No one in Iowa (or Texas) can truly predict Greg Davis' success with Hawkeyes

Former Texas coordinator gets fresh start with Hawkeyes

Mike Hlas
Published: February 27 2012 | 6:56 pm - Updated: 3 April 2014 | 1:22 pm in
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How should you feel about Greg Davis becoming Iowa’s new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach?

I have no idea. From a thousand miles away, I can’t say I paid a lot of attention to the intricacies of the Longhorns offense from 1998 to 2010.

I remember Vince Young and Colt McCoy. They weren’t too shabby. They got to Austin with certain wonderful skill sets, too. But someone must have given them some coaching.

But this I feel confident in saying: Anyone who says they know how Davis will do at Iowa is lying.

You align yourself with coaches and players you’ve never worked with before, and vice versa, and it’s all wait-and-see. The hills are full of offensive coordinators who were geniuses at one place and dunces at another.

Davis “resigned” at Texas after the Horns went 5-7 in 2010. He was a whipping boy for UT fans for years and years. They didn’t like what they considered a predictable, unimaginative, horizontal offense.

Somehow, the Horns won a lot more than they lost.

Loud, angry voices in Texas tend to be louder and angrier than at a place like Iowa. There are a whole lot more people in Texas, the Longhorns stock their roster with high school superstars, and Texas fans consider championships their birthright.

It’s unimaginable to think of Hawkeye boosters renting a plane to fly a streamer over Kinnick Stadium saying “Ken O’Keefe Is Not Our Standard,” a la what some Texas fans did over their stadium in condemnation of Davis.

If that did happen here, more people here would probably come down harder on those boosters than the coach in question.

Raw numbers, of course, suggest the Horns’ offense had some sort of coordination. Averaging 35 points or more each season from 2003 through 2009 tends to support that argument.

Texas limped on offense in 2010, with a first-year starting quarterback who struggled and is now at SMU. Iowa limped on offense in 2007 with a first-year starting quarterback who finished his career at Eastern Illinois.

“The man has had great success at Texas,” Longhorn defensive end Kheeston Randall told The Gazette at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “Some of the best offenses in the country over the last 10 years, I guess, while he was there, besides that one down year that we had.”

Nobody has Colt McCoys or Ricky Stanzis or Major Applewhites or James Vandenbergs every year. Not Iowa, and not even Texas.

There are a few fans who wear burnt orange and white who would tell you Davis was an excellent quarterbacks teacher who suffered from having underachieving offensive linemen.

One thing is clear from Davis’ Texas tenure: He likes to throw the ball. He’s comfortable with his quarterback in the shotgun formation, and doesn’t mind using four- and five-receiver sets.

But you know how this stuff works at Iowa. Ferentz would never have hired someone he has never worked with if he didn’t get a complete sense the assistant accepts to Ferentz’s philosophies, of offense and coaching in general.

Iowa’ won’t stop relying on power-running, something that was in short supply too often for the taste of many Texas supporters. This will surely remain a red-meat, pro-set offense built on physicality, not finesse.

At the same time, it’s hard not to think the Hawkeye offense could use a new set of eyes and experiences to mix in some new teaching and wrinkles. That can be done without changing the unit’s identity.

Davis had been without a job for 15 months. That’s a lot of time to think, learn, and recharge.

Ferentz dearly wants to get Iowa back to a higher level than yearly Insight Bowls. Clearly, he wasn’t inclined to gamble on a coordinator making his maiden voyages in game-planning and play-calling.

Again, as for now, nobody truly knows how this will go. Not even all the plane-renters in Texas.

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