November 14, 2012

College football: Ferentz keeps his focus as Iowa continues to struggle

The Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa isn't giving up on Kirk Ferentz despite a third straight season of diminishing results.

Kirk Ferentz
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Kirk Ferentz, former UMaine coach, could be in the hot seat at Iowa, where he has been head coach since 1999.

The Associated Press

The Hawkeyes simply have to hope that the well-respected Ferentz – who was the head coach of the UMaine football team from 1990-92 – who has twice revived the program has another turnaround in him.

Iowa (4-6, 2-4 Big Ten) is on course for its worst season since 2000, when it went 3-9.

The Hawkeyes have lost four games in a row and will need to beat Michigan and Nebraska to qualify for a bowl game.

The frustration is growing for many fans who have seen the Hawkeyes struggle to compete in the Big Ten despite a schedule that, compared with other years, hasn't been nearly as taxing. Getting rid of Ferentz is not a likely option, not with a buyout of some $20 million, and Athletic Director Gary Barta has publicly supported the coach who received a 10-year extension before the 2010 season.

On Tuesday, Ferentz tried his best to keep his focus on Saturday's trip to Michigan (7-3, 5-1). The future will have to wait.

"We've lost four straight games and we're 4-6 right now, and that's where we're at. That's what I'm worried about right now," Ferentz said. "Really the only thing I can worry about right now or be concerned with is beating Michigan."

It could be argued that the Hawkeyes are also among the nation's unluckiest teams. After all, they've played in six games decided by three points or less and lost four of them.

The team also has a large group of underclassmen. The upside of having a relatively light class of impact seniors is that the Hawkeyes will bring back a ton of starters in 2013. Many appear to have a chance to be strong Big Ten players.

Ferentz also has a history of reviving the Hawkeyes. They won a share of the Big Ten title in 2002 and, after finishing 6-6 in 2007, won the Orange Bowl following the 2009 season.

But for now, all Ferentz and the Hawkeyes can really do is try to keep the distractions caused by their poor play to a minimum.

"All you can do is you try to be as smart as you can, as prepared as you can and all that," Ferentz said. "But you also have to know you're not going to be perfect, and it's the same as being a player. They're not going to be perfect out there."

 

CALIFORNIA: Coach Jeff Tedford said he expects to meet next week with Athletic Director Sandy Barbour to discuss his future after the Golden Bears finish their worst season during Tedford's tenure.

Tedford will begin a thorough evaluation of what went wrong for the program as soon as the season ends Saturday at No. 15 Oregon State.

The Bears (3-8, 2-6 Pac-12) are having their worst season since finishing with a 1-10 mark in 2001 that led to the firing of Tom Holmoe and the hiring of Tedford.

 

BIG EAST: The conference announced its divisional alignment for 2013, when it becomes a 12-team football league.

The East will have Central Florida, South Florida, Connecticut, Louisville, Cincinnati and Rutgers. The West will have Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and Temple.

Navy will join the Big East for football only in 2015, and the conference plans to add another football member to reach 14.

 

OREGON: The Ducks rarely, if ever, talk about injuries, so it's hard to say how depleted the AP's No. 1 team is going into Saturday's game against No. 14 Stanford. But it's clear the Ducks have taken a hit, especially on defense.

The latest casualty is free safety Avery Patterson, who seriously injured his left knee in the second quarter of Oregon's 59-17 victory at California last Saturday night.

Patterson was seen on the sidelines on crutches and in sweats following the game. Although there was no official word from the program, The Oregonian newspaper cited an unnamed source as saying Patterson was out for the season.

 

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