Iowa assistant Eric Johnson downplays his unique new role
Posted by: Pete Roussel on August 7, 2012
Kirk Ferentz made an unprecedented decision during the off-season to reduce the coaching role and increase the recruiting responsibilities for full-time assistant coach Eric Johnson.
At the time, Ferentz explained, "By doing this, that frees him (Johnson) up a little bit so if he wants to skip out for a day or two in season, he can get out and see some prospects and I think if you think about the guys that we look hard at, that can be a real value for us. The obvious players, the Tony Moeaki's, don't take a long time to figure those out, but if this will help us get another Karl Klug or two, that would be a real benefit."
Johnson actually dropped the responsibility of coaching the tight ends and became the assistant defensive line coach, in addition to his role of recruiting coordinator.
On Tuesday, Johnson downplayed the effect of his new role.
Johnson said, "Obviously, we read all the internet stuff. People feel that this role has change a whole lot and helped us. It hasn't. It's the kids that have made earlier commitments. It's Coach Ferentz putting more emphasis on recruiting before of the shift and how fast everything is moving. That has more to do with it (our success) that my role itself."
"It hasn't been too much different. Maybe there is a little more time here and there, but just like everything you do from a football standpoint, recruiting is a team effort. We have a lot of people in the office that assist us from an administrative standpoint. And I still do a lot of stuff on the field."
While Johnson may dip out for a day here and there during the season, he warned that it's not so much to get ahead.
Johnson explained, "You have to be careful with the juniors, what you do with those guys. You can go evaluate them, but you're toting a fine line that you want to make sure you're taking care of the people that are committed to you at the same time. ... It will be an experimental deal just on how we do it. I think we'll try to take care of some young juniors, but at the same time maintain a relationship with our committed guys. You don't want them to feel like you've already forgotten about before everything is all said and done."
Johnson believes the recruiting cycle will continue to speed up with more earlier commitments.
Is the answer an early signing period?
"We were pushing, two years ago, to get an early signing day the same time junior college kids were signing in December," he said. "I think you'll see a push get bigger and bigger with that as these kids make these earlier commitments."
You listen to more of Johnson's comments, right here.
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