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Coaching puzzle still missing pieces

[ 7 ] February 8, 2012 |

The great Iowa Hawkeye coaching puzzle of 2012 still has plenty of pieces missing.

But Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz isn’t in a big hurry to finish.

“The calendar is important to some degree, but what’s more important I think is we get the right people in place for this program,” Ferentz said.

The Hawkeyes still have three vacancies on the coaching staff — offensive coordinator, linebacker coach and offensive line coach.

“Hopefully, we can make some progress here in the next week to two weeks with a couple spots,” Ferentz said. “Then a third spot whenever it happens, it’s going to happen.”

Ferentz addressed the media Wednesday a day after announcing that Phil Parker had been promoted to defensive coordinator.

He made it clear that Parker — one of three remaining assistants who arrived with Ferentz in 1999 — was the best candidate.

“Over the last several years, he’s had two opportunities to go to BCS schools, one which was a Top-10 ranked team the past couple years,” Ferentz said. “They entertained offers to him to become coordinator, and he chose to stay here, which I’m appreciative of. That’s not the reason I hired him.”

Ferentz said Parker wasn’t the only candidate.

“He wasn’t always the leader. That wouldn’t be fair to say that,” Ferentz said. “I think we had several guys that I felt really confident would be good.”

With Parker promoted to coordinator, Darrell Wilson was shifted from linebacker coach to Parker’s former spot as secondary coach.

Reese Morgan was shifted to defensive line coach after nine years of coaching the offensive line.

“Fair to say he was a little surprised on that one,” Ferentz said. “But I guess I’ve got some executive privilege. I exercised it.”

Ferentz liked the idea of having the calming influence of Morgan with a young defensive line group. He als was more comfortable searching for an offensive line coach and already had a few names in mind to fill that job.

“I can think of two guys off the top of my head, right now, that I’d really without hesitation ask them to come,” Ferentz said. “I just think this is going to give us our best possible match right now.”

A name that comes up a lot for the O-line job is Ferentz’s son, Brian, who is the tight ends coach with the New England Patriots.

“We’re open to anything right now,” Ferentz said of adding Brian. “He’s got a pretty good job right where he’s at, and I’m really happy for him.”

Ferentz still is early in the process of looking for an offensive coordinator after Ken O’Keefe left the program Friday to join Joe Philbin’s staff on the Miami Dolphins.

The other positions opened when defensive coordinator Norm Parker retired in December and when defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski took the D-line job at Nebraska.

Ferentz indicated he was open to adjusting the defense and offense, somewhat, but didn’t think wholesale change were coming.

“I think there’s certain things that we’re going to try to hang our hat on,” Ferentz said. “But we’re open to getting the best person.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Ryan Suchomel: Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or rsuchomel@press-citizen.com. View author profile.

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