By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – All three of the Iowa football team’s coordinators met with the media on Wednesday as part of the bye week, and the first to speak was offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz.
He addressed multiple topics, including clock management, the lack of productivity at tight end, the depth at running back and receiver, the resiliency shown by his offense during this past Saturday’s 18-17 victory at Iowa State, which was interrupted by two weather delays that lasted for nearly three hours, and the fact that receiver Oliver Martin only played two snaps against the Cyclones.
“Have you not seen enough production out of the other guys?” Ferentz said in reference to Iowa’s top four receivers on the depth chart. “I’m being serious.
“And I’ll tell you right now, I’m not going through that again this year, like if this guy plays, or this guy doesn’t play. If guys are out there producing, they’re going to be on the field.”
That was almost certainly in reference to last season when Noah Fant’s playing time at tight end, or lack of playing time, became a hot topic.
Fant’s older brother complained on social media that Noah wasn’t being used enough, and it quickly went viral.
Noah Fant’s playing time was impacted last season by the emergence of fellow tight end T.J. Hockenson, who would go on the win the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top collegiate tight end.
Noah Fant had played a more significant role than Hockenson during the 2017 season, catching a 11 touchdown passes, and it was assumed that Fant would be Iowa’s go-to option at tight end before Hockenson emerged.
However, Hockenson and Fant both still made All-Big Ten and they both were selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft despite having eligibility remaining at Iowa.
Brian Ferentz was asked a follow-up question in which the reporter told him that questions about Martin’s playing status are what they get asked the most.
“Then you guys can answer it,” Brian Ferentz said. “That’s your problem.”
Martin, a 2017 graduate from Iowa City West High School, has been a fan favorite since he transferred from Michigan to Iowa in June. He also won his appeal with the NCAA to play this year, and it was assumed that he would have a bigger role.
That still could happen with nine games remaining on the 2019 regular-season schedule, which will resume when 3-0 Iowa faces Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 28 at Kinnick Stadium.
Martin has four catches for 24 yards and one touchdown in three games this season.
Junior Ihmir Smith-Marsette leads Iowa with 11 catches, while receiver Nico Ragaini, running back Mekhi Sargent and receiver Brandon Smith have nine catches apiece.
Here are multiple videos of Brian Ferentz talking about his offense and about his role as offensive coordinator. Iowa has had some issues with clock management this season, and Brian Ferentz blamed himself for the problems that occurred during the 30-0 victory over Rutgers.