By now, anyone that has even remotely followed Big Ten football is probably aware of the struggles the Iowa Hawkeyes‘ offense has endured over the course of the past two seasons.
While it’s a bit of a tired topic with Iowa football, the reality is that it’s the missing link for the Hawkeyes to truly ascend from a national standpoint. Bearing the brunt of that pressure and criticism is Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz.
Under Ferentz’s direction, the Hawkeyes finished with the nation’s second-to-last total offense last season. Iowa also ranked 123rd in scoring offense during the 2022 season.
Everyone gets it. Not good, not good at all.
With the Big Ten Network on hand to end last week for its league camp tour, analyst Gerry DiNardo and the crew swung by to take in a Hawkeyes practice.
That also provided the opportunity for DiNardo to sit down with Brian Ferentz and discuss that outside pressure and criticism.
— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) August 18, 2023
“Anybody in this club understands what comes with it. I would just say that if you’re a competitor, if you like competing, if you like going out there and putting yourself out there, it’s the job, right. It comes with the territory, and I think if you want to be good at anything, if you want to accomplish anything, and if you want to do anything significant or meaningful, you have to understand that there’s going to be eyes on you.
“And, if you call plays, there’s only one of two things that can happen. You can be really smart, or you can be really dumb. But, the longer you do it, the more I think what you really understand is none of that matters,” Ferentz said.
Then, he shared some advice he got from former Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis.
“I got great advice from Greg Davis about seven, eight years ago. It was when he was our play-caller. I asked him the same question. I said, ‘Greg, you know, how do you do it?’ At that time he had become a lightning rod, wasn’t a super popular guy. And here I am just a young guy on the outside saying looks like a lot of unfair criticism in my opinion. At the time, thought he was a pretty tremendous coach.
“And he just said—gave me some advice that stuck with me—he said, ‘What I try to remember is when I go to bed at night, my job is to put us in position to win and give the players a chance, and if I feel like I’ve done that, then I sleep just fine. I think the hard part about doing what we do is when you don’t feel like you’ve done that, there’s no pressure, there’s no criticism in the world that can compare to your inner monologue,” Ferentz said.
Ferentz understands the pressure that he and the Hawkeyes’ offense are under heading into 2023. After all, his job performance is under a pretty obvious microscope.
Iowa can start providing proof on Sept. 2 that a more experienced offensive line, more weapons at receiver and, of course, a new signal-caller in Cade McNamara can help turn the Hawkeyes’ fortunes.
Follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshOnREF
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