I was an optimist when we picked up Greg Davis. He did amazing things at Texas, and although he had his slump at the end, I thought it was more of a Mack Brown / personel / Big 12 depth problem. It's apparent now that it wasn't.
The Davis supporters (very few and far between) say "it's too early to judge his performance." I hate that argument. So I decided to de-bunk some Greg Davis "myths" or beliefs that the supporters try to point out:
"Even Kirk Ferentz took a couple years to build the program. It took him 3 seasons to get a winning record. One year isn't enough time."
The difference between Greg Davis and Ferentz is that Ferentz took a 3-8 team and took on the responsibility of rebuilding a completely new team. Although his first season was a drop-off from the last, you can hardly say a 1-10 season is much more disappointing than a 3-8 season. Davis took a program that had 8- and 7-win seasons in the two previous years, and turned it into a 4-win team. It was the first time since Ferentz's second season that Iowa wasn't bowl eligible. Iowa was eligible for over a decade straight before Davis led a no-threat offense. And the worst part is, he wasn't asked to rebuild a team! He was simply filling in for a lost coordinator, and instead, has completely dropped any offensive production we had off the face of the earth!
"We knew the passing game wouldn't be the same without McNutt, and Vandenberg never got used to the system. Why blame Davis?"
I can honestly say I have never seen a QB start every single game in consecutive seasons and see such a complete drop-off in production as James Vandenberg did. In fact, I don't blame James Vandenberg at all. When, in the history of college football, has a QB dropped off SO much in production in consecutive seasons with approximately the same amount of passing attempts?
In 2012, Vandenberg threw for 7 TDs and 8 INTs the whole season. In 2011, Vandenberg had 7 TD's by the third game of the season. In 2012, it took him 11 games to throw for multiple-TDs in a game. In 2011, he did it in his first (and second, and third, and....). In 2011, Vandenberg had more multiple-TD games than he had single-TD games in 2012 (9-6). Vandenberg's best passer rating in 2012 would qualify as 6th best in 2011. Vandenberg's worst game in 2011, in which he threw for 169 yards, is only 18 yards short of his 2012 season average for yards per game. And, to my knowledge, he may be the first quarterback ever to throw more interceptions than TD's in a season in which he started every game and threw for single-digit interceptions.
A QB doesn't regress like that, especially after only throwing 8 INTs (8/20 top QB's in passer efficiency threw 8+ INTs this season). Iowa State's Steele Jantz threw for 13 TDs in 7.5 games this year, and Sam Richardson, a redshirt freshman, threw for exactly 7 TDs in less than 2 games of action. Pretty embarrassing. And I'm not blaming our QB.
"Well, don't put it all on Davis. Everybody knows Iowa's struggles on defense this season."
This one irks me the most. I don't care how crappy you think our defense played, they were still the 34th best scoring defense in the nation. In fact, if you are comparing it to last year's defense, this defense held opposing teams to more than a point LESS than last year's team (a team that won 7 regular season games, not 4). And this was all with one of the easiest schedules Ferentz has ever played. Don't give me that crap.
"If you turn some of those field goals into TDs, that is a 7-8 win team. He did a fine job with offense, he just had some bad luck."
That last one was, I kid you not, an exact quote from a Hawkeye fan at last week's Iowa State game (two of us sitting within 5 seats was weird). But this one boggles my mind. Did he even watch a game? Did he not realize we were ranked 100th+ in the nation in both passing AND rushing? In fact, we are one 1 of 5 teams in the whole nation to accomplish that feat, the other 4 teams going a combined 9-38 (Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois and Hawaii). I don't know if Iowa has EVER been that bad across the board, not even being terrible in one aspect and decent in the other (like Air Force or Navy with their run-first offense).
Now, I know it seems I'm putting all the blame on Davis. I'm not. Ferentz has a lot of blame to take and it's not like we had a surplus of talent, but it's a mysterious drop-off in production offensively. Parker seemed to do fine with the defense, why was offense such a wreck? I know Ferentz won't let a coach go after just one season, but how do you feel?