July 20, 2024

Brian Ferentz disgusted with being center of attention for last game

Iowa Hawkeyes Football

Iowa Offensive Coordinator Brian Ferentz tries to get the attention of an official after a play during the second quarter of the Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan Saturday December 2, 2023 at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Iowa will square off with Tennessee in the Cheez It-Citrus Bowl Monday, and there’s one particular situation that’s dominating the headlines approaching the matchup.

It’s no mystery that Offensive Coordinator Brian Ferentz will be coaching his last game with the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s Interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz made it clear a couple of months ago that Ferentz won’t be returning to the team for the 2024 season. That was after the Hawkeyes settled in with being dead last in the FBS in total offense.

So many Iowa fans have been counting down the days to his departure, and that has Ferentz a bit uncomfortable. After all, he just wants to complete his job, keep his players focused on the task at hand, and help the team win against the Volunteers. However, everything has centered around the fact that it’s going to be the last time he coaches at Iowa alongside his father Kirk, who happens to be the longest-tenured coach in the FBS.

Ferentz doesn’t like being the center of attention, and feels it can be a distraction to the Hawkeyes. There’s no denying that it’s going to be a lot of pressure on him to put on a good performance, and go out on top. That’s why he’s motivated for tomorrow afternoon, and could care less about the negative narrative the naysayers are trying to portray.

“Quite frankly, probably what I resent the most about this situation is that the focus has come off of our football players, who have really accomplished some tremendous things this year,” Ferentz said. “It has gone on to things that just quite simply do not matter, they are trivial and silly in my opinion.”

Iowa (10-3) has won most of its’ games for the past few seasons with elite defense and special teams. Meanwhile Ferentz’s offense has been a liability, and held the Hawkeyes back from taking that next step. So all of the hostility from the fans, and the backlash from the media is somewhat understandable to many.

Still, Ferentz is trying to focus on the positive aspect of it all. The Hawkeyes won the Big Ten West for the second time in the past three seasons, and now has a chance to earn 11 victories for the first time since 2015. Ferentz wants his players to build momentum off that, and block out the outside noise, as they prepare for battle against a team from the Almighty SEC. Regardless of the matter, he can’t get over the fact that the spotlight has remained on him.

“For whatever reason, the focus has gone there instead of on a bunch of players who have worked really hard, overcome a lot of adversity and dealt with a lot of nonsense to win 10 football games,” he said. “I think that is where the focus should be, that is where I would like it to be.”

Everyone is expecting that it’s going to be an emotional contest for Ferentz, the players and his father. And rightfully so, considering the anticipation has been through the roof. Tennessee (8-4) is 38th nationally in total defense, and 21st against the run, so Ferentz will have his work cut out for him.

The Big Ten hasn’t fared well against the SEC so far this bowl season, but Iowa will be the favorite in Orlando. Ferentz has an opportunity to silence some of his critics, change the narrative and make his dad proud. For years he has put his blood, sweat and tears into the program, and despite all of the negativity, Ferentz is ready for the moment. The 40-year old can’t wait to leave it all on the field for the players, especially the seniors, and when the smoke clears Ferentz expects to be victorious.

“I cannot control what you guys do or what other people say, but I think we are really missing something that is pretty special that is going on.”