Iowa Hawkeyes Offense: Year of the Ox

By Derek Helling
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Although 2013 is not a Year of the Ox in the Chinese zodiac — this is the year for the Snake in the rotation — two games of University of Iowa Hawkeye football have shown that this should be the year of the ox for the Hawkeyes.

The zodiac tradition says that those born in the year of the ox conquer life through endurance, application and slow accumulation of energy. While they are fixed and rigid in opinions and views, they are geniuses in the art of meticulous planning. They are hardworking, discreet, modest, industrious, charitable, loyal, punctual, philosophical, patient and good-hearted individuals with high moral standards.

Last Saturday, the Hawkeyes ran the ball 56 times for 289 yards. On the season thus far, Iowa has exactly 500 rushing yards on 100 carries. For those of you who are too lazy to figure out an average, that means the Hawkeyes are averaging five yards per rushing attempt. Half of those numbers did get put up on a Missouri State defense to be fair. However, most other schools in the nation are playing opponents of a similar caliber at this point as well.

That’s exactly what the Hawkeye offense should be this season. Damon BullockLeShun Daniels Jr and Mark Weisman give Iowa three options in the backfield to conquer opponents with. Through a slow accumulation of yardage, the Hawkeyes can take pressure off its young quarterback Jake Rudock and a group of inexperienced wide receivers. It may seem fixed and rigid in respect to current trends in college football but if the Hawkeyes win with it, head coach Kirk Ferentz and offensive coordinator Greg Davis can look like geniuses.

Weisman is second in the Big 10 and ninth in the nation in rushing with 280 yards. Daniels, a true freshman, saw his first collegiate action last Saturday and as Ferentz said, “looked like he belonged.” Bullock possesses capability to stretch a defense that Weisman does not. This is the hardworking, industrious, loyal, patient team of oxen that the Hawkeyes need to ride this season.

Nothing will help a young quarterback and receivers group develop better than an effective running game. It allows Davis to choose when he puts the ball into the hands of the passing game based on favorable situations and matchups. Being a methodical, run-heavy offense is also the Hawkeyes’ best chance to win games now. For the good of the Hawkeye football program today and tomorrow, this should be the year of the ox.

Derek Helling is a University of Iowa football writer for Follow him on Twitter @DRokSH, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+

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