National Signing Day means fax machines humming, recruits playing with hats, and reporters tweeting. It also means a Kirk Ferentz press conference and a chance to hear from Iowa football's head honcho. He addressed a wide range of topics on Wednesday, including the newest official signees for Iowa football, some departures from the program, and the new coach that he's added to the staff.
- Let's start there: Derrick Foster is the newest member of Iowa's staff, but contrary to early reports, he's not going to be coaching tight ends. He's going to be coaching running backs at Iowa, with Brian Ferentz handling tight ends and fullbacks in addition to his offensive coordinator duties. (Kelton Copeland (WR), Ken O'Keefe (QB), and Tim Polasek (OL) will handle the other offensive coaching duties, while Reese Morgan and Kelvin Bell will handle the DL, Seth Wallace will coach linebackers, and Phil Parker will coach defensive backs and serve as defensive coordinator. LeVar Woods will be special teams coordinator, while Bell will also be recruiting coordinator.) That... makes a lot more sense all around, honestly. Foster served as running game coordinator at Samford before coming to Iowa and Ferentz has experience coaching tight ends (notably with the New England Patriots).
- Foster actually first interviewed with Iowa last year (when Ferentz ended up hiring Polasek and Copeland after parting ways with Bobby Kennedy and Chris White) and made such a good impression then that he quickly emerged as a strong candidate for the new tenth assistant position. Foster is a native of Alabama and has mainly lived and worked in the south, but no decisions have been made about his recruiting territory yet. Still... you don't hire a guy like that and then not have him focus on talent in the south, right?
- I think we need to know just how he pronounces "Hawkeyes," though. This might be a deal-breaker.
- Ferentz understood why Wiegers and Boyle are heading elsewhere for playing time: "There's only one seat. Only one guy can drive the car."
- Also saying gone baby gone to Iowa football: offensive lineman Lucas LeGrand and Adrian Falconer. LeGrand will be graduating and quitting football. Falconer will be transferring (location TBD) and hoping to play elsewhere. LeGrand has been slowed by several injuries during his Iowa career. Falconer was one of the many Texas projects brought in by the Davis-Kennedy regime that didn't pan out; the writing was probably on the wall when he got passed by several true freshmen at wide receiver last season and didn't see the field for an Iowa team that was extremely WR-needy. Best of luck to him wherever his next stop ends up being.
- Ferentz is comfortable with the current running back depth (Toren Young, Ivory Kelly-Martin, Toks Akinribade, and Kyshaun Bryan will battle it out there this spring), but is also thinking about looking at incoming recruits Tyrone Tracy and Samson Evans at running back this summer. Both Tracy and Evans came to Iowa as "athletes" and there's been talk about them working as receivers (likely out of the slot position), but they were very accomplished and successful running backs in high school, too, as you can see from their highlight packages. If Iowa wants to keep a Wadley-type presence in the running game, they might be the best bet to do so (though Kelly-Martin certainly has a similar skill set too).
- Linebacker was a big focus in this recruiting class and while they missed out on probably their most ready-to-play target (JUCO LB Will Honas), Ferentz is still expecting a few of this year's linebacker signees to play immediately next year, especially on special teams.
- Kelvin Bell thinks the new early signing period was a big benefit for Iowa this year and explained why here. Basically it allowed Iowa to lock up several prospects in December that they might have lost to bigger programs if they came calling in January.
- The spring game will be in the evening on Friday, April 20th. Iowa won't be doing an open practice in West Des Moines this year, apparently.