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Hawkeyes coach: No-huddle offense here to stay

[ 0 ] May 2, 2013 |

MARSHALLTOWN, Ia. — Greg Davis was greeted warmly as he stood to speak to the Marshall County I-Club.

“Nice to be here,” Davis said Wednesday evening. “After 4-8, it’s a pleasure to be anywhere.”

The 2012 season was a trying one for Davis in his first year as the Hawkeyes’ offensive coordinator.

But changes have been made, both in the method of attack and the coaching staff, as Davis tries to get the offense in synch again. He said the no-huddle attack unveiled at the spring game is here to stay, and the quarterback race could continue into the season.

Iowa averaged just 19.3 points last season, the team’s lowest average since 2007. The 310.4 yards per game were the fewest since 2000. The number that really stuck out to Davis was 66, Iowa’s average number of plays per game.

“One of the things we felt, after evaluating all kinds of things in the offseason, was we needed more snaps,” Davis said.

So the no-huddle attack was incorporated into all 15 spring practices. There still will be the ability to huddle at times, Davis said, and the no-huddle approach doesn’t mean the end of the running game.

“There is a misconception with the fans that no-huddle means spread offense,” Davis said. We’ll still get in two backs. We’ll still use multiple tight ends. We changed personnel Saturday (at the spring game) and stayed in no-huddle. So I don’t mean to imply that we’re going to become a spread football team, because there are certain tenets that we believe in.”

The ability to go faster while changing players would play to Iowa’s advantage. It can wear down a defense and limit substitutions. It also can give Iowa’s offense a personnel advantage.

“You do want to put a certain personnel group on the field and it not look like the personnel grouping that maybe the (opponent) thought,” Davis said. “This is not a huge change philosophically in terms of being physical, being able to run the ball, or being a good play-action team. It’s just the idea of incorporating a faster tempo.”

Three quarterbacks — Jake Rudock, Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard — are competing to be the starter.

“At some point in August, I’m sure we’ll drop it to two and start working with those two,” Davis said.
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He said he’d like to settle on a starter 10 days before the Aug. 31 season opener against Northern Illinois.

“If we can, we will,” Davis said. “If not, we may have to go into the season.”

Davis acknowledged things could change during the course of the season. Quarterbacks weren’t hit during spring drills. At Saturday’s spring game, a sack was called if a defender touched the quarterback.

“Sometimes you can’t tell until those bullets are live,” Davis said. “Who steps out of a tackle? At the spring game the other day, was he sacked, was he not? When it’s live, you know. So we may go into the season.”

Davis said he’s more comfortable heading into his second season. One reason is Bobby Kennedy, who replaced Erik Campbell as wide receivers coach. Kennedy and Davis worked together for seven years at Texas.

“I want to say this correctly,” Davis said. “Bobby Kennedy coming in was a big boost because he has seven years of the language. He knows what you want before you tell him. He brings passion and energy.”

The fact that many players are in their second season of the Davis system also should mean a better product on the field.

“We give our kids, our receivers, a lot of options once the ball is snapped,” Davis said. “Somebody asked me, ‘It didn’t look like you were always on the same page (last year).’ We weren’t always on the same page. There’s always going to be some of that if you give them options post-snap. But we had way too much of it last year. We’re playing faster because they’re more comfortable. There’s still going to be bumps in the road.”

Greg Davis said Iowa will use a no-huddle approach this season on offense. (Press-Citizen photo)

Greg Davis said Iowa will use a no-huddle approach this season on offense. (Press-Citizen photo)

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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