IOWA CITY, Iowa – Greg Davis said Wednesday that no major changes are coming to the Iowa offense in 2015. The difference fans might see is one for which they’ve been clamoring.
"You know, we have done a few things different in the passing game that we think fit C.J. (Beathard) in terms of trying to stretch the field. So I think there will be more of those kind of things. We will incorporate a little bit using his legs because he has the ability to run," the fourth-year offensive coordinator said.
Davis praised Iowa’s new starting quarterback for progress made this spring. When the questions turned to what specifically Beathard did to pass Jake Rudock (transferring to Michigan) on the depth chart, he was vague and evasive like head coach Kirk Ferentz.
"After the bowl game, we decided that we needed to clear the air, so to speak. And with that in mind we sat down as a staff and decided to go in the direction we did. We just felt like (Beathard) gave us the best opportunity to win," Davis said.
Pressed to be more specific about what Beathard did to beat out Rudock, Davis stayed on message.
"We just felt like he gave us the best chance to win. It was not like an epiphany. They had been close for a long time. We just felt like what we do at every position, who did you think gives us the best opportunity to win. And that’s what we felt after the bowl game," Davis said.
Pressed a little further, Davis offered probably the most candid response from anybody at Iowa.
"We felt like physically that there was a bigger upside. And we’re talking about a guy that’s a really good player in Jake," Davis said
"We had to make a decision and sometimes it’s what does your gut says. In words it’s not as easy as this, this, or this. Part of it is what we’ve seen every day for the last couple of years and we just made a decision."
In addition to the Beathard-Rudock talk, Davis touched on most areas of the offense. Here are some of the other things we learned from his press conference:
-Offensive Line Coach Brian Ferentz added the title of Run Game Coordinator to his resume in the offseason. Davis was asked what that meant for him:
"You know, in 40 something years of doing this, the offensive line coach everywhere I’ve ever been and I think in most universities has a large say in the run game. And so when we sit down and start game planning I have always relied on the line coach for suggestions, his thoughts and those kind of things. So, you know, I don’t think you’ll see a whole lot different in terms of that," Davis said.
-Davis praised Derrick Mitchell for his ability to pick up running back since moving over from wide receiver.
"I think there’s certainly a possibility that he could be the third down back," Davis said.
-In order to free up receiver Tevaun Smith, Davis said they’re trying to make it more difficult on opponents by moving the senior around.
"When he’s an outside receiver it’s easier to low coverage to him. It’s harder to do that to a slot receiver. So, yes, we’ve done some things that we feel like will give him some opportunities to get more advantageous coverages," Davis said.
-Davis said that the goal is to red shirt incoming freshmen quarterbacks Drew Cook and Ryan Boyle. It’s just not been set in stone.
"We’ll just have to speed him up a little bit more than normal. We’ve told Ryan and Drew both that they probably will red shirt. We would like for them to, but we’ll just have to see what happens. They’ll both be here this summer, and we’ll see where they go. They’re both bright guys, I know that," he said.
-Davis said that his top three receivers – Smith, Jacob Hillyer and Matt Vandeberg – are quite a ways in front of the rest of the group.
"There’s an opportunity, I think, for one of the young receivers, one of the signees, if they can come in and earn receiver is that a spot that guy can play early, if they come in and pick things up. Everybody has had freshman receivers be able to come in and play. So those guys will have to be given an opportunity when they get there," he said.