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Here's what Kirk Ferentz thinks about the no-huddle offense

[ 0 ] July 1, 2013 |

Above: Kirk Ferentz talks about a variety of subjects during this interview in May.

IOWA CITY, Ia. – The word is out on Iowa’s no-huddle approach to the 2013 football season.

“I was talking to a coaching friend of mine the other day,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He had heard we were doing some things differently. I said, 'Well, it’s not that dramatically different.’ Then we got into the no-huddle discussion.”

Iowa lost its last six games to finish 4-8 in 2012, and the offense struggled to move the ball consistently. Iowa averaged just 310.4 yards a game, the fewest since 2000. The 19.3 points a game were the fewest since 2007.

Under the guidance of second-year offensive coordinator Greg Davis, Iowa installed the no-huddle attack during spring practices. Now that he’s had two months to ponder the move, Ferentz remains all in. And he sees the move helping the Hawkeyes on both sides of the ball.

Kirk Ferentz and his Iowa Hawkeyes open the 2013 season on Aug. 31 at home against Northern Illinois. (Benjamin Roberts / Iowa City Press-Citizen)

Kirk Ferentz and his Iowa Hawkeyes open the 2013 season on Aug. 31 at home against Northern Illinois. (Benjamin Roberts / Iowa City Press-Citizen)

“The good thing is that it helped our defense, first and foremost,” Ferentz said. “They’re going to face a lot of it. And it forced our guys offensively to concentrate more.”

That’s not to say Iowa will go no-huddle exclusively in 2013.

“The other part in the back of my mind, as we move into the season, is we can dictate how much or how little we use it,” Ferentz said. “But if we don’t continue to invest time in it, it’s hard to say, 'OK, Week 4, we’re going to use no huddle this week.’ At least now we can pull back. But we can’t go in the other direction. It’s kind of like getting hurt, I guess.”
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Davis said in May that one reason the no-huddle look was incorporated was to get off more than the 66 plays Iowa averaged in 2012. That ranked 104th nationally. Eighteen teams averaged at least 80 plays a game, and 44 teams averaged at least 75 snaps.

Davis also said there’s a misconception that no huddle means spread offense. But this is a new wrinkle to the pro-style offense that has been the foundation of Ferentz’s previous 14 seasons at Iowa. How would Ferentz label the new offensive approach?

“It’s a work in progress,” Ferentz said. “I’m not big on buzzwords. Unless you’re an option team you better be able to run the ball, and pass it. You are what you are. We’ll still have tight ends on the field. They may be (flanked) out. But they’ll still be on the field.”

The statistics, and won-loss record, and not descriptive phrases will determine the success or failure of the new look in 2013.

“Whatever you do, you’ve got to do it well,” Ferentz said. “To bring it home real quick, the team that’s been to the last three Rose Bowls, the team that’s won both Big Ten Championship games, stylistically, they’re the team that everybody seems to hate. Not that they hate Wisconsin. But that’s not cool to do what they do. To me, the bottom line is still about winning on Saturday. You have to do what is best for your team. They’ve done a good job of assessing that at Wisconsin.”

Ferentz said it’s been that way since Barry Alvarez rebuilt the Badger program starting in 1990. He said it’s the same way at Kansas State, where Bill Snyder’s innovative offensive mind turned around that program. All three were on Hayden Fry’s Iowa staff at the same time.

“You try to play to your players’ strength,” Ferentz said. “That’s usually what coaches do. They figure out what’s best for the personnel they’ve got and then try to make something of it and bend in that direction.”

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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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