Polasek to lead o-line


By Blake dowson | [email protected]

The offensive line has always been Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz’s bread and butter.

It’s the position group in which he got his start in Division-1 college football — as a grad assistant at Pittsburgh in 1980. He coached the position at Iowa under Hayden Fry and again in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens organization.

Ferentz has had three sons play offensive line at Iowa, and one, Brian, coached the position group for five years until he was named offensive coordinator this off-season.

For those reasons, the offensive-line coach at Iowa is a lot more glamorous than at most schools. Therefore, the hiring of a new offensive-line coach is big news.

Tim Polasek, who served as North Dakota State’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons, has been named to the offensive-line position at Iowa, the team announced on Tuesday.

“I am extremely excited to join the Iowa coaching staff, to work with Coach Ferentz, coach in the Big Ten Conference, and represent the University of Iowa,” Polasek said in a release. “I look forward to getting to know our players and to help them improve every day. I am eager to meet and work with the entire coaching and support staff associated with Hawkeye football. I want to thank all the former players at NDSU for their efforts on the field and in the classroom. Without that, I would not be at the University of Iowa.”

With the hiring of Polasek and Kelton Copeland, running-back coach is the only remaining unfilled spot. It is rumored that Polasek, who coached running backs at North Dakota State, may take on that responsibility at Iowa.

Ferentz has spoken at length this off-season about his thought process on making coaching hirings. No. 1 on his list of requirements was an understanding of the culture that surrounds Iowa football.

That’s why Ken O’Keefe is back as quarterback coach, and why Brian Ferentz was promoted to offensive coordinator.

Polasek fits that bill as well, coming from a North Dakota State program that has been built a lot like Iowa’s.

In fact, under Polasek’s tutelage, the Bison ran all over Iowa last September.

“They just ran it up our throats. That’s why they won,” Bo Bower said after that game.

Kirk Ferentz expressed his respect of the Bison program before and after the game last season, and how he described North Dakota State’s culture directly reflects Polasek, as well as what Ferentz stands for at Iowa.

“We lost to a really good football team today. It’s as simple as that,” Ferentz said after the North Dakota State game. “I think anybody who was in the stadium today realized that’s a good football team. They play hard. They’re tough. They’re physical. They believe in themselves. They’ve been doing it for quite a while, but we played the 2016 team, and they were the better team than us today.”

Polasek also believes in a power running-style offense, no doubt a prerequisite to his hiring. The Bison lined up with extra offensive linemen numerous times against Iowa and spent much of the time lining up with the quarterback under center.

North Dakota State players, much like Iowa players, are coached on physicality and attention to detail. Nothing flashy. They don’t want to fool you; they just want to line up and beat you.

That’s what Ferentz wanted from his new hiring, and it seems he has it in Polasek.

“On tape, what you see is what you get [with the Bison],” Jaleel Johnson said after the game. “We knew from the start they were going to be a very physical team. We saw on film — quarterback, very physical. Running back, very physical. The whole team’s physical. Going into the game, they really didn’t surprise us.”

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