There Is No Defense For The Nepotism That Has Kept Brian Ferentz As Iowa’s Offensive Coordinator

We need to talk about the nepotism that is ruining the football program at University of Iowa.

Some of you might not know what’s going on at Iowa, and some of you might just be checking college football box scores on Sunday morning and wondering if the Iowa score was an accidental century-old misprint from the era of leather helmets and no forward pass.

So for those of you that aren’t up to speed on the country’s slowest offense, here’s the deal:

Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz, who has been with the Hawkeyes since the 1900’s, has had all three of his sons come through Iowa as players during his tenure. His oldest son Brian was hired on at Iowa to be the offensive line coach in 2012 after three years as an assistant in the New England Patriots organization.

If you follow football at any level, you know that nepotism is beyond commonplace. Plenty of coaches throughout the country have their children on staff in some capacity. The list is endless- Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan, Pete Carroll, Marvin Lewis, Andy Reid, Jeff Fisher, Steve Spurrier, Bobby Bowden, Shane Beamer, Joe Paterno, it might be easier to make a list of coaches that didn’t employ their own kids. 

So what makes the Kirk Ferentz, Brian Ferentz arrangement any different?

Well, first of all, the University of Iowa actually has rules and regulations in place that are supposed to prevent nepotism.

In order to get around those rules back in 2012, the program was forced to lie and cover up that Kirk had any hand in hiring Brian to be on staff, despite Brian saying the reason he took the job was that his father called him up and asked him to apply.

After that initial lie, the guardrail Iowa supposedly put in place to give the appearance of objectivity, is that for the last 11 seasons, Brian Ferentz has technically been a direct report of athletic director Gary Barta.

So, father and son technically have the same boss, and that boss, independent of any input from Brian’s father, decided that after five seasons of coaching his own brothers on the Iowa offensive line, Brian was ready for a promotion to offensive coordinator. 

That brings me to my next point about why this is an extra special brand of nepotism

Brian Ferentz absolutely, objectively sucks at his job

In the last five recruiting classes, Iowa has landed two total four-star skill position players- Arland Bruce and Keagan Johnson. They would have had a third, but 2023 RB Kendrick Raphael saw this offense in action and decided black and gold weren’t going to be his colors.

So he can’t recruit, so what? Some people are more innovators and less salesmen. 

Just not Brian Ferentz. He managed to have 7+ future NFL players on his 2018 and 2019 offenses, and never ranked better than 86th in the country in those seasons. 

But hey, sometimes it’s about getting your own players into your system, right? So let’s look at the last three years, over which they’ve gone a very respectable 19-9. 

The Hawkeyes went from 40th nationally in points per game in the Covid-shortened 2020 season, to 99th last year, and are sitting at 127th this year, just ahead of University of Colorado. And in offensive yardage, which Kirk Ferentz has called an overrated stat, Iowa went from 13th in the Big Ten last year, to dead last in the country this year, and so far behind last place in the Big Ten that if you doubled their output, they’d still only be in third place.

There are statistics and realities that can be used to crush every excuse for continuing to employ the head coach’s son as the Hawkeyes play-caller. For those who say Iowa is a running team and they shouldn’t be expected to put up big numbers in the passing game, there are currently 38 FBS players that have rushed for more yards than Iowa has as a team, plus the Hawkeyes haven’t had a running back selected in the NFL draft since 2009.

For those that say Iowa is all about playing for the field goal, four out of every 10 possessions for Iowa this year have ended without a single first down. They aren’t playing for the field goal, they’re lucky to ever even get an attempt. 
Six times in the last calendar year, Iowa has been held to seven points or less, and they only have 18 offensive touchdowns in their last 14 games. You can tell yourself “That’s just Big Ten Football,” but isn’t Marvin Harrison Jr. playing in the same Big Ten as Iowa? He has 12 touchdowns in his last seven games by himself. 
Gary Barta, Brian’s “real boss” says that they’re not going to evaluate the status of any position coach until the end of the season. Which means we’re going to get to see the worst offense in football take the field six more times this year, starting with a guaranteed bloodbath at Ohio State on October 22nd. 

We don’t have the ability to see Iowa’s struggles through a father’s eyes. All we see from the outside is an offense that 

can’t gain yards, can’t score, can’t recruit, and has had one wide receiver selected in the NFL draft since 2013. 

If Brian Ferentz didn’t have his father’s last name, what defense would there be for keeping him on? I can’t think of a defense on earth that would be good enough to justify keeping him.

Not even Iowa’s.

Let that sink in.

Pac-12 Apostles: Media Day Recap, Interviews with Cam Rising, Dan Lanning, Yogi Roth, Chip Kelly

On this Episode of the Pac-12 Apostles, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden react to the biggest storylines and best quotes to come out of Pac-12 Media Day, including George Kliavkoff’s “shopping” comments about the Big-12. Featuring interviews with Utah QB Cam Rising, UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly, Oregon Head Coach Dan Lanning, and Pac-12 Network star Yogi Roth.

Breakdown:

Intro

-Conference games in L.A. post USC/UCLA exodus? (7:40)

-What can the Pac-12 do to hang on to the rest of its schools? (11:40)

-Impressions of Kyle Whittingham and Utah (17:00)

-Impressions of Dan Lanning and Oregon (19:11)

-George Kliavkoff “shopping” comments about the Big-12 (21:40)

-Impressions of Kalen DeBoer and Washington (29:20)

-Impressions of Karl Dorrell and Colorado (32:20)

-George Wrighster Interview with Utah QB Cam Rising (34:00)

-Impression of Jedd Fisch and Arizona (38:00)

-Impressions of David Shaw and Stanford (42:15)

-Impressions of Herm Edwards and Arizona State (44:40)

-Impressions of Washington State, Cal and Oregon State (49:00)

-George Wrighster Interview with UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly (53:00)

-Impressions of Lincoln Riley and USC (1:03:00)

-George Wrighster Interview with Oregon Head Coach Dan Lanning (1:08:50)

-George Wrighster Interview with Pac-12 Network’s Yogi Roth (1:14:45)

Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic // iHeart

Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for UnafraidShow.com. Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

George Wrighster Looks At The ESPN FPI, Says ‘Get Ready For A Wide Open College Football Season’

We need to talk about the upcoming college football season.


Has there ever been a year where things felt this unpredictable and wide open? At this point, preseason rankings are about as solid as USC and UCLA’s commitment to the Pac-12.


Let’s take ESPN’s Football Power Index rankings


It’s no surprise that Alabama and Ohio State are ranked #1 and #2, but one thing we learned last year is that Superman can actually bleed. The Crimson Tide lost a conference game against Texas A&M, and Ohio State finally saw its dominant streak over Jim Harbaugh and Michigan come to a close. 


Georgia sits at #3, and while Kirby Smart says they’re the hunters and not the hunted, he’s going hunting without last year’s defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, and FIFTEEN of last year’s players were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.
At #4 you have Clemson, which hasn’t settled on a starting QB, lost their defensive coordinator to Oklahoma, and is attempting to exist in the transfer portal era without participating in it. 


At #5, Notre Dame has itself a first time head coach in Marcus Freeman, who has replaced nearly the entire offensive staff, and is staring down a schedule that includes Ohio State and USC on the road, and an early November game hosting Clemson.


At #6, Michigan is coming off its best season under Jim Harbaugh, but they’ve got four coaches filling two coordinator roles, and three of them are in their first year on the job. That’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen.


At #7 you have a team that has finished the regular season .500 or lower FIVE TIMES IN THE LAST NINE YEARS, including last season. That’s right. Texas is in the top 7. 


At #8 you have a team that has a brand new head coach, brand new offensive coordinator, and will be starting its third QB in the last two years- the Oklahoma Sooners. 


#9 is the Miami Hurricanes and new Head Coach Mario Cristobal- and Mario’s my guy, but his offenses at Oregon didn;t exactly set the world on fire, and outside of the QB position, the Hurricane offense looks to be in rebuild mode. 

And rounding out the top 10 ESPN FPI FAH-MAH-LAY is Brian Kelly and the LSU Tigers. 3-5 in SEC play last year, and questions at QB, on the offensive line, and in the defensive backfield. 


I don’t see a sure thing anywhere in the bunch. All of these teams have warts, and before you try to argue that I’m just being negative, or trying to convince myself that Oregon has a path to the playoff (when I know we have Utah to worry about), believe me when I say that the fact that the sport seems more wide open than it has in recent years is actually a very good thing!


Hope drives this sport, and if you’re outside the top 10 of ESPN’s FPI, you might just have more hope than you’ve had in a long time.


Let that sink in.

Spencer Webb’s Death is a Tragic Reminder to Appreciate Personal Stories of Student Athletes

We need to talk about Spencer Webb.


Oregon Tight End Spencer Webb passed away at the age of 22 yesterday in what is being ruled a diving accident at Triangle Lake outside of Eugene. 


Spencer Webb’s story was one of incredible perseverance, and if you want to know more about the type of young man he was, I recommend you read John Canzano’s latest piece about the adversity he had to overcome to get where he was. 


Like Spencer Webb, I also played Tight End at Oregon. 


Like Spencer Webb, my college years were spent taking advantage of the incredible natural beauty of the Lakes and rivers outside of Eugene. It helped expand my horizons as a young man from Southern California, and helped mold me into the man I am today. 


I’m devastated that we won’t get to see how Spencer Webb’s time in Eugene helped mold him. 


It’s stories like this that serve as a sobering reminder that these college football empires are built on the backs of young men trying to make their way in the world. 


If we hope to save what made college football one of the world’s greatest spectator events, we can’t get lost in the dizzying business aspects of this sport, like coaching carousels, conference carousels, and mountains of television money.


We need to focus on the people. People like Spencer Webb, who rose up from awful circumstances to give himself endless opportunities. 


Take a moment today to reflect on and appreciate the stories of the young men that make up your favorite college team.


We need to focus our energy on giving these young men their flowers while we still have the chance. We need to let their stories impact and inspire us in the moment. 

Let that sink in.

1/20/22 Wrighster or Wrong: NFL QB Confidence Rankings, Kirby Smart takes on the NCAA, Journalist vs Truck, Real-Life Cool Runnings

Wrighster1-2-22

On this episode of WRIGHSTER OR WRONG, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden rank the remaining quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs according to their level of confidence in them. Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart told some hard truths about the state of college football, and both George and Ralph discuss the reasons the sport could be headed for disaster if the NCAA doesn’t take proactive action. What do you do when an internet personality that you typically don’t like shares an opinion that you wholeheartedly agree with? A West Virginia reporter is hit by a car while on live TV, and it has the whole internet talking about the way the situation was handled. A journalist asked Wharton business school students what they believed the average salary of working Americans was, and their answers made them seem very out of touch. Jamaica has a bobsled team, so as a Cool Runnings super fan, is George now rooting against America? Finally, Instagram is adding subscription-based content, so who, if anyone, would you pay to subscribe to?

Click any of the following links to listen to Wrighster or Wrong on your preferred Podcast platform

iHeart // Apple Podcasts // Spotify // Stitcher // Radio Public // Google Podcasts

Have a take you’d like us to address? Email us at immad@unafraidshow.com and we’ll read your take on a future Wrighster or Wrong podcast.

Pac-12 Apostles Podcast: Kliavkoff Comments, QB Carousel, Chip Kelly Extended, Kayvon’s “Stigmatism”

thibodeaux klattt

On this episode of the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden break down some of conference commissioner George Kliavkoff’s most recent comments, discuss UCLA’s decision to extend Chip Kelly (and ditch DC Jerry Azzinaro), break down the winners and losers of the ongoing QB carousel, try to figure out how Jedd Fisch and Arizona are having so much recruiting success coming off a one-win season, give an update on Arizona State’s NCAA investigation, and give their takes on Kayvon Thibodeaux’s “stigmatism” comments.

Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic // iHeart

Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for UnafraidShow.com. Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

12/17/21 Wrighster or Wrong: Addressing NIL and Bowl Opt-Out Complaints, George Gives His Urban Meyer “I Told You So”

WoW 12 17 2021

On this episode of WRIGHSTER OR WRONG, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden get into Name Image and Likeness detractors and the NCAA coaches that are publicly whining about Bowl Opt-Outs, and explain why the NCAA, not the players, are the real villain. Also, Urban Meyer has been fired by the Jacksonville Jaguars and George has his “I told you so” locked and loaded.”  

Click any of the following links to listen to Wrighster or Wrong on your preferred Podcast platform

iHeart // Apple Podcasts // Spotify // Stitcher // Radio Public // Google Podcasts

Have a take you’d like us to address? Email us at immad@unafraidshow.com and we’ll read your take on a future Wrighster or Wrong podcast.

Pac-12 Apostles Podcast: Jon Wilner Joins For a Discussion About Dan Lanning, Kalen DeBoer, and Recruiting Results

Dan Lanning

On this episode of the Pac-12 Apostles, Jon Wilner joins George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden to talk about Oregon’s hiring of Dan Lanning and all the drama that surrounded the alumni letter and the reported offer to Justin Wilcox, as well as Washington’s hire of Kalen DeBoer. The Apostles also discuss how the Pac-12 teams are performing so far during the early signing day, from underwhelming showings by Arizona State, Washington and USC, to whether this strong recruiting showing from Stanford can pull them out of a multi-year downward trajectory. 

Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic // iHeart

Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for UnafraidShow.com. Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

The Oregon Coaching Search Showed Twitter Spaces Could Be The Future Of College Football Communities- But Is That A Good Thing?

Twitter Spaces

The University of Oregon fan base took the “Twitter Spaces” feature to new heights this past weekend, and gave the college football world a preview of an environment in which super fans, current and former players, their family members, and school administrators all bypass media gatekeepers and broadcast rightsholders to hold an open discourse.

In the process of University of Oregon looking to hire a football coach to replace the recently departed Mario Cristobal, the fan-led audio platform commanded a continuous audience of thousands as rumors, reports, leaks, confirmations and conflicts played out in real time.

Aside from the spectacle of Dan Lanning’s brother participating in the Spaces prior to the confirmation of his hiring, you had Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens address the community post-hire, program legends and former NFL first round picks Joey Harrington and Akili Smith attempting to explain the leaked letter in which they requested the interview/hiring of Cal Head Coach and Oregon alum Justin Wilcox, and even our very own George Wrighster going head to head with Akili Smith on whether or not Mario Cristobal elevated the state of the program while national college football reporters from around the country looked on:

The novelty and excitement of Oregon’s coaching search becoming a community event set a new standard for how fans, players, and school representatives can participate and collaborate throughout the process. Like with any new technology, there are drawbacks. There was certainly an elevated buzz around the program because of the popularity of this Twitter Spaces event, but there was also a Real Housewives of Eugene-level barrage of drama, conflict, and frustration from the traditionalist swarth of fans whose primary desire is to see program harmony and a unified front, all walking in lockstep to create an attractive façade for potential recruits. For them, the Spaces might have been just a little too real.

For media, the initial reaction to the uniqueness of the Oregon Twitter Spaces had to be that this is a content goldmine. Representatives from Sports Illustrated, 24/7, ESPN, Rivals, On3, as well as many independent blogs and podcasts all either participated, or were live-tweeting notable moments from the event. Some fans even screen recorded some of the more notable moments, such as Athletic Director Rob Mullen’s appearance, and uploaded it to YouTube for posterity:

But the question for established media, as well as for the fan bases that will undoubtedly attempt to springboard off of what the Oregon community did here, and even for the programs themselves, is whether or not Twitter Spaces ultimately proves to be a net positive.

The role of media has traditionally been to play the line cook that provides palatable information for the consuming public with the ingredients served up for them by (or taken unwittingly from) the athletic departments themselves. Over time, schools have learned that with their abundant resources, they can provide these morsels in the most prepackaged and attractive manner for the consumers, often using both technology and former members of the media (that prefer stability to autonomy) to craft narratives that reflect positively upon the program’s efforts. The entire direction of collegiate sports media has been moving in the direction of “polished and pretty,” as well as “top-down control” and the real-time nature of Twitter Spaces is anything but that.

When you have fans that can goad cherished alumni into public spats, or family members of players that can publicly voice frustration with issues of scheme or personality that cause schools to have to publicly address those frustrations, much like with other forms of social media, the level of access may prove to be more of a burden than a boost.

I’m of the opinion that people can be trusted to consume information directly from the source rather than exist on rumors, innuendo, or spin fed by athletic departments to message board operators in exchange for program access. Then again I’m not managing a hundred million dollar business in the era of the transfer portal, whose success and continuity is partially dependent on the massaging of late-teenage egos. “Controlling the message” has never been more important, but in the era of Twitter Spaces, it has never been trickier. A fan with a large following, and a strong opinion on who should or should not start at quarterback, now has the ability to tempt parents and alumni to weigh in on a debate that everyone has access to, potentially in moments of extreme emotion, with the touch of a button.

It’s both an exhilarating and exhausting proposition.

While the Oregon Twitter Spaces of this past weekend was a watershed moment in college football coaching carousel history, its future might prove to bring more volatility than value. Either way, I’ll be listening.

Pac-12 Apostles Podcast: Utah Claims the South, Breaking Down the Last Week of Conference Play

Britain covey

On this episode of the Pac-12 Apostles, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden lead off with Utah taking Oregon out of the college football playoff discussion, and then recap the rest of the week 12 action in the Pac-12, including Dorian Thompson Robinson’s electric performance against USC, and Washington’s head-scratching loss to Colorado in which they outgained the Buffaloes 2:1. The guys discuss the report that Arizona State is keeping Herm Edwards as their head coach, and talk about whether Chip Kelly has done enough to earn favor in the eyes of UCLA fans. Finally, a preview of the last week of conference play, with predictions. 

Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic // iHeart

Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for UnafraidShow.com. Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.