Tag:Kirk Ferentz
Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:45 pm

Ex-Iowa RB Coker transferring to Stony Brook

Blessed with a well-coached offensive line and a pro-style offensive attack that features the run, the Iowa Hawkeyes seemingly always have a strong running attack under Kirk Ferentz.

Unfortunately, rarely during Ferentz's recent tenure have his running backs been able to remain as the starter for more than a season. Not since the days of Albert Young (who left in 2007) have the Hawkeyes have enjoyed any real continuity at running back. Each of the past five seasons, in fact, Iowa has had a different player lead the team in either rushing yardage, rushing touchdowns or both. 

The turnover will continue in 2012 due to the fact that Iowa's leading incumbent rusher Marcus Coker will be taking his talents to FCS powerhouse Stony Brook. 

Coker, who led the Hawkeyes with 1,384 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in 2011, was suspended from the team prior to the Insight Bowl matchup against Oklahoma. The reason for his suspension and subsequent surprise releasal from his scholarship by Iowa entirely hasn't been made public other than that his actions constituted a violation of the university's Student Athlete's Code of Conduct. Coker was investigated after a woman claimed he sexually assaulted her in October but played during the investigation and was never formally charged of any crime. 

Despite only one season as a fulltime starter for the Hawkeyes, Coker had already established himself as a potential pro prospect. Coker, in fact, ranked No. 6 on NFLDraftScout.com's 2014 RB rankings. 

Listed by Iowa at 6-0, 230 pounds, Coker is a physical back with good vision and surprising burst for a player of his size. Coker is on pace to graduate and, according to Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore, was very interested in his new university's academics as well as athletics. 

That said, a spectacular junior campaign could force Coker to consider leaving his new school early should the NFL come calling. Though it was injury and not an investigation that prompted another former Iowa running back -- Jewel Hampton -- to transfer to Southern Illinois a year ago, he too sounded like a player willing to spend two seasons with his new program rather than making the attempted jump to the pros. 

Instead, after rushing for 1,121 yards and a conference-leading 21 touchdowns this season, Hampton headed off to the NFL

Just as they did with Hampton at Southern Illinois, scouts will certainly be keeping an eye on Coker at Stony Brook, whether it be for the 2013 or 2014 draft.   

Posted on: August 3, 2010 1:26 pm

Rookie LB Edds a big loss for Dolphins

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting that Dolphins' fourth round pick A.J. Edds has been placed on the Physical Unable to Perform List after tearing the ACL in his right knee during practice Monday evening.

The loss of Edds (pronounced Eads) is a significant one for the Dolphins who were planning on using the 6-4, 246 pound Edds as a coverage specialist at inside linebacker during nickel situations. Edds started 38 games at strongside linebacker in the Iowa Hawkeyes 4-3 scheme, but, according to Miami head coach Tony Sparano, Edds had impressed early on with his ability to acclimate to the Dolphins' 3-4 strategy.

Said Sparano this morning, confirming Edd's injury:

“He did a good job,” Sparano said. “Obviously there was a lot of football left out here. A.J. looked like he had some good promise and had the ability to do some good jobs. We’ll get him healthy and we’ll get going.”
Edds was a player I was particularly high on. Like many Iowa players, he came to the NFL exceptionally well-coached by Kirk Ferentz's staff. While Edds' linebacking teammate, inside linebacker Pat Angerer received much of the press during their respective career with the Hawkeyes, I was more consistently impressed with Edds' play on film and when scouting him in person at the Senior Bowl. Angerer was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round.

I characterized Edds as a "personal favorite" numerous times in preparation for the 2010 draft and explained some of the reasoning behind the attention in this Senior Bowl post-practice report.

I felt then that "There's nothing flashy about Iowa outside linebacker A.J. Edds, but he always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Whether blowing up fullbacks or covering up receivers in the flat, he flashed the skills to be a Ben Leber-type coverage linebacker who will play for 10 years in the NFL."

Hopefully Edds will come back a year from now just as athletic and instinctive. His work ethic was praised by Iowa coaches in the past and I suspect that it will be by the Miami coaches and trainers soon, as well.

Without Edds' instincts and athleticism in coverage, the Dolphins may have to turn back to two veterans much better suited towards playing the run than pass with incumbent starter Channing Crowder and recent addition Tim Dobbins, who was acquired via a trade with San Diego that allowed the Chargers to move up to the No. 12 pick to select Fresno State running back Ryan Matthews.

Posted on: January 5, 2010 1:58 pm

Bulaga vs. Morgan, best of the bowl matchups

When the bowl matchups were released in December the Orange Bowl immediately struck me as the season's most intriguing game.

Just from a entertainment perspective, this game intrigues. Paul Johnson's innovative triple option offense is a great test for an Iowa defense that I believe to be as disciplined and consistent as any in the country. The Yellow Jackets are so talented at the skill positions that even if Iowa plays their typically sound defense, running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Anthony Adams or huge receiver Demaryius Thomas could break free for a dazzling play.

The matchup I and many NFL scouts will be focusing in on, however, will be on the other side of the ball and at the line of scrimmage where Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan will be matching up with Iowa offensive tackles Bryan Bulaga and Kyle Calloway.

Morgan, only a junior, was voted the ACC Defensive Player of the Year with 18 tackles for loss, including 12.5 sacks. He's got an explosive first, good upper body strength to shed blocks and the agility that have some teams envisioning the 6-4, 265 pounder making the conversion to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.

The rare combination of traits certainly has caught the attention of Bulaga, the Hawkeyes' junior left tackle. As Bulaga told the Omaha World-Herald:

“He's probably the best I'll have seen this year, probably the best a lot of us will see any year,” Bulaga said. “He's relentless,” Bulaga said. “He's a bigger guy so he can play the run very well. I think there's a lot to his game that you can like. “He brings a lot of different pass-rushing moves. His in move is very quick. He's got a great first step. There's a lot of things to his game that are just so good right now that it's hard not to give a guy like that praise.”
For all of the attention being heaped upon Morgan, however, don't sleep on Bulaga. Like senior right tackle Kyle Calloway, Bulaga plays with excellent technique and good strength. He wasn't himself early in the year due to a thyroid condition that forced him to miss three games. He's improved as the season has gone, however, and has cemented himself as a legitimate top 20 prospect. For all of the talk about Rutgers' Anthony Davis and Maryland's Bruce Campbell, Bulaga is more technically refined and, at only 20 years old, has greater upside. At 6-6, 312 pounds, he has rare foot quickness and balance in the passing and could surprise Morgan with his ability to protect the edge.

Look for Tech to move Morgan all over the field in an effort to take advantage of his unique skill-set. On the occassions when he lines up against Bulaga, however, lean in closer to the television. Their one on one matchup looks like the best one we've had throughout the entire bowl season. It also serves as the closest most college fans will ever get to seeing the one on one "battles in the pit" that have made senior all-star games like the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl such a unique scouting experience. Considering that these two future first round picks are juniors, and thus, ineligible, this will be their opportunity to show off.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com