March 5, 2012
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Greg Davis has matched wits with coaches in the Southwest, Southeastern, Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences for more than 30 years. Next fall he expects to confound Big Ten defenses.
On Feb. 27, Davis was named offensive coordinator for University of Iowa football, replacing Ken O’Keefe, who resigned to accept a position with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Davis will gather with reporters Monday, March 5, at 12:30 p.m. (CT) inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex.
To watch an exclusive interview with coach Davis, click HERE.
Winning is a theme for Davis during coaching stops at Tulane, Texas A&M, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas…and winning by adjusting a game plan to fit personnel in his huddle.
“We want to do what our players can do,” Davis said. “I had never been involved with the zone read until (the University of Texas) had Vince Young. We had to take advantage of that guy’s legs, so we went to the zone read.
“I had (running back) Ricky Williams. You don’t have to be a football coach to know you need to be in the I formation and let Ricky have a chance to win the ball game.
“I had (quarterback) Colt McCoy, one of the most accurate throwers in the history of college football, so we threw the ball more.”
And more times than not, after 60 minutes of play, Davis’ teams outscored their opponents.
Hawkeye fans had an up-close view of McCoy, during his freshman season, in the 2006 Alamo Bowl. The Longhorns were the defending national champions, but needed a second-half comeback to defeat Iowa, 26-24. McCoy attempted 40 passes and accounted for 308 yards through the air. Davis had an opportunity to mingle with UI head coach Kirk Ferentz and other Hawkeye staff members at Alamo Bowl-sponsored functions.
“I remember how classy the entire (Iowa) staff was, obviously taking its lead from Kirk,” Davis said. “And then football: I remember how hard they played, and yet, clean and fair, and with sportsmanship. I remember as we prepared, saying they do a great job of coaching, and we saw that in the ball game.”
Davis most recently served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Texas for 13 seasons (1998-10). He was named Frank Broyles Assistant Coach of the Year in 2005 after Texas won the BCS national championship.
The native of Groves, Texas, is now a Hawkeye.
“I’m extremely excited. I told Kirk that one of the things I missed last year is that since I was six years old, I’ve been part of a team. I had been part of a group of men, or boys who later became men, who were working toward a common goal, and I really missed that. I told my wife, Patsy, on Monday night (Davis’ first day in Iowa City), `I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired and so excited in the same day.'”
UI offensive coordinator
“I’m extremely excited,” Davis said. “I told Kirk that one of the things I missed last year is that since I was six years old, I’ve been part of a team. I had been part of a group of men, or boys who later became men, who were working toward a common goal, and I really missed that. I told my wife, Patsy, on Monday night (Davis’ first day in Iowa City), `I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired and so excited in the same day.'”
Here is a rundown of Davis’ first two days on the job: He arrived the afternoon of Feb. 27 and went for a meal with Kirk and Brian Ferentz (the latter was recently named offensive line coach for the Hawkeyes). The next day, Tuesday, Feb. 28, Davis was in a staff meeting from 7:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. He met with UI athletics director Gary Barta at 1, went to the Human Relations office at 1:30, picked up a parking pass at 3, received a courtesy car at 3:30, and was introduced to the football team at 4. Beginning at 5, Davis was in an offensive meeting, and at 8 he returned to his temporary home at the Sheraton Hotel.
“It’s hectic, but it’s so exciting,” Davis said.
Over the weekend Davis planned to get out and tour the Iowa City-Coralville area. He said his “knee-jerk reaction” is that he has arrived in an All-American city.
“I told my wife that it’s a straight shot from the football complex to the Sheraton, and that’s all I know right now,” Davis said. “I know there’s a Chipotle just off the ped mall, because that’s been my eating spot.”
It seems like a whirlwind of activity for Davis, but he has been through this before. When he began at Georgia, Davis was hired on a Thursday, he revamped the Bulldog offense over the weekend, and started spring drills Tuesday.
“I actually have a bunch of time here,” Davis said. “I have three weeks before we have to get started.”
Iowa begins spring practice Saturday, March 24, with the open practice on Saturday, April 14.
Although he enjoyed his time as a head coach, Davis thrives as an assistant, with the day-to-day interaction with players…and teaching.
“Because of the function of (the head coach), you don’t get the same quality time with the players,” Davis said. “I have a passion about teaching, so the fun part for me is working with the players. The head coach has one day a month that his job is better than mine, and that’s the last day of the month when the check comes in.”
Davis flashes the same Texas comicality that made Hayden Fry a Hawkeye icon. Davis said Fry reached out to him as a fellow Texan when he was a young head coach in the late 1980s.
“He made me feel like we were buddies,” Davis said. “I’ve known (former UI assistant coach and Texas native) Carl Jackson for a long time. From that standpoint, I have an idea of the kind of people I’m going to meet here.”
Davis is aware of the high school football talent in the state of Texas, where he has recruiting connections. He emphasizes that there is a direct flight from Dallas to Cedar Rapids that takes less than two hours.
“If Kirk deems that it’s a worthy area for us to reach into, then I’ll certainly tie into those relationships,” Davis said.
The reputation of Ferentz in coaching circles is the first reason the UI job appealed to Davis.
“Everyone raves about Kirk’s football knowledge and his people knowledge,” Davis said.
Then there is the anticipation of soaking up the atmosphere around Kinnick Stadium on fall Saturdays.
“All the friends I have who have been calling the last week have asked the same question: `Have you ever been in Kinnick Stadium? Have you ever seen the game day atmosphere?'” Davis said. “I haven’t, so I’m really looking forward to next fall and game day at Kinnick Stadium.”