The Iowa Hawkeyes had their worst season since 2000 last year and just their third season with less than six wins under head coach Kirk Ferentz.
Ferentz has been one of the best and most consistent coaches in the Big Ten and he has had the Hawkeyes in bowl contention seemingly every season since he’s been in Iowa City since 1999. His first two seasons at Iowa were rough and he finished with a 1-10 and 3-9 record, respectively.
Ferentz is coming up on his 15th year of head coaching the Hawkeyes in 2013 and is hoping that he can bring them back to relevance and maybe even the prominence that they experienced in 2002-04 and in 2009. He has led them to 10 bowl games in the past 12 seasons, including two Orange Bowl appearances where Ferentz is 1-1 in those BCS games.
How can a coach with so much success and so much talent returning from a 7-6 team the season before finish with a 4-8 record in 2012? How can this team start out with a 4-2 record and a huge conference win at Michigan State and a 2-0 record to begin conference play end with six straight losses?
The confidence was missing all season long for players such as veteran quarterback James Vandenberg and running back Damon Bullock. Vandenberg threw just seven touchdown passes all season and looked out of sync while Bullock had to fight off injury and never really recovered.
With Vandenberg graduating and a quarterback battle likely to ensue this offseason, the Hawkeyes will hope to put the horrid 2012 season behind them.
Ferentz is easily a top three coach in the Big Ten and many NFL teams were looking to add him this offseason before he decided to come back to Iowa for yet another season.
With a devastating one-two punch at running back with Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock and quarterback play being better than it was with a struggling Vandenberg, the Hawkeyes will be back with something to prove in 2013.