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Former Texas offensive guru hired to coach Iowa offense, quarterbacks

BY SETH ROBERTS | FEBRUARY 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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And then there were none.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz finished plugging the holes in his coaching staff on Monday afternoon by hiring former Texas assistant Greg Davis as the Hawkeyes' new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

"We're thrilled to have Greg Davis join our staff," Ferentz said in a release. "Greg has enjoyed great success during his career, and I believe that can be attributed directly to the combination of his football expertise and teaching skills."

The 60-year-old Davis has 33 years of college-coaching experience, and he was most recently seen as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas. His 2005 offense set a then-NCAA record with 652 points, and the Longhorns won the BCS national championship. He was named the Frank Broyles Assistant Coach of the Year for his efforts.

Davis spent 13 years wearing burnt orange, during which ESPN.com writer Brian Bennett said he was "criticized for being too conservative."

"While Texas used spread elements, especially with [Vince] Young and [Colt] McCoy in charge, Davis often stuck to the basics and had a maddening tendency to play it safe in big spots," Bennett wrote on Monday.

Still, three of Davis' quarterbacks — Young, McCoy, and Chris Simms — went on to play in the NFL, and they are three of only five former Texas signal-callers to ever start a game in the league. Five Longhorns won Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year honors under Davis, and three of them were finalists for the Heisman Trophy.

But Bennett argued Davis might not deserve all the credit.

"Davis also benefited from some wildly impressive, blue-chip offensive talent that [head coach Mack] Brown recruited," he wrote. "… To put it simply, Davis' offenses worked when he had a great quarterback and scuffled when they didn't."

He'll work with James Vandenberg, who finished third in passing yards among Big Ten quarterbacks in 2011, when spring practice starts in late March. Iowa has four other quarterbacks on the roster as well — returning players John Weinke and Jake Rudock and incoming gunslingers Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard.

"I think Greg Davis is a great coach and a great hire," Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo tweeted on Monday. "I'm most interested in how the run/pass ratio will play out."

Davis' coaching career began with assistant stints at two high schools. He started at Barbe High in Lake Charles, La., before spending three years (1975-77) at his alma mater, Port Neches-Groves High in Texas.

He broke into the college ranks as the quarterback coach at Texas A&M, a position he held from 1978-84. He left the Aggies to become the receiver coach under Brown at Tulane, the same school where he eventually got his only shot to date at being a head coach. Davis compiled a 14-31 record at the helm of the Green Wave from 1988-91.

Davis spent the next six years with Arkansas (offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, 1992-93), Georgia (passing-game coordinator, 1994-95), and North Carolina (offensive coordinator, 1996-97). Brown, who was the Tarheels' head coach, brought Davis with him to Texas in 1998; Davis left after the Longhorns went 5-7 (2-6 Big 12) in 2010. He didn't coach last season.

Davis' hiring ends a three-week period in which Ferentz hired or promoted six coaches. New defensive coordinator Phil Parker was tabbed on Feb. 7, along with defensive position coaches Darrell Wilson and Reese Morgan; Brian Ferentz and LeVar Woods were announced on Feb. 18.


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