IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa’s offensive playbook was going to change anyway, even if offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe remained on coach Kirk Ferentz’s staff.
“We needed to take things apart and look a little closer,” Ferentz said Tuesday, a day before opening his 14th Hawkeye spring practice. “The bottom line is, we’re 4-4, which I think you’re well aware of. We’re 4-4 the last two years.
“If that’s the best you can do, there’s nothing wrong with that. We’ve been here 13 years. There’s not a year we haven’t felt like we left something out there. It’s the nature of coaching, I think.
“So the bottom line is we want to move forward. If 4-4 is the best we can be, that’s fine. But we’re shooting for something higher than that certainly. We always have been.”
Greg Davis, formerly at Texas, became Ferentz’s second offensive coordinator after O’Keefe resigned to be receivers coach for the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s given us a chance to examine everything we do,” Ferentz said. “With a new (offensive) coordinator, it gave us a chance to really kind of start from scratch.”
Davis’ offense for the Sept. 1 opener against Northern Illinois at Chicago’s Soldier Field still will be led by quarterback James Vandenberg, unless someone like Jake Rudock beats him out.
It won’t be a 100 percent spread attack, but it won’t be 100 percent traditional, either.
“Greg has demonstrated experience with a lot of different types of offenses,” Ferentz said. “Some people have a playbook, and they’re married to it. That’s great, but if your players don’t match that playbook, then that’s a bad thing.
“He’s played with two backs, he’s played with two tight ends, three-wide, four-wide — all that type of thing. I think his system will fit.”
It will include an inexperienced starting running back — unless it’s veteran fullback Brad Rogers — and Keenan Davis will replace Marvin McNutt as the go-to receiver.
“At the end of the day, I don’t know how much different we’re going to look overall, but it’ll be different,” Ferentz said. “If you’re paying attention, I think things will be a little bit different.”
Ferentz noted that the Hawkeyes last season threw 412 passes — the second-most since he replaced Hayden Fry after the 1999 season.
“We didn’t get any credit for it, I don’t think,” he said, before joking that “maybe they were conservative throws we were throwing.”
Conservative — that was the rub, according to fans who complained Iowa’s offense had become predictable.
“My biggest gripe is usually execution,” Ferentz said. “Can you execute better, more proficient? I don’t have any problems about what we were doing.”
One of the biggest position battles will be at running back, where Jordan Canzeri gets first crack to replace Marcus Coker as the workhorse back.
He rushed for 114 yards in seven games last season, including 58 on 22 carries in a 31-14 loss against Oklahoma in the last Insight Bowl.
He still will be running behind center James Ferentz and Co., the only difference possibly being the name of the play.
“There’s a lot of new nomenclature, terminology, and we’re all learning right now,” Ferentz said. “Even the old dogs are trying to learn some new tricks.
“It’s invigorating for everybody. It’s not the same ol thing.”
Linemen recovering: Defensive linemen Dominic Alvis and Carl Davis will miss at least the early part of spring practice while recovering from knee surgeries.
Fans can watch April 14: Iowa’s final spring practice, which will be open to the public, is at noon April 14 at Kinnick Stadium.
No. 1 punters: Backup quarterback John Wienke is listed along with Jonny Mullings as the No. 1 punter.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football