Trenchwork University

Kirk Ferentz breeds NFL linemen. While that is meant in the most literal sense because two of his sons have either previously played or currently play in the league, it is also in reference to the fact that of the 20 ex-Hawks currently on NFL teams, 14 of them play on the offensive or defensive line. Coincidence? Think again.

Ferentz has made a living, a pretty damn good one at that, by bringing in cornfed midwestern kids and having strength coach Chris Doyle pack on the pounds before turning out big-time NFL prospects come draft time every April. From Robert Gallery going number-two overall back in 2004, to Super Bowl champ and five-time Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda dominating the AFC North, the foundation of Iowa football is found in the trenches. Guys like second-year offensive lineman Brandon Scherff

continue to show that Chris Doyle created a system that has transcended into a linemen powerhouse, even though the strength coach is often labeled hot-headed and overpaid.

Ferentz and his staff have become so notorious for pumping out offensive linemen in particular that all the way back in 2010, Bleacher Report even did an article detailing who they thought were the top o-linemen that were drafted during Ferentz’s tenure at Iowa. Of those nine ex-Iowa offensive linemen who currently play in the NFL, three of them have Super Bowl rings, and four have made some sort of All-NFL or All-Rookie team.

As for the defensive linemen who used to call Kinnick Stadium home, four of them are still blossoming into the primes of their NFL careers, while Jonathan Babineaux is a 10-year veteran who recently became the longest tenured member of the Atlanta Falcons current roster.

Iowa’s M.O. has always been run the football and stop the run defensively and the reason Kirk Ferentz received his massive extension this year was because of the overall effectiveness he’s has sticking to his old school football roots. The buck starts and stops in the trenches for the Hawks and while Iowa has never produced NFL speedsters or flashy playmakers, the blue-collar ANF mantra is only bolstered by the plethora of NFL trench-men supplied by the Hawks.


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