Iowa simplifying the offense?!

cmhawks99

HR Heisman
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Agreed and it also assumes that we as fans are spotting every single audible that gets called at the line.

And conversely, that our D apparently doesn’t ever know what the other team is doing, and only our offense amongst all other teams is so predictable. In reality, most teams will scout the opposition to know what plays/tendencies are likely coming given position groupings and looks the offense presents, or tells that can indicate if a blitz is coming/what coverage is on, etc.

Another thing that is mind-boggingly frustrating, that most fans have a tough time grasping
 

DodgerHawki

HR Heisman
Nov 19, 2002
9,478
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Its kind of baffling really because for the last 15 years the QB audible always ends up being a strong side stretch run. The most predictable play anywhere in college football.. It never works because the defense has moved their LBs and Safies up and over to stuff it. My wife (no pic) is the most casual football fan on Planet Earth and even she will call it ahead of the snap.
I wouldn't say "always" but certainly enough that it is certainly known to the opponent and many times it results in loss of 1 or no gain, Which is death to an offense. I get the need to have a set of core plays you can quickly get to if the defense is aligned/set up to stop what you have called, but when the only guys being communicated to on an audible are the FB and the RB, you pretty much know that a run is being called.

My opinion counts for nothing, but I just want Iowa to put itself in positions where they have a chance to succeed. Don't go to formations that allow the defense to dictate things. I get wanting to establish being physical and having the game played in a phone booth, but there has to be a way of doing that while retaining some element of surprise.
 
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cmhawks99

HR Heisman
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I wouldn't say "always" but certainly enough that it is certainly known to the opponent and many times it results in loss of 1 or no gain, Which is death

My opinion counts for nothing, but I just want Iowa to put itself in positions where they have a chance to succeed. Don't go to formations that allow the defense to dictate things. I get wanting to establish being physical and having the game played in a phone booth, but there has to be a way of doing that while retaining some element of surprise.

Is this even possible?
 

BBHawk

HR Legend
Oct 31, 2001
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Iowa City
Some of us have been calling for Iowa to simplify its offense for most of the KF era. Finally, after a couple of decades, MAYBE it's beginning to happen. According to Chad Leistikow in the Press-Citizen, there are hints of this monumental move:

"Wide receiver Keagan Johnson indicated that things have been simplified on offense. Recall, quarterback Alex Padilla said during Iowa’s Citrus Bowl prep in December, 'This offense is not easy. It takes a year, year-and-a-half to learn the intricacies of it.'

"That is a quote that can really stick to an offensive coordinator. And It sounds like — again, sounds like — Brian Ferentz has gotten the message and isn't content to rely on the same concepts this spring and in the fall.

“'Definitely making things more simple but also just adjusting things that we did last year,'” Johnson said. “'We realize there are easier ways to do it.'”

See the entire article here: https://www.press-citizen.com/story...yes-brian-ferentz-offense-changes/7275417001/

I have repeatedly offered this observation from Albert Einstein, "Everything should be made as simple as possible," as I called for KF and BF to stop treating offensive football as if it were quantum physics. KF and BF harp constantly on "execution." Well guess what? The simpler the system is, the better the execution is. And you don't have to be an Einstein to understand that.

Keegan Johnson says "there are easier ways to do it." Who knew? Almost everyone not named Ferentz. And now, maybe, even those fellas are being nudged to adopt the KISS system--Keep It Simple Stupid. And to think it has only taken 20 years . . .
You must be so proud!

🤣
 
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cmhawks99

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I meant in the sense that Iowa seems to want to run a lot of FB + RB + TE formations that basically invite a ton of people at the LOS.

Yes I see your point….still it seems implausible to a degree. But I do follow your premise of not giving tells…
 

Hawk_4shur

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Jan 2, 2009
15,156
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I watched a Kelvin Bell video about the defense. He described defense as being all about filling gaps on the field. He made it seem simple, but I'm sure it isn't. The reason the defense has played so well the last few years is that everyone understands their assignments, and then they go execute it.

Offense is probably more complicated than defense. And it absolutely isn't just on the QB to understand it. Everyone on the offense has to understand their assignment. It sure doesn't look like everyone does.

Obviously, the calls on both offense and defense are made before the ball is snapped. So, I don't think it's a matter of the "plays" being complicated, it's what do you do when the guys on the other side of the ball do something other than what was expected.

The defense has been excellent at it. Offense - nope.
 
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cmhawks99

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I watched a Kelvin Bell video about the defense. He described defense as being all about filling gaps on the field. He made it seem simple, but I'm sure it isn't. The reason the defense has played so well the last few years is that everyone understands their assignments, and then they go execute it.

Offense is probably more complicated than defense. And it absolutely isn't just on the QB to understand it. Everyone on the offense has to understand their assignment. It sure doesn't look like everyone does.

Obviously, the calls on both offense and defense are made before the ball is snapped. So, I don't think it's a matter of the "plays" being complicated, it's what do you do when the guys on the other side of the ball do something other than what was expected.

The defense has been excellent at it. Offense - nope.

great thought!!
 
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We have been missing the great running game for years, not just under BF. We need to run the ball better.
The problem is how do you do that without a mobile QB adding extra yards to your figures?

We had two RBs go over 1000 yards in the same season and we still finished near the bottom of the conference in rushing yards that year...............stats can be fluky and unindicitive of success like that.
 

sober_teacher

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The problem is how do you do that without a mobile QB adding extra yards to your figures?

We had two RBs go over 1000 yards in the same season and we still finished near the bottom of the conference in rushing yards that year...............stats can be fluky and unindicitive of success like that.

It’s deceptive to just quote raw stats like that since we also run few plays, thus resulting in fewer total yards overall.

Yes, and they don't work. Lol

How do you know if an audible worked if you don’t know when one was or wasn’t called? I wish I was a mind reader like you.
 

WinOneThisCentury II

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So...this simpler approach is all good and everything, and I'm completely on board. Now that the offense is easier to understand...what do we do about our offensive tackles who are 100% confident who they need to block...and can't get the job done. Is there a simpler way to block guys like Ojabo and Hutchenson?

Let me know because if we don't block anyone, we are still going to look alot like last year even though everyone is all excited because things got simpler.
 

Iowa Hog

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Some of us have been calling for Iowa to simplify its offense for most of the KF era. Finally, after a couple of decades, MAYBE it's beginning to happen. According to Chad Leistikow in the Press-Citizen, there are hints of this monumental move:

"Wide receiver Keagan Johnson indicated that things have been simplified on offense. Recall, quarterback Alex Padilla said during Iowa’s Citrus Bowl prep in December, 'This offense is not easy. It takes a year, year-and-a-half to learn the intricacies of it.'

"That is a quote that can really stick to an offensive coordinator. And It sounds like — again, sounds like — Brian Ferentz has gotten the message and isn't content to rely on the same concepts this spring and in the fall.

“'Definitely making things more simple but also just adjusting things that we did last year,'” Johnson said. “'We realize there are easier ways to do it.'”

See the entire article here: https://www.press-citizen.com/story...yes-brian-ferentz-offense-changes/7275417001/

I have repeatedly offered this observation from Albert Einstein, "Everything should be made as simple as possible," as I called for KF and BF to stop treating offensive football as if it were quantum physics. KF and BF harp constantly on "execution." Well guess what? The simpler the system is, the better the execution is. And you don't have to be an Einstein to understand that.

Keegan Johnson says "there are easier ways to do it." Who knew? Almost everyone not named Ferentz. And now, maybe, even those fellas are being nudged to adopt the KISS system--Keep It Simple Stupid. And to think it has only taken 20 years . . .
 
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Iowa Hog

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So...this simpler approach is all good and everything, and I'm completely on board. Now that the offense is easier to understand...what do we do about our offensive tackles who are 100% confident who they need to block...and can't get the job done. Is there a simpler way to block guys like Ojabo and Hutchenson?

Let me know because if we don't block anyone, we are still going to look alot like last year even though everyone is all excited because things got simpler.
Under Ferentz the announcers are always talking about Iowa's defense being good because it is basic and the players know what to do, and at the same time the Ferentz offense is complicated and QBs are confused based
on Padillas comments. Few teams get less yards after the catch than Iowa
 

cmhawks99

HR Heisman
Jul 23, 2002
9,295
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Under Ferentz the announcers are always talking about Iowa's defense being good because it is basic and the players know what to do, and at the same time the Ferentz offense is complicated and QBs are confused based
on Padillas comments. Few teams get less yards after the catch than Iowa

Really?! I’m not sure I’ve ever heard this ?
 
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I have never, ever heard KF blame someone else, EVER. We’ve also won a shit ton of football games for a mediocre egomaniac coach.

So it seems we have that coach you’re looking for, who knew?

😎
Omg. He just blames no one and takes no responsibility when things go wrong, but also, on the positive side, doesn’t grandstand when things go well.

he just retreats into “that’s football” when it goes sideways.

there are enough fanboy hero worshippers to praise him gushingly when they go well so he doesn’t need to grandstand.

He’s a good coach. Solid and stable to a fault. Not a great one though. Not so far. Maybe If in his final years he evolves and changes his style to adapt to how the game has evolved, he can still be. And if he leaves the cupboard very full when he retires, and knows when is best for the program and university, putting ego aside, unlike Hayden, he can be.
 

ghostOfHomer777

HR Heisman
May 20, 2014
8,138
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I meant in the sense that Iowa seems to want to run a lot of FB + RB + TE formations that basically invite a ton of people at the LOS.
When Hawks use multi-TE formations ...they can usually leverage that into a mismatch in coverage against a LB or S. The caveat there is that protection still needs to hold up.

Also, fans tend to lament Iowa having a tendency ... however, one of the whole points of being a play-action team is to PURPOSELY establish tendencies so that when you break tendency, it's often a game-changing sort of play.

Also, suppose that you're a team that is always doing the "unpredictable" ... then that means that you're doing lots of different sorts of plays ... but at times that tend to go against down and distance. If that is occurring ... then how exactly does a team manage to consistently execute such a wide variety of plays at a high level? The answer is that very few IF ANY teams can manage to do that. What most teams try to do is to have a particular identity ... and they try to do at least a few things VERY well. Teams attempt to have a specialty ... and they execute that specialty with the greatest frequency because it helps them to refine their craft at executing that specialty. Without getting all those reps (at their specialty) ... they simply wouldn't be as good at it. Even if the opposition knows that some form of that specialty is coming ... they still need to stop it. Furthermore, as with any specialty ... there's usually some flexibility and/or adaptability.

Just as Coach Bell said ... even as it relates to having the DL execute at a higher level ... the guys need to improve their play-recognition ... and that all starts with improving their pre-snap IQ. If players know their responsibility and know how to adapt what they're doing based on their recognitions ... then that allows them to be more apt to adapt to what they see.

This perspective is 100% consistent with what made Marshall Yanda such a tremendous pro. Folks like to celebrate his absurd toughness ... but the REALLY big thing that propelled him to being an All-Pro was his meticulous preparation. Yanda knew the game ... he knew what to expect from his opponents ... so he knew how to leverage that knowledge to get in on as many meaningful blocks as possible.

So when you see the Hawks line up to run the ball against a stacked front - you have to realize that there is always the expectation that if the Iowa blockers still manage to do their job and adapt properly to what they see from the D ... that running play still has a chance to be successful. If Iowa can still regularly pull off 3 or 4 yard gains on early downs ... even against stacked boxes ... then that simply permits the Hawks to go into anaconda mode in such games.
 

BBHawk

HR Legend
Oct 31, 2001
27,996
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Iowa City
When Hawks use multi-TE formations ...they can usually leverage that into a mismatch in coverage against a LB or S. The caveat there is that protection still needs to hold up.

Also, fans tend to lament Iowa having a tendency ... however, one of the whole points of being a play-action team is to PURPOSELY establish tendencies so that when you break tendency, it's often a game-changing sort of play.

Also, suppose that you're a team that is always doing the "unpredictable" ... then that means that you're doing lots of different sorts of plays ... but at times that tend to go against down and distance. If that is occurring ... then how exactly does a team manage to consistently execute such a wide variety of plays at a high level? The answer is that very few IF ANY teams can manage to do that. What most teams try to do is to have a particular identity ... and they try to do at least a few things VERY well. Teams attempt to have a specialty ... and they execute that specialty with the greatest frequency because it helps them to refine their craft at executing that specialty. Without getting all those reps (at their specialty) ... they simply wouldn't be as good at it. Even if the opposition knows that some form of that specialty is coming ... they still need to stop it. Furthermore, as with any specialty ... there's usually some flexibility and/or adaptability.

Just as Coach Bell said ... even as it relates to having the DL execute at a higher level ... the guys need to improve their play-recognition ... and that all starts with improving their pre-snap IQ. If players know their responsibility and know how to adapt what they're doing based on their recognitions ... then that allows them to be more apt to adapt to what they see.

This perspective is 100% consistent with what made Marshall Yanda such a tremendous pro. Folks like to celebrate his absurd toughness ... but the REALLY big thing that propelled him to being an All-Pro was his meticulous preparation. Yanda knew the game ... he knew what to expect from his opponents ... so he knew how to leverage that knowledge to get in on as many meaningful blocks as possible.

So when you see the Hawks line up to run the ball against a stacked front - you have to realize that there is always the expectation that if the Iowa blockers still manage to do their job and adapt properly to what they see from the D ... that running play still has a chance to be successful. If Iowa can still regularly pull off 3 or 4 yard gains on early downs ... even against stacked boxes ... then that simply permits the Hawks to go into anaconda mode in such games.
This^^^. And if Iowa has a run against a stacked box and blocks like they can? It's a TD. We have seen it, but it takes EVERYONE blocking as they have prepared. If it's a play action, the receiver leaks down the field and scores and again, it's a TD. We've seen these plays but not enough recently. The execution just hasn't been there on a consistent basis. Let's hope we see it next season.
 
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cmhawks99

HR Heisman
Jul 23, 2002
9,295
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Omg. He just blames no one and takes no responsibility when things go wrong, but also, on the positive side, doesn’t grandstand when things go well.

he just retreats into “that’s football” when it goes sideways.

there are enough fanboy hero worshippers to praise him gushingly when they go well so he doesn’t need to grandstand.

He’s a good coach. Solid and stable to a fault. Not a great one though. Not so far. Maybe If in his final years he evolves and changes his style to adapt to how the game has evolved, he can still be. And if he leaves the cupboard very full when he retires, and knows when is best for the program and university, putting ego aside, unlike Hayden, he can be.

You are a hyper-critical strange man. You must be fun at family gatherings.
 

cidhawkeye

HR Legend
Jun 21, 2009
12,941
7,641
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This^^^. And if Iowa has a run against a stacked box and blocks like they can? It's a TD. We have seen it, but it takes EVERYONE blocking as they have prepared. If it's a play action, the receiver leaks down the field and scores and again, it's a TD. We've seen these plays but not enough recently. The execution just hasn't been there on a consistent basis. Let's hope we see it next season.
Some good breakdowns in this thread. I think that the consistent running into a stacked box thinking that everyone will execute at the level required to be successful is a daunting task. It is what the Iowa defense wants the other team to do.
Think about that concept, the Iowa offense is designed to run exactly what the Iowa defense wants an offense to do.
At some point in time you have to lighten that box somehow. Setting up for the 1-2 plays that can be big plays doesn’t leave much room to overcome the drop, the overthrow, the whif by an olineman etc.
Execution can make a run into a stacked box work and that can be demoralizing to the defense but the reality is Iowa is rarely good enough to do it on a consistent basis.
 

obfuscating

HR Heisman
Jan 8, 2016
6,559
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Or maybe young people have just gotten dumber ... or wanted/needed more coddling?
(I'm mostly being sarcastic/sardonic here ... but it's served with a healthy dose of cynicism)
Well you are somewhat accurate, the coddling of the american mind has been going on for a decade. US kids are taught biological gender is a social construct while gender identity is "real".

But yes, if they can make the offense simpler (and effective) at the same time then DO IT!
 
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ghostOfHomer777

HR Heisman
May 20, 2014
8,138
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... exactly why the stubborn top down stuff doesn’t work. Good leaders and good coaches actually listen to players, and they learn.

A good system in any situation is good because it does the job, and more importantly, it empowers people on the team to do their jobs and be themselves and gives them space to be creative because situations on the ground are dynamic, even chaotic.

Mediocre people tend to make things more complicated and then blame others when it doesn’t work.

Kirk DOES implement a philosophy that permeates the program. That is true. He wants the team to be fundamentally sound and he wants the guys to truly know and understand the game. He doesn't believe in "shortcuts" ... he believes that people have to put in the work if they're going to refine their craft. A great distillation of his intention is that he wants his guys to be tough, smart, and physical.

Apart from "imposing" a philosophy ... you do realize that Kirk is renown for putting enormous trust in letting his assistant coaches "coach?" He's very much a delegator ... and his assistants have tremendous freedom as it relates them accomplishing their tasks at hand. Go back and read pretty much any article where Norm Parker gets a chance to talk about working with Kirk. He supplied great descriptions as it relates to the freedom that Kirk gave his coaches.

Kirk has plenty of foibles ... but throwing players or support staff under the bus is not one of them. If you're aware of Kirk's approach - every year everyone in the program is asked to be highly reflective ... about changes that might improve themselves, the program, etc. That sounds more like the sort of ingredient that you expect from a learning and adaptive organizational structure.

Omg. He just blames no one and takes no responsibility when things go wrong, but also, on the positive side, doesn’t grandstand when things go well.

he just retreats into “that’s football” when it goes sideways.
Please refrain from the age-old argumentative strategy of flinging feces until something sticks. Try to frame a consistent and cogent argument.

As for the "that's football" rebuttal ... consider weather prediction. Tons of people complain about the faultiness of weather prediction. They just assume that those doing it are dumb-shits and they just don't trust the results. However, the truth of the matter is that turbulent flows play a significant role in such predictions. The problem is that turbulent flows are truly chaotic. For folks who possess some quantitative literacy, there is the realization that chaotic phenomena is highly sensitive to the conditions of the system. To a modeler, it's not only sensitive to such conditions ... it's also sensitive to the uncertainties of your model. Consequently, any predictive ability is only valid over very short periods of time in the future. The point here being that the fault in weather prediction isn't (necessarily) with the predictors ... but it's just the nature of the beast that is weather prediction.

Similarly, when you're considering a football game - you're essentially considering a non-cooperative dynamical game (in a game-theory sense) ... just like weather prediction, we can try to tease out some "predictive" determinations. However, the problem is imbued with so much uncertainty (injuries, mental state of the players, both-teams possessing imperfect information about the other, etc) - that there are a combinatorially large number of possible outcomes. Some days, your team might play a perfect game ... but the other team played even better! That's still a loss! Fans like to blame coaches, blame players, blame schemes, etc ... but because the us-against-them nature of fandom, fans rarely give the opponents their due.

That's football ...
 
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Hawkatheart

Team MVP
Jan 9, 2017
174
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Been very very and I mean veeerrrry few QB sneaks that I don’t remember working?!
I am not sure what I can do to help you out, however there was failed QB sneak attempts in 2022 on 3rd and 1 then followed up with another failed attempt on 4th and 1. Very predictable and uncomplicated was my point.

Sorry, I can't help you with your poor memory though.
 

ghostOfHomer777

HR Heisman
May 20, 2014
8,138
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113
Some good breakdowns in this thread. I think that the consistent running into a stacked box thinking that everyone will execute at the level required to be successful is a daunting task. It is what the Iowa defense wants the other team to do.
Think about that concept, the Iowa offense is designed to run exactly what the Iowa defense wants an offense to do.
At some point in time you have to lighten that box somehow. Setting up for the 1-2 plays that can be big plays doesn’t leave much room to overcome the drop, the overthrow, the whif by an olineman etc.
Execution can make a run into a stacked box work and that can be demoralizing to the defense but the reality is Iowa is rarely good enough to do it on a consistent basis.
Kind of ... the Iowa D attempts to make an offense have to run a lot of plays and earn every point they make. The D doesn't necessarily care if they give up smaller gainers ... but the objective is to never give away "easy points."

This limits the number of possessions that EITHER team can have. This suppresses the score of the game - and, by default, can help keep Iowa in almost any game.

Furthermore, the objective is to force the opponent to get impatient. Because Phil "believes" so much in "zone-eyes" ... impatient, errant, or tipped balls all can fall prey to one of Iowa's "ball hawks." Consequently, not only does Iowa's D force opponents to earn every score ... the D tends to get a lot of take-aways. Thus, while Iowa's style of ball attempts to limit the number of possessions - when Iowa's D is working as intended - it still tends to lead our O to have the chance to benefit from MORE possessions.

As is also well-known by Iowa's fanbase - the Hawks are also adherents to "Punting is Winning!" This is classic field-position football. When the opposing O is stuck deep in their own territory - they tend to be more careful with the ball (because turnovers can be more catastrophic). Consequently, opposing offensive play is more predictable ... and that typically makes it easier for the D to force a punt.

As for Iowa's O ... the expectation and/or philosophy isn't at all to patiently grind down the field. Our multi-TE formations tend to force opposing Ds to play with their "big" personnel. That then schematically leads to mismatches in coverage. That gives us ONE means of getting chunk plays and flipping field position.

For Iowa, while it's advantageous to score (for obvious reasons) - the objective, at the very least, is to flip field position. To Iowa, punting can be a good outcome if it helps us pin the opposing O deep in their own territory. To complement the objective of limiting the opponents possessions - ideally the O chews up clock as it attempts to flip field position or score. The Hawkeye philosophy here is NOT predicated upon running a lot of plays (like some teams) ... but rather to be very deliberate in its pace (i.e. huddling and whatnot).

If the Iowa O is doing its job and AT LEAST flipping field position - this complements the D - and more likely will help the O to benefit from more short-fields. Short fields then typically equate to points - field goals at the very least.

However, the Iowa O is also about establishing tendency so that it can "catch the opponent" with eyes in the backfield - thereby giving the opportunity for a scoring play with play-action. Thus, the Hawkeye O is reliant on rare-events swinging the momentum in the game. If and when Iowa manages such plays - this completely complements the rest of the game-plan ... because then the opposing O is more apt to press with the ball in the passing game. With our "zone eyes" ... such pressing CAN potentially lead to more picks.

Thus, the point being - Iowa's D is required to be disciplined AT ALL TIMES - because we are trying to force the opponent to be consistent and methodical.

However, the premise of the O is NOT necessarily to be consistent and methodical (although that obviously is ideal if it CAN be) - but rather to flip the field position, chew up clock, and hopefully lull the opposing D into biting too much on the tendency that WE DICTATE (which can then lead to big, game-changing plays).
 

cmhawks99

HR Heisman
Jul 23, 2002
9,295
3,447
113
I am not sure what I can do to help you out, however there was failed QB sneak attempts in 2022 on 3rd and 1 then followed up with another failed attempt on 4th and 1. Very predictable and uncomplicated was my point.

Sorry, I can't help you with your poor memory though.

You don’t really need to help me you really made the point… It’s pretty consistently been affective. Padilla on the other hand has failed a couple times because he’s not very big and I said as much in another post he might’ve even been the quarterback at the time you’re referencing….

Sorry you didn’t get the point to begin with.
 

ObeseMuffins

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Jan 7, 2007
1,340
2,017
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Football is football; it's not freaking rocket science. Offense is predicated on rhythm. When you're THINKING THINKING THINKING - you're failing.
 
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David1979

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When Hawks use multi-TE formations ...they can usually leverage that into a mismatch in coverage against a LB or S. The caveat there is that protection still needs to hold up.

Also, fans tend to lament Iowa having a tendency ... however, one of the whole points of being a play-action team is to PURPOSELY establish tendencies so that when you break tendency, it's often a game-changing sort of play.

Also, suppose that you're a team that is always doing the "unpredictable" ... then that means that you're doing lots of different sorts of plays ... but at times that tend to go against down and distance. If that is occurring ... then how exactly does a team manage to consistently execute such a wide variety of plays at a high level? The answer is that very few IF ANY teams can manage to do that. What most teams try to do is to have a particular identity ... and they try to do at least a few things VERY well. Teams attempt to have a specialty ... and they execute that specialty with the greatest frequency because it helps them to refine their craft at executing that specialty. Without getting all those reps (at their specialty) ... they simply wouldn't be as good at it. Even if the opposition knows that some form of that specialty is coming ... they still need to stop it. Furthermore, as with any specialty ... there's usually some flexibility and/or adaptability.

Just as Coach Bell said ... even as it relates to having the DL execute at a higher level ... the guys need to improve their play-recognition ... and that all starts with improving their pre-snap IQ. If players know their responsibility and know how to adapt what they're doing based on their recognitions ... then that allows them to be more apt to adapt to what they see.

This perspective is 100% consistent with what made Marshall Yanda such a tremendous pro. Folks like to celebrate his absurd toughness ... but the REALLY big thing that propelled him to being an All-Pro was his meticulous preparation. Yanda knew the game ... he knew what to expect from his opponents ... so he knew how to leverage that knowledge to get in on as many meaningful blocks as possible.

So when you see the Hawks line up to run the ball against a stacked front - you have to realize that there is always the expectation that if the Iowa blockers still manage to do their job and adapt properly to what they see from the D ... that running play still has a chance to be successful. If Iowa can still regularly pull off 3 or 4 yard gains on early downs ... even against stacked boxes ... then that simply permits the Hawks to go into anaconda mode in such games.

This kind of thinking is why the Iowa offense has struggled. And if you don't think the objective of the Iowa offense is to score then you are just lying to yourself to justify bad offense.
 
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sober_teacher

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Kind of ... the Iowa D attempts to make an offense have to run a lot of plays and earn every point they make. The D doesn't necessarily care if they give up smaller gainers ... but the objective is to never give away "easy points."

This limits the number of possessions that EITHER team can have. This suppresses the score of the game - and, by default, can help keep Iowa in almost any game.

Furthermore, the objective is to force the opponent to get impatient. Because Phil "believes" so much in "zone-eyes" ... impatient, errant, or tipped balls all can fall prey to one of Iowa's "ball hawks." Consequently, not only does Iowa's D force opponents to earn every score ... the D tends to get a lot of take-aways. Thus, while Iowa's style of ball attempts to limit the number of possessions - when Iowa's D is working as intended - it still tends to lead our O to have the chance to benefit from MORE possessions.

As is also well-known by Iowa's fanbase - the Hawks are also adherents to "Punting is Winning!" This is classic field-position football. When the opposing O is stuck deep in their own territory - they tend to be more careful with the ball (because turnovers can be more catastrophic). Consequently, opposing offensive play is more predictable ... and that typically makes it easier for the D to force a punt.

As for Iowa's O ... the expectation and/or philosophy isn't at all to patiently grind down the field. Our multi-TE formations tend to force opposing Ds to play with their "big" personnel. That then schematically leads to mismatches in coverage. That gives us ONE means of getting chunk plays and flipping field position.

For Iowa, while it's advantageous to score (for obvious reasons) - the objective, at the very least, is to flip field position. To Iowa, punting can be a good outcome if it helps us pin the opposing O deep in their own territory. To complement the objective of limiting the opponents possessions - ideally the O chews up clock as it attempts to flip field position or score. The Hawkeye philosophy here is NOT predicated upon running a lot of plays (like some teams) ... but rather to be very deliberate in its pace (i.e. huddling and whatnot).

If the Iowa O is doing its job and AT LEAST flipping field position - this complements the D - and more likely will help the O to benefit from more short-fields. Short fields then typically equate to points - field goals at the very least.

However, the Iowa O is also about establishing tendency so that it can "catch the opponent" with eyes in the backfield - thereby giving the opportunity for a scoring play with play-action. Thus, the Hawkeye O is reliant on rare-events swinging the momentum in the game. If and when Iowa manages such plays - this completely complements the rest of the game-plan ... because then the opposing O is more apt to press with the ball in the passing game. With our "zone eyes" ... such pressing CAN potentially lead to more picks.

Thus, the point being - Iowa's D is required to be disciplined AT ALL TIMES - because we are trying to force the opponent to be consistent and methodical.

However, the premise of the O is NOT necessarily to be consistent and methodical (although that obviously is ideal if it CAN be) - but rather to flip the field position, chew up clock, and hopefully lull the opposing D into biting too much on the tendency that WE DICTATE (which can then lead to big, game-changing plays).

And people forget that during the 6-0 start, Iowa largely played this philosophy to perfection even tho the offensive stats were ugly. Didn’t turn the ball over, scored on short fields and avoided mistakes on offense, while taking advantage of the short fields the defense and special teams provided. Week 7 on, that stopped working for a variety of reasons.
 

David1979

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I think it is good Iowa is simplifying things for the players and also developing better route trees. Too many times you would see multiple receivers in the same area. I also feel like Iowa doesn't do a good job of teaching their WRs to improvise once the play breaks down and QB is looking for someone. I see them standing around a lot.
I worry part of the perceived improvements though are because they are playing against a lot of backup LBs and DBs.

Encouraged by the news that OL is pushing guys around so far in spring. I am guessing both Richman and Colby make big jumps this year.
 
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ghostOfHomer777

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And people forget that during the 6-0 start, Iowa largely played this philosophy to perfection even tho the offensive stats were ugly. Didn’t turn the ball over, scored on short fields and avoided mistakes on offense, while taking advantage of the short fields the defense and special teams provided. Week 7 on, that stopped working for a variety of reasons.
Some of the teams we played ALSO had excellent punting. Also, Wisconsin was able to do an even better job of flipping the field.

We failed to get pressure on the QB against Purdue (as in some other games) - and without that harassment, passers were able to move the ball through the air without pressing. Furthermore, with Hankins injured and/or out and Moss being out and/or less than 100% ... our secondary was much more exploitable in the second half of the season.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how Harris held up given his inexperience ... however, all the same, opposing Os really did go after him.
 
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ghostOfHomer777

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This kind of thinking is why the Iowa offense has struggled. And if you don't think the objective of the Iowa offense is to score then you are just lying to yourself to justify bad offense.
Look at what Iowa does with personnel throughout the years. First and foremost, Ferentz and Co try to make sure that the defense is stocked-up first.

Not to say that the O is necessarily an after-thought ... but our style of game DOES put a lot more pressure on our D.

And OF COURSE the O wants to move the ball and score on EVERY POSSESSION ... however, the point is that the philosophy permits the team to win EVEN WHEN the O is struggling.

Given Iowa's lack of results producing NFL-caliber QBs ... I've been increasingly critical of the cognitive load that our style of ball has put on our QB. Our O could benefit from tweaks that allows our QB (and O) to play faster. Part of that needn't change the O as much as changing how they teach it and (maybe) how they call it onto the field. Thus, it's heartening to hear that the O is changing things up a little.

However, as it relates to Iowa's OL play - the Hawks have quite a track-record of developing elite O-linemen. The Iowa OL truly is "built" ... and it can obviously be quite a process ... and sometimes a painful one for we fans to witness. However, this is in instance where the ends have justified the means. We still have won games at quite a decent clip ... and we still develop excellent O-linemen. The rewards of which help us to recruit quite well at the position too.
 

cmhawks99

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Kirk DOES implement a philosophy that permeates the program. That is true. He wants the team to be fundamentally sound and he wants the guys to truly know and understand the game. He doesn't believe in "shortcuts" ... he believes that people have to put in the work if they're going to refine their craft. A great distillation of his intention is that he wants his guys to be tough, smart, and physical.

Apart from "imposing" a philosophy ... you do realize that Kirk is renown for putting enormous trust in letting his assistant coaches "coach." He's very much a delegator ... and his assistants have tremendous freedom as it relates them accomplishing their tasks at hand. Go back and read pretty much any article where Norm Parker gets a chance to talk about working with Kirk. He supplied great descriptions as it relates to the freedom that Kirk gave his coaches.

Kirk has plenty of foibles ... but throwing players or support staff under the bus is not one of them. If you're aware of Kirk's approach - every year everyone in the program is asked to be highly reflective ... about changes that might improve themselves, the program, etc. That sounds more like the sort of ingredient that you expect from a learning and adaptive organizational structure.


Please refrain from the age-old argumentative strategy of flinging feces until something sticks. Try to frame a consistent and cogent argument.

As for the "that's football" rebuttal ... consider weather prediction. Tons of people complain about the faultiness of weather prediction. They just assume that those doing it are dumb-shits and they just don't trust the results. However, the truth of the matter is that turbulent flows play a significant role in such endeavors. The problem with such flows is that turbulent flows are truly chaotic. For folks who possess some quantitative literacy, there is the realization that chaotic phenomena is highly sensitive to the conditions of the system. To a modeler, it's not only sensitive to such conditions ... it's also sensitive to the uncertainties of your model. Consequently, any predictive ability is only valid over very short periods of time in the future. The point here being that the fault in weather prediction isn't (necessarily) with the predictors ... but it's just the nature of the beast that is weather prediction.

Similarly, when you're considering a football game - you're essentially considering a non-cooperative dynamical game (in a game-theory sense) ... just like weather prediction, we can try to tease out some "predictive" determinations. However, the problem is imbued with so much uncertainty (injuries, mental state of the players, both-teams possessing imperfect information about the other, etc) - that there are a combinatorially large number of possible outcomes. Some days, your team might play a perfect game ... but the other team played even better! That's still a loss! Fans like to blame coaches, blame players, blame schemes, etc ... but because the us-against-them nature of fandom, fans rarely give the opponents their due.

That's football ...

Beautiful prose Homer!