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There’s a spring game on the horizon and some other stuff!

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NCAA Football: Minnesota at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, party people. The Hawkeyes are scheduled to play a spring “game” in the mold of the failed Wrigley Field-hosted Illinois/Northwestern game. Jordan Hansen recapped the final pressers (Phil Parker and Brian Ferentz) for The Pants. As always, there was some good, some bad, but mostly some of the same.

Two Hawkeye beat writers came away with very different views of Brian’s presser, however. Chad Leistikow of Hawk Central is very optimistic about what Iowa can become in Ferentz’s second year as offensive coordinator:

“Totally different philosophies,” Ferentz continued. “But those guys run about six plays. However, they have 11 guys on the field that understand, conceptually, what is going on with every snap. And they can make adjustments within those things.”

And that, in a nutshell, is where Ferentz sees his Hawkeye offense headed.

No, not a transition to an air-it-out, wide-open offense that continues to populate the college game.

Instead, a mastery of those same “Air Raid” concepts but with a more in-the-trenches design. Ferentz sees an Iowa offense that can put players on the field to create mismatches, then use the intelligence and talent from his quarterback to make defenses pay.

It makes sense, a quick Wikipedia perusal details the “Air Raid” as:

The Scheme is notable for its focus on passing. As many as 65–75% of the calls during a season result in a passing play. The QB has the freedom to audible to any play based on what the defense is showing him at the line of scrimmage. In at least one instance, as a result of the QB’s ability to audible, as many as 90%[1] of the run plays called in a season were chosen by audible at the line of scrimmage.

The no huddle aspect of the scheme constantly keeps a defense on its heels - when the chains are moving for the offense. They have less time to read and react to the offense and with a half dozen plays, a smart QB can diagnose the best place to take the ball.

Where it differs for Iowa is their “complementary” offense ideally wins the time of possession battle in a slugfest. RPOs are used but only presnap and typically the “run” meant a zone run.

Iowa has the pieces. If a couple receivers can continue to make progress - Brian Ferentz put the breaks on the Brandon Smith hype train - you can throw out 4 or 5 receiving threats in multiple formations and window dressing via presnap movement. Thing is, that only happened against Ohio State last year.

Will Brian Ferentz feel enabled to do more of that this year?

Marc Morehouse splashed a little water on that notion:

It’s been nearly 20 years with this multiple, zone scheme, power offense and not a lot has changed. It’s not always been sustainable (Luke would’ve lost a hand at Wisconsin). It’s rarely ranked in the top half in the Big Ten (Iowa was fifth in the league in total offense in 2015 and 2008 and lower than that in every season between).

If the benchmark is sustainability, you can make that argument. The real truth is that’s what Kirk Ferentz wants Iowa to be and that hasn’t changed a whole lot going into year No. 20.

Iowa has some potential gamebreakers (Smith, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Toren Young) and a couple proven ones (Nate Stanley & Noah Fant). If they make enough plays, it really doesn’t matter what offense Iowa runs.

Gronk & Gronk

In news that’s too big for a bulletpoint, Rob Gronkowksi bought a stake in a horse named Gronkowski who’s set to race in the Kentucky Derby this year. In a number of quotes, it would appear as if he only did so so he could ride the horse. Named after himself. Which seems a little weird if you over-psychoanalyze it.

Hopefully I can get a ride on the horse.

I’m not trying to ride it for a full-speed ride. I just want to get the feel of what it’s like to be on top of one. Maybe I’ll go for a full-speed ride once I get comfortable.


Other stuff

  • Pandy Rete alert, but it’s from the archives. After the passing of Barbara Bush, the Register dug up the archives to detail how Hayden Fry helped Bush 41 get his first apartment after returning from active duty.
  • Everyone’s undefeated in spring, but only Scott Frost has won a national championship.
  • It was an interesting Tuesday for Jim Harbaugh, as a former Michigan player posted a series of weird and threatening tweets.
  • Josh Jackson is getting into the Instasales game. Shoutout to him for taking advantage of the new economy.
  • It’s gonna be tough sledding if Iowa’s gonna come away with DJ Carton:
  • Iowa is making moves on a couple in-state prospects. Reading through the tea leaves, if Iowa doesn’t watch out, they’re gonna lose out on their backup of DJ Carton.
  • Congrats to Iowa Rowing. In the words of @GospelOfMax, “It looks like having 180 members is finally paying off.”
  • And, oh yeah.

Please let this phrase die like the long, cold, winter.