James Ferentz found himself in a little bit of trouble prior to the 2009 season.
For the second time in less than six months, the son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz found himself being disciplined for an alcohol-related infraction.
In October of 2008, the younger Ferentz was cited for possession of alcohol by a minor. The following April, he was cited again with public intoxication.
Ferentz was rated by Scout as 2008's sixth best high school center in the nation. Legal problems obviously set his progress back a bit.
His dad was not happy.
"I was extremely disappointed to learn of James’ very poor decision-making on several levels,” Ferentz told the media after the first run-in with the law. "The fact that James is also my son only complicates an already tough situation."
Coach Ferentz’s disappointment may have been compounded by the fact that his son’s mishap was one of several by Hawkeye players in recent years.
According to a recent story by The Gazette's Scott Dochterman, from April 2007 through June 2009 the Hawkeyes had nine players arrested for public intoxication, five drunken driving arrests, and five citations for underage possession of alcohol.
That emerging trend partially prompted the hiring of Chigozie Ejiasi, Iowa's Director of Player Development.
Ejiasi, a former football player and four-year letterman for Ferentz, was brought in to help incoming players handle the transition from high school to college. His job entailed assisting younger players in finding employment and transportation, and teaching them how to deal with life as a college athlete in Iowa City.
Until the recent arrests of Jewel Hampton, Jordan Bernstine, and Broderick Binns, the hire appeared to be helping the problem. Ejiasi had helped to curb the alcohol-related arrests for over a year and has helped mentor players like Ferentz recovering from past mistakes.
With the mentoring of Ejiasi and his father, the third-year sophomore appears to have learned his lesson and be back on track with more focus and maturity.
During spring practice, Ferentz took most of the first team reps. He is in a heated battle with senior Josh Koeppel for the starting center job, but looks to have a slight edge heading into summer practice.
Hopefully other Hawkeyes are quick to learn from their mistakes, just like Ferentz.