Iowa hits low autocracy with Brian Ferentz contract changes
Often, when a football program has a good but outdated coach, the university will remove whichever coordinator is most responsible for the lack of success. If only life were so easy for the Iowa Hawkeyes. The team is stuck in an offensive state of mind (to put it nicely), but can’t get rid of Brian Ferentz because his father is Kirk Ferentz, head coach. So instead, the school modified his son’s contract with very low barriers that even a Big Ten group could overcome.
Under the revised agreement, Brian’s base salary will be $850,000. To maximize his earnings, the team must average more than 25 points per game and win at least seven of them. The latter is basically a guarantee if he hits the former. Outside of the COVID season when they won 6-2, Kirk’s teams have won a minimum of seven games per year and they averaged 25 points per game.
The point is that Iowa has never been super interested in scoring, and I doubt some provision will change that.
It exists more than X and O
by Kirk Ferentz teams aren’t explosive, creative, or genuinely interested in offense. The football brand of the team is very risk-averse it’s a wonder why they bother to throw them all.
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If I may offer up a soccer analogy. Iowa approaches the game like Italy. Score only as much as needed and then lodge a bus in the middle of the field and grind out a result. While some fans in Iowa City may have come to appreciate that particular brand, the Hawkeyes will never be talented enough to consistently execute that approach. (To take the analogy a step further, there are many college fanbases who, like Brazilians, actively recoil when their team has no interest in the beautiful aspects of the game.)
Kirk’s philosophy will win you games, but it’s usually ugly and often unwatchable. Iowa has had a litany of double-digit win seasons over the past 20 years. They also have a few .500 or worse clunkers. I don’t care who is calling the plays, It could be Kyle fucking Shanahan and the Hawkeyes would still top out at about 30 points per game.
The nepotism in football is excruciating for so many reasons, but I think my main qualm — outside of qualified candidates being passed over because their dad doesn’t have connections — is the apple never strays that far from the tree. It’s not surprising that Kyle has added to what his dad, Mike Shanahan, taught him. The father was an offensive guru in his own right.
However, Brian Shotenheimer is an example of a son perpetuating his father’s, umm, legacy. The new Cowboys attack coordinatorr runs the 2023 version of his father’s unthinkable offense, and that will continue in Dallas until he or Mike McCarthy are fired.
And the same thing will happen in Iowa because Kirk is too good a coach to fire, and he’s not going to throw away his kids. Teams can hit those incentives because college football programs can fall out of bed and score 25 points per game, but they’re not and never will be good at attack.