David Scrivener via Iowa City Press Citizen
James Vandenberg wasn't as bad as he looked against Iowa State, and he certainly wasn't as bad as his stats—20 COMP, 42 ATT, 236 YDS, 0 SACKS, 0 TD, 2 INT.
Nevertheless, the two interceptions, one of which iced the game for the Cyclones, were entirely his fault, and his accuracy left something to be desired.
Regardless, there are two key issues.
Firstly, coming into the year, Hawkeye fans knew that Vandenberg had the ability to take over games. Last year's Pitt game serves as the prime example. The problem was that he had been streaky. Iowa fans hoped that this year he would bring consistency to his game.
It doesn't appear that is the case, and that is especially worrisome.
Streakiness depends upon external factors. This is the case with quarterbacks, point guards in basketball, and carpenters, plumbers or anyone doing anything that requires precision. A person that is consistent stays within himself, while a person that is streaky depends upon external factors to spark him.
With Iowa's pass catchers playing the way they are—as detailed in the next two slides—it is hard to see anything sparking JVB.
Secondly, Greg Davis' West Coast passing scheme requires two things—pass-catchers that run precise routes and a quarterback that is deadly accurate within 15 yards.
The idea is that the receivers catch short passes while running at full speed. Thus, a catch three yards past the line of scrimmage will become at least a six-yard completion when the defense tries to stop the pass-catcher who is going at full steam.
On the other hand, if the quarterback can't hit the receiver in perfect stride—for example, the quarterback throws it to the receiver's back shoulder—then the three-yard completion will wind up exactly that—a three-yard completion.
How many of those have we seen this year?
It is no coincidence that all the quarterbacks that operated under Bill Walsh—considered the originator of the NFL version of the West Coast offense—were deadly accurate passers.
Vandenberg doesn't seem to have the necessary precision, and unless he learns it, those three-yard passes will continue to die as soon as the receiver catches the ball.