INDIANAPOLIS — Iowa made significant changes to its offense this offseason. But what those changes are — at least schematically — nobody outside the program knows yet.
But Iowa’s former players appear positive about the alterations, and they’re interested in finding out more.
“I think it’s going to go great,” former Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard said Friday at the 2017 NFL Combine. “Coach Brian (Ferentz), he’s awesome. I’m excited to get back and talking with him and coach (Ken) O’Keefe about it. I know he’s the new quarterbacks coach as well. I think coach Brian is going to do a great job.”
After the Hawkeyes’ 30-3 loss in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2, former offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Greg Davis retired. Wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy and running backs coach Chris White were fired. Brian Ferentz moved from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator. O’Keefe, the team’s offensive coordinator from 1999-2011, returns as the quarterbacks coach. North Dakota State offensive coordinator Tim Polasek was hired to coach the offensive line. Northern Illinois wide receivers coach Kelton Copeland will handle the same position at Iowa. Brian Ferentz will lead the running backs.
Beathard didn’t have any insight on possible changes.
“I don’t know what I’d expect to be changed,” he said. “Coach Brian is an offensive line coach in the past. It’s hard to say right now.”
Former Iowa tight end George Kittle praised the selection of Brian Ferentz as the next offensive coordinator.
“I think he’s going to do an amazing job,” Kittle said. “I’ve talked to some NFL coaches here who really respect Brian. I learned a whole bunch from him in five years. He really helped me on my technique and I have nothing but respect for him, and I know that they’re going to take big strides forward these next couple of years.
“I think he’s done a lot of good things. The best O-line award, too. He has a lot on his resume, and he’s a young guy. He’s got a high ceiling, and he hasn’t even scratched the surface yet.”
As for the look of the offense, Kittle — like Beathard — was uncertain.
“You never know with Ken O’Keefe back,” Kittle said. “So I’m looking forward to watching them, and hopefully get back to as many games as I possibly can. I just know it’s going to be really fun, and I hope that tight end gets the ball most of the time.”
Iowa finished the season 8-5 overall but had the 121st-ranked offense (of 128 teams), averaging just 325 yards per game.