Iowa football transitions to remote workouts

Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz spoke Tuesday about the Hawkeyes’ plans for the foreseeable future.


Katina Zentz

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz looks to the stands during the football game against Miami (Ohio) at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, August 31, 2019.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

Kirk Ferentz has his priorities set.

That much was clear on his teleconference on Tuesday when he spoke to the media for the first time since spring football was moved.

While the Hawkeye head coach would love to have football back as soon as possible, he understands the complications that have sprung up.

“What’s it mean if we’re not able to return to some semblance of normality just with our daily lives three months from now,” Ferentz said. “That means we’ve got bigger problems than missing football.”

So, until football comes back, the Hawkeyes will continue to train in any way they can.

Most players have returned home in recent weeks, Ferentz said, with about 16-18 players remaining in Iowa City and surrounding areas.

Players such as linebacker Nick Niemann can work out with his dad, Iowa defensive line coach Jay Niemann, and brother, Super Bowl Champion Ben Niemann, but that’s not an option for most.

Iowa’s facilities are closed while the coaching staff works from home.

They can, however, swing by the weight room by appointment to get nutritional supplements and things of that nature, Ferentz said.

Other than that, the coaching staff has focused on tailor-made workouts depending on the resources for each student-athlete.

“We try to come up with tailor-made programs for everybody,” Ferentz said. “It’s no different than when Chris [Doyle] talks with high school coaches. Some guys have access to really extensive weight rooms full of equipment, and other guys don’t have that access.

“So, there’s ways to design programs regardless. We’ve tried to tailor-make the conditioning plans for our players, so they can have some semblance of a program they can follow.”

That’s what Iowa will continue to do until the picture of the future becomes a little clearer.

Ferentz said the possibility of there not being a football season has crossed his mind and said that anything is possible.

He tried making plans when the team was still in town. Those quickly went down the drain.

“My encouragement was don’t burn too many brain cells on what future plans are going to be because whatever we know today, we might rip it up and start over again tomorrow, Ferentz said. “On [March] 15, I was making some mental plans about what we might do if we can’t start spring practice until mid-April. Needless to say, that went out the window a couple weeks ago.”

Ferentz knows there are question marks in the future. He doesn’t know when he will see his team next. He doesn’t know when he will be able to work in his office again. He doesn’t know when his team will step on a practice field together again.

But he understands the bigger picture.

“What’s important right now is what we can do to respond,” Ferentz said. “How do we move forward in a safe way, smart way, and how can we get everybody to help cooperate a little bit and do what we can.”