Notebook: Offense wins football spring game

BY BEN ROSS | APRIL 29, 2013 5:00 AM

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Carl Davis stepped off the field in frustration at the end of a drive during the middle of Saturday’s football spring game. “That was 2 points,” he shouted as he took of his helmet and stepped onto his sideline, observing that he had tagged quarterback Cody Sokol and earned his defense 2 points, according to the scoring system put in place on April 27.

“I was more mad because we want the points,” Davis said. “We were trying to win out here. They gave them to me later on, so I’m happy about that.”

The 2 points for a sack that were finally awarded to Davis and the defense didn’t end up making a difference, though; the Hawkeye offense overpowered the defense, winning Iowa’s first real spring game of the Kirk Ferentz era, 61-37. The offense and defense rotated its first and second teams going against each other, with points scored by way of touchdowns, explosive plays, three-and-outs, and other various unique rules.

And although it looks as if the Iowa defense would come out ahead at one point (it was leading by as much as 9 in the third quarter) the system, developed by offensive coordinator Greg Davis, placed too much emphasis on the side that possessed the ball.

“[The scoring system] seemed like it was good for the entire team,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I think we’ll have to do more of that in August. Hopefully, it will help expedite the process a little bit. Clearly, the scoring system was devised by an offensive coach. I felt like we were in an Arena [football league] game out there.”

Emerging players

During a time in which the quarterback battle has dominated the conversation leading up to the 2013 season, other players emerged and made their mark in front of an announced crowd of more than 16,000 at Kinnick Stadium.

Davis was one such player, who likely could have been named the MVP on the day. The 6-5, 310-pound defensive lineman unofficially had three sacks and three batted balls. The defensive line as a whole knocked down at least six passes at the line of scrimmage.

Senior defensive end Dominic Alvis said he was glad to see his teammate in Davis make himself noticeable.

“It was refreshing to see Carl Davis making plays out here today. Sometimes he’s cold; today, it looked like he was really moving,” Alvis said.

B.J. Lowery also showed he will be a more than serviceable replacement for Micah Hyde at cornerback. Ferentz said Iowa’s quarterbacks have been avoiding throwing his way in the spring, and it showed — the senior had three pass breakups and an interception that would have gone for a touchdown had the play not been whistled dead.

Running-back competition

The offense had some players emerge from the unknown, too. Wide receiver Cameron Wilson, who was redshirted in 2012, had 10 catches for more 100 yards during the game.

Running back Jordan Canzeri also showed he should be in the mix for getting snaps alongside Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock in the backfield. Canzeri, who was sidelined in 2012 with an ACL injury, showed speed and power with more than 50 yards on 13 carries, and he scored a 46-yard touchdown on a dump pass up the right side of the field.

The 5-9 sophomore said it felt great to play in Kinnick again — the April 27 game was some of the first real action Canzeri had seen since his injury. His confidence was well noted by his coaches, who awarded Canzeri more carries as the game progressed.

The front-runner for the starting running back spot might now be a tossup, and the Troy, N.Y., native believes his performance will put his name among those who are in the running.

“I hope so,” Canzeri said. “There’s a lot of competition. The coaches know it, and we all know it. We know that whoever gets the starting position will get the job done.”

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