Ferentz welcomes Harbaugh back to the Big Ten

Rick Brown

Jim Harbaugh speaks to the media as he is introduced as the new head football coach of the Michigan Wolverines earlier this year.

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz welcomed Jim Harbaugh back to the Big Ten on Tuesday.

"Jim's an excellent coach," Ferentz said of Harbaugh, who returned to his alma mater as Michigan's new football coach. "His record is well documented. I was actually with Jim in Baltimore (in the NFL). We overlapped. He was a fearless player, a great leader. A lot of that has transcended to his coaching career. He's done a great job at everywhere he's been."

Initial reports had Michigan offering Harbaugh $8 million a year to return to Ann Arbor. Details of Harbaugh's seven-year contract worth $5 million annually were announced after Ferentz met with reporters before Tuesday's practice.

Asked if a coach was worth $8 million, Ferentz said, "Good for him. I guess that's what the market dictates, right? Probably good for Nick Saban (of Alabama). I think he's got a clause in his contract (that makes him the highest-paid college coach)."

Asked if he had a clause in his contract, Ferentz said, "Just Santa Claus. That's the only clause I've got."

Burst still missing: Iowa running back Jordan Canzeri has had a tough 2014 season, his effectiveness slowed by a series of injuries. He's been limited to 374 yards on 90 carries.

"Just one of those things," Canzeri said. "You just have to trust God's plan and work from there, knowing that all those things you fight through will make you a stronger person."

Canzeri has the best burst of any Iowa running back, but he couldn't take advantage of it all season. He's closer to 100 percent than he's been all season, but that burst is still lagging behind.

"I wouldn't say it's completely back," Canzeri said. "The time off has been good. And the practices have helped me prepare for the upcoming game."

Carries by committee: With LeShun Daniels back from ankle surgery, Iowa has a full stock of running backs with the exception of Damon Bullock, who was lost for the season against Wisconsin. Daniels, Mark Weisman, Canzeri and Akrum Wadley are all in contention for playing time against Tennessee.

"We'll talk about that here in the next 48 hours," Ferentz said of the game rotation. "The good news is at least the guys look better. It's been a concern all season long. I think we're a little fresher now, and a little healthier. Hopefully, all four of them can go."

Daniels, who missed the final five games, surprised the coaching staff with how fast he returned to the field.

"When he came back, he looked pretty good right away," Ferentz said. "He put a little weight on when he had some inactivity, but he got that off fast and really looked better than any of us anticipated."

TaxSlayer Bowl

Jacksonville, Fla.

Tennessee vs. Iowa

2:20 p.m. Friday, ESPN