Posted by: marcmwm | May 5, 2009

James Ferentz update and more from Benton County

James Ferentz is still an Iowa Hawkeye, but coach Kirk Ferentz hasn’t reached a conclusion on his son’s status with the football team.

James Ferentz and Zachary Derby pleaded guilty Friday to public intoxication charges stemming from an April 6 incident in downtown Iowa City. They were

James Ferentz

James Ferentz

 scheduled to go to trial on Friday. Both filed written guilty pleas in the case after initially paying $300 in bonds. Derby, Ferentz and Tyler Christensen — all age 19 — were arrested by the University of Iowa Public Safety for public intoxication around 2 a.m. April 6 near Old Capitol Mall. All three were suspended from team activities immediately following the incident.

At an I Club function in Keystone on Tuesday night, coach Ferentz said his decision on a punishment won’t be made public.

“Not completely,” he said when asked if anything had been decided.

James Ferentz, 6-foot-2, 265 pounds, will be a redshirt freshman offensive lineman for the Hawkeyes this fall. The April 6 incident was his second alcohol-related arrest. Last fall he pleaded guilty to underage possession of alcohol in University Heights. He was suspended from spring practice after the second charge.

“When I decide, I’ll decide. We’ll take the proper action and go on from there,” coach Ferentz said.

News of transfers surfaced this week on the internet. Junior linebacker Jacody Coleman was one of the players mentioned.

“He was working today and as far as I know, he’s all set to go,” Ferentz said. “Players are always reflective this time of year. It’s a common time of year for that.”

Redshirt freshman defensive end Jason Semmes is transferring, Ferentz said. The 6-3, 218-pound defensive end has a brother at Miami (Ohio) and could be headed there. The Clarkston, Mich., native redshirted last season.

Other topics Tuesday night included a 12th team in the Big Ten. Penn State coach Joe Paterno said last week that he feels the conference needs a 12th team with the main benefit being games after Thanksgiving, thus shortening the break Big Ten teams need to overcome in regards to BCS bowls. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told’s Adam Rittenberg on Tuesday that it remains a “back-burner” issue.

The league will adopt a permanent bye week beginning in 2010, which extends the regular season past Thanksgiving.

Ferentz said he doesn’t have a strong feeling for a 12th team. He doesn’t like the season extending beyond Thanksgiving.

“I don’t subscribe to the theory that playing post-Thanksgiving is a factor in your success,” he said. “I think it’s a lot more mental than it is physical at that time of year. Even if you play the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it’s still a long delay.”

Injury-wise, Ferentz said defensive linemen Chad Geary and Joe Gaglione will be out much of the regular season if not all of it. Geary suffered a torn ACL during spring practice. Gaglione suffered a shoulder injury.

“I can’t see Joe making it make during the season, and Chad Geary obviously,” Ferentz said. He expects all other injured players, including linebacker A.J. Edds and safeties Brett Greenwood and Tyler Sash, to be ready for summer workouts, which start in early June. All three of those players are starters and had offseason shoulder surgeries.

Offensive lineman Andy Kuempel is also expected to return. The 6-7, 300-pounder had shoulder surgery after injuring it at Illinois last season.

“Maybe he could’ve practiced in spring, but it wouldn’t have been smart,” Ferentz said. “He’ll be ready to go.”

The heavy storm that ripped through the Dallas Cowboys’ indoor practice bubble opened some eyes in Iowa City. The Dallas facility collapsed and left some team personnel severely injured, including scouting assistant Rich Behm, who was paralyzed from the waist down.

Iowa’s practice bubble will be 24 years old this season. Athletics director Gary Barta told The Gazette last fall that the facility upgrade would likely include a permant indoor facility, not a bubble.

Ferentz said the Dallas collapse was concerning. (’s Rittenberg spurred this question with his thoughts Tuesday.)

“I won’t say it’s a red alert stage, but it’s one of those freak things,” Ferentz said. “We need an indoor facility for bowl prep and spring practice, especially the last couple years. We do need it. We need it for out-of-season training and conditioning. But I’m not necessarily of the opinion that we need to join the arms race with a $20 million facility. That’s kind of being wasteful, I think.”


I couldn’t tell if coach Ferentz wasn’t going to tell the world what James Ferentz’s punishment is (steps, conditioning or something like that) or whether his status was up in the air. My guess would be the former, but really couldn’t tell.


Here's "The Bubble" from the KCRG helicopter in June '98.

Here's "The Bubble" from the KCRG helicopter in June '98.



  1. Geary and Gaglione, that really stinks.

    I don’t think Semmes is any big loss when all is said and done, good luck to him.

  2. I don’t believe the bubble at Iowa has a steel frame, at least I don’t remember it when I was in it. We shouldn’t have injuries like Dallas resulting from the collapse then. However, they might blow away.

  3. Depth might be an issue on the D-line.

    I’m surprised the bubble has gone this long without a deflation. Would an indoor facility cost $20 mill? If they had to buy land, maybe. I would think they could get it to come in less than that.

  4. yes, that would be a blow to the depth on the D-Line. Will have to hope everyone left stays healthy. Weren’t posters saying how Gaglione was really coming along?

    Staying with the DL, has the Clayborn incident been sorted out or is that still in the courts?

    Moving to QBs, was hoping Derby would give us an early verbal to really get recruiting rolling and attract other possible top skill players. Sounds like he is waiting to decide his collegiate choice.

  5. How was his mood overall? Do you think he thinks has the makings of a strong team this year?

  6. I don’t know if Gaglione was coming along or not. He was pretty well put together and looked ready to perhaps make a dent. Health is always important there, but maybe moreso this year.

    Clayborn’s trial for assault causing bodily injury (a serious misdemeanor) is June 22.

    My guess on Derby is that you won’t see a commitment until after the prep season. But that’s just a guess.

    Ferentz was in a good mood. I’m always impressed with the way he engages people and the names he remembers. Cautious optimism on the team, but that’s about where everyone is right now. He knows the hot spots — inside OL, DL and WR. There’s work to be done.

  7. Happy Birthday to Wingnut if you are out with him

  8. […] James Ferentz update and more from Benton County James Ferentz is still an Iowa Hawkeye, but coach Kirk Ferentz hasn’t reached a conclusion on his son’s […] […]

  9. This is the major difference between Iowa & the big boys. We cannot afford to lose this depth. Teams like OSU can just plug & play. The Hawks are not as fortunate.

  10. […] James Ferentz update and more from Benton County « On Iowa […]

  11. It is good to hear, at least, that James is still on the team. This year, I don’t think he is really needed especially with Vandervelde getting some reps at center. In 2010 however, Eubanks, Kuemple, Richardson (if he doesn’t get a 6th year), Doering, Calloway, (and maybe Bulaga if he turns pro) will all be gone and we’ll need someone like James to step up. So I really hope Ferentz gets his kid straightened out!

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