IOWA CITY, Iowa — One mystery is over. Iowa named its 10th assistant coach, hiring Derrick Foster on Tuesday.
Another mystery takes its place. The Hawkeyes didn’t name which position group Foster will coach, but indicated that he’ll work on offense.
There shouldn’t be too much intrigue with what to do with Foster. He has a history of coaching skill-position players and should continue to do so with the Hawkeyes. He should coach running backs.
This isn’t a new idea. Land of 10 first brought up the notion of moving offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz from running backs to tight ends coach earlier this month.
Why coaching running backs makes sense
Brian Ferentz is an established tight ends coach, playing a role in helping Rob Gronkowski develop into a superstar early in his NFL career.
Foster is an established running backs coach. He spent the last two seasons coaching the position at Samford. He also coached running backs while at Tennessee and Northwestern State.
— The Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) January 23, 2018
Identify a running backs coach made sense before Iowa made the hire. Now that the new coach comes equipped with experience coaching at the position, putting Foster at running backs is an obvious move.
“Our goal was to use this additional coaching position to help us in multiple areas, and we did that,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. “We gained Derrick as a coach, we bolstered our recruiting capabilities, and we strengthened our commitment to special teams by allowing LeVar Woods to focus entirely on a significant phase of our game.”
Recruiting was always a major component of this hire. The Hawkeyes will judge Foster on the talent he brings in as well as how he helps develop that talent.
Foster was born in Alabama and he has coached in the South. It would make sense that he holds strong recruiting ties there as well.
Teams always pull talent from where their coaches hold the best recruiting relationships. Foster’s hire looks like an indication Iowa seeks a stronger presence in the South.
This isn’t totally new territory. The Hawkeyes landed wide receiver Brandon Smith from Mississippi and Trey Creamer from Georgia in 2017. They are currently a finalist for 2018 Georgia linebacker Jayden McDonald.
Iowa always recruits Florida and Foster can potentially help expand the Hawkeyes’ footprint in other parts of the South. Iowa is always after talent. There is plenty of it below the Mason-Dixon Line.
While the region he recruits matters, so does the caliber of prospects Foster brings in. Skill-position coaches have an eye for skill-position players. They can evaluate any position group, but Iowa is in need of more talent at wide receiver. Anything Foster can do to improve the playmaking potential at the position should be a priority on the recruiting trail.
In typical Iowa fashion, the Hawkeyes are playing this coaching hire close to the vest. Details aren’t being revealed. But the move the Hawkeyes should make is right in front of everyone, easy to see. Iowa’s best move is to put Foster at running backs coach.