This season, the Iowa Hawkeyes will break in a new offensive coordinator, which means a new approach to offense and more production. Right?
Let's hope so, as Iowa's offense over the last 13 years has had high points—including 2002 and Shonn Greene's Doak Walker Award-winning 2008 season—but those moments have been few and far between.
There is no getting around that most of the Hawkeyes' success has been because of the defense, and, in some cases, in spite of the offense.
This article is going to project the offensive statistics of the Hawkeyes in 2012, short of two key statistics—points scored and turnovers, though I will explain why I made no attempt to guess how Iowa will do in those categories.
First of all, while Iowa does have a new offensive coordinator, Kirk Ferentz is still the head coach. While I expect some tweaks to the offense, I do not expect an overhaul or anything close to it. To that end, it is worth considering how the Hawks have parceled out their plays over the last few years before determining what this season will look like.
For those that need a reminder as to the meanings of mean, median and range—I don't blame you—this site does an adequate job of defining them.
Total Offensive Plays, Last Five Years
Median: 835 (2008)
Range: 806 (2010)-865 (2011)
Total Offensive Yards, Last Five Years
Median: 4,815 (2008)
Range: 3,796 (2007)-4,978 (2010)
Rushing Plays as Percentage of Whole, Last Five Years
Mean: 55.48 percent
Median: 53.81 percent (2007)
Range: 52.37 percent (2011)-61.68 percent (2008)
Rushing Yards as Percentage of Whole, Last Five Years:
Mean: 40.11 percent
Median: 38.75 percent (2010)
Range: 33.97 percent (2009)-50.94 percent (2008)
Passing Plays as Percentage of Whole, Last Five Years
Mean: 44.52 percent
Median: 46.19 percent (2007)
Range: 38.32 percent (2008)-47.63 percent (2011)
Passing Yards as Percentage of Whole, Last Five Years
Mean: 59.89 percent
Median: 61.25 percent (2010)
Range: 49.06 percent (2008)-66.03 percent (2009)
It is pointless to crunch Greg Davis's numbers at Texas, because he will run a decidedly different offense at Iowa than he ran as a Longhorn.
However, it is worth noting that Texas's average number of plays-per-season under Greg Davis was 920, and that includes the early part of his tenure before the hurry-up offense became the rage.
The most plays the Horns ran under Davis was a whopping 1,053 plays in 2009. Can any Iowa fan imagine Kirk Ferentz running over 1,000 offensive plays in a season? Me neither.
Nonetheless, the offense under Davis will run more plays than it ran under Ken O'Keefe. In fact, I'm predicting it will run more plays than it ever has under Kirk Ferentz.
Ferentz's current record is 867 plays, run in 2002. I'm predicting Iowa will run 915 offensive plays in 2012, which may seem like a lot, but consider that last year, it would have ranked fifth in the Big Ten and tied for 42nd in the country.
915 plays may seem like a reach, but I am in no way predicting that the Hawkeyes will run Oregon's offense—1,015 plays last year—which was 11th in the country.
Furthermore, Iowa will more heavily favor the pass than it has in the past. Last season, the Hawks seemed to be moving toward more passing anyway, but that will be accentuated under Davis, whose offense will focus on short, possession passing.
Not only will there be more passes, but because they will be high percentage passes, James Vandenberg will hit a higher percentage of his throws than he previously has.
Finally, though I am predicting a significant upturn in number of plays, I am only predicting a small upturn in total yards. In 2012, Iowa will not break its Kirk Ferentz-era record for total yards in a season—5,518 in 2002, which would have only ranked 33rd in the country in 2011.
2012 Projected Team Totals
Total offensive plays: 915
Total yards: 5,147
Total passing plays: 443 (48.4 percent of total plays)
Total passing yards: 3,283 (63.8 percent of total yards)
Total rushing plays: 472 (51.6 percent of total plays)
Total rushing yards: 1,864 (36.2 percent of total yards)
2012 Individual Passing Totals
JVB: 433 ATT, 271 COMP (62.5%), 3,200 YDS, 7.39 YDS/ATT
Jake Rudock: 10 ATT, 5 COMP (50%), 50 YDS, 5 YDS/ATT
2012 Individual Receiving Totals
Keenan Davis: 67 REC, 939 YDS
Kevonte Martin-Manley: 56 REC, 667 YDS
C.J. Fiedorowicz: 50 REC, 599 YDS
Zach Derby: 8 REC, 80 YDS
Third receiver, who I predict will be Don Shumpert: 32 REC, 400 YDS
Top running back, who I predict will be Damon Bullock: 21 REC, 195 YDS
All other running backs: 10 REC, 80 YDS
Brad Rogers: 10 REC, 70 YDS
All other receivers: 14 REC, 160 YDS
All other TEs: 8 REC, 60 YDS
2012 Individual Rushing Totals
Damon Bullock: 190 ATT, 865 YDS, 4.55 YPC
No. 2, who I predict will be Barkley Hill: 106 ATT, 477 YDS, 4.50 YPC
No. 3, who I predict will be De'Andre Johnson: 40 ATT, 175 YDS, 4.38 YPC
No. 4 (walk-ons, back-up fullbacks, etc.): 12 ATT, 42 YDS, 3.5 YPC
Wide Receivers: 8 ATT, 65 YDS, 8.13 YPC
Brad Rogers: 30 ATT, 115 YDS, 3.83 YPC
JVB: 70 ATT, 115 YDS, 1.64 YPC
Rudock: 2 ATT, 5 YDS, 2.50 YPC
As is evident, I envision fullback Brad Rogers getting more touches in Greg Davis's offense.
I also have CJ Fed turning in a monstrous year.
I am happy to say we won't see any more of Ken O'Keefe's famous and ill-advised end arounds, but hopefully we'll see some well-timed jet sweeps to the receivers.
Also, Davis has commented (via the Cedar Rapids Gazette) that he will keep Martin-Manley in the slot. I expect Davis to make an effort to get the ball to K-Mart in open space. In other words, expect a number of screens to Martin-Manley, which is something (via Texas blog, Burnt Orange Nation) that Davis is infamous for.
In college football, sacks count as negative rushing yards. Therefore, last year, James Vandenberg officially had 78 rushes for 61 yards. This season, due to the quick-pass nature of the offense, I expect him to take fewer sacks. Hence, his rushing numbers will be better.
Lastly, as mentioned earlier, I didn't add touchdowns or turnovers.
This is primarily because such things are impossible to predict. Nevertheless, yards and plays don't matter in the slightest if a team doesn't score. Last year's Minnesota game proves that. The Hawks put up over 70 more yards than the Gophers, but lost 21-22.
In the end, I am confident the Hawkeyes will put up the yards, but they will have to take care of the football and score points in order to win.