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Greetings from "Can't Wait For Saturday," your morning morsel of college football, courtesy of longtime Illini beat writer, AP Top 25 voter and Heisman state rep Bob Asmussen. He'll give you his views each day on the game he loves.
When it comes to Iowa's new offensive coordinator, call me skeptical.
Former Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester, who spent the 2023 season as an analyst with the Green Bay Packers, is the replacement for Brian Ferentz.
Understand, head coach Kirk Ferentz didn't want to make to move. Nobody ever wanted to fire one of their kids.
The dean of college coaches picked what appears to be a safe choice. But hardly inspired.
In six season at Western Michigan, Lester had a modest 37-32 record. He coached three bowl teams, but only one with more than seven wins. The Broncos went 8-5 in '21, beating Nevada in the Quick Lane Bowl for Lester's lone postseason victory.
Four of Lester's teams finished 30th or worse nationally in scoring offense. And that is the statistic Iowa fans and the media in the state will use to measure Lester's work in 2024 and beyond. Remember, Brian Ferentz needed the team to average 25 points per game to keep his job and the team wasn't close.
Most troubling of Lester's career coaching stats is what happened his final season in Kalamazoo. The Broncos finished 5-7 and Lester was out. The offense finished 118th in the nation in scoring at 19 points per game. Those numbers would have gotten him fired at Iowa in 2023.
Illinois isn't scheduled to play Iowa again until 2026, when the Hawkeyes visit Memorial Stadium. A very good question at this point is will Lester be with them?
Iowa knew the opening was going to be there. It waited until late in the hiring cycle and came up with a guy who doesn't exactly move the needle. No offense, which appears to be what Iowa is going for.
If Lester comes in and averages 40 points a game in 2024, I will apologize profusely for my miscalculation.