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Hawkeyes will stick with no-huddle

[ 12 ] September 29, 2011 |

From Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz saying the Hawkeyes will go no-huddle “100 percent” during the final eight regular-season games, to equally as entertaining comments by his coordinators, the mood was lively — and sometimes light — around the football complex Thursday.

That’s what happens when players and coaches can sit back and watch games this weekend before continuing the season Oct. 8 at Penn State. That’s what happens during a bye week after three wins during the first four games.

“We took some time as a staff — talked a lot of things out,” Ferentz said during a press conference that included defensive coordinator Norm Parker and offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe.

“I think we’ll probably go 50 percent blitz the rest of the season, and 100 percent no-huddle. That’s what we came up with.

“Other than that, we’ve been playing cards, and some of the guys have been out golfing.”

Don’t believe any of it, although quarterback James Vandenberg will continue using what has been a successful no-huddle, quick-paced offense, and why not, asks Parker, who says NCAA rules favor offenses.

“In pro football, if you have one personnel group in the game and you put in another group, you must give the defense time to change personnel,” Parker said.

“In college football, you don’t have to give the defense time to change. Really, defensive coaches think it’s not fair.”

O’Keefe was quick with a counter.

“Well, I think that the defensive guys shouldn’t be allowed to touch (the offense) after five yards,” O’Keefe said.

“That would change the whole world, right?

“We can only have 11 people in the huddle, and if we put 12 in there, it’s a penalty. I remember defensive coordinators sending 14 guys into their huddle, and I’m trying to figure out, is this nickel or what, so you’re not going to get me to feel sorry for the defense.”

In the NFL, officials allow defenses sufficient time to counter quick offensive substitutions. In college, defenses are not granted that luxury.

“There’s never been a rule made for the defense,” Parker told reporters. “They like points. You guys like arena ball … (scores like) 60-50 … that kind of stuff.”

The bottom line is that Vandenberg will continue the no-huddle offense that enabled Iowa to rally from a 24-3 third-quarter deficit against Pittsburgh, and the quick-tempo pace with which the Hawkeyes opened last Saturday’s victory against Louisiana-Monroe.

“That pretty much gave birth to a lot of things,” O’Keefe said of the biggest comeback in school history. “James is pretty comfortable in the shotgun, to say the least. He knows the packages that we use. He knows the protections we need to be in. He knows the routes, and the various coverages that he might be seeing. He has enormous freedom there.”

Snippets from defensive coordinator Norm Parker

On no-huddle offenses: “It’s fast break basketball. Throw away the shot clock.”

On teaching young players: “It’s like Romper Room. It’s like taking a bunch of kindergarteners to New York City: ‘Oh, that’s a big building. No kidding.’ When (Abdul) Hodge and (Chad) Greenway were the linebackers, you could say, ‘remember the way Indiana did this against us two years ago? I got it. I know what this is.’ Well, these guys – they’ve got no remember whens.”

Tweaking the defense: “Three weeks ago, if we had to make an adjustment — that was like a major crisis. Now, it does not fall into place like dominoes, but at least it gets closer to falling like dominoes.”

On quick-footed quarterbacks: “They are single wing tailbacks. It’s like going back to the old days. They run, they pass. Some of them even kick. That’s who they are. About three or four teams – isn’t their leading rusher the quarterback? That’s not football.”<YR>

NFL murmurs, again

Kirk Ferentz got the NFL question Thursday that he’s been asked many times since becoming Iowa’s coach.

Asked about reporters mentioning the Hawkeyes’ successful coach him as a potential candidate once firings happen, Ferentz said:

“All I’m focused on are these eight games right now. There are a few guys that have been around a lot longer than I have that get (mentioned) a little bit. I think that’s a good thing.””

Iowa does not have a game Saturday. The Hawkeyes open Big Ten Conference play at Penn State at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 8.

Ferentz is easy prey when reporters make lists of potential replacements, which happened recently when his name was used in connection with the 0-3 Kansas City — if the organization fires Todd Haley.

Ferentz interviewed with Jacksonville in 2002.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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