Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he supports Marcus Coker, who asked for and was given his release Jan. 10.
“What I told him was I was going to support him no matter what,” Ferentz said. “I think Marcus is a tremendous young man and just wish him all the best moving forward.”
Coker gained 1,384 yards, the fourth-best season in Iowa history, but was left home when the Hawkeyes traveled to the Insight Bowl after being suspended.
Ferentz said that when athletes get in trouble there are internal consequences, athletic department policies and the student code of conduct.
“We’re part of the process and we work within the system,” Ferentz said.
Coker was investigated for an alleged sexual assault Oct. 28, 2011, but was never charged.
No one at the university has talked about why Coker was suspended, citing student privacy. Ferentz said Coker’s frustration probably led to his transfer.
“It wasn’t a fun race to run there or fun period,” Ferentz said. “I think ultimately, there was probably a little frustration there. He made a decision that he felt was the best for him.”
NO BUDGET ISSUE: Ferentz indicated he didn’t think he was handcuffed at all by how much the Hawkeyes could pay its coordinators.
“I don’t think we’re going to try to sign a super star coach or anything like that,” Ferentz said. “I don’t think we have to. If we had to, I’m happy to talk to (athletic director Gary Barta) about it, and I think Gary has been nothing but supportive since he showed up on campus.
“I’m sure if I had a good reason, he’d listen to it.”
Ken O’Keefe earned $290,000 back in 2010. A trend in college football is to bring in superstar coordinators and pay them top dollar. The million dollar mark was broken by Auburn last year.
“We had one school that just bought a new standard of pay, Southeastern Conference prices move north, and that’s the trend in college sports. That’s TV,” Ferentz said. “The game has changed a lot that way.”
SEC prices refers new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who is paying a co-defensive coordinator $750,000.
WOODS STILL AROUND: Interim defensive line coach LeVar Woods still is an interim coach, according to Ferentz, even as Reese Morgan moves over to coach the defensive line.
“We’ll let him run through the process,” Ferentz said of Woods. “He’s certainly interested in working here, and we’ll let him go through the process.
“Hopefully, he’ll do well in the weeks ahead here and we’ll find a seat for him.”
Having an opening now at linebacker coach seems ideally suited for Woods, who played linebacker for Ferentz at Iowa and in the NFL for seven seasons.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Ferentz indicated that special teams duties would be split, probably between three coaches.
That will include Lester Erb and Darrell Wilson, who shared special teams duties last season.
“We’ll keep dividing,” Ferentz said. “I want to make sure we don’t short-change Darrell on the transition (to secondary coach).”
GRAD ASSISTANTS: Ferentz said they had four graduate assistant coaches coming in next year.
Former graduate assistant Charlie Bullen took a job with Joe Philbin and the Miami Dolphins after five years with Iowa. David Raih just finished his second year as a graduate assistant .
“We’ve had two GAs that were brilliant; both those guys were smarter than everybody on the staff maybe with the exception of one or two of our guys,” Ferentz said.
Ferentz added “we’ve got four guys to abuse instead of two.” Perhaps an indication Raih won’t be a graduate assistant next fall.
SPRING SCHEDULE: Iowa will begin spring practiceMarch 24 and conclude it with the spring scrimmage on April 14 inside Kinnick Stadium.
Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football