Hawkeye fans have been clamoring for change all season. Change of any kind when it comes to the Iowa offense. We all know the stats at this point so it’s not worth re-hashing yet again, but the Hawkeyes have been historically bad on offense all season.
You don’t get to this level of abysmal based on just one problem - there are MANY. The Hawkeyes have issues with philosophy, scheme, play design, blocking, passing, catching, everything. Kirk Ferentz has said a lot of really infuriating things this season, but one he got right was noting there is no easy fix for these issues.
What we finally saw last Saturday, however, was Ferentz being willing to give backup QB Alex Padilla a shot under center to see if it made any sort of difference. Predictably, Padilla didn’t enter the game until things had gotten out of hand on the back of three Petras turnovers. And while things weren’t notably better under Padilla (and there was some symmetry with both QBs turning the ball over on their first snap of the game), they also weren’t notably worse.
It was similar to a season ago where we saw Alex Padilla Padilla started three games in place of the injured Petras. Padilla was not statistically better than Petras, finishing the season completing just under 50% of his passes with an average of 5.7 yards per attempt to go with 2 TDs and 2 INTs vs a 57% completion percentage on 6.5 yards per attempt and 10 TDs to 9 INTs for Petras, but he provided an added element to the offense Spencer Petras will never be able to. Alex Padilla is mobile enough to extend plays and evade pressure - a trait that is woefully needed when the offense line struggles.
We saw that again against Ohio State, despite a 50% completion percentage with no TDs and an INT (along with the fumble on the first snap). Now, the Hawkeyes have released the depth chart for a homecoming matchup with the Northwestern Wildcats and Padilla has the patented “OR” in front of his name, just below Spencer Petras for strating quarterback.
We’ve heard all season long that Petras is the better practice player. That led Iowa to be the very last team in the country to give another QB any snaps, so we’ll see if another week of practice simply means another week of the coaching staff giving the job to the better practice player. But we want to know from the fanbase whether you think Padilla did enough last week to earn the start this week.
We also want to know your updated outlook on the season. Has apathy begun to set in? Rage? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.