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Iowa Football: It’s Time For Change

The fanbase is ready for Brian to move on. But is it also time for a new face at QB?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 TransPerfect Music City Bowl
This tandem is 1-0.
Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NCAA. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Iowa Hawkeyes fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.

Iowa football seems to have a lot in common with the mafia in the famed Godfather series. As Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone says, just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

As with the mob, just when Hawkeye fans think they are ready to be done with the Hawkeyes, they go and do something like run for 200 yards against the Badgers in Wisconsin and pull you right back in. But like the mob, being pulled back in isn’t a good thing.

What we saw from Iowa’s offense in Saturday’s 12-10 loss to Minnesota was abysmal, atrocious and a million other synonymous adjectives, all of which likely don’t do enough to describe the depth and breadth of regressive play we witnessed. In the second half of that loss, Iowa ran 24 plays. They scored zero points, turned the ball over twice and gained a grand total of two yards.

Two. Yards.

In a half of football.

Iowa averaged less than one tenth of one yard per play over the course of an entire half of football. They turned the ball over as many times as they gained a yard.

This horse has been beaten to death just about every way imaginable at this point and frankly, re-hashing the details feels like preaching to the choir. If you’re here, you watched. Or at the very least, you were going to watch and were warned of what brain damage doing so might cause.

And if you’re here, you almost certainly are in the camp that Brian Ferentz is long past needing to be shown the door. If you’re not, I thank you for all you’ve done for the program the last two plus decades, your contributions to the children’s hospital and I’d like you to say hi to Mary for me, Mr. Ferentz.

So in this week’s Reacts poll, we’re not going to bother asking anything on Brian. Instead, we want to know about QB Deacon Hill. Hill came out of the gate on Saturday and actually showed a little bit of promise. For all his faults, Brian got him some rhythm throws early that he was able to hit. Then they abandoned those and everything else that showed promise.

And then the wheels completely fell off for Deacon as he finished the day with a career high 116 passing yards on 10 of 28 passing. Most importantly, he turned the ball over three times, including a pair of completely inexcusable strip sacks and the game-ending interception.

Through four games of meaningful action, Hill has yet to top 43% completion percentage. That’s an abysmally bad mark. For context, the NCAA lists 110 quarterbacks in division 1 football who have attempted at least 100 passes this season and completed more than half of them. Every other Big Ten starting QB has completed at least 50% of their passes. Hill has completed 37.8% of his attempts this season.

He clearly has some tools and some potential, but the question now is whether it’s time to make a move. Is it Joe Labas time? Recall that Labas missed most of the offseason due to injury. He has yet to show up on Iowa’s weekly availability report, but he was dealing with a soft tissue injury at one point which held him back.

And at the end of the day, it will still be Brian Ferentz calling plays in Kirk Ferentz’s offense. Would Labas give Iowa a better chance of winning games the rest of the way? Because if you’re going to make a change, this is the time to do it with a bye week and two weeks worth of practice getting 1st team reps and game-planning to take advantage of Labas’ strengths. This is bowl game prep lite.

And whether Iowa makes a change at QB, do you still think the Hawkeyes will win the West? As noted yesterday, Iowa still has the second best odds to win the Big Ten out of the West per DraftKings Sportsbook and given the schedules for Wisconsin and Minnesota, the Hawkeyes are expected to be in a position to again control their own destiny if they simply win out.

That’s easier said than done without an offense.