Iowa to stick with Davis as coordinator
IOWA CITY (AP) — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is sticking with coordinator Greg Davis, who oversaw one of the worst offenses in the nation in his first year on the job.
Ferentz said Davis will return for a second season, even though the Hawkeyes scored fewer than 20 points a game and lost their last six en route to a 4-8 record — their worst in 12 years.
“I think Greg is an excellent football coach and a tremendous professional and a tremendous person,” Ferentz said Wednesday. “I feel stronger about the kind of person he is now after working with him.”
Iowa’s defense had its issues in 2012, mostly against top-notch opponents.
But the Hawkeyes offense was simply dreadful.
Schemes, personnel and execution all seemed to be lacking for Iowa, which was 114th out of 124 teams in scoring. Only seven teams from BCS-affiliated conferences averaged less per game than the Hawkeyes — and three of those head coaches have been let go.
Iowa was 105th in rushing yards per game and 102nd in passing yards. Only New Mexico and run-heavy Army threw for less than the seven touchdowns the Hawkeyes had behind senior James Vandenberg, who started every games despite struggling mightily all year.
The running game issues seemed more about injuries than anything else. The Hawkeyes controlled games on the ground during a four-game stretch when converted fullback Mark Weisman ran for more than 600 yards and eight touchdowns, but he fought through lingering leg issues and valued linemen Brandon Scherff and Andrew Donnal were lost for the season.
There were no such excuses for the passing game. Everyone was healthy, but hardly anyone was productive.
Still, Ferentz believes that Davis — who won a national title during his tenure under Mack Brown at Texas — is the right man to fix what’s broken.
“There’s a learning curve for all of us. I think Greg is probably a smarter Iowa coach than he was in February,” Ferentz said.
The silver lining for the Hawkeyes is that they’ll return as many as 16 starters. Whoever ends up becoming the starting quarterback will also likely have a better season than Vandenberg did in 2012, if only because there’s nowhere to go but up.
The longtime coach is confident the Hawkeyes are close to winning again after missing out on a bowl game trip for just the second time in 12 years.
“We all realize we have a lot of work to do, but this is hardly a hopeless situation,” Ferentz said. “It’s not like we’re trying to climb Mount Everest here.”