Offense to Face Different Look on Defense

Sep 5, 2013

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis has found in his 39 years of coaching that teams make the biggest improvements between weeks one and two during the football season. After losing the opener to Northern Illinois by a narrow 30-27 margin, the Hawkeyes look to rebound in week two against Missouri State on Saturday.

“It’s positive to have a game under our belt,” said Davis. “We got to see ourselves against a different opponent, while we also got to see Missouri State on film in their opener and see the guys that are actually playing.”

The Hawkeye offense will be going up against a different look defensively from what Northern Illinois employed last week. Missouri State sets up in a 3-4, which is an unusual look on normal down and distances for college defenses.

“Everybody has a 3-4 as part of their nickel or dime package, so it creates a little mental gymnastics, but our kids have had a really good week,” Davis said. “It also prepares us for later in the season when other teams do it.”

Missouri State, who lost 23-17 to Northwestern State in its opener, share the NCAA Division I FCS lead in red-zone defense after limiting the Demons to one score in three red-zone possessions. Finishing red-zone drives with touchdowns has been a point of emphasis for Davis and the Hawkeyes.

“Scoring touchdowns in the red zone is something that we talked about at the very beginning of camp,” said Davis. “Part of the reason their defense does a good job in the red zone is that they’re a 3-4 team. They have a lot of guys dropping in coverage, the fill gets reduced… you really have to be able to run the ball down there against that style of play. We had two different sessions in today’s practice in the red zone, so hopefully we’ll be able to finish our drives.”

Last week, Iowa scored touchdowns on 2-of-3 red-zone trips, while kicking a field goal on its other possession inside the 20.

Davis went into last week’s opener looking for the offense to take at least 80 snaps. The team reached that number (43 rushes and 37 passes) and had opportunities for more offensive plays, but three turnovers cost Iowa additional reps and ultimately nine points for the Huskies.

“I did like the pace of play,” said Davis. “We want to be a team that is balanced. Last week, we had over 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing. There were a lot of positives from last week’s game from that stand point, but obviously you can’t turn the ball over.”

The Hawkeyes are Bears will kickoff at 11:01 a.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium. Tickets are still available.