How will Barta and Ferentz assess the Iowa program?

Rick Brown

Do you think there will be an honest evaluation of where Iowa football is, or do you think it'll just be glossed over by (Iowa athletic director Gary) Barta and (football coach) Kirk Ferentz?

I think both of them know there's work to be done.

How do you see the running back position playing out next year?

Jordan Canzeri would be the likely starter, with LeShun Daniels/Akrum Wadley/C.J. Hilliard behind him. But if Karan Higdon is the real deal, he could be in the picture. Bottom line, the offense needs a home-run hitter carrying the ball. Many plays were blocked properly with no back who could take advantage.

All other dynamics aside from the Nebraska game: Iowa had a chance to put a nail in the coffin and right away the offense became predictable. Is trying to kill the clock and ball security a bad strategy when teams load the box and Iowa goes three and out?

I agree that the three-and-outs were troublesome. But I could kind of see the logic. Nebraska was on its heels, running would have melted the clock and it was a way for Iowa to inflict its will. The real issue to me was the secondary and some of the long pass plays given up. I'm not talking about Kenny Bell, who is a playmaker. I mean the TD pass after Iowa had taken a 24-7 lead. The guy quit running his route, then drifted into the back of the end zone when Tommy Armstrong scrambled and was wide open. Same on the drive that led to the tying field goal at the end of the game, the play after Bell got away with offensive interference. Wide open. And special teams played a big role as well.

As for Brian Ferentz, he's where he is due to connections. I have no problem with that, it's the way things work. But he has little coaching chops to turn the offense over to him.

I think Brian has a very bright coaching future, and it has nothing to do with connections.

You are allowed to change only one thing to improve the product on the field in 2015. (I know, there are tons of things to change). What is the most important change that needs to be made?

Can I give you two? First, obviously, is offense. I feel that there is a great disconnect there, a lack of identity. Secondly, the special teams play really needs to make a spike up. Once a strength of Ferentz-coached teams. Not a strength anymore.


Big Ten teams hold down three of the top 13 spots in the latest College Football Playoff Top 25, which didn't seem possible in the first few weeks of the season. Ohio State is fifth, Michigan State eighth and Wisconsin 13th … Minnesota's Jerry Kill became the sixth coach in the last 25 years to win Big Ten coach of the year honors with an 8-4 record. Iowa's Hayden Fry was on the list. ... Wisconsin led the Big Ten in total defense, scoring defense and passing defense. But the all-Big Ten coaches team released Monday had only one Badger, linebacker Derek Landisch, on the first team. … Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon finished the regular season with a Big Ten-record 2,260 yards rushing. He broke the old mark of 2,109 yards sent by the Badgers' Ron Dayne in 1996. Gordon leads the nation in all-purpose yards (200.9), yards per game (188.3) and rushing touchdowns (26).


Ohio State (11-1, 8-0 Big Ten) meets Wisconsin (10-2, 7-1) in the Big Ten Championship game Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. (7:17 p.m., Fox Sports). Buckeye quarterback Cardele Jones has played in seven games this season, throwing a total of 17 passes. J.T. Barrett's replacement will be facing the Big Ten's best defense. That is one interesting matchup. So is Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon against the Big Ten's best defensive lineman, Joey Bosa. Ohio State is giving up 145.6 rushing yards a game. Gordon betters than by about 40 yards a game. Wisconsin has won in its previous two trips to the title game, in 2011 and 2013.