Big Ten: Lester Erb

Iowa adds Kennedy, Reid to staff

February, 14, 2013
Iowa on Thursday announced that assistant coaches Bobby Kennedy and Jim Reid have joined the staff for the 2013 season.

Kennedy will coach the Hawkeyes' receivers, while Reid will work on the defensive staff in a yet-to-be-specified role. Reid replaces Darrell Wilson, who Wednesday was named Rutgers' secondary coach. Kennedy replaces Erik Campbell, who had been the Hawkeyes' receivers coach since 2008.

Iowa also confirmed Thursday that running backs coach Lester Erb left the program "to pursue other opportunities." Erb spent the past 12 seasons with the Hawkeyes coaching running backs, wide receivers and special teams. Although victimized repeatedly by AIRBHG, Erb continued to produce capable Big Ten running backs, most recently Mark Weisman.

"I am very appreciative of Lester and Darrell’s many positive contributions to Iowa football over the years and wish them both the best moving forward," Ferentz said in a prepared statement. "I am excited to have Bobby and Jim join our staff. Both men have coaching experiences that will complement and supplement our staff and team in a positive way."

Kennedy coached Colorado's receivers the past two seasons, but he spent the previous seven years (2004-2010) coaching wideouts at Texas, where he worked alongside current Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis. Although the Hawkeye players are still adjusting to Davis' system, Kennedy's familiarity with it should help.

Reid spent the past three seasons as Virginia's defensive coordinator and associate head coach. He was fired in early December along with three other assistants after the Cavaliers finished 4-8. The decision to fire Reid puzzled some like colleague Heather Dinich, as Virginia ranked 28th nationally in total defense in 2012. Reid coached outside linebackers for the Miami Dolphins in 2008 and 2009 and has served as head coach at VMI (2006-07), Massachusetts (1986-91) and Richmond (1995-2003).

It'll be interesting to see what position Reid coaches on the defensive side and what role, if any, he has assisting coordinator Phil Parker with play-calling.

Iowa will have three new assistants for 2013 after announcing new tight ends coach D.J. Hernandez earlier this month.

Here are the full bios for Kennedy and Reid.

Iowa staff endures extreme makeover

February, 14, 2013
Few FBS programs enjoyed the coaching stability Iowa had during Kirk Ferentz's first 13 years at the helm.

As this chart shows, the Hawkeyes had a grand total of 15 assistants on staff between 1999-2011, meaning there were only six new additions during the span. There were zero changes between the arrival of receivers coach Erik Campbell in February 2008 and the departures of two coaches -- defensive coordinator Norm Parker to retirement and defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski to Nebraska -- in December 2011.

Yet after so many years with complete continuity, Iowa's staff is enduring its version of an extreme makeover. Ferentz is still there, by far the longest-tenured coach in the Big Ten, but he'll reportedly have three new assistants for the second straight year after having no new assistants in 2009, 2010 or 2011.

Rutgers on Wednesday announced Darrell Wilson, an Iowa assistant for the past 11 seasons, as its new secondary coach. Campbell already has departed the program, and The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette reports running backs coach Lester Erb also is leaving Iowa. Erb has spent the past 12 seasons with the Hawkeyes coaching running backs, receivers and special teams.

Iowa has announced one new assistant, tight ends coach D.J. Hernandez. reported last week that Bobby Kennedy, who spent last season as Colorado's receivers coach, and Jim Reid, who spent last season as Virginia's defensive coordinator, likely will join the Hawkeyes' staff.

Iowa also lost three assistants a year ago as Parker retired, Kaczenski left for Nebraska and offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe took a post with the Miami Dolphins. Parker and O'Keefe had been the only coordinators to serve under Ferentz at Iowa. Ferentz promoted Phil Parker to defensive coordinator, hired his son, Brian, from the New England Patriots and promoted LeVar Woods to a full-time assistant post.

It's somewhat common to see significant staff turnover in college football, even when the head coach remains. Wisconsin lost six assistant coaches after the 2011 season even though head man Bret Bielema stayed.

"Change is part of college football, and that happens," Ferentz said on signing day of staff changes. "It's part of football in general."

Change can be good, and perhaps the new blood will help Iowa take the next step in what should be an ultra-competitive Legends Division in 2013. But this is certainly a new experience for Iowa, which has had two head coaches since 1979 and prides itself on stability.

It should be another interesting offseason in Hawkeye Country.
AIRBHG has reared his ugly head.

AIRBHG? You don't know him? Unfortunately, Iowa fans know him all too well. He's the Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God, and he has taken another victim.

Hawkeyes sophomore running back Jordan Canzeri has torn an ACL in his knee and likely will miss the 2012 season, according to multiple reports. Canzeri, listed as Iowa's top running back on the pre-spring depth chart, injured his knee in practice Wednesday, and an MRI performed Thursday revealed the tear. first reported the news and talked with Canzeri's father, Brian.
"Dr. [Ned] Amendola said it was the ACL but the good news is that the rest of the knee is solid," Brian Canzeri said. "He's going to have surgery next week and hopes to get back into practice in September."
Brian Canzeri said that he expects his son to ease into things when he's cleared to practice and will most likely redshirt for the 2012 season.

Sources tell The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette that Canzeri, who has a redshirt available, won't play this fall.

The team has yet to confirm Canzeri's injury.

The loss of Canzeri isn't as devastating as Marcus Coker's departure in January, it continues a baffling string of setbacks for Iowa's running backs. Although AIRBHG has been around since 2001, he has been particularly cruel since Doak Walker Award winner Shonn Greene departed following the 2008 season. Since Greene declared for the NFL draft, Iowa has had six running backs leave the program, culminating with Coker, who ranked second in the Big Ten with 1,384 yards in 2011.

Canzeri started in place of the suspended Coker for the 2011 Insight Bowl, and he would have been in the mix to start this coming season. He's a smaller back, and Iowa likely will use a rotation rather than identify a bell cow like Coker was in 2011.

Canzeri's injury leaves Damon Bullock and De'Andre Johnson as Iowa's primary running backs in spring practice. Fullback Brad Rogers could see some carries at running back, but the big hope is that incoming freshmen Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill can contribute. Garmon in particular drew high marks as a high school standout.

As The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette's Marc Morehouse points out, Iowa has used a true freshman at running back in each of the past five seasons.
"Both of them are a little bit bigger backs," Hawkeyes running backs coach Lester Erb told reporters Wednesday, before Canzeri injured his knee. "Greg is more of a slasher. but he shows he can get downhill and run tough. Very good speed. Then Barkley just had a tremendous high school career up there at Cedar Falls and we are excited to get him in here. Both guys have a passion for football and both guys are going to have a chance to come in here and compete."

Iowa wants to run the ball and have balance in its offense, but the running back position has been so unstable that the Hawkeyes might have to once again trend toward the pass in 2012. It would really help if Garmon and/or Hill can contribute immediately this fall.

Big Ten lunchtime links

March, 29, 2012
I was promised a jetpack.

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

The good news for Iowa fans perusing College Football News' list of Top 10 Big Ten games this fall is that their team appears four times on the rundown. The bad news? None of those games is at Kinnick Stadium.

If Iowa wants to continue the momentum it generated in 2008, it will have to do so on the road. The Hawkeyes' road schedule is brutal, with trips to Penn State (Sept. 26), Ohio State (Nov. 14), Michigan State (Oct. 24) and Wisconsin (Oct. 17).

It's amazing to think that the bus ride to Camp Randall Stadium, where Wisconsin won 16 consecutive games heading into an Oct. 4 matchup against Ohio State, appears to be Iowa's easiest road game. And the Badgers figure to be a better team this fall, particularly on their home turf.

As for the entire Top 10 list, I agree with the top choice but would put Iowa-Penn State at No. 2 because it will chart the course for much of the Big Ten race as the league opener. I'm very surprised that Wisconsin at Ohio State comes in at No. 5 -- I could probably think of 8-12 bigger games -- and the lack of respect for Northwestern (no games), Minnesota (no games) and Michigan (one game, vs. Ohio State) is noteworthy, but not entirely shocking.

One more Iowa-related item for you. Information is very scarce this spring in Iowa City -- I'll change that with my trip there Friday -- but Iowa's official Web site recently interviewed running backs coach Lester Erb about the group's progress. Life without Shonn Greene appears to be going decently, though projected successor Jewel Hampton has been slowed by a hamstring injury in spring ball.

"It's exciting because you have Paki [O'Meara] who has played a little bit and done a tremendous job on special teams," Erb said. "We have two fullbacks with starting experience -- both young guys working hard. We're getting a great look at [redshirt freshman] Jeff Brinson. It's been a productive spring and we'll see who emerges."

Brinson came in with Hampton and both were considered contenders for carries last year, before Greene established himself as the top back. Hampton turned in a very solid freshman season as Greene's backup, while Brinson redshirted. It'll be interesting to see if the 5-11, 215-pound Brinson can close the gap on his classmate this spring.