Brian Ferentz and Kirk Ferentz have both stressed culture and understanding of Iowa repeatedly when asked about filling the voids on the offensive coaching staff. It looks like the first piece to the puzzle resembles that line of thinking emphatically. Scout has learned that the Hawkeyes will name Ken O'Keefe as the new quarterbacks coach in Iowa City.
O'Keefe was the Iowa offensive coordinator under Kirk Ferentz from 1999-2011 previously. He left the Hawkeye program at the time for a position with the Miami Dolphins where Joe Philbin had just become head coach. Philbin had spent time with O'Keefe at Iowa working as the offensive line coach. O'Keefe was the wide receivers coach in Miami before recently assuming the title of Senior Football Research Analyst for Miami.
O'Keefe is 63 years old and a native of Milford, Connecticut. His playing career included playing wide receiver at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. O'Keefe has coached at a number of places including stops at FCS program Fordham in Bronx, New York, Division III program Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and in the high school ranks in Texas, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Brian Ferentz is the Iowa offensive coordinator so O'Keefe won't hold on to that job title or responsibilities this time around in Iowa City. He will, however, be coaching the quarterbacks for Kirk Ferentz and Brian Ferentz.
It does call into question what Brian Ferentz's focus will be. Before being named the offensive coordinator at Iowa recently after the retirement of Greg Davis, he was the offensive line coach. There is some doubt that he will continue to coach that position group after Kirk Ferentz's comments at his press conference on Wednesday February 1.
"I think that would present challenges," Kirk Ferentz stated about Brian continuing to oversee the offensive line while being the offensive coordinator. "But I've got an open mind. It will get down to the three best candidates, the guys that we have all come to agree on and feel good about and keep all possibilities open. But that would certainly present some challenges."
One thing not in doubt is that this is a decision that Brian Ferentz, the new offensive coordinator, would seem to approve and have a part in making. It is always important for an offensive coordinator to find comfort in who he surrounds himself with in regards to the rest of the offensive staff.
"Absolutely," Kirk Ferentz admitted about Brian Ferentz being involved in the hiring process. "And if it were the other way around, Phil (Parker) would be involved and that's part of the process. But to that point, too, as we start bringing candidates to campus, which will start in earnest here, we will have everybody in the program exposed to them because I think it's important. Certainly their professional expertise is important, but how they get along with everybody, how they work with everybody is critical."
"So that's all part of the evaluation," he continued. "That's all part of the puzzle and I've got an open mind whether it's experience, age, all those kinds of things, you have certain parameters you might be working in, certain balances you like to keep. But the ultimate goal is to get the three guys that can help us move forward the best and that's what we're setting out to do."