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Harty: Ferentz still believing despite disappointing season

[ 0 ] November 28, 2012 |

Kirk Ferentz’s news conference to cap the 2012 season was just like the season — uneventful, repetitive and boring at times.

The only real news that came from Wednesday’s 45-minute question-and-answer session is that there was no news.

Ferentz warned us right from the start that what he had to say wouldn’t be nearly as interesting as the rumors about his football program.

“This won’t be as entertaining or dramatic as maybe people want it to be,” Ferentz said. “But nonetheless, I just thought it was a good way to wrap the year up and field some questions, and we’ll get together in February.”

The first question asked pertained to perhaps the most persistent rumor since Iowa’s 4-8 season ended Friday with a 13-7 loss to Nebraska: Will Greg Davis be your offensive coordinator in 2013?

“Yeah, as far as I know,” Ferentz said.

Ferentz then was asked what Davis had done over the past few months that would demonstrate him remaining on the staff for a second season. It was obvious Ferentz resented the question by the way in which he didn’t answer it.

“Wow, the firing line, huh,” Ferentz said. “I think Greg’s an excellent football coach. He’s a tremendous professional and a tremendous person.”

Ferentz reminded reporters that the purpose of Wednesday’s news conference was not to discuss specific coaching tenures or somebody’s job security. Ferentz wasn’t there to address rumors, especially one as sensitive as Davis’ coaching status.

At least, that’s what Ferentz said. But then a few minutes later he brought up another rumor that’s been floating around: the one about an Iowa quarterback looking to transfer.

“That was another rumor that came to me,” Ferentz said. “That was not only out there, it landed on my desk somewhere in the last 48 hours. Someone had one of our quarterbacks transferring to a school in New Orleans, which may be true. I don’t know.”

“But the fact that the player in question came and grabbed me yesterday morning after the (team) meeting and said, ‘Coach, we sat down and it was the exact opposite of him going to New Orleans.’ I just said, ‘I can’t tell you the source on that one, either.’ But it was interesting. It had me nervous for a while.”

Ferentz brought up the quarterback rumor only because he hoped to squash it by telling what happened with one of his quarterbacks behind the scenes. It was Ferentz’s way of doing public relations.

The theme from Wednesday’s news gathering was vintage Ferentz in that he still believes strongly in his approach, in the people around him, and that working hard and getting better are the only real cures to what’s ailing the Iowa program.

Ferentz also thinks the foundation still is strong and that rebuilding for a third time won’t require a major overhaul.

“We all realize we have a lot of work to do,” Ferentz said. “But this is hardly a hopeless situation. It’s not like we have to climb Mount Everest here.”

It’s up to fans to decide whether they still believe in Ferentz or if they think he’s in denial and that darker days lie ahead for his program.

Iowa’s 4-8 record this season is part of stretch in which the Hawkeyes have lost 17 of 29 games dating back to the latter stages of the 2010 season. It’s been a slow and steady regression and now some fans are concerned that Ferentz doesn’t have a third resurgence still left in him.

The way in which Ferentz answered questions Wednesday certainly won’t ease that concern.

“It’s not what anybody wants to hear,” Ferentz said. “But it’s a matter of getting back to the basics and doing the basics better.

“Usually, the answers aren’t calculus equations. It’s a matter of doing things better on a more frequent basis. And that’s the challenge ahead for us.”

It also helps to have better players in order to do things better. But that’s one of the uncertainties about Iowa heading into Ferentz’s 15th offseason.

Is there enough talent on the roster for Iowa to be a Big Ten contender again? And is the system under Ferentz good enough to keep up with the changing times?

At this stage, you’re either with Ferentz or you’re not.

You’ll either be rewarded for your patience and loyalty or you’ll ultimately be able to say I told you so if things don’t get better.

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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