In 2012, Kirk Ferentz hired Greg Davis to replace long time offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe. Reactions were mixed; Davis had put together some of the most potent offenses in college football history, but after the 2009 national championship game his offense went off a cliff and he was eventually fired by Mack Brown.
As many Texas fans warned and predicted, Iowa’s offense was completely nonexistent in Davis’ first season as they limped to a 4-8 record behind the 116th best total offense.
The offensive production slowly increased from year to year, but never really got past mediocre. 2015 was the best offensive season with Davis at the controls, and Iowa averaged 386 yards per game, good enough for 52nd in the country. This was credited in large part to Kirk Ferentz making radical (for him anyway) changes to his offensive philosophy. It wasn’t any worse than anything Ken O’Keefe ever put together, and it worked to the tune of 12 wins and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
Fast forward to last Saturday. Iowa could barely muster 230 yards on offense, including a whopping 30 yards on the ground. Iowa, with all the returning starters that Greg Davis could possibly wish for, once again finds itself sporting the 116th best offense in the country as they stare down the barrel of a 6-6 season (assuming Iowa beats Illinois, which is far from a certainty at this point).
The offense doesn’t even resemble something remotely competitive. They are barely able to hang double digits on Rutgers. They could hardly earn a first down against an FCS team.
Time of possession has been a hilariously bad 25 minutes per game (124th best in the country), which keeps the defense on the field the entire game and causes them to struggle down the stretch. Greg Davis is such a bad offensive coordinator that he made the defense bad too.
There are lots of things going wrong. For starters, the schemes and formations are unbearably predictable. Iowa has no problem running headfirst into a box stacked with 9 defenders over and over again, no matter how many times it leads to 3 and out. Ferentz and Davis are incredibly arrogant with the football. They refuse to make changes or adjustments and are determined to simply out work the competition despite rarely having better players. They have yet to succeed in doing this because that’s not how football works.
Iowa has so little confidence in throwing the ball downfield that they never even attempt to do so, letting the opposing defense off the hook for covering the deep ball. Davis is completely unable to recognize an opposing team’s weaknesses, let alone be able to attack them.
Does any of this sound familiar? It does to Longhorn fans:
This is Greg Davis’ 5th year in Iowa City. Every player on offense is someone brought in specifically to fit his scheme and his game plan.
It isn’t working. The Davis experiment is over. It should have been over three years ago.
Greg Davis is being paid $625,000 per year to be an offensive coordinator. That’s like asking your dentist to whiten your smile, and then instead he knocks all your teeth out with a tack hammer and you decide to pay him anyway.
Iowa found what rock bottom looks like offensively. We know what we get with Greg Davis, and it isn’t good. Changes need to happen now, not at the end of the season. Iowa can’t possibly get any worse on offense, and they can’t afford another season with Greg Davis.
Is Ferentz also to blame for this season? Absolutely, but he isn’t going anywhere. Greg Davis doesn’t have a buyout. Greg Davis’ offense has been an embarrassment since his first day in Iowa City, and it hasn’t gotten any better. The season is lost, and there is literally no risk that the offense will be less effective with a change of coordinators. Kirk Ferentz needs to fire Greg Davis.
Let Brian Ferentz call the plays for the rest of the year. Or Chris White. Or LeVar Woods. Let CJ Beathard call his own plays for all I care. It doesn’t matter. Fire Greg Davis now, replace him in the off season, and move on from this horrible experiment.
Iowa deserves better than Greg Davis. Iowa can do better than Greg Davis. Kirk Ferentz talked about making changes to the offense last week, then basically didn’t do anything. Letting Davis go would be the best change he could possibly make. There’s nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain. It’s time.