Kirk Ferentz names offensive line coach Brian Ferentz as new Iowa offensive coordinator

brian-ferentz-kirk-ferentz-0109.jpg
USA TODAY

Kirk Ferentz names offensive line coach Brian Ferentz as new Iowa offensive coordinator

Kirk Ferentz didn't have to go too far to find his new offensive coordinator.

Just a few days after Greg Davis retired last week, Ferentz named his son, Brian, the new Iowa offensive coordinator.

Brian Ferentz spent the past six seasons as the Hawkeyes' offensive line coach and prior to that role worked for four seasons as an assistant coach with the New England Patriots. He played for his dad at Iowa from 2002 to 2005.

"It is an honor and privilege to be named offensive coordinator for the University of Iowa football program," Brian Ferentz said in the announcement. "As a member of the Hawkeye coaching staff, a former player and a kid who grew up around the black and gold, this is a special day for my family and me.

"I’ve had the good fortune to work with — and learn from — a number of great coaches, two who are coaching Saturday in the AFC Divisional Playoffs,  Bill O’Brien with the Houston Texans and Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots. It was an invaluable post-graduate coaching program for me. They taught me the value of coaching to your players’ strengths ... and instilled in me a relentless determination to win.

"As we look ahead to 2017, we will develop this Iowa team to be tough, smart, and physical — the foundation of Iowa football for the past 18 years. But to compete for a Big Ten championship, we must also be adaptable and flexible — to make the changes necessary that will give us the best opportunity to win."

Iowa didn't fare too well on offense this past season, ranking 10th in the Big Ten in scoring offense, averaging 24.9 points a game, and 12th in the conference in total offense, averaging 325 yards a game.

The Hawkeyes ended their season with a thud, falling to Florida in the Outback Bowl by a 30-3 score.

The Iowa offense will look different next season, with senior quarterback C.J. Beathard and senior running back LeShun Daniels Jr. moving on.

"Brian has been an integral member of our offensive coaching staff for five years, bringing national recognition to our offensive line and new levels of success in our running game," Kirk Ferentz said in the announcement. "Brian’s coaching experience here at Iowa, coupled with his time in the NFL, has prepared him well for his new responsibilities as the offensive coordinator for Iowa football."

Big Ten reportedly talking about expanding conference basketball schedule

big-ten-basketball-logo-0612.jpg
USA TODAY

Big Ten reportedly talking about expanding conference basketball schedule

Conference play could be getting a bit longer in the Big Ten.

According to a Monday report from ESPN's Jeff Goodman, there are talks about expanding the Big Ten conference basketball schedule from 18 games to 20 games.

Commissioner Jim Delany told Goodman that while there hasn't been a vote among the league's coaches yet, there are ongoing discussions about lengthening conference play by a couple of games.

Conference play expanded a decade ago, when the number of league games jumped from 16 to 18 for the 2007-08 season.

In order for there to be enough days in between games for players, an expanded league schedule would mean the beginning of conference play coming earlier in December. Recently, conference play has typically started around New Year's. Of course, there will be a week earlier start to conference play this season with the Big Ten Tournament — at Madison Square Garden in New York — a week earlier than usual, wrapping a full week before Selection Sunday.

Similar moves have been made in football, with the Big Ten starting a nine-game conference slate last fall. It's meant league games in September — a no-no in the past — and this season will feature a conference matchup in the season's first week, when Indiana and Ohio State play on Aug. 31.

Expanding conference play in college basketball would have a similar effect as it has had on schedules in football. With fewer non-conference slots to fill, those games become more important to a team's NCAA tournament resume. It forces teams to schedule more high-profile opponents and eliminate games against small schools that generate little interest during the season's first couple months.

The ACC, a league that often runs neck and neck with the Big Ten in the debate over which is America's top basketball conference, announced it will be moving to a 20-game schedule last July, with that starting in the 2019-20 season.

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo shared some thoughts on the subject with Goodman, saying he expects the move to happen.

"I personally see us going to a 20-game schedule," Izzo told Goodman. "I don't think there's any question it's going to happen — and I'm not overly against it."

Ohio State has its new head coach in Butler's Chris Holtmann

chris-holtmann-0609.jpg
USA TODAY

Ohio State has its new head coach in Butler's Chris Holtmann

Ohio State found its next head basketball coach, going to one of Thad Matta's former employers to find the longtime coach's successor.

The school announced Friday morning that Butler head coach Chris Holtmann is the Buckeyes' new head coach.

Holtmann spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Butler, posting a 70-31 record and making NCAA tournament appearances in all three of those seasons, including a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in March. He was named the Big East Coach of the Year this past season.

Holtmann spent two seasons as an assistant at Ohio under former Illinois head coach John Groce, a former Matta assistant, before serving as the head coach at Gardner-Webb for three seasons. Holtmann left Gardner-Webb for an assistant-coaching job at Butler, though he was quickly promoted to interim head coach and then head coach in Indianapolis.

Holtmann takes over for Matta, who himself was the Butler head coach in the 2000-01 season before becoming the all-time wins leader at Ohio State. Matta's mostly successful tenure was ended earlier this week, when athletics director Gene Smith saw recruiting misses teaming with declining win totals to create a dip in Matta's success.

This week has been dominated by rumors and declarations of lack of interest from numerous candidates and possible candidates for the job. Xavier head coach Chris Mack and Creighton head coach Greg McDermott both made their decisions to stay at their current schools known via social media, and a report linking Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg to the job forced a no-interest comment from Hoiberg, too.

Despite those repeated "no thank yous," though, Ohio State is still seen to be one of the best jobs in college basketball thanks to one of the highest-profile athletics departments and one of the best conferences in the country, providing ample resources.

Recruiting will be a big expectation for Holtmann, as Matta's performance in that area dipped near the end of his tenure. The Buckeyes missed the NCAA tournament in each of the past two seasons, while Holtmann just took Butler to a No. 4 seed in the Big Dance, the highest in that program's history.