Point-Counterpoint: Will Iowa improve next year?
The only way Iowa can go after this season is up.
Ever since the Michigan State win on Oct. 13 — a game Iowa had no business winning, much less competing in — The Hawkeyes have dropped five-consecutive games. Those five games have been some of the worst Iowa City has seen since 2000.
But the 2013-14 season will bring slightly less intimidating expectations after this season’s abysmal results. It will also be the second year that Greg Davis will be in charge of the struggling offense.
Davis was set up for a rough first season when he agreed to become the new offensive coordinator for the Hawkeyes. His track record with quarterbacks and the offensive production in Texas was a portfolio that’s hard to top.
But when you look at how he produced those numbers, he had a few years to work with each of those players — quarterbacks, specifically. Athletes such as Vince Young and Colt McCoy grew up with Davis, bought into that system early, and that’s why it worked.
Davis came into a predominately upperclassmen team for Iowa. James Vandenberg, C.J. Fiedorowicz, and a good chunk of the offensive line were used to the pro-style system with Ken O’Keefe. Granted, the styles have produced similar results so far, but there are some distinct differences that Davis needed time to implement.
That time is now. He’ll have a young gun to work with in Jake Rudock (Or C.J. Beathhard or Cody Sokol), and Davis should be able to mold one of them into a quarterback that fits his offense — an offense that is either made or broken with a good quarterback.
That’s not to mention that Iowa should have both Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock back in the backfield. And if they’re finally healthy together, they make for a pretty potent running game. And Iowa’s starting trio of linebackers has shown plenty of talent this year, too, and all will be back next year.
Nobody would’ve imagined that this season turned out the way it did. But there’s only one way to look now if you’re a Hawkeye fan, and that’s up.
- by Cody Goodwin
Iowa football has been disastrous in 2012, and fans shouldn’t expect things to be any better next year.
Despite some fans’ pleas, offensive coordinator Greg Davis isn’t going anywhere. Firing an assistant coach after one season hardly fits Kirk Ferentz’s change-averse style, and that means the offensive scheme isn’t likely to change.
The passing game was atrocious this year, and the Hawkeyes will lose the only quarterback who has taken snaps. Adding a quarterback — whether it’s sophomore-to-be Jake Rudock or junior college transfer Cody Sokol — with zero Division-I snaps on his resume is not the way to improve your passing game.
Adding to the woes at quarterback is the inconsistent play by wide receivers and tight ends. Dropped passes and miscommunication were common themes this year, and the Hawkeyes lose wideout Keenan Davis. They do return Kevonte Martin-Manley, who was the most consistent performer of the group, and Jordan Cotton, who could provide the deep threat the team desperately needs.
And it’s not like the ground attack has been much better, either. Damon Bullock and Mark Weisman both had their moments, but Iowa will likely finish dead last in the Big Ten in rushing offense for the second consecutive year. Both Bullock and Weisman are expected to return, but Iowa fans have learned not to take that for granted.
The offensive line may be solid next year, if left tackle Brandon Scherff and guard Andrew Donnal return from season-ending injuries. But that’s not a given, and the group will be without James Ferentz and Matt Tobin, who were two of the most consistent offensive lineman this season.
Defensively, the Hawkeyes appeared competent in the first half of 2012, but failed miserably down the stretch. Everything starts up front for the Hawkeyes; when the front four is strong, the defense typically has success. When it’s not, well, we saw that this year.
That defensive line isn’t going to get much better, considering that defensive end Joe Gaglione — who leads the team in sacks — graduates.
And I haven’t even mentioned star cornerback Micah Hyde’s graduation.
The only bright spots I can see for next year’s team are the linebackers, kicker Mike Meyer, Martin-Manley, and Cotton.
That isn’t going to cut it, even if the Big Ten is again as weak as it was this year.
- by Tork Mason
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