Iowa Football: What Do New Coaches Bobby Kennedy and Jim Reid Bring to Hawkeyes?
The enduring hallmark of Kirk Ferentz's tenure as the Iowa Hawkeyes head football coach has always been stability, but the recent coaching shakeup that has led to the hiring of Jim Reid and Bobby Kennedy changes that dynamic.
As ESPN's Adam Rittenberg reported, the Iowa coaching staff has undergone an "extreme makeover" during the last two years.
In 2013, none of the assistant coaches—including both coordinators—will coach the same position they coached in 2011. In fact, as of now, only three members of the 2011 staff are still in Iowa City, and none of them are where they were in 2011.
The most recent additions to the football staff are Reid and Kennedy.
Last year, Reid was the defensive coordinator (DC) at the University of Virginia under Mike London. He was fired after a disastrous 4-8 season—yes, 4-8 is considered "disastrous"—though in some fairness, offense, or lack thereof, was the Cavaliers' biggest problem.
Kennedy was most recently the wide receivers coach at Colorado. He left Boulder when Jon Embree's staff was purged following 2012's 1-11 campaign.
Both of these coaches are veterans with substantial resumes. Consequently, Hawkeyes fans can piece together a good idea of what they'll get out of their new coaches.
Firstly, while it is true that none of the coaches in question was fired, this much of a staff turnover on this stable a staff brings into question whether the coaches were encouraged to leave.
In effect, the coaching carousel, as Iowa blog Black Heart Gold Pants referred to it, is potential evidence that Kirk Ferentz acknowledges something is wrong, and he is committed to change.
This might not seem like much to be thankful for, but Ferentz is known for his stoicism. This stoicism has led some Iowa fans to wonder if Ferentz even recognized how unacceptable 2012's 4-8 record was.
Perhaps these moves prove that he does recognize 2012's shortcomings, though it remains to be seen if these changes will be effective.
As for the coaches themselves, Reid has mostly worked in the northeast and mid-Atlantic areas.
He is from Massachusetts and graduated from the University of Maine in 1973.
After spending the first 19 years of his career at UMass—both as a graduate assistant, assistant and head coach—he moved on to the University of Richmond where he was the DC for two seasons.
He then became DC at Boston College for one year, before heading back to Richmond where he remained the head coach until 2003.
Since then, Reid has been all over the place, serving as defensive line coach, head coach, outside linebackers coach and DC at Syracuse, Bucknell, Virginia Military Institute, the Miami Dolphins and Virginia.
He has never had overwhelming, consistent success anywhere he's been, and his lack of success at a big-time institution—NFL or FBS-level college football—might be cause for concern.
Nonetheless, he's a professional who knows the sport.
Given his relative familiarity with the northeast and mid-Atlantic, he will likely take over former secondary coach Darrell Wilson's recruiting area—New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland/Washington D.C.
While at UVA, Reid's primary recruiting area was Virginia. He had minimal success when one considers that his area was the program's home state.
It is also sensible to assume that he will take over Wilson's spot as the defensive backs coach. On the other hand, there are a great many rumors swirling about defensive line coach Reese Morgan's eminent retirement, such as the following from the Daily Iowan's Ben Ross:
Darrell Wilson has left the Iowa football staff for Rutgers. Sources say Reese Morgan and Lester Erb will be gone within the end of the week
— Ben Ross™ (@benEross) February 13, 2013
As Ross was correct about Erb, it stands to reason his information concerning Morgan might have some weight to it.
In effect, if Morgan does call it a career, the natural move might be for Reid to take over defensive line duties, thereby leaving the defensive backs coaching position open.
Kennedy's role with Iowa, as well as how effective he's been throughout his career, is easier to predict and consider.
He has spent the majority of his career as a wide receivers coach, and that is the position he will take with Iowa.
He is originally from Colorado and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1989. He began his collegiate coaching career in the Big Ten, working as a graduate assistant at Illinois and then Penn State.
He became a full-time coach in 1993 at the University of Wyoming. He stayed in Laramie through 1994, after which he moved to Wake Forest. From 1995-1998, he was the receivers coach. He was the running backs coach in his last two years in the ACC.
He then spent one year as running backs coach at Arizona and two years as wide receivers coach at Washington.
Finally, he moved to Austin, where he joined Mack Brown's staff and became the receivers coach under then-Texas OC and current-Iowa OC Greg Davis.
In 2010, Brown purged much of his staff—including Davis and Kennedy—which led to Davis taking the year off, and Kennedy going to Boulder.
Among other players, Kennedy coached four All-Americans throughout his career including Jordan Shipley (Texas), Reggie Williams (Washington), Marcus Harris and Ryan Yarborough (both at Wyoming).
Kennedy will likely take over and hopefully reinvigorate Texas recruiting, an area that has been nearly dormant for the Hawkeyes since 2006.
According to Rivals, he brought in four Texas recruits in his one year of active recruiting at Colorado—three wide receivers and one tight end, all of them 3-star players.
For those who argue that it is harder to recruit to Iowa than Colorado, consider that the Buffaloes' last winning season was 2005. They have had four head coaches during that stretch. The last head coach to hang around longer than six years was Bill McCartney, from 1982-1994.
Moreover, given Kennedy's track record with his former OC, it is evident that Davis wants to work with him. He has an impressive resume, but the same could have been said for former Iowa receivers coach Erik Campbell.
In this case, if the Hawkeye receivers fail to show up in 2013, the blame will lay solely on the scheme, and that is considerably more worrisome than replacing a coach.
As it stands, Kennedy's hiring should be an improvement to the staff in both recruiting and player development. Reid is somewhat sketchy.
Either way, Kirk Ferentz still has one, and potentially two more hirings to make before kicking off the 2013 season with spring practices.
If nothing else, it's good to see that Captain Kirk recognizes that something is wrong in Iowa City, and that he is invested in change.
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