Hawkeyes football: Brian Ferentz plans a play-calling change on game days

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Brian Ferentz has heard this question more than almost any since he became Iowa’s offensive coordinator: Do you prefer to call plays from the press box or from the field?

He finally has an answer.

Ferentz plans to call plays from the sideline in 2018, a departure from how he spent most of his 2017 season in Year One as the offensive coordinator under his father, head coach Kirk Ferentz. He feels more comfortable closer to the action on game days.

Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz watches his offense in action against Boston College during the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017.

“I’ve thought a lot about it,” Brian Ferentz told the Des Moines Register on Wednesday night’s Hawk Central radio show. “That’s why I went downstairs for the bowl game.”

Indeed, after 12 games calling plays from upstairs in the regular season, Ferentz went down to the frozen Yankee Stadium grass during Iowa’s 27-20 victory in the Dec. 27 Pinstripe Bowl against Boston College. It was an experiment he was happy he tried.

“That was an interesting playing surface,” he said, obviously noting that Iowa’s 200-yard offensive output wasn’t representative of what he hopes from a typical game. “I certainly feel like I can do the things I need to do on the field. I would anticipate being there moving forward.”

Ferentz said a different offensive coach would go upstairs instead, to have eyes in the sky — quarterbacks coach Ken O’Keefe would be a natural candidate, considering he was Iowa’s offensive coordinator from 1999 to 2011. But that decision hasn’t been made.

Ferentz’s, though, has been.

“What I’ve learned is I’m a better coach on the field,” Ferentz said. “I do better down there. I can have more of an impact down there.”

Ferentz talked about a lot more than just game-day locales with Chad Leistikow, Mark Emmert and KXnO’s Ross Peterson. He discussed the NFL draft, the emergence of even more tight ends and even took a swipe at a newspaper that covers Ohio State football while going to bat for his quarterback, Nate Stanley.

You can listen to the 30-minute interview (and the rest of the show) in its entirety here: