CEDAR FALLS – The timing wasn’t perfect, but Northern Iowa head coach Mark Farley totally gets the decision.
Just prior to the Panthers opener last Friday against South Dakota State, it was released that offensive coordinator Ryan Mahaffey had accepted a job with the Green Bay Packers as an offensive assistant.
Farley said he had been aware that Mahaffey had been linked to the Packers’ job for a better part of two weeks. Mahaffey and Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur have past history with each other.
Both LaFleur and Mahaffey were on the Notre Dame coaching staff in 2014 when LaFleur served as the Irish’s quarterback coach and Mahaffey was a graduate assistant.
“It was too good of an opportunity for him not to leave,” Farley said. “I know it was very hard for him to make that choice. The Packers, coach LaFleur (matt) were tremendous in talking with me about it, being that we’re in season. He was concerned about our season and the timing of what he was trying to get done. Everybody was working together, everybody had Ryan Mahaffey’s best interests at heart.”
Mahaffey returned to his alma mater for his third stint on Farley’s staff in 2019 after serving as tight ends coach at Western Kentucky.
Farley said he’d love to add somebody to his staff right now, but at the same time called it a double-edge sword because he doesn’t want to cause any disruption with his staff or program.
“I think you’ve got to be careful with who you bring into your circle,” Farley said.
Shawn Watson, who Farley brought in last spring to work with quarterbacks, will take over as offensive quarterback. Watson
has been offensive coordinator at Colorado, Louisville and Nebraska during his long coaching career.
QUESTIONABLE: Farley said running back Tyler Hoosman, who was injured in practice last Wednesday, is among a handful of Panthers who may not be available for Saturday’s 11 a.m. game with Youngstown State.
Wide receivers Isaiah Weston and Quan Hampton were hurt during the game with the Jacks are questionable. Center Mason Neisen, who missed the game with an undisclosed injury is doubtful to return against the Penguins.
“I will probably know more Wednesday,” Farley said.
PRACTICE ISSUES: With UNI hosting the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field championships this weekend, the UNI-Dome turf has been pulled up.
The Panthers will utilized the Cedar Valley SportsPlex, but Farley would like to conduct a practice or two outside as Youngstown State’s Stambaugh Stadium is an outdoor venue.
The problem with practicing outside is there is still a foot or two of snow on the ground.