Why Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz is for 2-a-day practices and the early signing period, what Brian Ferentz said about his offense and more
The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Iowa Breakfast Club here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is the Iowa Breakfast Club for Thursday, April 20.
Kirk Ferentz on no more 2-a-day practices
Want to rile up Kirk Ferentz this spring? Ask him about the new rule eliminating 2-a-day practices from the preseason.
His issue is actually with how long camp will be. Teams gain an extra week of practice to hold 29 workouts.
“The biggest thing I have is the length,” the Iowa football coach said. “It’s going to be boring as can be. I think we’re going to have to have Monopoly tournaments. Things like that. It’s going to be a lot of waste of time, and quite frankly to me, camp is about keeping guys on the clock, being efficient, making sure you’re moving and just that’s part of the mental part of the camp too. You’ve talked to guys who played in the NFL, some of our [former] players — Marshal Yanda goes home every night. He’s an old married guy. He goes home and sees his kids every night. That doesn’t feel like preseason camp to me.”
Teams will still hold 29 practices, but will now have an extra week in the preseason to fit the workouts in. For Ferentz, shorter camps are better.
“I think there are other ways we could have done this without affecting the calendar, and I’ll worry about the calendar for our players,” Ferentz said. “I’m not sure it’s necessary. I think there are other ways we could have maybe addressed this without altering the calendar. First and foremost, it’s the players’ schedule being interrupted. Or more time in summer school and practice. Like that’s just kind of silly.”
He understands the health and medical concerns that are at the heart of the change. He pointed out Iowa only held 4 2-a-days last season. He said he takes player safety into account when giving his team 2 days off in the middle of camp, when Iowa’s medical staff believes injury risk is at its highest.
Ferentz is also about effective use of time. He likes shorter practices where players efficiently work out. For the Hawkeyes head coach, an extended camp with longer training windows for on-field demonstrations and additional down time sounds like the first level of hell.
“Right now what you’re allowed to do, you could be on the field 3 hours, which we never are,” he said. “But you could be on the field conceivably 3 hours during the contact period and then another 2 hours in walk-through. And I can tell you, I’ve never participated in a 2-hour walk-through and don’t plan to in my lifetime. It’s like the Burma Road right there. So you’re talking about 5 hours potentially on the field, and we’ve never done that ever.”
He brought up an alternative he wished the Division I Council had considered before making any changes.
“So, to me,” he said, “it would have been simpler saying 2-and-a-half hours of contact practice and then an hour, hour-and-a-half for walk-through or non-contact practice, which would still allow you to have timing and do some things without putting players at risk.”
The change is here for 2017. It irks Ferentz, but he will need to find a way to make it work. Daily Monopoly tournaments could be a good start.
More Kirk Ferentz … this time on December recruiting
Unlike the camp changes, Ferentz is in favor of the new early December signing period. His preference is a summer date but is glad a signing period before February is coming.
He’s not sure how the change will impact Iowa. He’s curious, as is the Breakfast Club, to see what will happen with recruiting come late November and December.
“How is that going to affect how you make decisions?” he said. “Do you have to dig up Micah Hyde earlier and make a commitment to him earlier than later? Desmond King the same way. Those 2 guys right off the bat. We’ve had a lot of guys that way. Then, conversely, are the prospects willing to tread water a little bit? One thing for sure, things will be more clear after the December signing period — we’ll know where people stand in terms of really being committed as opposed to saying they’re committed.”
Brian Ferentz on what he wants the offense to do
Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz explained why player evaluation is more important than installing his new offense this spring.
It included possibly his best description of what he wants his offense to do.
“Really, you try to be as multiple as you can without being complicated,” he said. “So there is the illusion of multiple looks, but there is the reality of 3 or 4 concepts, whether it’s run or pass protection, all that good stuff. So you try to get the base stuff in, and then you try to show the variations based on the formation or the personnel.”
What does it all mean? Brian Ferentz is after a simple offense, but an offense that is complex for defenses to face. The key is being multiple. It basically means using the same players in different formations to run the identical play.
A defense might respond differently to a call, say a simple curl-flat route combo, based on the formation — a 2-tight-end set, a 3-receivers set, a running back lined up in the slot — it sees.
When executed properly, a multiple-based offense appears more sophisticated than it is, confuses defenders and create mismatches.
For context, being multiple is a key reason the New Orleans Saints offense is so successful under coach Sean Payton — though having Drew Brees as the quarterback helps a lot, too.
Jane Meyer trial update
Jane Meyer took the stand in her sexual discrimination and gender lawsuit against Iowa on Wednesday. Her lawyer reportedly questioned Meyer for 80 minutes, with most of the testimony geared toward painting Meyer, the former senior associate athletic director at Iowa, as a model employee, according to Grant Rodgers of the Des Moines Register.
Meyer is scheduled to take the stand again Thursday, this time for cross-examination from Iowa’s legal team.