staff.
Either way, we'll have to wait until the official word to find out if that is true. For now, Phil Parker is the new DC, and there is no doubt in my mind that Ferentz made the right decision.
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