Iowa Football: A Close Look at the Revamped 2013 Hawkeyes Staff

David Fidler Correspondent IMarch 6, 2013

Iowa Football: A Close Look at the Revamped 2013 Hawkeyes Staff

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    The Iowa Hawkeyes football staff has undergone major revisions over the last two years.

    Only three coaches remain who were on the staff at the end of the 2011 season, and all of those coaches either have a completely different position within the staff or have new or different responsibilities.

    In the end, the face of a program and all of its decisions come down to the head coach. However, a head coach is only as good as his staff.

    Former Iowa head coach Hayden Fry knew that. That's why his coaching staff featured coordinators and coaches who eventually went on to great things, as detailed by

    Current head coach Kirk Ferentz doesn't have nearly as impressive a lineage, but Ferentz apparently looks for different qualities than Fry did in his staff.

    The following will look at the Iowa Hawkeyes football staff that will be in charge during the 2013 season.

    As with last week's article, which detailed coaches who had recently moved on, the criteria for assessing the coach's effectiveness will concern recruiting, attrition, discipline and player development. 

    In the modern world where everybody knows everything about everyone, recruiting is fairly open. Consequently, thanks to Rivals, which lists which coach recruited which player, fans know how effective the coaches have been. This element of the criteria does not concern itself with how the recruited player developed, only how successful the coach was on the recruiting front.

    Attrition and discipline are tougher to measure. In effect, there are no hard numbers to gauge them. There is only the eye test and the depth of my memory.

    Development will concern itself with how players in a position group developed under a specific coach. Therefore, a coach who led a 5-star player into the NFL draft will receive credit, but a coach who has consistently done the same with 2-star players will receive even more credit.

    There are, of course, other measures of a coach's effectiveness, such as game planning and in-game adjustments. Nonetheless, those are elements of the game about which outsiders couldn't make a reasonable judgment.

    Finally, the three new coaches haven't done anything as Hawkeyes. Consequently, the only criteria will be what they seem to bring to the Hawks.

Chris White: Running Backs and Special Teams

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    White was most recently the Minnesota Vikings' special teams assistant coordinator. Before that, according to ESPN's Brian Bennett, he spent nine years in Syracuse, where he oversaw wide receivers, tight ends and special teams.

    As mentioned earlier in the week, his biggest selling point was probably his special teams background, as Iowa is in desperate need for a facelift in this department.

    He was a strong recruiter at Syracuse, and he will be one of two recruiters the Hawks will send to the mid-Atlantic area, an area formerly recruited by Darrell Wilson.

    No matter how things turn out, White is the strongest of the Hawks' three offseason hires. This is because of his perceived ability to take over Wilson's recruiting area without any glitches, and because his special teams mojo is needed to turn this program around.

Bobby Kennedy: Wide Receivers

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    Kennedy spent the last two seasons as the receivers coach at the University of Colorado. Before that, he spent seven seasons at the University of Texas where he worked under offensive coordinator (OC) Greg Davis.

    Kennedy will add a new dimension to Iowa's Texas recruiting that will hopefully bear fruits for the 2014 class.

    Furthermore, it isn't a stretch to believe that he is Davis' hand-picked choice to take over coaching the receivers.

    He has had past success coaching Texas's group of highly touted 4- and 5-star recruits, but he also coached All-Americans at Washington—Reggie Williams—and at Wyoming—Marcus Harris and Ryan Yarborough.

Jim Reid: Linebackers

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    Reid is the least clear of the three offseason signings.

    He had no connection to the staff, a la Kennedy, and his past assignments didn't correspond to anything Iowa desperately needed, a la White.

    Of course, the Iowa defense could use some help.

    In the end, Reid will be a utility man, helping out with the linebackers and serving as a secondary recruiter in Chicagoland, Ohio and the mid-Atlantic area.

    Nothing about Reid's past suggests he is a great position coach or recruiter, but nothing suggests he is a liability.

    The big surprise is that he will work with linebackers instead of the secondary, where defensive coordinator Phil Parker will have his hands full.

Brian Ferentz: Offensive Line (2012)

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    Ferentz is responsible for the state of Ohio, western Pennsylvania and Chicagoland.

    He has only been on the job one year, but he had a strong showing, pulling in five Buckeye state recruits—all 3-star players.



    Not applicable, as he has only been on the job for one year.



    There have not been any discipline problems during his one year on the job.


    Player Development

    This area isn't applicable, given the short time he has been on the job. However, at least two of his proteges—Matt Tobin and Brandon Scherff—were significantly improved from their 2011 showing.  

    It is impossible to say whether that is Ferentz's influence or strictly the result of their being one year older and more experienced.

LeVar Woods: Linebackers (2012)

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    Woods is responsible for Texas and the Kansas City, Missouri area.

    He only pulled in one recruit during his first year on the job, and he was a fall-back recruit.



    Not applicable, as he has only been on the job for one year.



    There have not been any discipline problems during his time as an assistant coach.


    Player Development

    It's impossible to say, given that he's only been on the job one year. Nonetheless, the starting linebackers—all juniors, two returning starters—had an inconsistent 2012.  

    One of them was benched late in the year and another—a three-year starter—did not improve on his 2011 performance.  

    It is possible that Reid's hiring as a linebackers coach—despite the secondary coach having a fuller plate—is a sign that Woods is undergoing a tough learning curve in his first position as a full-time coach.

Reese Morgan: Offensive Line (2003-2011), Defensive Line (2012)*

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    Morgan is responsible for the state of Iowa as well as the Dakotas and Nebraska.

    Iowa might not produce talent at the level of Ohio, but Morgan has done a good job of locking down the state. Moreover, he has secured the commitments of Nebraskans with Nebraska offers—notably Shaun Prater and Seth Olsen. That is no small accomplishment.



    Any Hawkeye fans remember the last time Iowa had a problem with linemen leaving the program? Me neither.



    There have been minimal discipline problems with the linemen, and any problems have been of the public intoxication variety.


    Player Development

    Most of Morgan's best proteges have come to Iowa as highly esteemed recruits. His three best understudies were Marshal Yanda, Bryan Bulaga and Riley Reiff. He has not turned walk-ons and 2-star afterthoughts into all-conference players the way his predecessor Joe Philbin did.

    However, as Marc Morehouse of the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported, Ferentz referred to Morgan as a "builder" for a reason. He is a teacher and arguably the best all-around position coach of the entire Ferentz era. It is for this reason that Ferentz trusted Morgan to repair the damage done by the previous defensive line coach.


    Morgan also served as Iowa's recruiting coordinator from 2000-2002. He had no previous collegiate coaching experience before joining Ferentz's staff. Before taking the Hawkeyes job, he was the principal and head football coach of Iowa City West High School.

Eric Johnson: Recruiting Coordinator, Tight Ends, Linebackers, Defensive Line*

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    Johnson oversees all recruiting but is personally responsible for various areas of the midwest, most notably southern Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Minnesota. He has also brought in multiple recruits from Florida and Kansas.

    He is a solid recruiter, and has done a good job opening up the St. Louis area, which has brought such Hawks as Marvin McNutt, Adrian Clayborn and Christian Kirksey into the fold.



    Not applicable, as he has never spent any time looking over one position group.



    Not applicable, as he has never spent any time looking over one position group.


    Player Development

    It is difficult to say, but he was officially the assistant linebackers coach from 2008 to 2009, which were good years for Iowa linebackers. Moreover, he was the tight ends coach from 2003 to 2007, also strong years for Hawkeyes tight ends.


    *Johnson is currently listed as "assistant defensive line coach." This could be preparation for him to take over for 61-year-old Reese Morgan when he retires.

Greg Davis: Quarterbacks and Offensive Coordinator

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    Davis is not officially responsible for any areas of recruiting, but he has gotten involved in Texas, bringing in 2013 quarterback Nic Shimonek.

    It is hard to call that a huge recruiting success, as Shimonek didn't have any other offers.

    Nevertheless, hopes are high that Davis, who is a native Texan with many Lone Star State connections, will open up some doors in the most talent-rich state in the country.



    Thus far, there have been no quarterback defections under Davis.



    With only one year on the job, there have been no discipline problems with any quarterbacks.


    Player Development

    In 2011, under Ken O'Keefe, James Vandenberg completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 3,022 yards and 25 touchdowns to go along with seven interceptions.

    In 2012, under Davis, JVB completed 57.3 percent of his passes for 2,249 yards and seven touchdowns along with eight picks.

    Was the problem Davis' position coaching, play calling, adjusting to the new scheme?

    The book is still out on Davis, but he is not off to an auspicious start.

Phil Parker: Defensive Coordinator (2012), Defensive Backs (1999-2011)*

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    Parker is responsible for recruiting Michigan, and he is one of three coaches who will be active in Ohio.

    He has historically been a successful recruiter, bringing in two 4-star players during his time. He has never gone into Michigan and poached players from the Wolverines, but he has taken Michigan State recruits out of the Great Lakes State, namely Jake Duzey, Carl Davis and Austin Gray.



    Iowa didn't have any major attrition problems in the secondary while Parker was in charge.



    As the Huffington Post details, the one major blemish on Parker's discipline resume is the Everson-Satterfield rape case, which marked arguably the low point of the Ferentz era. Benny Sapp, who was released from his scholarship in 2001 following various run-ins with the law, was also his charge.

    Other than that, the defensive backs have mostly stayed out of trouble under Parker.


    Player Development

    It is well known that under Ferentz, Iowa has done a great job developing linemen on both sides of the ball. What is less well known is that the Hawkeyes have also excelled in developing defensive backs. Parker gets credit for that.

    Unlike the linemen, who often come to Iowa highly recruited, most of Parker's proteges were lightly recruited or walk-ons.

    His most notable students were Bob Sanders, Derek Pagel, Sean Considine, Amari Spievey, Tyler Sash, Charles Godfrey, Bradley Fletcher, Shaun Prater and Micah Hyde.

    All but Sash and Prater came to Iowa as 2-star players or walk ons, and all were (or will be) chosen in the NFL draft. Every Iowa starting cornerback going back to 2008 has been (or will be) drafted.

    The jury is still out on Parker's abilities as a DC, but he has been an elite developer of talent in the secondary.


    *After taking a year off from coaching the defensive backs, Kirk Ferentz recently announced, per HawkeyeSports, that Parker would resume position coaching duties for 2013.

Kirk Ferentz: Head Coach and All-Around Stick in the Mud

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    Ferentz was easily the most popular man in the state following the 2005 Capitol One Bowl.

    Then the Hawks put together a combined three-year record of 19-18 which was complicated by a number of legal issues and the collapse of Iowa's most decorated recruiting class in recent memory. 

    All of a sudden the bloom was off Ferentz's rose, but the next two years ended with a momentous Orange Bowl win that saw Ferentz back in the good graces of Hawkeyes fans.

    Since then, Iowa has gone 19-19. That included last year's 4-8 disaster, and even worse, the 2010 7-5 squad, which, man-for-man, was arguably the most talented team in the Ferentz era and possibly in modern Iowa history.

    At this point, most if not all of the capital Ferentz built in the early part of his career is gone.

    Ferentz is undeniably one of the best coaches in the game at developing talent. The numbers, as Iowa blog BlackHeartGoldPants detailed, back that up.

    The complication is that according to ESPN, Iowa currently has 35 players in the NFL. I don't know where that ranks among all FBS programs, but I'd bet its amongst the top 15.

    Yet, with all that talent, between 2005-2012, Iowa is 58-43, or tied for 41st in the country.

    Given the glut of talent, one would be led to believe that as good at Ferentz is at coaching up players, he is equally as weak at calling plays.

    Hopefully, the revamped staff will supply the antidote, because as easy as it has been lately to get down on Ferentz, he has been the coach during a lot of great Iowa football moments.