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Ferentz job secure, but Purdue coach Hope feeling heat after 0-5 Big Ten start

[ 0 ] November 5, 2012 |

Kirk Ferentz is secure as Iowa’s football coach. Athletic director Gary Barta made that clear two weeks ago.

Whatever happens during Saturday’s 11 a.m. Kinnick Stadium game against Purdue, there’s no change at the top of a program that at this time in 2009 was knocking on the BCS bowl door.

That can’t automatically be said for Saturday’s opponent against whom the Hawkeyes will try to stop a three-game Big Ten Conference losing streak — while wearing special uniforms to honor military.

Nine games into a season that started with coach Danny Hope proclaiming this to be one of his best teams, his seat is hot and support from his boss is lukewarm at best.

Here’s what athletic director Morgan Burke said in a release last week — before last Saturday’s 34-9 loss against Penn State sent the Boilermakers’ records falling to 0-5 in the conference and 3-6 overall:

”Everyone around our football program has high expectations for the 2012 season. We have worked very hard over the past four years to improve our personnel, facilities and every phase of our program, which is evident. Our student-athletes, alumni, fans, coaching staff and administration all expect to see the program move forward and take a step up the postseason ladder. Currently, our performance has kept us from reaching our goals. But we have a third of the season left to play, and our focus is to achieve that consistency over the remaining four games. We need to press forward, converting potential into results and having fun playing Boilermaker football.”

That was written after a 44-28 loss against Minnesota on Oct. 27. Three months earlier, Hope opened his Big Ten Conference media days question-and-answer session with optimism.

“First time since I became the head coach at Purdue (that) we potentially have a very good football team coming back,” Hope said in his opening remarks to reporters at the July event. “We have a lot of experience. We have some maturity. We have a lot of team speed. For the first time in a long time, (there are) experienced, accomplished quarterbacks .<TH>.<TH>. a lot of good signs for this upcoming season.”

Certainly, this was supposed to be the Boilermakers’ year — a season after beating Western Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit. Hope wasn’t the only one to beat that drum.

According to preseason prognosticators:

“Coming off a strong finish to their 2011 season, the seasoned Boilermakers look to ride the momentum into Hope’s fourth season,” proclaimed Lindy’s College Football Magazine. “The schedule is favorable, with Leaders Division opponents Wisconsin, Penn State and Indiana at home.

“With Ohio State ineligible for the conference title game, Purdue looks like a reasonable dark horse in the league.”

That prediction looked good after fourth-ranked Notre Dame needed a 27-yard field goal with 7 seconds left to beat the Boilermakers on Sept. 8. Even fifth-rated Ohio State needed overtime to defeat Purdue 29-22 on Oct. 20.

And here’s what Phil Steele’s publication said:

“This is Hope’s best team yet, but it will be tough to top last year’s seven-win total.”



Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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