Ferentz Talks Opening

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media on Wednesday to discuss, among other things, how he would fill the opening on his coaching staff. Read and see what he had to say in this transcript and video from his press conference.

COACH FERENTZ: We have some positions that are kind of obvious and others ones right now that you just switch names around, it really is going to be a pretty fluid process. We have some great competition going on and I think we'll know more in August where we are on things, but the guys are working hard there.

Bit of bad news that I have to share is Jon Wisnieski injured his knee a week ago. He's going to have to have surgery and we'll be able to have him ready to go in August. So that's the only bad thing that's taken place.

Then the other obvious thing, just wanted to talk about Eric Johnson, found out Friday about his decision, something that he and his family gave a lot of consideration and thought to. I don't think he rushed into this by any stretch and it's basically just a career decision that he chose to make.

We were all surprised a little bit on one hand but also understand totally. He's got a young family. So just wanted to say, again, how much we appreciate all that he's done. He's been here from day one, 15-plus years now and he's done a wonderful job in a lot of different roles but you couldn't ask for anybody to do a better job than did he. Wish him all the best as he moves forward.

In the short term right now, our big focus is finishing this week, doing the best we can to have our team improve, and then we'll turn our attention to spring recruiting and work through the process. But there's no big hurry right now, and it's totally an open canvas as far as I'm concerned. We'll just give it some thought after this week and try to do what's best for the program moving forward. So we'll go from there.

Looking backward real quickly, the trip to Valley Des Moines went very well. The staff was tremendous and they have been great to work with the last two years so we appreciate that and appreciate the fans showing up. It was a nice day and nice crowd and we appreciate that and look forward to doing that again.

Turning our attention to this week, we have a great event here at 2:00 and prior to that we'll have Camp Kinnick. It's an initiative the Hawkeye Football Club began a year ago and was popular and it filled up quickly this year. That will be before the spring scrimmage. And we'll use the same scoring system, I think that was popular with the fans. Certainly our players enjoyed it. Outside, the defensive coaches, I think everybody enjoyed that.

The only thing I think we'll change is at 1:15 we'll do a 20-minute autograph session, which probably won't get everybody taken care of, but at least give some of the younger fans a chance to get some autographs from our players. And after 20 minutes we'll get them warmed up and get them started around two o'clock.

So we are looking forward to that. I know there's a food drive, and strongly encourage anybody to donate to that. And most importantly just want to encourage everybody to come out and get a look at the team. Should be a great day and we are looking forward to wrapping it up. I know the players always enjoy having fans in the stadium so we'll look forward to that. Meantime we have a couple practices.

I'll throw it out for a couple quick questions, and I'll turn it over to Greg.

Q. What are your plans for the recruiting position?

COACH FERENTZ: I think the big thing -- again, it all hit quick; I found out Friday. We have had a lot on our plate just with spring practice, and so a couple ideas pop into mind.

But really the smart thing to do right now is make sure everything covered in the short term, make some adjustments and take some time to think about this. I want to talk to everybody on the staff and get their ideas, as well. If it means re-tweaking or reshaping, it will give us a chance to discuss those things and not rush into it.

Q. You're not necessarily looking into a new recruiting coordinator, there may be some position shuffle?

COACH FERENTZ: There's a high probability he will be the recruiting coordinator, but how that role changes, I think that's something we all have to discuss and give thought to.

Q. Do you split up St. Louis and Indianapolis in the interim?

COACH FERENTZ: Probably not right now. The thought is for Jim Reid to get out and take those areas. He was in Ohio. We had shifted him to Ohio, so he will probably pick up the areas he covered so well and Jim is an excellent recruiter, as well. So I think he'll really do a great job that way, and then we'll compensate in the further outlying areas a little bit more as we go along there. Have to figure out how to plan there.

Q. Jon Wisnieski is out for the season?

COACH FERENTZ: We'll see. That's tough to predict. We'll take it month but month. He's a good guy and he was doing a good job, but at least he's a young guy and it wasn't his senior year.

Q. Do you have anybody on the staff that could take on the title of player personnel?

COACH FERENTZ: I'm not sure exactly what that entails totally, but we all kind of work as a group on that, and I guess I'm the GM and I don't know. Eric did a lot as far as keeping track of eligibility and things like that and how our classes were balanced, shaped, and that was something we worked together on. But really pretty much everything we do we share as a staff and meet on it and discuss it.

Q. Chic, is he a candidate or can he be an option in outside recruiting?

COACH FERENTZ: Basically his focus is more so on the players that are here and the general initiatives, having them adjust better to college. We have academic advisors, strength and conditioning coaches, football coaches, but he was like a life coach for them getting to campus.

So basically his involvement in recruiting was to make sure prospects and their families understand what his role is and why it's so important. It's just one more resource that's available. He got with the parents, but not giving a pitch if you will.

Q. So a high probability that the new assistant will also be the new recruiting coordinator. Does that speed up the timetable?

COACH FERENTZ: No, we believe this stuff never ends. It's just ongoing. We have a list of guys we've offered right now. So those are the first guys we are going to get out and see here in the spring recruiting.

But the biggest thing is to make sure we have our areas recovered. So obviously the areas that are void with EJ leaving, somebody has to fill those and Jim is going to shift into that role and we'll cover the areas that he was going to get to.

But the other thing that's changed is now we are allowed to have nine guys on the road, as opposed to seven. So what we have been doing in the past with seven guys, we still have eight available, so it's not like it's a big shift. If this were January or December, it would be a little bit different, but I think it's pretty easy and it allows us to be more methodical with the process and that's our plan right now.

Q. Do you do you anything differently looking for a recruiting coordinator than you would a position coach?

COACH FERENTZ: Obviously the area of expertise is important but I don't want to put any restrictions on any applicants or prospects that way.

But it's like everything, we are just trying to get people that we really think are going to be great fits here, embrace our culture and feel comfortable working with our staff and our staff working with them. I guess that's the most important thing. And then we can tailor the job description or they can learn whatever they have to learn on the run.

But to me, it's all about getting people that are really going to fit in well. I'm pleased with the guys that have joined our staff the last two years, it's kind of a mixed bag, wide range of prospects, if you will, but they have all really fit in well and been great with our players and that's the ultimate consideration.

Q. The NCAA just eased some of its restructions regarding how you can feed players. How do you adjust?

COACH FERENTZ: I think they still have to put the final stamp on that, and we'll wait and see what they put out specifically. But I think we'll see changes here the next couple years and I think that's a good thing. However they change, we'll go right with it. It's all positive and it's good for the student athletes, which is to me that's what it's all about.

Q. Sorry about the loss of your father-in-law.

COACH FERENTZ: Thank you.

Q. Any football stories you will always remember?

COACH FERENTZ: A lot of stories with him. He really had a great life, was a great father-in-law. The thing I remember most about him, just he had a great life, he had it all, had a good family, good experience in football, he was a ten-year official in the NFL. His job was entertaining, people, golf. He was good at sales, don't get me wrong, but that was part of sales when he was in the ranks. With his football connections he did a lot of neat Super Bowl events. That's one thing about Jerry, he had a good time doing what he did.


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