Iowa Football: Time Is Ticking on James Vandenberg's Hawkeyes Career
Like most people, I love to be right. It may not happen too often, but when I am right about something, it feels good.
Before the 2011 college football season started, I was the guy saying that Vandenberg would not be a very good college quarterback. I said how much Iowa fans would miss Ricky Stanzi, and I wish this were not the case.
After Saturday's crushing loss to Iowa State and the inability of the Iowa offense to score more than one touchdown in two games, more and more people are jumping off the Vandenberg bandwagon.
Of course, being a "good" college quarterback is subjective.
Does Vandenberg have a great arm? Yes, sure.
Has he had some impressive games, such as last season against Pittsburgh? Absolutely.
But look deeper, and you will realize he hasn't been anywhere near as good as Stanzi was before him.
Before last season, many people were high on Vandenberg because of his gutsy performance against Ohio State in Ohio Stadium as a freshman. While that was a promising performance, many forgot the egg he laid the following week against a bad Minnesota team at Kinnick Stadium.
Last season, Vandenberg only managed to win one road game (at Purdue), which remains his only true road win as an Iowa quarterback.
His stats were not terrible last year—237-of-404, 58.7 completion percentage, 25 TDs, 7 INTs.
In two games this year, he is 41-of-75, 54.7 completion percentage, 0 TDs, 2 INTs.
The numbers don't tell the whole story, however.
Vandenberg's Big Ten record as a starter is 5-5; his overall record as a starter is 9-8. His record against Iowa State is 0-2, and his record in true road games is 1-5.
I coined a term for Iowa quarterbacks called the "Christensen Corner," named after former underachieving Iowa quarterback Jake Christensen. Kind of like when a T.V. show "jumps the shark," when a quarterback starts to show he may not be all he was touted as and loses support of most of the fanbase, he has turned the "Christensen Corner."
The mood in Kinnick Stadium Saturday felt like it was pretty close.
Northern Iowa is a very good football team, and the Panthers come to Kinnick Sept. 15. If Vandenberg and the Iowa offense continue to be flat—and especially if they are flat and lose to UNI—I think Vandenberg officially will have turned the "Christensen Corner."
Granted, he will have Central Michigan coming to Iowa City the following week, which may be a savior, but a loss next week may begin the calls for redshirt freshman Jake Rudock.
As long as Vandenberg is healthy, it is highly unlikely Kirk Ferentz would pull him from the starting spot no matter how bad he plays.
Remember some of those games where Stanzi played awfully, only to lead a comeback in the fourth quarter? Some of that can be attributed to the confidence Ferentz showed in him; Vandenberg is given the same treatment by Captain Kirk.
Iowa has work to do, and that includes James Vandenberg. He only has 10 starts left as an Iowa quarterback, and time is ticking away for him to establish himself as a memorable Iowa quarterback.
Otherwise, I might be right, and he may go the way of Matt Sherman, Nathan Chandler and Christensen.
I hate being right.
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