[No reason for us to write today. Gracias. Bumped. -- Ed.]
I've been working nonstop and not scanning the intertubes much the last few days, but I offer this modest proposal, which I don't think has made the rounds yet:
The story of the ISU game was neither Wegher, nor our safety play. The story of the game has huge implications if we implement it going forward.
We started that game with a hard commitment to a pro-spread. From what I could see, and it's not much on a 15" computer screen, we have added the New England passing game to our Broncos' zone rushing game. By pro spread I mean 4- or 5-wide, with no QB run option. I can see college defenses game-planning one offense successfully, but not both -- and if this is the new Iowa offense, and Stanzi decides to start playing earlier in games (please?), we will be more explosive than many people expect. If Stanzi has an average day, accuracy-wise, versus ISU we hang 50 on them.
Something must be up. Vandenberg gets in the game, it's a blowout -- and we've got him throwing the ball. Ferentz is not a guy who embarrasses his opponents, much less an opponent he has to play every year. But he wanted the sophomore throwing the ball in his first series against the in-state rival in a blowout.
Footnotes to this idea: we have RBs, at least two, who can catch the ball, and thus we can shift out of the zone rush game into this pro-spread look -- after defensive personnel are fixed. My suspicion is that we'll rarely go empty backfield, because of innate conservatism and concern about Stanzi's health. I noted that we were rotating Morse into the game on obvious passing downs Saturday.
Another reason to keep this look in the book: I believe we have the deepest receiver corps in recent memory, and there's evidence of that in the distribution of catches, as well as the volatility in Moeki's numbers (10 catches, 1 catch: this is good news because if someone wants to take him out of the game we'll just shrug and throw it to the other guys -- successfully).
Incidentally, we came out four-wide v. Pitt last year, so I suppose that I should note that our pro-spread look may be unique to something Rhoads likes to do on D.
Certainly I'd welcome correction from the group. Perhaps I'm missing something. But consider the implications if people have to start using the words "Iowa" and "multivariate offense" in the same sentence. This is constraint-based scheming to the max, and is a great, Iowa-specific, strategic response to spread mania as well as our opponents' extreme familiarity with our zone rush game. Last, we still have the play-action passing game out of the zone rush look, and frankly, when we don't drop the ball or throw it to the wrong color jersey, no one has stopped that, either.
How'd you like to play a team that runs like the Broncos and throws like the Pats? "Wow," I believe one guy would say, post-modern sense of irony fully in check. "That would be some kind of a tough deal, you ask me."