By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – George Barnett has been an offensive line coach for two decades and has always had Iowa on the shortlist of schools he wouldn’t pass up.
When Barnett’s mentor, longtime offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, called him about a potential opening for the position at Iowa, a program known for offensive line development under head coach Kirk Ferentz, Barnett seized the opportunity.
“Immediately what I thought was the thoughts I had 10 years ago, eight years ago, seven years ago,” Barnett said. “That’s one of those jobs that I don’t know if I would ever pass up. If I had a chance to work for coach Ferentz I don’t know if I could ever pass it up. That was my reaction. Obviously, the process moved forward from there.”
Barnett was hired by Iowa in March to replace Tim Polasek, who coached the offensive line from 2017-20 before taking the offensive coordinator position at Wyoming in February.
Barnett, who is a native of Illinois, coached the offensive line and was co-offensive coordinator at Miami (Ohio) from 2014-20 and also served as assistant head coach from 2016-20.
In December, Barnett was hired as the offensive line coach at Tulane, but left having never coached a game for the Green Wave.
Barnett said he had some connections with Tulane head coach Willie Fritz and offensive coordinator Chip Long, so he took the job.
Just when Barnett got his feet on the ground and started working, Hiestand called about the opening at Iowa.
Barnett said he took a look at Iowa’s roster, which features arguably the best center in the nation in Tyler Linderbaum, and was intrigued.
Barnett also pointed to junior tackle Jack Plumb, senior guard Kyler Schott and junior Cody Ince as players that have stood out to him since he got to Iowa.
“I’ve been at some jobs where they hire a new offensive line coach and you’re like a fireman,” Barnett said. “Come in and put out the fire, it’s over there. And you do exactly what you want to do and you do exactly how you have to do it and just get it done.
“Here there’s not a fire. Here they need someone to come in and do it their way but do it in a way where it’s cohesive with the players in and the present coaches. To me, that’s the biggest thing that I’ve tried to focus on during this transition is to just watch and learn, and not let your ego or your pride precede what needs to be done.”