Offense will be better and here's why

Auger

HR All-American
Sep 14, 2007
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I don't think Spencer will take that big of a step forward this year but I think he takes a step forward and it will be because everything around him on offense will improve. As a result the offense will be better. Here is why.

First the depth chart released today is crap. There are guys starting who might not even play and guys playing positions they haven't really been practicing at this camp. Gennings Dunker and Connor Colby are two key examples of this. I know Dunker has been getting a lot of 1st and 2nd team reps at the guard spots. I also know he has done well at RG while Colby has been the acting RT for what has been most of camp. I have also heard Plumb has played both OT's as well as RG. This leads me to my point on why the offense will be much improved.

3rd and short. Iowa's run game struggled last year and passing on first and 2nd down didn't help put Iowa in manageable 3rd downs. Petras isn't going to make big plays to keep drives going all game. He may only have a handful of those throws in him a game. Iowa needs to put themselves in manageable 3rd down situations. The run game this year will do that. Iowa has finally returned to a power run game set. The RB's are bigger and can bounce off tackles. They also are solid one cut and hit runners. Arm touch tackles aren't going to bring this stable of backs down. I love backs like Goodson and Wadley but backs like that aren't running through arm tackles. They're great to have if you can pair them with a bigger back.

The coaching staff also spent a lot of time this off season getting the OL bigger and stronger. It's a tell that the staff is returning to a power run game. When the staff and media were buzzing about the Iowa running backs this summer Colby was playing RT and Dunker was playing guard. The coaching staff aren't playing Colby at RT and Dunker at OG for pretty much all or most of camp in August just to switch Colby back at RG and Dunker to third string. There is something there with those two that's working. From what I heard about Dunker and run blocking they have something there the coaches really like. The coaching staff and personnel have also stressed finding the right combinations that work well together and how important that is. Expect Iowa to be solid running the ball this year. The OL and RB's will put the offense in a lot more 3rd and short situations providing Petras with manageable situations inside his comfort zone. This will help Iowa put points on the board and field position working for them. I think Iowa has two 800-900 yd runners and one that gets about 400yds. The RB's will combine for right around 2,000yds this year.

Iowa will get the run game going this year. They may not be breakaway threats but their ability to get 3-5yds a carry more consistently will set up 3rd and short while also allowing Iowa to better utilize the talent at WR/TE. By just getting another yard or two on first and 2nd down this year it will present a bigger challenge this year to opposing defenses and keep them from boxing the Iowa offense in. 2nd and 6 or 2nd and 5 will also be a lot better than 2nd and 8 or 10 like we saw a lot of last year. It will allow Iowa to mix things up on both 2nd and 3rd down.
 

David1979

HR Legend
Oct 17, 2013
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I don't think Spencer will take that big of a step forward this year but I think he takes a step forward and it will be because everything around him on offense will improve. As a result the offense will be better. Here is why.

First the depth chart released today is crap. There are guys starting who might not even play and guys playing positions they haven't really been practicing at this camp. Gennings Dunker and Connor Colby are two key examples of this. I know Dunker has been getting a lot of 1st and 2nd team reps at the guard spots. I also know he has done well at RG while Colby has been the acting RT for what has been most of camp. I have also heard Plumb has played both OT's as well as RG. This leads me to my point on why the offense will be much improved.

3rd and short. Iowa's run game struggled last year and passing on first and 2nd down didn't help put Iowa in manageable 3rd downs. Petras isn't going to make big plays to keep drives going all game. He may only have a handful of those throws in him a game. Iowa needs to put themselves in manageable 3rd down situations. The run game this year will do that. Iowa has finally returned to a power run game set. The RB's are bigger and can bounce off tackles. They also are solid one cut and hit runners. Arm touch tackles aren't going to bring this stable of backs down. I love backs like Goodson and Wadley but backs like that aren't running through arm tackles. They're great to have if you can pair them with a bigger back.

The coaching staff also spent a lot of time this off season getting the OL bigger and stronger. It's a tell that the staff is returning to a power run game. When the staff and media were buzzing about the Iowa running backs this summer Colby was playing RT and Dunker was playing guard. The coaching staff aren't playing Colby at RT and Dunker at OG for pretty much all or most of camp in August just to switch Colby back at RG and Dunker to third string. There is something there with those two that's working. From what I heard about Dunker and run blocking they have something there the coaches really like. The coaching staff and personnel have also stressed finding the right combinations that work well together and how important that is. Expect Iowa to be solid running the ball this year. The OL and RB's will put the offense in a lot more 3rd and short situations providing Petras with manageable situations inside his comfort zone. This will help Iowa put points on the board and field position working for them. I think Iowa has two 800-900 yd runners and one that gets about 400yds. The RB's will combine for right around 2,000yds this year.

Iowa will get the run game going this year. They may not be breakaway threats but their ability to get 3-5yds a carry more consistently will set up 3rd and short while also allowing Iowa to better utilize the talent at WR/TE. By just getting another yard or two on first and 2nd down this year it will present a bigger challenge this year to opposing defenses and keep them from boxing the Iowa offense in. 2nd and 6 or 2nd and 5 will also be a lot better than 2nd and 8 or 10 like we saw a lot of last year. It will allow Iowa to mix things up on both 2nd and 3rd down.
They very well could be starting Colby at RT and Dunker at RG, however, this move was made because of injuries to two tackles so it is hard to say how things are look with at least Richman back. I think it would say more if Richman was healthy and playing and they moved Colby to RT and Dunker to starting RG. For me it is more of a wait and see.
 

Auger

HR All-American
Sep 14, 2007
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They very well could be starting Colby at RT and Dunker at RG, however, this move was made because of injuries to two tackles so it is hard to say how things are look with at least Richman back. I think it would say more if Richman was healthy and playing and they moved Colby to RT and Dunker to starting RG. For me it is more of a wait and see.
Richman and DeJong were both injured but Plumb has been rotating around a bit. Could Plumb rotate back to RT, yes. However it's odd that Plumb is the rotational guy where as Colby and Dunker stuck on the right side for more than 2 weeks. That period is also where we saw and heard that the run game found it's stride. We also know that Plumb can play both OT's and RG. The coaching staff keeps bringing up finding guys that work well together. At this point in camp why would the staff be playing Dunker and Colby on the right so much together if they didn't plan on them playing together. I think Colby and Plumb could play together but I also think Dunker and Colby is something that is working really well right now. Today's depth chart tells us nothing. Dunker isn't going to come out of nowhere play really well and stick with the first unit for more than 2 weeks and then be banished to 3rd string the first week of the season.

After Dunker won the hay bale toss in Solon I asked two really solid sources about him. One question I asked was what happened to Dunker he really got big? Both stated he had a really good offseason and was someone that came to camp ready to play. I found it interesting that this summer his name was talked about a lot within the football circles and then all of a sudden he broke through of guys ahead of him on the depth chart and not only did that but he stuck with the 1st unit for pretty much all of camp. One guy told me "The dude can plow."
 

The Deplorable Sleeping Dog

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The season could come be made or broken by 2 seniors that have every possible need to dramatically improve their career level play: Spencer and Jack Plumb.

Plumb and DeJong were almost helpless they'd gotten beaten so bad or just whiffed. Their presence at right tackle is discomforting. Otherwise, Auger has it on point. We might see a lot of different combinations Saturday but there are bigger and better players filing those holes. The O line has more paper than ink in lineup released today, I think.
 

ghostOfHomer777

HR Heisman
May 20, 2014
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If Spencer's processing time has sped up ... then his efficiency could make a marked jump.

Spencer knows the offense and he's a proven winner. He's led us to victory in some big games - and has demonstrated an ability to overcome adversity.

The fact of the matter is that he IS an experienced guy ... and it's very possible that we'll see that experience actually make a difference in terms of wins and losses for us.
 

BubsFinn

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Nov 20, 2004
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Since when does experience under center at Iowa translate into a marked improvement in play? Did Spencer really improve all that much from ‘20 to ‘21?
I don’t blame Spencer.
 

Pepperman

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I agree with the OP’s main premise which is (to me) “power backs tend to fall forward”. Iowa’s offense has to stay on schedule, and whether that happens because of better OL play or better RBs for the system, I’m happy. I think it’ll be a combination of both.

interestingly, a guy I work with is a WIS and Packers fan, so he’s watched Goodson as an opponent and as a hopeful pro signing. He says something was wrong last year as Goodson looks completely different. Maybe that’s the OL difference or maybe it’s something else, but I find it an interesting observation from an “outsider” of sorts.
 

OutbackBowl2017

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I agree with the OP’s main premise which is (to me) “power backs tend to fall forward”. Iowa’s offense has to stay on schedule, and whether that happens because of better OL play or better RBs for the system, I’m happy. I think it’ll be a combination of both.

interestingly, a guy I work with is a WIS and Packers fan, so he’s watched Goodson as an opponent and as a hopeful pro signing. He says something was wrong last year as Goodson looks completely different. Maybe that’s the OL difference or maybe it’s something else, but I find it an interesting observation from an “outsider” of sorts.
He’s on a pro roster. He has to make plays or get cut. He made plays for Iowa during his career but also didn’t hit the hole when needed and laid down instead of take contact or inflict it. In pass pro, he didn’t take on the rusher like he should have to put it nicely. There is a reason he wasn’t drafted.

I look forward to seeing what these four running backs will do for Iowa this fall hitting the hole while inflicting contact and taking on the rusher in pass protection.
 

desihawk

HR Heisman
Oct 1, 2002
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I agree with the OP’s main premise which is (to me) “power backs tend to fall forward”. Iowa’s offense has to stay on schedule, and whether that happens because of better OL play or better RBs for the system, I’m happy. I think it’ll be a combination of both.

interestingly, a guy I work with is a WIS and Packers fan, so he’s watched Goodson as an opponent and as a hopeful pro signing. He says something was wrong last year as Goodson looks completely different. Maybe that’s the OL difference or maybe it’s something else, but I find it an interesting observation from an “outsider” of sorts.
goodson did look quite different in the past (before 2021) at iowa too. i think last year was a combo both of ol deficiencies and goodson preserving himself by playing soft between the tackes. he was still good enough for 1000+, so definitely talented
 

BBHawk

HR Legend
Oct 31, 2001
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Iowa City
I agree with the OP’s main premise which is (to me) “power backs tend to fall forward”. Iowa’s offense has to stay on schedule, and whether that happens because of better OL play or better RBs for the system, I’m happy. I think it’ll be a combination of both.

interestingly, a guy I work with is a WIS and Packers fan, so he’s watched Goodson as an opponent and as a hopeful pro signing. He says something was wrong last year as Goodson looks completely different. Maybe that’s the OL difference or maybe it’s something else, but I find it an interesting observation from an “outsider” of sorts.
Everyone saw that. Goodson was back-pedaling many times when he didn't see a hole. He genuinely seemed to be avoiding contact, losing yards in the process.
 

farina1

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I agree with the OP’s main premise which is (to me) “power backs tend to fall forward”. Iowa’s offense has to stay on schedule, and whether that happens because of better OL play or better RBs for the system, I’m happy. I think it’ll be a combination of both.

interestingly, a guy I work with is a WIS and Packers fan, so he’s watched Goodson as an opponent and as a hopeful pro signing. He says something was wrong last year as Goodson looks completely different. Maybe that’s the OL difference or maybe it’s something else, but I find it an interesting observation from an “outsider” of sorts.
Defenders two yards deep in your backfield and in your grill about as soon as you get the handoff is not a good formula.
 

MonmouthHawk

Scout Team
Aug 29, 2002
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The OL was really bad last year. The Tackles had problems and the really impacted the passing game which was under heat since the running game struggled too. I thought the OL looked way better vs. Kentucky but not good enough to really dominate. UK was a good test. Petras should have a much better year but the WR is pretty thin but the two young guys obviously could break out. I look for the TEs to have a monster year. What is really interesting is that it seems like the RB room is stacked. FYI Atlas Shrugged is over 1000 pages but should still be read.
 

Dargo

HR MVP
Jun 13, 2020
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The OL was really bad last year. The Tackles had problems and the really impacted the passing game which was under heat since the running game struggled too. I thought the OL looked way better vs. Kentucky but not good enough to really dominate. UK was a good test. Petras should have a much better year but the WR is pretty thin but the two young guys obviously could break out. I look for the TEs to have a monster year. What is really interesting is that it seems like the RB room is stacked. FYI Atlas Shrugged is over 1000 pages but should still be read.
Kentucky’s whole starting defensive line didn’t play that game. That had more to do with our line looking better than anything else, but Spencer was still bad.
 

sober_teacher

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Kentucky’s whole starting defensive line didn’t play that game. That had more to do with our line looking better than anything else, but Spencer was still bad.
Pretty sure it was only one or two players on the DL for kentucky that missed the game. It's not like it was entirely against the 2nd stringers.

I was more impressed by the fact that it was as cohesive as they'd looked all season. and yeah, still not a great game for Spencer.

Hopefully the fact that he's starting saturday says more about him taking a step forward than it does about the backups.
 

Auger

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Pretty sure it was only one or two players on the DL for kentucky that missed the game. It's not like it was entirely against the 2nd stringers.

I was more impressed by the fact that it was as cohesive as they'd looked all season. and yeah, still not a great game for Spencer.

Hopefully the fact that he's starting saturday says more about him taking a step forward than it does about the backups.
Kentucky had a few starters missing on the DL and at LB. They also had a few guys from the 2nd string missing. They were very thin on their front 7 during the bowl game.

That said I don't think that game has any bearing on this year. I fully believe the SO's and RFR on the OL will be taking a big step forward this Fall much like the DL did last year. Remember it wasn't until Summer/Fall camp that guys on the DL took that step. I think we saw that similar step with the OL this camp. I expect them to start slow byt really pick up steam as the season progresses. By October I think the OL will be a very solid and productive unit atleast running the ball.
 
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Dubeuchre

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Jun 22, 2018
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I have some hope actually based on what northwestern did last weekend. They were running the ball effectively but also had so many quick hitters that were vertical, not just horizontal with the LOS. Most of those balls were thrown within 2.5 seconds and were quick reads. Then that opens up downfield shots. It sounds like with Iowa simplifying their offense a bit this is kind of what they are going for? I can hope anyway.
 

sober_teacher

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Kentucky had a few starters missing on the DL and at LB. They also had a few guys from the 2nd string missing. They were very thin on their front 7 during the bowl game.

That said I don't think that game has any bearing on this year. I fully believe the SO's and RFR on the OL will be taking a big step forward this Fall much like the DL did last year. Remember it wasn't until Summer/Fall camp that guys on the DL took that step. I think we saw that similar step with the OL this camp. I expect them to start slow byt really pick up steam as the season progresses. By October I think the OL will be a very solid and productive unit atleast running the ball.

Agreed. We have every reason from Kirk’s history to believe the OL performance last year was a blip and we can expect improvement to at least above average in quality.
 
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OutbackBowl2017

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Pretty sure it was only one or two players on the DL for kentucky that missed the game. It's not like it was entirely against the 2nd stringers.

I was more impressed by the fact that it was as cohesive as they'd looked all season. and yeah, still not a great game for Spencer.

Hopefully the fact that he's starting saturday says more about him taking a step forward than it does about the backups.
From everything I’ve heard through the grape vine, he is starting because he not as bad as the other options. In other words, Iowa doesn’t have a viable option at QB. It could be a very long year based on the results of the bowl game and his performance in that game, which wasn’t good with over throws of wide open guys or completely missed them to throwing the three interceptions.
 

Bulldogs1974

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So tired of this, as if Iowa's the only team in america that has pass plays on 3rd and long that has routes that run short of the sticks.
I do see it more during Iowa games than I do in the other games I watch on Saturday Friday and Thursday. It's not that Iowa designs routes that way, it's just that, unlike other schools that will throw a 1-1 fade and hope for a catch/interference call, Iowa's qb's are so beat down with safe safe safe, throw it away; they become check down charlies. I would say Iowa makes their qb's that way, they don't come in like that.
Is it Iowa's strategy, yes but I'll never understand not having a qb with a little more moxie. By moxie I only mean they are willing to run 3-4 times a game on 3rd down. Banks and beathard got Iowa 2-3 more series a game with their legs. With Iowa's tight margins for victory that makes a huge difference.
I will say the same thing for big running backs.
 

rrsteffe

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The OL was really bad last year. The Tackles had problems and the really impacted the passing game which was under heat since the running game struggled too. I thought the OL looked way better vs. Kentucky but not good enough to really dominate. UK was a good test. Petras should have a much better year but the WR is pretty thin but the two young guys obviously could break out. I look for the TEs to have a monster year. What is really interesting is that it seems like the RB room is stacked. FYI Atlas Shrugged is over 1000 pages but should still be read.
FYI Atlas Shrugged is over 1000 pages of dreck, but it makes good toilet paper.
 
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sober_teacher

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From everything I’ve heard through the grape vine, he is starting because he not as bad as the other options. In other words, Iowa doesn’t have a viable option at QB. It could be a very long year based on the results of the bowl game and his performance in that game, which wasn’t good with over throws of wide open guys or completely missed them to throwing the three interceptions.
Who knows.

a lot of the podcasts and articles I’ve read suggest that Petras may be one of the smartest qbs Kirk has had, its just that in games he keeps over-processing, overthinking things - leading to rushed throws, sacks etc.

to my untrained eye, it seems like he simply has poor pocket presence, and doesn’t know how to move around enough. Hopefully the tweaks lead to him making quicker decisions this year.
 
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