Adaptability with the knock being predictability

Greg Davis oversaw record-setting offensive numbers in his 13 years at Texas

Marc Morehouse
Published: February 27 2012 | 4:00 pm - Updated: 3 April 2014 | 1:21 pm in
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So, Greg Davis?

Davis served as Texas' offensive coordinator from 1999 through 2010. During that stretch, the Longhorns' offenses averaged 37.3 points a game. Also, Davis' offenses ranked from No. 1 to 88 in total offense.

The No. 88 came in 2010, when Davis resigned in the wake of a 5-7 season that saw UT head coach Mack Brown cleaned house with six assistants leaving the program.

He'll be 61 in April. He won the 2005 Frank Broyles Award, a national honor given to the top assistant coach in college football. This was the same season the Longhorns claimed the national title, beating USC in an brilliant 41-38 battle royale and quarterback Vince Young leading the way.

Davis was out of work this past season. He left his home in Dallas and took short tours of Iowa State, Auburn and Florida, calling it his "redshirt" year.

Davis has found a spot at Iowa.

Davis clearly knows what he's doing with quarterbacks. He helped mold Young into a proficient passer and a winner (briefly) in the NFL. Young led the nation in pass efficiency for the national championship team.

Colt McCoy was a Class 3A Texas high school "other guy" to Ryan Perrilloux, who jilted Texas on signing day for LSU. He went on to win 45 games at Texas -- the NCAA record until Boise State's Kellen Moore topped it this year -- and post a career completion percentage of 70.3 percent. He's currently the starter for the Cleveland Browns.

Throw in Major Applewhite and Chris Simms.

"I think he's a great developer of quarterbacks," Chip Brown said Wednesday. "Greg Davis is a great quarterbacks coach and he fits his scheme to the talent."

When Simms quarterbacked the Longhorns, they were a pro-style, play-action offense, riding the talents of running back Cedric Benson and allowing Simms to hook up with wide receiver Roy Williams.

When Young came in, Davis changed Texas to a zone read run offense, with a lot of runs out of the shotgun. Under McCoy, Texas kept the shotgun running plays and allowed his incredible accuracy to lead them to the 2009 national title game.

"Greg likes to throw the football," Brown said. "That's his bread and butter. He likes to throw it around, but when he's got a horse [running back], he'll run isolation and power."

In Young, Simms and McCoy, Davis has produced three quarterbacks who were drafted and had varying degrees of success in the NFL. Iowa has had one QB drafted since 1992 and Ricky Stanzi is still waiting to play his first NFL down.

The knock, you know there's a knock. Almost in lockstep with Iowa fans' hostility with former offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe -- not all fans, obviously, but let's say a vocal min-jority -- Davis felt the same heat in Austin.

At the crux of the complaints was predictability. This next quote will sound very, very familiar.

"If there's a knock, it's that he didn't show a ton of imagination," Brown said. "They kind of lined up and ran up. They didn't use a lot of motion and shifting and disguise. They kind of know what they're going to do, but they execute so well, or at least they did, that they won a ton of games."

Texas' vulnerabilities were exposed during the 2010 national title game against ground-and-pound Alabama. McCoy suffered a shoulder injury and left the game after the first quarter. Garrett Gilbert, who has since transferred to SMU, entered and Texas couldn't trade punches with the more physical Crimson Tide, who went on to win 37-21.

Texas was a team built to throw 40 times and lost to a team that was built to run 40 times.

Mack Brown wanted a brawnier, more physical scheme. Davis' tendency was to throw on third-and-3. Texas tried to implement this with players who were recruited to play in a "two-point" stance, hands on the knees and shoulders never used for blocking.

The power football thinking didn't translate to personnel recruited for a more spread-ish attack in 2010, and so there was the resignation.

So, you can see how this would work with Iowa.

Davis would be the de facto passing game coordinator. Kirk Ferentz always was the O-line coach in his first stint with Iowa (1981-89), but he also was the running game coordinator. Iowa has the physical part handled. Davis' mind would be used in the passing game and with the quarterbacks.

Between Kirk and Brian Ferentz, Iowa's new O-line coach, the Hawkeyes will have a zone blocking scheme and likely will have above average offensive lines. What could lift Iowa's offense is new thinking in the passing game and quarterback development.

"I think Greg Davis is one of the best quarterbacks coaches in the country," Brown said.

Davis coached Gary Kubiak when he played quarterback at Texas A&M. Kubiak is now, of course, head coach of the Houston Texans. Brown said Kubiak and Davis still talk a lot. He still relies on his old coach for advice.

"Bread and butter, he will adapt the scheme to the talent, which I think is a credit," Brown said. "He's not married to any one system. If he's got a horse [running back], he'll run power and isolation. If he's got an accurate quarterback, they'll throw it a bunch and they may set up the run with the pass."

Also, Brown said Davis is very smart, a speed reader. "He's a 4:30-in-the-morning guy who gets in to work before 6," Brown said.

Here's the release from UI sports info:

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Greg Davis, who has 33 years of experience as a college football coach, has been named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Iowa. The announcement was made Monday by head coach Kirk Ferentz.

“We are thrilled to have Greg Davis join our staff” said Ferentz. “Greg has enjoyed great success during his career and I believe that can be attributed directly to the combination of his football expertise and teaching skills.

“Greg’s units have demonstrated impressive production and they have done so using a variety of systems and styles – he has done an outstanding job of playing towards the strengths and abilities of the players with which he has worked.

“While Greg’s body of work on the field has been stellar, I have been even more impressed with the many positive things I have learned about Greg as a person and staff member. I am very confident he will be a tremendous asset to our program, campus and community.”

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. Texas has had just five quarterbacks start a game in the NFL, and Davis has tutored three of them (Colt McCoy, Vince Young, Chris Simms).

Texas, in 2005, set a then-NCAA record with 652 total points in 2005, an average of 50.2 per game. Under Davis’ guidance, Texas averaged 39.0 points per game in the last decade (2000-2009), which ranked second nationally and first among B.C.S. conference schools.

Under the direction of Davis, five Longhorn players were named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. Two placed second in Heisman Trophy voting and another was a Heisman finalist. He tutored 13 Texas players who earned Player of the Year awards at their position, and three who were named conference Player of the Year.

Prior to joining the staff at Texas, Davis held a similar position at North Carolina for two years (1996-97). He was the passing game coordinator at Georgia for two seasons (1994-95), and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas for two seasons (1992-93).

While at Georgia, Davis helped lead the Bulldogs to the 1995 Peach Bowl despite injuries to the team's top two quarterbacks. He did so by preparing converted slot back Hines Ward for the starting quarterback job. Ward set a school bowl game record by

completing 31-of-59 passes for 413 yards in the Peach Bowl. Davis also coached first-team All-American Eric Zeier, a third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns (1995 NFL Draft). Zeier set UGA marks for passing (3,721) and total yards (5,135) in `94.

Davis was head coach at Tulane University for four seasons (1988-91). He was a Green Wave assistant head coach and wide receivers coach for three seasons (1985-87). Davis gained his first college coaching experience as quarterback coach at Texas A&M for seven seasons (1978-84).

While at Texas, Davis helped the Longhorns earn 12 bowl invitations, including two appearances in the BCS title game. The Longhorns defeated Iowa in the 2006 Alamo Bowl, 26-24, just one season after winning the national title. He coached in two bowl games while at North Carolina and Texas A&M, and one bowl game while at Georgia and Tulane. Davis played in the Grantland Rice Bowl while competing for McNeese State.

Davis began his coaching career with five years in the high school ranks. He served as an assistant coach at Port Neches-Groves, Texas High School for three seasons (1975-77) after beginning his coaching career as an assistant at Barbe High School in Lake Charles, La. while completing a master’s degree.

The native of Groves, Texas, earned his bachelor’s degree (sports administration, 1973) and master’s degree (1977) from McNeese State.

Iowa begins spring football practice Saturday, March 24. The Hawkeyes will hold their final public scrimmage on Saturday, April 14.

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