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Iowa football: 5 questions about the Hawkeyes

[ 0 ] October 3, 2012 |

The Register’s Randy Peterson answers questions from fans:

When will we see James Vandenberg’s backup, or is Iowa content with using a quarterback next season that hasn’t played?

The Hawks may have missed that opportunity after leading Minnesota 24-0 at halftime of a game they won, 31-13. If Jake Rudock was available, and the presumption is that he was, then he could have played a couple series without causing disruption, but that may be the last chance. Iowa isn’t likely to have a Gopher breeze the remainder of the season – unless it’s at Indiana. “You’d love that your No. 2 would be able to get some snaps prior to getting into conference play, but it just has not set up that way,” offensive coordinator Greg Davis said. “So, if something happens to James, will I be concerned? Yes, I will be. But at the same time, we’re not going to try to manufacture a way to do that.” Multiple quarterbacks have taken snaps at Iowa each season since since at least the mid-1980s.

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Fact or fiction: Vandenberg is looking at just one receiver on passing plays.

Let’s let Davis handle this one, too. “I have not felt like James was locking onto someone through the first five games,” he said. “James does so much study during the course of the week, (that) a lot of times, he’s getting a pre-snap tip as to what he feels the defense is going to do. That pre-snap tip will, in some cases, eliminate progressions.So a lot of times, he gets through his progressions pretty quick.”

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Michigan State has an aggressive defense and not much of an offense. Will Mark Weisman be able to keep up his pace?

Unlikely – at least Oct. 13 when the Hawkeyes return to action in East Lansing, Mich. The Spartans allow an average of 96.2 rushing yards a game, and no back has exceeded the 56 yards on 10 carries Notre Dame’s Cierre Wood had against them. Weisman had 515 yards through five games and averages a whopping 7.0 yards a carry. Therefore, Michigan State will crowd the box with as many players at or near the line of scrimmage as possible. Vanderberg counters with play action, and quick passes to tight ends. “At the same time,” Davis said, “good players, good backs — they tend to find a way to make yards if they get enough opportunities.”

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Are you conferned that Iowa has sacked the quarterback so few times?

No concern here, but it’s clear that some fans are restless. Let’s put it this way: The Hawkeyes would put more pressure on quarterbacks if coaches were assured opponents wouldn’t turn botched pressure into big plays. It’s a cliché concern, Iowa’s seven sacks, which ranks 10th in the Big Ten. “When you do start bringing an extra guy,” defensive coordinator Phil Parker said, “you’re susceptable to a big play, and then if (an opponent) gets a big play, I think they’re about 95 percent or even higher that they’re going to score a field goal or a touchdown.” So until Parker is convinced the defense won’t bend AND break, Iowa will be just as satisfied with disrupting the quarterback, not always trying to flatten him.

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Do you think the Iowa defense can take anything from Ohio State’s game plan to hold Michigan State down on offense? Stack the line and force bad throws?

Just a guess here, but Ohio State maybe stacked its defensive line with better players than Iowa presently has. Just saying. . . Also, I’m not sure you have to force bad throws out of Andrew Maxwell. He’s 103 of 185 for 1,138 yards, four touchdowns and three picks. He’s a 55 percent thrower.

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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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