Why Greg Davis deserves the criticism


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Greg Davis did his best to laugh off a question on Tuesday about the criticism he’s received this season. He said he doesn’t “really worry about it” and then repeated himself — “I really don’t” — as if the repetition was to help persuade himself.

“If you write me a letter and put your name on it, I will respond,” Davis said. “If you don’t put your name on it, I throw it away. You know, that is the way I do it.”

Davis, 65, has probably received a lot of letters, and not all of them positive. He knows why, too, adding on Tuesday that the Hawkeyes aren’t “scoring as many points as [they] need to score.”

Scoring has indeed been an issue for the Hawkeyes. They’re averaging just 22.6 points per game this season, good for 13th out of 14 teams in the Big Ten.

But a closer look at the numbers show that Iowa’s offensive production has taken a solid step back since Davis took over the unit.

From 2009-2011, the three seasons before Davis came to Iowa City, Ken O’Keefe led Iowa’s offense (he was the team’s offensive coordinator from 1999 until he left for the Miami Dolphins after the 2011 season). But in those three seasons, O’Keefe’s offenses averaged 26.5 points per game and 363.9 total yards per game.

Those aren’t exactly eye-popping numbers, of course, but they’re certainly a step up from what Davis has been able to produce.

Since Davis took charge of the offense, Iowa’s averaged fewer points per game (22.7) and fewer total yards per game (353.1) than in the three years previous.

What’s more, in his two full seasons and five games as Iowa’s offensive coordinator, the Hawkeyes have truly only seen improvement in one area: rushing yards per game.

Under Davis, Iowa’s averaging 147.7 rushing yards per game. In the three seasons before Davis, under O’Keefe, the Hawkeyes averaged 133.4 rushing yards per game.

“We are trying to do what our players are best suited for,” Davis said.

This season, however, Iowa’s offense is on pace for its best statistical year under Davis. The Hawkeyes are averaging, per game, 140.2 rushing yards and 232.2 passing yards — which translates to 372.4 total yards of offense per contest.

And yet, despite the improvements, those numbers are still only rank 10th, eighth, and 10th in the Big Ten, respectively.

Davis knows that he could be in some trouble if the Hawkeyes don’t produce more out of the season’s first bye week. But, for all the criticism he has received, he continues to have a sense of humor about it all — which perhaps speaks more to his character than anything else.

“I told Phil Parker, when I come back in my next life, I’m going to be a defensive coordinator,” he said. “… Phil’s sitting over [there], and I’ve told him this.

“… Hey, it is what it is. I’ve got a job that I love doing, and I don’t worry about all the other stuff.”

Follow @codygoodwin on Twitter for updates, news, and analysis about the Iowa football team.

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