Everything Iowa Hawkeyes head football coach Kirk Ferentz said with Rich Eisen to start 2022 camp


It’s always a treat getting to hear Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz on any national radio program. One of the nation’s best is “The Rich Eisen Show” on SiriusXM.

With football camp officially underway, Ferentz joined Eisen to discuss a number of topics last Thursday.

Additions of USC and UCLA

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Eisen started by asking Ferentz about the recent additions of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten beginning in 2024.

“You know, quite honestly, two takeaways for me were, first of all, I was amazed at just the secrecy. I don’t know how big the circle was. It had to be, there had to be more than two people involved. So, the fact that they kept it so quiet whoever was involved, I thought that was really impressive. And then my second thought, I’m really glad I’m not one of the Olympic sport coaches at either of those two schools because they’re going to have some tough road trips. It’s hard to imagine that playing at Iowa or Nebraska would feel like a home game if you’re a coach on the West coast, but that’s kind of what they’re looking at right now,” Ferentz said.

If Ferentz likes expansion

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File

“Well, as my age would indicate, I am a little bit old school, but I’ve really, you know, you’re just a part of this. I spent a couple of years in the NFL and each and every year was a new year and a different year. Certainly, the last 23, 24 years, even longer than that in college football are really interesting. I’ll go back. My first head coaching job was at the University of Maine, early 90’s and Kevin White who left Maine, went to Tulane, Arizona State, Notre Dame and just retired at Duke. I remember Kevin talking about the impact of TV sets and realigning of conferences and all of that.

“I had no idea what he was talking about. Zero. The things that he was privy to I guess back 30 years ago, they’ve kind of come to fruition. Starting with Penn State joining the Big Ten and then, yeah, you go from there. Times are very different and then I think, you know, if anything the last five, 10 years have taught us is when it comes to college geography and tradition really are secondary to TV opportunities. I think when the Big Ten Network started, to me, that was really the beginning of a major shift in terms of college football,” Ferentz said.

Approach to NIL

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

“First of all, I really didn’t pay attention to it the first ‘X’ amount of months. Really kind of start zeroing in on it in February after we got done with recruiting. You know, a couple of things. I think there’s probably a fair amount of exaggeration about some of the things that are going on in terms of just how significant or how fine the print is in some of those contracts. I think that’s going to be interesting over time. One thing we haven’t experienced yet is, you know, guys getting big contracts in college and then maybe not producing at the level that the people paying those contracts expect. We’ve seen that happen in pro baseball. I guess pro baseball was really the first sport with really true free agency at least that I can remember when I was a kid. So, that’s going to be something. The other thing that’s really kind of jumped out at me, in terms of you think about all the guys that play college football, how many are really benefitting all that much? I think anything that the guys can get is great, but as far as these ones that you hear about, it’s a really small percentage of the guys that truly play the game.

“You know, only time will tell how it’s really going to impact us, but it’s certainly given us one more thing to navigate. On a humorous note, you know, our guys are now getting exposed to the world of taxes, something that they really I don’t think understood and we want to make sure they do understand so they don’t get surprised there. So, that’s kind of interesting. The other part which is true for each and every one of us, and I tell our guys all the time, all of us only have so much time, so much energy, so you’ve just got to be really careful where you spend it and where you dedicate it towards,” Ferentz said.

If a player has asked for a specific NIL number to come to Iowa

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

To understand Ferentz’s response, it’s probably best to share verbatim how Eisen asked his question.

“Have you, Kirk Ferentz, identified a player that you would like on Iowa Hawkeye football and in your program that’s turned to you and said, ‘I would do that if you matched a certain number I’m getting on an NIL deal’ as an inducement. Has that happened to you?” Eisen asked.

Here’s how Ferentz responded.

“It’s really interesting. I think this past Sunday was the first time I’ve had a recruit bring it up. Now, I’m not saying they haven’t maybe talked to our assistants. I imagine that’s a possibility, but, you know, we haven’t really experienced that. Our players in our program, Tyler Linderbaum was probably our best-known guy last year. Almost inadvertently raised 36,000 dollars and he gave it to the Children’s Hospital just to give you an indication. We’re lucky the guys we get to work with and I would have had no problem with him putting that in his pocket.

“But, you know, no, it really hasn’t been a big factor yet. I’m sure it’s going to be more than one. If we could write the script, our approach I think would be to, I’d prefer to see players that are actually in college who have done something, see them get rewards in proportion to what they’ve accomplished. It would be nice if there was an academic component to it. That’s probably not the real world, but I think all of us function better when production is rewarded as opposed to potential or projection,” Ferentz said.

Eisen followed up by asking if that recruit asked for a specific figure to Ferentz’s face.

“He was talking about, you know, just the world of NIL, and, if you understood his background, you’d understand it. I think you would at least. I field like I did. It was totally innocent. Well, he wasn’t trying to cut a deal. I’m sure that day is coming, but haven’t had that experience yet,” Ferentz said.

The quarterback competition, his son in New England

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Hawkeyes Wire touched on what Ferentz had to say about the quarterback competition and seeing his son, James Ferentz, at training camp in New England.

Naturally, the quarterback comments were noteworthy as fall camp begins. Most fans probably remember or know this, but Ferentz coached under Bill Belichick as the offensive line coach in Cleveland during the 1993-95 NFL seasons, so the connection between Ferentz and Belichick is an interesting one historically.

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