For a long time now fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes have been calling for a change at offensive coordinator. After 14 long years they got their wish. Ken O’Keefe has taken his talents to South Beach, and former Texas Longhorns‘ offensive coordinator Greg Davis, is now at the helm.
The question on everyone’s mind is, will Kirk Ferentz give Davis full control of the offense?
Some think the reason for O’Keefe’s conservative play calling was that Ferentz was behind it all along. Personally, I think it was a combination of both guys.
The word so far is that Ferentz likes his new coordinator, and that Davis has already earned the trust of the head coach.
Davis calling the plays will only be part of the change in Iowa City, as senior quarterback James Vandenberg figures to play a bigger role in the team’s play calling as well this season.
Vandenberg is coming off a good junior campaign where he threw for 3022 yards, 25 TDs and only 7 INTs, while completing over 58% of his passes. He played solid all season, but certainly no where near an elite level. A time where he neared an elite level of quarterback, was when the team switched to the two minute offense in the Pittsburgh game. He seemed to thrive in that environment, while leading the team to one of it’s greatest comebacks.
Greg Davis runs a so called “West Coast Hybrid” offense, that figures to work in a lot more one back, shotgun, and four wide sets, all elements that should help Vandenberg. He needs the freedom to call plays at the line when the Hawks run their hurry up offense, which will hopefully be more often than not.
Iowa must trust in their new coordinator and senior quarterback to have any respectable level of success this season. They don’t have elite running backs, or any experienced backs at all for that matter. Marvin McNutt is gone, so it’s up to receivers like Keenan Davis, Kevonte Martin-Manley, and C.J. Fiedorowicz to step up their game along with Vandenberg.
The Hawkeyes’ only chance to win the Legends Division is to throw it all over field, and to out score teams. Their defense is not what it used to be, so the team can’t rely on them to keep games close like the days of old…
The bottom line is that what Iowa was doing under O’Keefe was predictable, and it was time for a change. The change in scheme alone will force opponents to game plan harder for Iowa than they have in years.
I think Kirk Ferentz realized it was time for a change as well, and trusting Davis to call the majority of the plays is the right decision. Football has evolved to a pass heavy game, and while I don’t want the Hawkeyes out there running Spread-5 wide sets every down, failing to adapt to the way the game is played now is just not good for business… Especially when your team’s biggest strength is its passing game.