IOWA CITY — After Iowa’s 54-10 loss to Ohio State on Saturday, Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz fielded more questions like the ones he’s faced repeatedly this season. reporter Doug Lesmerises asked Ferentz about his son Brian Ferentz’s position as offensive coordinator, and then wrote an article criticizing Ferentz’s refusal to make an in-season coaching change, the Hawkeyes’ offensive struggles this season.

Ferentz expressed his frustration regarding the exchange with Lesmerises at his news conference on Tuesday:

“I complimented the guys on Sunday because during the questioning, in some cases interrogation, on Saturday that I experienced and the one good thing about that it dawned on me coming home. I said as bad as today was, it could have been worse because I could have been that guy. I could have been that guy. Had his job and had to act like he did. Yeah, it could be a hell of a lot worse. All things aren’t that bad.”

Kirk Ferentz, Tuesday at his weekly news conference

Ferentz’s comments sparked widespread criticism from a Hawkeye fanbase that’s already on edge, and caught attention locally and nationally for what was perceived by some as an attack on the journalism profession.

On Thursday, Ferentz issued an apology to Iowa media via email.

I had hoped to join the zoom call this morning, but practice lasted longer than anticipated. I wanted to take a moment to apologize for my comments during the news conference yesterday. I should not have been dismissive of one of your colleagues – his questions were fair. I have a high respect for the work that you do, and I am appreciative of how you cover our team. You ask tough and pointed questions but do so with a high degree of professionalism. I tell our players to take the high road and yesterday, I did not do the same thing. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday. Go Hawks!

Kirk Ferentz, in a Thursday email to Iowa media

During his weekly radio show Thursday evening, Ferentz expounded on the exchange, saying he didn’t like the tone that Lesmerises took in his line of questioning.

“I was a little dismissive yesterday of this gentleman. I always preach to our guys and encourage our guys to take the high road, so maybe I deviated from that. I apologize for that. I don’t want to set a bad example for our guys. It’s not so much the questions, that’s part of my job. I fully realize and appreciate the media members and the media have jobs to do. Answered more than several hard questions after the Illinois ball game, and same thing on Saturday. So that’s part of the job. It’s not fun, but it’s part of the job. No problem there. I didn’t have a problem with the question, I just have a real problem with the tone. There’s, to me, a way you go about your business and everyone’s entitled to their own opinion on how they want to do things, but I was not appreciative of the tone in which the questions were delivered or questions were delivered. So I’ll stand by that.”

Kirk Ferentz during his weekly radio show, “Hawk Talk”, on Thursday

The offense’s lack of productivity, and the performance of offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, have been at the center of fan frustration this season. Iowa’s offense is 131st, dead last, in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, averaging just 227 yards per game. 130th-place Massachusetts averages 243 yards per game.

Starting quarterback Spencer Petras went 6-of-14 for just 49 yards, with two interceptions and a lost fumble, in the first half against Ohio State. Iowa benched Petras at halftime, but backup Alex Padilla didn’t fare much better, fumbling his first snap and throwing an interception on his first pass attempt.

Ferentz and the Hawkeyes (3-4) host Northwestern (1-6) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.