It was miserable. It is miserable. Iowa football that is. It’s a miserable team to be a fan of. There are certainly good moments, but those are solely there to set us all up for disappointment.
Saturday was yet another reminder of that. Despite expectations being knocked down several pegs in a miserable loss two weeks ago, we were right back in the saddle ready to be kicked in the grown by our bigger, stronger cousins to the north. Unlike the Hawkeyes, they sure didn’t disappoint.
Fortunately, the issues with Iowa football are easy to identify and are readily fixable. Any armchair quarterback can see what needs fixed with minimal effort and Saturday was yet another reminder of that.
It starts with “junior”, as they call him. Brian Ferentz should be fired. Plain and simple. That would solve the problem and Iowa would undoubtedly be a top-5 team again with just about anyone else.
His play calling in general is just miserable. He telegraphs what he’s going to do well in advance, which I suppose is nice for opposing defenses. He runs exclusively out of power. He passes exclusively out of shotgun. He calls runs when he should call passes and passes when he should call runs. He doesn’t do anything to help his offensive line or his quarterback. And he’s prone to do totally abandon the run. But sometimes stubbornly stick to it.
Replace him and the problems would be solved.
Of course, his replacement would still be stuck with the worst QB in power 5 football. Like Brian, Spencer Petras should be gone and simply going with anyone else would solve all of Iowa’s problems.
He’s a statue in the pocket, just waiting to be sacked. Of course, he’s also prone to happy feet where he tries to escape the pocket unnecessarily. He lobs passes over receivers’ heads half the time. The other half the time he rockets them off their chests or facemasks or hands or the ground. He has no ability to escape pressure and scramble and when he tries to he has no ability to throw a decent ball.
Just get rid of him and put literally anyone else back there.
Of course, whoever replaces him is still stuck in an offense that can’t really run to save their life and an offensive line that will have him running to save his own life. We caught a glimpse of that Saturday when backup Alex Padilla came in and immediately was pressured into a scramble.
Now, sure, he too was sacked twice including on that scramble where he so aptly avoided the rush and took off. But he completed 50% of his passes in those final minutes! Imagine if the staff just went a step further and put in Deuce!
Surely Deuce would be more apt to make things happen and avoid Iowa’s 25th sack this season. Just having the presence of a competent QB back there would do wonders for this team. It would probably even negate the 66 tackles for loss allowed by this offensive line through 8 games. I mean, yeah, that’s quite a few. Like more than 8 per game and nearly double the number allowed a season ago in 8 games, but if they just had a better QB!
But that won’t happen under this head coach. Kirk Ferentz is too loyal to his guys, especially his son who is incompetent and unqualified for his job.
So maybe that’s the real answer here. Just fire KF! Iowa would have no problem finding someone better than him that would bring in a decent offensive coordinator and recruit one of those mobile QBs who can also throw (they’re actually pretty common and frankly this staff has probably had to beat them away with a stick because basically nobody else is even looking for those guys!) and finally start doing more than winning 9 games a year.
Granted, the list of teams actually winning more than 9 games a year regularly isn’t super long, but we’re Iowa! We deserve better and this isn’t rocket science! If you and I can see this from our couches, surely Gary Barta and Kirk Ferentz and Brian Ferentz and everyone inside the program can see how easy it would be to just stop losing these types of games and take the program to the next level.
It’s time to make it happen.
Or...... and this is probably just the beer talking at this point, but it could also be hard? Maybe even complicated? Like, there might be multiple things wrong with this team. Things we were worried about coming into the year? Stuff like this offensive line has a freshman left tackle and a former walk-on sophomore at right tackle?
They can’t run or pass block. That sort of makes it difficult to dial up the right play. Or, you know actually execute the play once it’s called.
Sure Brian could do some things to help with that, but find me an offensive coordinator in America who doesn’t have some things to do better and I’ll show you some beach front property in Iowa City I’ve got.
And yes, Spencer Petras could be better in the pocket. He could place some of his passes better. He could use his eyes better. But none of that matters if the right play isn’t called and the blocks aren’t made in front of him. And sometimes none of that matters if receivers don’t make a catch.
There is no easy answer to all the questions. There is no one, single solution to the problems. Except to reset your expectations.
Saturday was miserable because watching your favorite team lose is miserable. But the position Iowa finds itself in today is only miserable because the Hawkeyes went out the first six weeks and did something virtually nobody expected them to do. They’re now 6-2 with the easiest part of their schedule in front of them. They have major issues, but the biggest one is we all got caught up in the hype of the outperformance early on and convinced ourselves this was a special season.
This group may well lose more games with the shortcomings they have. Or the lightning they caught in a bottle for six weeks may return. That’s Iowa football.