Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big Ten [Print without images]

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Hawkeyes have a full flock of Ferentzes

By Brian Bennett

Many football coaches like to say their programs are like a family. Iowa is walking the walk on that talk.

New Hawkeyes offensive line coach Brian Ferentz was officially introduced to the media on Wednesday and talked about reuniting with his dad and head coach, Kirk. One of the players Brian Ferentz will coach is center James Ferentz, his younger brother.

The pull of family was obviously strong, because the middle Ferentz was climbing his way up the coaching ladder with the New England Patriots. There was even talk that he might become Bill Belichick's offensive coordinator in the near future. But Brian Ferentz decided to come back to Iowa.

Brian Ferentz
Brian Ferentz gave up a spot on Bill Belichick's staff to work with his dad at Iowa.
"It was a no-brainer," he said. "You can't say no to your father. And for me personally it was hard to say no to Iowa. I know that sounds cheesy and corny, but it was, it really was."

Kirk Ferentz said he wanted Brian to get some distance from Iowa as he started out in his coaching career so he could learn from other people. A couple of years ago, Brian asked about coming back and being a Hawkeyes graduate assistant. Kirk's response: "You're out of your mind."

But the timing was right this time, as Iowa experienced its first major staff shakeup in Kirk Ferentz's 13 years as head coach this offseason.

"For me it just seemed like a natural move for a lot of reasons," Brian Ferentz said. "This is home, this is family, and more than just family with my family, but I feel like this program is family for me.

"I think change can be a very healthy thing and I think it was time for a change for me personally to grow and hopefully I can be a part of the change of this program to do the same thing."

Change has certainly not been a hallmark of the Kirk Ferentz era, but with two new coordinators, as well as the promotion of LeVar Woods from administrative assistant to linebackers coach and the move from offensive line to defensive line for assistant Reese Morgan, the Hawkeyes won't look the same this spring.

"We'll look a little different defensively next year," Kirk Ferentz said. "It's not going to be wholesale different, but we will be different offensively, too."

Kirk Ferentz wasn't necessarily looking to change coaching assignments, saying he was happy with his old staff and adding, "we were not so dumb two years ago." Still, bringing in new coaches and changing some roles will mean some fresh perspectives and ideas.

And in the case of Brian Ferentz, the new blood happens to share DNA with the head coach. He said he recently received a note from Virginia Tech's Shane Beamer about what it's like to work with your father.

"I think he's like the associate head coach, so I've got a long way to go," Brian Ferentz said. "I'm not quite there yet."

But Iowa has this whole family thing down pat.