The tides are changing. The stodgy, tight-lipped reputation of the Iowa Hawkeyes is loosening. It's something RossWB on BGHP called "The Brian Ferentz-ification of Iowa Football." And I don't doubt Brian (and LeVar Woods and Greg Davis) had an impact on Kirk Feretnz's changing attitude. But I think what this is all boiling down to is recruiting.
Yeah, kids these days...they like those Pro Combat uniforms, free iPads, hot tubs in every room, fancy hype videos on YouTube, Twitter, Twitter, and more Twitter. Thankfully Iowa hasn't succumb to doing anything too over-the-top (maybe minus the card stunt, which was 100% awesome) like putting up ridiculous billboards or wearing a state flag as a jersey (I'm looking at you Maryland).
The football program has been doing some really cool things and the great news is, that they're public goods...it's not just recruits that are benefiting. And these cool things are all being done in a very Iowa sort of way.
The big uniform change last year was a tribute to the troops with a patriotic Tigerhawk on the helmet. This year there will be throwbacks against Iowa State. The new practice facility is a million times better than the bubble, but isn't overly flashy. And the coaches, including KF, are even embracing technology. Ferentz has his iPad (and I'm guessing other coaches do too) and most all the assistant coaches are on Twitter. But as far as I know, no iPads for the players, and certainly no players on Twitter.
And some more recent examples... Iowa started a new video series called "Coach Speak." The first in the series is of new LB Coach, LeVar Woods.
It sounds like a pitch straight to recruits selling why Iowa is an awesome place to come and play football. But it's also just a cool video and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the series.
Another example is the Kirk Ferentz sit down with Marc Morehouse, which is producing some fantastic reading. If you haven't, read the stories (part 1, part 2, and part 3), watch the videos, learn more about a very interesting man. Ferentz always seems to have a few interviews come out during the off-season, but I don't ever remember one like this.
All of these changes seem to be helping too. Iowa is off to a blazing pace in recruiting. There are already 16 verbal commits and with a couple of Penn State kids (not really...probably a couple of kids after the season is over) the class will be full. And while part of the reason for the large number this early is just a sign of the times (everyone seems to be on record pace), it is good to see that Iowa isn't falling behind.