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Iowa and Nebraska head-to-head
Throw another log on the Nebraska-Iowa rivalry bonfire. The Hawkeyes are now coming after Nebraska’s biggest sense of hope: hope itself.
In case you missed it, Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz talked some smack on Hawk Central Hour, an Iowa radio show, on Wednesday night.
Focusing mostly on recruiting against the Huskers, here is what Ferentz said about Nebraska and other surrounding schools:
“A lot of the new staffs are selling kids on hope. They hope to win. They hope to graduate guys. They hope to have former players go on and play in the National Football League. They hope to develop guys. Because they’ve never done it. Just like you watch the [NFL] draft, it always amazes me the guys that [say], ‘congratulations to so-and-so’ and they never even coach the guy. They didn’t develop them but they’re quick to take credit for it.”
Ferentz went on:
“We recruit against a couple schools who talk about ‘the pipeline.’ I’m thinking of one a little bit west of Omaha that talks about their pipeline. And I think they’ve had like two guys drafted in two years so I’m not sure how much of a pipeline the coaches have contributed to. It’s perception versus reality in recruiting which is something you have to get used to, and once we get kids on campus and we can explain to them, here are the facts and the bottom line is, anybody that you see on this sheet or graphic, whether its graduation number, or whether it’s the NFL number, you’re going back to 1999, our head coach has recruited, coached and had a direct influence on every one of those guys. And no one else in our conference can say that.”
Consider the shots fired.
There are two things worth delving into. The first is the loudest shot at Mike Riley and his staff: Their players don’t get drafted, yet Riley & Co. take credit for the players who do get drafted but that they had nothing to do with.
In the 2017 NFL Draft, two players Riley recruited to Oregon State were drafted — including OG Sean Harlow, recruited to Corvallis by current Nebraska offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh. Riley and Cavanaugh had another offensive lineman drafted in the 2016 NFL Draft, as well, in OG Isaac Seumalo. So there should be some credit given there.
In the last two drafts, with Riley in charge, Nebraska’s had five players selected, as has Iowa. In the last two years, the Huskers have had one offensive lineman drafted. The same as Iowa.
The advantage for Iowa here is that all their draft picks were recruited, and coached, by Kirk Ferentz and his staffs. And that is a fair point for Brian — Kirk’s son — to bring up. But the pure numbers of players drafted are basically the same in recent history, whether comparing Iowa to Nebraska or Riley-recruited players at Oregon State. So there isn’t much credence to the draft bashing … though Ferentz brings up some interesting points about recruiting offensive lineman.
Nebraska’s out-recruited Iowa the past three recruiting cycles, according to 247sports rankings. Here are those rankings:
|2017||No. 23||No. 41|
|2016||No. 24||No. 47|
|2015||No. 30||No. 60|
Riley is directly responsible for the 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes.
And in those two classes, Nebraska and Iowa have split in terms of highest average rating of offensive linemen recruits. Iowa got the edge in 2017, while Nebraska took the cake in 2016.
Here are average 247sports scores for offensive lineman the last two cycles.
Again, it’s about even.
So on the recruiting trail, no, Iowa is not dominating Nebraska.
But where this Iowa superiority really shines, and where Ferentz should have taken the conversation, is on the field. That is where Iowa’s won in the trenches.
Iowa’s destroyed Nebraska the past few years running the ball. I mean, you remember Mark Banker’s bloodbath quote, right?
The Hawkeyes ran for 264 yards on 47 carries in their 40-10 win against the Huskers in 2016. Nebraska ran for just 90 yards on 31 carries.
In 2015, Iowa ran for 153 yards on 28 carries in a 28-20 win. Nebraska ran for 137 on 38.
So despite out-recruiting Iowa and getting kids drafted at about the same rate as the Hawkeyes, the one thing Nebraska isn’t doing is showing it on the field. That’s the most important part, and where Ferentz is really coming from.
Until Nebraska shows it can run on the Hawkeyes, Iowa’s coaches (and fans, for that matter) will hold it over their Nebraska counterparts.
The Huskers will get their next shot on the field in Lincoln on Friday, Nov. 24.
For more on Ferentz’s quotes, you can listen to the entire post here.