Anthony Morelli: Master of Deception
I really don't know what merit there could possibly be in adding any commentary to a picture like that, other than to point out--again--that Iowa got destroyed by a quarterback who play-actions the way I pump fake at the Y.
But onward we must press, readers. It's part of the healing process.
First, a question: Is Jake Christensen too scared of mistakes? It certainly seems that way. While his statistics indicate solid if unspectacular play (10 TD's, 2 INT's, 1152 yards), the fact remains that he's also been sacked 25 times--18 of them in Big Ten play--and the Iowa offense has ground to a near-complete halt. The third-down conversion rate is, by all metrics, a disaster zone; the 28% conversion rate is (astonishingly) skewed by a 13-19 success rate against Syracuse. That game aside, Iowa has converted 15 of 77 opportunities, which doesn't even crack the Mendoza line. Hell, during the first three quarters of play, Penn State and Anthony Goddamn Morelli scored as many touchdowns as Iowa had first downs.
True, many of the sacks can be attributed to poor blocking. Jebus noticed during one play that when Penn State rushed five against six, all five of the defenders beat their block. He was right. But almost as prevalent as the matador blocking have been the plays where Chrustensen spends five or six seconds in the pocket before either collapsing under the inevitable pressure or rolling out and tossing the football into Row H.
It would be nice if the offense--and specifically Jake--showed the same disregard for consequence as they did on the scoring drive (yep, just had the one, thanks for asking), where Jake took chances and made throws that I don't think he'd have attempted in a closer game. It seems almost paradoxical to suggest that the team needs Jake to throw more interceptions, but it's hard not to consider. As it stands, opposing secondaries are rarely being forced to make plays on defense; usually, staying with a receiver on his route for four seconds is usually rewarded with a throwaway, dumpoff, or sack. That just doesn't work for Iowa.
So, the $64,000 question is this: is a new quarterback the answer? Doubtful, unless you're still so sore about the off-season embarrassments that you need to see Arvell Nelson sacked repeatedly instead of Christensen. Jake can make throws if he's afforded the opportunity to step into them, and I can't imagine that Kirk Ferentz wants to bench the guy who's going to be the leader of the offense for the next three years just to placate the more idiotic members of the fan base.
Up now is Illinois, which means it's Ron Zook week at BHGP.
You've been warned.