Iowa Football: Winners and Losers from Week 13 Game vs. Nebraska
The 2012 Iowa football season has mercifully come to an end.
The Hawks set all kinds of new records for awfulness, and probably finished the season with the worst offense performance of the Ferentz era.
Iowa wound up 4-8, ending the season with six straight losses—the first time that has happened since 1999, head coach Kirk Ferentz's inaugural season.
Unlike with past teams, it is evident that Ferentz will have to make substantial changes this year if he hopes to right his ship. If not, expect more of the same in 2013.
However, that's still a year away.
Right now, it is worth considering who the winners and losers are from this year's Heroes Game.
Winner: Punters Around the World
Despite repeated evidence testifying to the contrary, Kirk Ferentz, in his fear of anything offensive, still stubbornly clings to the notion that "punting is winning."
Somehow, the head man cannot get it through his skull that punting from the opponent's 31-yard-line is not a sound offensive strategy, especially when the Hawkeyes don't have the defense to shut down the opposition.
On the other hand, given that Iowa ranks dead-last in the Big Ten and tied for 108th in the nation in fourth-down conversions, maybe punting is the best way to go.
This is good news for punters everywhere.
Perhaps backup quarterback Jake Rudock can move to punter like his predecessor John Wienke, because it is evident Ferentz has no confidence in the redshirt freshman as a signal caller, even when the game is well out of reach.
Loser: The Hiring Committee for the Next Iowa Offensive Coordinator
Following the loss to Nebraska, Marc Morehouse of the Cedar Rapids Gazette tweeted,
Just talked to Greg Davis. He said he would talk next week.— marcmorehouse (@marcmorehouse) November 23, 2012
This opened up the rumor mill to all sorts of speculation regarding Davis moving on or getting fired or staying. Either way, we'll know on Tuesday.
Whatever Davis does wind up doing hardly matters, as this year it has been made plainly apparent that Kirk Ferentz has no interest in hiring an interesting, innovative offensive coordinator (OC).
Certainly, "failure to execute," Davis's play-calling and difficulty adjusting to the new scheme played a part in 2012's offensive woes. Nonetheless, the biggest problem was Ferentz himself. He sets specific limitations for his offense, and his OC has to work within those obviously stringent limitations.
At this point, it is unlikely any notable, well-thought-of OC would even look Iowa's way.
In effect, if and when Davis does move on, the Hawks' only option will be a young, inexperienced coach with nothing to lose.
Winner: Iowa Tight Ends
Despite plentiful spring and summer hype (per CBS Sports) surrounding tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, much of it from Greg Davis himself, Hawkeye fans barely knew the 6'7" junior was on the field for much of the year.
Then, all of sudden, as Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette noted,
RT @tomfornelli Greg Davis just discovered CJ Fiedorowicz in practice this week.— Mike Hlas (@Hlas) November 17, 2012
Over the final two games of the season, Iowa tight ends caught 18 passes for 185 yards.
Perhaps somebody should tell Davis that the Hawks have two tight ends on their roster—Fiedorowicz and sophomore Ray Hamilton—that were four-star prospects (via Rivals) out of high school. They also have two more—redshirt-freshmen Jake Duzey and Henry Krieger-Coble—that were three star recruits, with Duzey holding an offer from Oregon.
All four of the tight ends in question return next year. Maybe Ferentz and whoever is calling the plays will realize earlier in the season that they have substantial weapons at the position.
Loser: The Heroes Game
Last year, Iowa lost this budding "rivalry" game, 20-7.
This year, the Hawks lost 13-7.
It's going to take more than seven points per year to turn this snooze-fest into something fans look forward to.
Winner: Iowa Fans
This mess of a season is over, and for Iowa fans that is a good thing.
As a bigger Iowa fan than me recently remarked, "I don't remember a season where I felt like so much of my time was wasted watching football."
It's going to take at least half a year to get over the bad taste still left from the last three months.