FootballScoop is proud to announce that Jim Reid and LeVar Woods (Iowa) are the 2013 FootballScoop Linebackers Coaches of the Year presented by ProGrass.
A four-win turnaround like what Iowa enjoyed from 2012 to 2013 - 4-8 to 8-5 - doesn't just happen. Someone must go out and make it happen. That someone - or someones - were the Hawkeyes' outstanding linebackers coached by Jim Reid and LeVar Woods.
Iowa accomplished the rare feat of having three linebackers post 100-tackle seasons and rank among college football's top 70 tacklers. Anthony Hitchens led the way with 112 stops (36th nationally), James Morris finished second on the club with 106 tackles (58th), and Christian Kirksey rounded out the bunch with 104 tackles (68th).
Morris also hauled in four interceptions, fourth most among FBS linebackers, ranked among the 60 nationally with seven sacks and placed 20th nationally with 17 TFL.
Hitchens and Morris both earned a Second Team All-Big Ten nod.
"Jim and LeVar teamed to do an outstanding job coaching our linebackers this season," said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz "Our three seniors, Christian Kirksey, James Morris and Anthony Hitchens, all played at a higher level than any time in their careers and did a great job of providing strong and positive leadership both for our defense and our entire football team. Jim and LeVar provided great assistance and guidance to the entire group."
As you'd expect with three linebackers who played as if they had a magnetic pull to the football, Iowa was incredibly difficult to sustain a drive against. The Hawkeyes surrendered only 15.9 first downs per game - fifth-fewest in FBS - and ranked among the top six nationally in opponent plays of more than 10, 20 and 30 yards. The typical play stood a 1.7 percent chance of traveling 30 yards or more.
That's the same odds opponents had of securing a rushing touchdown against Iowa, as a scant eight rushes in 466 attempts found the end zone against the Iowa defense. Iowa ranked 19th nationally in rushing defense (128.38 yards per game) and yards per carry allowed (3.58).
The great thing about having a trio of sideline-to-sideline linebackers is that it allows your defense to be versatile, and the Hawkeyes were just that. Permitting only 174.7 yards per game, 5.7 yards per attempt and a 113.36 quarterback rating, Iowa's pass defense was among the toughest in college football.
Put it all together and you've got a defense that ranked sixth nationally in total defense (303.1 yards per game) and yards per play (4.58) and ninth in scoring defense (18.9 points per game). Globally, Iowa jumped from 4-8 to 8-5 overall, 2-6 to 5-3 in Big Ten play and into the postseason picture with an appearance in the Outback Bowl opposite LSU.
Reid is in his first year on the Iowa staff but 40th as a college coach. The Medford, Mass., native worked his way up from graduate assistant to head coach at Massachusetts from 1973 to 1991, and then worked at Richmond, Boston College, Syracuse, Bucknell, VMI, the Miami Dolphins and Virginia before joining Ferentz's staff in Iowa City. Woods, an Inwood, Iowa, native and former Hawkeyes linebacker, has been a member of the Iowa staff since 2008 and just completed his second season as linebackers coach.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Reid and Woods, David Kotulski and Lance Anderson - Stanford, Lance Thompson and Kirby Smart - Alabama and Brian Jean-Mary - Louisville) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
Reid and Woods will receive their award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.
Previous winners of the Linebackers Coach of the Year award are Bill McGovern (Boston College, 2008), Bob Fraser (Rutgers, 2009), Luke Fickell (Ohio State, 2010), Dave Huxtable (Wisconsin, 2011) and Bob Gregory (Boise State, 2012).
3 LBs with 100 or more tackles
4th Nationally - Opp. Plays of 10+
5th Nationally - 1st downs defense
6th Nationally - Yards Per Play Allowed
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