Sept. 30, 2014
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis is happy the Hawkeyes are off to a 4-1 start, but he’s looking for more points.
With eight starters returning, including quarterback Jake Rudock, its top three running backs and five of the top six reception leaders, the Iowa offense was looking to take a step forward from a unit that averaged 26.4 points per game in 2014.
Through five games, the Hawkeyes are averaging 22.6 points over five contests with their season-high 31 point total coming Aug. 30 against Northern Iowa.
“I am disappointed we haven’t scored more points,” Davis said Tuesday at a coordinator’s news conference in the Player’s Auditorium inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex. “We were slow getting the running game started, but the last two weeks we’ve picked that up.
“We’re throwing and catching the ball better than we had, but we’re not scoring enough points.”
After throwing a season-high 55 passes in a 17-13 victory over Ball State on Sept. 6, Davis says the Hawkeyes made a concerted effort to run the ball. Since, Iowa has rushed for an average of 145.7 yards over the past three contests, including a season-high 175 yards on 51 carries in a 24-10 win at Purdue.
“We didn’t go into the Ball State game with the idea we were going to throw it 55 times,” said Davis. “Nor did we go into many ball games with the idea we are going to throw it 15 (times). Each game takes on a life of its own once you get in there, but we did make a more conscience effort after Ball State that we wanted to improve the run game.
“We wanted to get back and play more personnel groupings that lent itself to us being able to run the ball if we wanted to.”
“We feel like we have two guys that have earned the right to play and have played pretty well. That’s the way we’ll approach it as we get closer.”
UI offensive coordinator Greg Davis on the quarterback position
Davis opened the news conference with an update on the quarterback position, where he said sophomore C.J. Beathard would be the starter if Iowa took the field today. Rudock, who was injured in the first-half at Pittsburgh, is currently 80 percent physically.
When the Hawkeyes take the field in 11 days for a Homecoming matchup against Indiana on Oct. 11, Davis says both quarterbacks will play.
“We feel like we have two guys that have earned the right to play and have played pretty well,” said Davis. “That’s the way we’ll approach it as we get closer.”
It isn’t the first time in Davis’ 41-year coaching career that he has been charged with handling a two-quarterback system. He did it with Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead at Texas when the two freshmen were vying to replace Heisman Trophy winner Vince Young, and he did it with his brother and the head coach’s son in 1975.
“My dad still doesn’t talk to me about my decision there,” joked Davis.
He says it is a necessary evil because it’s best to evaluate the quarterbacks in game action.
“It’s hard for a quarterback to do things in practice because you don’t tackle them,” said Davis. “Here comes a blitz and even though you tell them you’ve got to play like you’re fixing to get hit, one does, and one doesn’t, so it’s hard to evaluate.”
With a two-quarterback system, Davis says there will be a “feel aspect” in determing who is in the game and there will not be any pre-set series, sequences, or numbers that go into splitting the game action. The player that performs and has the hot hand will be leading the Hawkeye offense.
“Part of it will be a feel, and part of it will be we definitely want to play two guys,” he said. “At some point, hopefully that will clean itself up.”
Iowa (4-1, 1-0) returns to action Oct. 11, hosting Indiana at 11 a.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium. Tickets are still available by calling (800) IA-HAWKS.