Tag:Kirk Ferentz
Posted on: January 17, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Adam Robinson wants to return to Iowa

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been two weeks since Adam Robinson was kicked off of the Iowa football team by head coach Kirk Ferentz, and now that some time has passed, Robinson is hoping he can work his way back on the team.  Over the weekend, and under the advice of his attorney, Robinson called a pseudo-press conference with select members of the Iowa media.

In that press conference Robinson apologized for the actions that led to his dismissal, and expressed his desire to return to the Hawkeyes.

“I apologize to my family, former teammates, coaches, my friends, the Hawkeye nation and everyone who supported me,” said Robinson. "I know I have disappointed you, and let you down. For that, I am sorry.  I promise to do better, and I hope you find it in your hearts to forgive me.”

Robinson is seeking forgiveness for what Kirk Ferentz coined as "academic indigestion" along with a charge for marijuana possession after being pulled over in a car with marijuana in it.  Considering Derrell Johnson-Koulianos had recently been arrested for living in what the police deemed a "drug house," it's hard to blame Ferentz for his decision.  He's trying to clean up the image of his program.

That being said, what Robinson has done is not exactly along the lines of a "drug house."  He was a college kid caught with pot.  Imagine that.  Robinson is enrolled in classes at Iowa this semester, and if he gets the work done and clears up the "indigestion," then I'd like to think Ferentz would reinstate him on the football team.  He's made a mistake, he's apologized, and now he's working to fix it.

I'm not sure what else Ferentz or the Iowa football program could ask of him.
Posted on: January 14, 2011 2:41 pm
 

What's next for Michigan's Mike Barwis?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Brady Hoke is the new head coach at Michigan (perhaps you've heard). Hoke hasn't filled out his entire staff yet, but one move he was expected to make was bringing his strength & conditioning coach from San Diego State ; being as that's the case, that means it's the end of the line for Michigan S&C coach Mike Barwis. The fact that QB Devin Gardner bid Barwis a farewell on Twitter means all that's left is the formality of an official announcement.

Now, there are now no more open head coaching opportunities in the FBS as we speak, and that means barring something weird happening, Rich Rodriguez will not be a FBS head coach for the 2011 season. He can spend the season with his family and/or making spot appearances on ESPN, and that's a fine way to pass a year or two between coaching gigs -- especially with the generous buyout Michigan gave him as part of the severance. Barwis didn't get the $2.5 million Rodriguez got, however, and it would be a surprise if he didn't actively pursue a different job for the coming season.

Therefore, the Rodriguez-Barwis connection and Michigan-Barwis connections are both effectively over, which means there is a high-level S&C coach available to anyone who wants one. And make no mistake, Barwis is still a high-level coach; his players at West Virginia under Rodriguez were fast, strong, and mean, as typified by fullback Owen Schmitt (the "runaway beer truck," as he was called by one announcer). Barwis is a new-school type of coach, emphasizing fast-twitch muscle development, agility, and endurance more than 40 times and basketball-sized biceps. In fact, he doesn't look like a typical old-school S&C coach: so thick-necked and bald that they usually look like thumbs with faces. I say that with love.

Bringing in a new S&C regime (which is to say: different methods, not just a different guy assigning the same workouts) along with a new coach has a track record of success; at Iowa , for one example, Kirk Ferentz hired Chris Doyle from Utah and made Doyle's intense workouts the centerpiece of Iowa's campaign to turn its fortunes around. The Hawkeyes were in a bowl by the third year and in the Top 10 by the fourth, and the fact that the turnaround was led by lightly-recruited players who ended up All-Americans like Bob Sanders , Robert Gallery , and Dallas Clark speaks volumes about Doyle's influence on the program's success. And while Barwis shouldn't promise he can make All-Americans out of walk-ons, he can point to Doyle's work at Iowa and his own at West Virginia as proof of what a fresh approach to strength and conditioning can do for a football program.

Of course, Barwis can and should expect to be asked why Michigan looked so physically unprepared -- especially on defense -- three years into the Rich Rodriguez era. But really, there's only so much an S&C coach can accomplish when the team has to continually throw out freshmen to play against juniors and seniors. Yes, a player typically sees the most improvement earliest in his time in a strength and conditioning program, and yes, there are diminishing returns by the fifth year. But diminishing returns or not, the aggregation of conditioning plus both in-game and practice experience had by a senior in any program is generally more than a freshman should be expected to overcome. That's more on Rich Rodriguez and Greg Robinson than anybody else, and when Barwis find a coach that agrees with that assessment and needs to make a hire at S&C, he'll probably have a job shortly thereafter.

Posted on: January 9, 2011 12:46 am
Edited on: January 9, 2011 12:58 am
 

Stanford reaches out to Chris Petersen

Posted by Adam Jacobi

After losing Jim Harbaugh to the NFL on Friday, Stanford has the enviable task of finding a new head coach. It's enviable because for the first time in almost 40 years,* an open Stanford head coaching position is actually desirable on account of the team coming off a major bowl victory. Buoyed with this success, Stanford is able to reach out to big names early in the process, and as Yahoo! Sports reports, Stanford has contacted Boise State head coach Chris Petersen.

Now, hiring a Boise State head coach isn't necessarily a guarantor of future success; look at what happened to Dan Hawkins down at Colorado , after all. Nonetheless, this report would seem to indicate that Chris Petersen is Stanford's first choice, and there's nothing athletic directors like to do more at hiring announcements than stand up there and proclaim that they "got their guy."

Of course, it also helps that Andrew Luck is returning for his junior season, which should definitely ease the new coach's transition to Palo Alto. One could argue that this decision by Luck will be a bigger factor than the head coaching hire for Stanford's short-term success, in fact.

Now, if Stanford can't bring in Petersen or any other "big" name for whatever reason, fans shouldn't be quick to be disappointed. As the San Francisco Chronicle reminds, Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby has made two football hires at the I-A level: Kirk Ferentz at Iowa after the 1998 season, and Harbaugh at Stanford in late 2006. Neither coach had any I-A head coaching experience; Ferentz was 12-21 in three years with the Maine Black Bears, while Harbaugh was 29-6 at San Diego (a school in the non-scholarship I-AA Pioneer League). Both hires have, to say the least, succeeded.

*In 1971, John Ralston led Stanford to its second consecutive Rose Bowl (a 13-12 win over then-undefeated Michigan , incidentally), then jumped to the NFL to coach the Denver Broncos. His successor -- Jack Christiansen -- didn't fare exceptionally well, going 30-22 in five seasons and never reaching a bowl before being fired, but he at least had a winning record in every season and paved the way for legendary coach Bill Walsh to take over. So if history repeats itself, it's not as if disaster lurks for the Cardinal in the coming years. Disappointment, yes, but not disaster.


Posted on: January 3, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Iowa gives Adam Robinson the boot

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While Iowa may have won the Insight Bowl against Missouri last week, just about all the news coming out of Iowa City over the last month has had to do with players getting busted with drugs.  There was Derrell Johnson-Koulianos running that drug house of his, and then, after he was already suspended for the bowl game, running back Adam Robinson got busted with marijuana in his car.

Well, it seems that, once again, pot is a gateway drug to Coker.  Or in this case, Marcus Coker.  I guess that seeing Coker rush for 219 yards and two touchdowns against Missouri was all Kirk Ferentz needed to make a decision on Robinson's future at Iowa.  That decision being that Robinson will no longer have a future at Iowa.

“Running Back Adam Robinson has been dismissed from The University of Iowa Football team,” said Ferentz in a typically verbose, and confusing statement.

Which means that the three running backs who began 2010 on top of the Iowa depth chart are no longer with the team.  Robinson follows Brandon Wegher and Jewel Hampton out the door.  Robinson was rather productive during his first two seasons with the Hawkeyes, too, rushing for 1,775 yards and 15 touchdowns in his first two seasons.
Posted on: December 29, 2010 8:36 am
Edited on: December 29, 2010 8:47 am
 

Bowl Grades: Insight Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Iowa used a interception return and a late replay overturn to upend Missouri in the fourth quarter, 27-24.

Iowa

Offense: A star was born for the Iowa Hawkeyes in Marcus Coker , a 230-pound true freshman tailback who gashed Missouri for 219 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries. Coker's workhorse production -- both his carries and yardage were Iowa bowl records -- overshadowed the absence of starting tallback Adam Robinson , who was already suspended for academic reasons before his arrest Monday night. Coker showcased both power and speed, running over some tacklers and and running away from others, and his blitz pickup was stellar: Ricky Stanzi wasn't sacked all night.

And yet Stanzi was dismal in the second half; he threw two interceptions, and about three more passes that deserved to be picked off. A Missouri interception with under eight minutes to go seemed to put Iowa in a major hole, and if it weren't for the Micah Hyde pick-six on the ensuing possession -- more on that later -- there's no telling whether Stanzi could have driven the Hawkeyes for one last touchdown. It's an odd end for Stanzi's career as a Hawkeye to see him struggle, but get a win for it anyway, but college football can be an odd sport. Grade: B

Defense: What's better to focus on? The Micah Hyde interception and return for a touchdown that eventually won the game for Iowa, or the other 56 passes in which Blaine Gabbert passed for over 400 yards? In truth, both are immensely important in evaluating the Hawkeye defense, which took its "bend but don't break" philosophy to its absurd extreme tonight.

Still, for as much as Iowa's pass defense has been lauded, linebacker Troy Johnson was routinely victimized by Gabbert to the point that he was taken off the field in the first half and never heard from again -- to the point that Johnson was passed up for by true freshmen during the second half. It's good that Iowa took those steps, but if they were necessary, why was Johnson on the field in the first place? Grade: B-

Coaching: Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz deserves a great deal of credit for getting his team focused on the bowl game in spite of numerous off-field distractions, culminating in Robinson's arrest the day before the bowl game. It would be ridiculous to say Iowa didn't miss arrested wideout Derrell Johnson-Koulianos at the other WR spot -- just look at Stanzi's production in the second half -- but the offense stil produced all the same. That was hardly a given coming into the game, and the fact that Ferentz's boys come through to finish the first three-game bowl winning streak in Iowa history speaks volumes to Ferentz's abilities as a coach. Grade: B+

Missouri

Offense: Blaine Gabbert threw 18 completions for over 10 yards on the day, and his 41-57 performance doesn't truly give proper credit for his ability to hit his receivers in stride--half of Gabbert's incompletions hit his targets before bounding harmlessly incomplete. That was basically all the Missouri offense could do; situational running was a noted for its fumbles and failures as it was for its chains-moving. Blaine Gabbert threw for over 400 yards and his offense scored only 20 points; clearly, there's a bottleneck in play.

And yet, the Missouri receivers absolutely excelled. Wes Kemp had some highlight-reel catches as he overcame his season-long bout with the dropsies, T.J. Moe set an Insight Bowl record with 15 catches, and All-American TE Michael Egnew came alive in the second half to finish with seven catches for 64 yards and a score. Assigning blame for Missouri's loss to anybody on the offense seems a little silly. If T.J. Moe hadn't bobbled the 4th down pass after hitting the ground late in the game, as replay officials determined, there's no telling how Missouri would have finished the game. Grade: A-

Defense: Missouri's pass defense was its stingy self, but the image of the night was Marcus Coker trucking Missouri safety Jerrell Harrison on a 3rd and 1, then taking the ball for 30 more yards. Missouri's vaulted secondary ket Ricky Stanzi in check, but it ceded about seven yards a carry to Coker, and Iowa was wable to move the chains pretty much at will as a result. Aldon Smith and the rest of the Missouri defense line were essentially non-factors. Grade: C

Coaching: Iowa's first MVP for the game is Marcus Coker. Its second MVP is Missouri coach Gary Pinkel , who had a 3rd and 2 inside Iowa's 10-yard line after Gabbert had shredded the Iowa secondary on the opening drive, then called a QB keeper and a field goal. Oh, then Pinkel punted from Iowa's 40-yard line on a 4th and 6 in the second quarter. Pinkel also called numerous unorthodox runs in late-half situations, none of which got the ball out of bounds or otherwise challenged the Iowa defense. For as close as this game was and for as easily as Missouri moved the ball in the first half, it would be enormously presumptive to assume Miisouri wouldn't have scored any points if it had attempted both 4th downs. Would Missouri have struggled to keep a lead in the second half if it had maximized its point production in the first half? Grade: D

Final Grade

This may not have been quite as exciting a game as the Little Caesar's Bowl, but it was close, and the fact that Iowa made the fourth quarter comeback that eluded it during the entire 2010 season makes the game quite an important relic. The overturned catch call that handed Iowa the game will properly be scrutinized during the off-season, and Missouri fans can call foul until next September. Still, what a wonderful game for fans of both the Big Ten and Big 12 to watch, and what a redemption for an Iowa program that desperately needed a shot of good news for its seniors, who won 28 games and three straight bowl games -- the last of which is an Iowa senior record. If there's a mitigating factor for Missouri, it's that too much is generally made of bowl results; recall that just last year, Iowa was celebrating an Orange Bowl championship and setting its sights on higher accolades, while only the hardest of hardcore Missouri fans were tabbing this team for 10 wins.

If Blaine Gabbert comes back, Missouri is easily a 10-win candidate again in 2011. If this game is an encapsulation of a larger truth, Gabbert's pro prospects are definitely higher than those of Ricky Stanzi, who struggled mightily against an upper-echelon secondary in the second half. And yet, Iowa takes one last whack at its awful "Can't Finish" reputation with this win and sets the Law of Averages back on its way, while Missouri fans hope the loss means Gabbert's got another year in him in Columbia. All that and a 60-minute, 3-point game to show for it's pretty good, no? Grade: A


Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:57 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Iowa: Robinson suspended, Hampton transferring

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the official news release from the University of Iowa regarding the status of two of its running backs:

Sophomore running back Jewel Hampton has decided to leave the University of Iowa. And, sophomore running back Adam Robinson will not be part of the Hawkeye team that makes the trip to Arizona for the Insight Bowl. The announcement was made today by Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz.

“Jewel Hampton has decided to leave the team and plans to transfer to another school to complete his degree and finish his career. We wish him the best of success in the future,” said Ferentz.

“While Adam has been cleared medically, he will not be participating in the upcoming Insight Bowl game as a result of failing to comply with team expectations and policies. Adam will have the option to rejoin the team when classes resume in January.”

Hampton, a 5-9, 210-pounder from Indianapolis, IN, has been plagued by injury problems during his three years at Iowa. He has rushed for 577 yards and scored eight touchdowns as a Hawkeye. He was injured in the Arizona game earlier this season and was lost for the season following surgery.

Robinson, a 5-9, 205-pound back from Des Moines, IA, led the team in rushing with 941 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

As mentioned before, Hampton announced his departure from the football team on Facebook yesterday, but Robinson's violation of team rules is a new development. This leaves Iowa with only true freshman Marcus Coker and sophomore fullback Brad Rogers as running backs who have carried the ball more than 10 times on the season for the Hawkeyes (walk-on running back Paki O'Meara has 10 carries, but they've all come in garbage time; if he touches the ball for Iowa in the Insight Bowl, that game is effectively over).

A Kirk Ferentz press conference has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Central to address any questions about the announcement.
Posted on: November 10, 2010 9:33 am
Edited on: November 10, 2010 9:35 am
 

Iowa expects to have RB Robinson back on Saturday

Posted by Chip Patterson

After narrowly escaping Indiana for the second-straight year with an 18-13 victory in Bloomington, head coach Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes gladly welcome leading rusher Adam Robinson back to the field this week after missing time due to an injury.  Several media outlets reported the injury as a concussion, but Ferentz did not confirm that on Tuesday.  He did, however, inform the media that Robinson should be good to go against Northwestern on Saturday.

"As far as I know, he's practicing today and he's training; ran on Sunday, lifted and all that stuff," Ferentz told the media on Tuesday.  "So he's fine to go."

Having Ferentz offer a "denial/non-denial" to the concussion rumors was a little odd, though other reports do confirm that Robinson has returned and appears healthy.  He was replaced by backup Marcus Coker against Indiana, who rushed 22 times for 129 yards in the win.  While Coker held his own against the Hoosiers, Robinson's importance to the Hawkeyes' offense cannot be easily dismissed.  He leads the conference in rushing attempts per game and his 10 rushing touchdowns on the season are good for 5th in the Big Ten.  

This Saturday has all the makings of a trap game for the Hawkeyes, with a season-determining matchup in Columbus just a week away.  Iowa must keep their focus on Northwestern in order to stay in the hunt for the Big Ten title.  No game was more important for the race than the 37-6 victory over Michigan State giving them a tie-breaker edge against the one-loss Spartans.  But in order to capture the Big Ten conference crown, the Hawkeyes need to win out and get some serious help from one of Wisconsin's final opponents.  But with that out of their hands, head coach Kirk Ferentz knows they need to win each game left on the schedule, and it starts with Northwestern on Saturday.    
Posted on: October 30, 2010 3:40 pm
 

Iowa defense hobbled before MSU game

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Coming into today's matchup against undefeated Michigan State, No. 18 Iowa is undoubtedly going to need to depend on its vaunted rush defense; the Hawkeyes are eighth in the nation in rush defense, while the Spartans average almost 200 yards per game on the ground.

If Iowa's defense is going to step up today, they'll have to do it at less than full strength. Senior linebackers Jeremiha Hunter and Troy Johnson were listed as starters on Iowa's two-deeps coming into this week, but as the team goes through its gameday prep, it appears neither player is actually going to start. Based on reports from Kinnick Stadium this afternoon, the linebackers running with the first-team defense during pre-game practice are freshmen Shane DiBona and James Morris, alongside regular starter Tyler Nielsen.

There's no telling as yet how much playing time will be split between the seniors and freshmen, since Hunter and Johnson are both dressed for the game, but it's safe to say Kirk Ferentz doesn't have much confidence in Hunter and Johnson's ability to put in four quarters today.

 
 
 
 
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