By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Iowa football team will have a new offensive coordinator at some point after the 2023 season ends.
Current offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz will be relieved of his duties after the season, and his father, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, will have to hire a replacement as tough as that might be.
It could be somebody on the current staff, or somebody from outside the program.
I recently wrote a column saying that Kirk Ferentz should at least contact current Washington offensive coordinator and Iowa native Ryan Grubb to gauge his interest, though, he is probably a long shot at best.
Former Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst is another name being mentioned as a possible candidate.
He currently works as a special assistant to Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian.
And now here is another name to consider – Iowa State offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Nathan Scheelhaase.
There is no unwritten rule that says you can’t try to entice a coach from your instate rival to switch sides.
And with Scheelhaase, there is a connection to Hawkeye football with him being the son of former Iowa defensive back Nate Creer.
Scheelhaase also has a connection to the Big Ten as a former Illinois quarterback and assistant coach.
But the main reason Kirk Ferentz should consider Scheelhaase is because of what Scheelhaase has accomplished as a coach.
He has been a member of Matt Campbell’s staff at Iowa State since 2018, starting as the running back coach.
In 2019, he became the wide receivers coach for Iowa State.
In 2021, in addition to coaching the wide receivers, he was given the additional titles of running game coordinator and running backs coach.
He was then promoted to offensive coordinator prior to the 2023 season.
Iowa State got off to a rough start, losing three of its first five games, including a 10-7 setback at Ohio in which the offense struggled.
But the Cyclones have since won four of their last six games, and part of the reason why has been the development of the offense, and most notably redshirt freshman quarterback Rocco Becht.
The Florida native has completed 201-of-317 passes for 2,444 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also has thrown eight interceptions, so his touchdown to interception ratio is more than two-to-one.
Becht has improved steadily and that’s a sign of good coaching.
Scheelhaase also played quarterback, and he was pretty good behind center.
He finished his Illinois career in 2013 with 8,568 passing yards and 55 touchdowns.
He was also a four-star recruit coming out of Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri.
Iowa was among the many schools that tried to recruit Scheelhaase in high school.
So, the 33-year-old Scheelhaase has been there and done it as both a star recruit and as a standout quarterback in college.
That gives him instant credibility.
Iowa State fans might respond by saying this would be a lateral move for Scheelhaase, but I would disagree with that.
Iowa has more tradition, more television revenue, a bigger stadium, and is having more success right now as the 2023 Big Ten West Division champion.
Campbell has certainly performed well as the Iowa State head coach. His current team is 6-5 and bowl eligible.
But Iowa State also hasn’t won a conference title since 1912.
Whatever Iowa State pays Scheelhaase, Iowa should be able to pay him more.
There is always the chance that Scheelhaase wouldn’t be interested in leaving Ames for Iowa City since Campbell has played such a pivotal role in helping him climb the ladder.
Scheelhaase also might be reluctant to leave a 43-year-old head coach to work for a 68-year-old head coach.
And he might be reluctant to take over an offense that has ranked at or near the bottom in multiple statistics since the start of the 2022 season.
Kirk Ferentz believes offense should be played a certain way, and that way has changed little over the past quarter century.
But if Scheelhaase were interested in making the move across the state, Kirk Ferentz should at least consider him because he could do a lot worse.
It would also add a little spice to the rivalry, and Scheelhaase would be praised just for making the Iowa offense average since the bar is currently set so low.