Smoked Pork Belly sliders. Sliced pork belly topped with pulled pork belly. Take a slab of pork belly, slice in two. Cover in pork rub of choice, smoke at 220-225 for ~2 hours. Take off one of the half slabs and wrap in foil, put back on smoker. Continue cooking both slabs for another ~2 hours. At this point the wrapped slab should be ready to pull, while the unwrapped slab should be fully cooked, but not falling apart. Place thin (~.25”) slice of pork belly on slider bun (I use King’s Hawaiian) with a portion of pulled pork belly. It’s a bit one note, but man, is it powerful.
Iowa is returning exactly one wide receiver that caught a pass last year, Matt Vandeberg, and he broke his foot after 2 games, took a redshirt, and has apparently been struggling to come back from his injury. The offensive line has been amazing at run blocking and terrible at pass protection. Akrum Wadley has been a wizard at getting big yards. Iowa has been tight end U for a while now, and while they lost George Kittle to the NFL, they still have 8 tight ends on scholarship. Oh, yeah, and they’ll have a new signal caller under center, and it’s still undetermined who that will be, true sophomore Nathan Stanley or RS Senior Tyler Wiegers. But wait! There’s more! A brand new offensive coordinator, Brian Ferentz.
Iowa hasn’t exactly been known for explosive offenses in the last 15 years, but they have to score points somehow. How do you think this one note offense will fare this season? Is that one note good enough? Will we see a 4 tight end formation?
JWS: They aren’t. They are going to plod along and average 17 points a game, while only giving up 14, and end with 8 wins. That’s what they do. Points? They don’t need no stinkin points.
Maybe, they’ll go all Hayden Fry, and stand one of their 4 tight ends up, and also fake a few punts, and average 17.5 points a game. Probably not.
People make fun of Kirk Ferentz, but he is consistent. There are going to be no surprises this season out of Iowa, that I am confident about. Another bowl game, another season that Iowa doesn’t compete for a real title.
LPW: No matter who’s calling the plays, its going to be conservative. Ferentz might tell his son to go get him two touchdowns and a field goal, and that’ll work.
Creighton M: Iowa is going to be better than they were under Greg Davis by default. They are absolutely going to struggle with a first time quarterback and offensive coordinator and zero receivers, but between Wadley, the experienced offensive line and the talent at tight end Brian Ferentz should find a way to put points on the board when needed.
I’m a fan of playing to your strengths so I do hope they come out with a lot of tight end heavy sets, but the number one thing I’m looking for is a basic level of creativity (or at least as much as you can expect from an offense led by two Ferentzes and Ken O’Keefe). Of Greg Davis’ many sins, perhaps the most damning was how often opposing defenses knew exactly where the ball was going based on the formation before the ball was even snapped. That’s a special kind of incompetence that thankfully I don’t think Brian Ferentz will ever attain.
Overall though Kirk Ferentz is still the man in charge and the offence is going to be vanilla and just good enough. Still, that’s an improvement.
MNW: Absolutely I can see Iowa coming out in a 4-TE set on the goal line. Go with a 2-2 set, motion one TE to the left to make it imbalanced, then run power right and get stuffed. It’ll be glorious.
If Brian Ferentz is a thinking man, he will take a page out of wisconsin’s book and steer right into that skid in 2017. Only have one wide receiver (who happens to be a gritty, scrappy gym rat who brings his lunch pail everywhere he goes)? No problem! Tell him to run a 35-yard post pattern, fake a dive with Wadley, and play a little 500!
THIS SHITTY OFFENSE ACTUALLY WORKED IN THE BIG TEN. FUCK US ALL.
But seriously I’d strongly consider that. Pound with Wadley and the backup, find a fast WR with no hands and run 2-3 jet sweeps a game, get a few flags (and teach ‘em however those dipshits to the east do—any fan in green and gold or cardinal and red KNOWS that when the WR falls down it’s UNPOSSIBLE that he just sucks, it’s clearly PI), and hope you’re dug in enough on defense to win a few ugly ones. Iowa could absolutely challenge wisconsin for that Bullies of the West moniker, but it’ll take the slightest bit of caramel in the vanilla-on-vanilla swirl that passes for exotic blend in Iowa City.
GF3: It’s the B1G West, which means that an offense as innovative as cream cheese on triscuits will be enough to win 5 or 6 conference games, and to also struggle against Wyoming and North Texas.
Townie: Brian Ferentz’s new offense is the opposite of the air-raid. The lack of wideouts is part of his strategy. Those wispy little egomaniacs don’t have a place in Iowa’s attack this year.
Nope, Brian is going to an all-run, inside dive-heavy look. He believes that a straight line is the most direct way to get down the field, so you can forget about sweeps and stretch plays too.
This will be all off-tackle all the time.
And he’s got some crazy trick plays in store this year, too. Forget four tight ends...he’s going to go full hog! In short yardage situations they will break out their version of the wildcat - called the Pig-Hawk. Ten offensive tackles will line up with a running back. It’s going to be great.
Just remember Iowa fans, punting is winning!
Aaron: As talented as Wadley is, I don’t think Iowa’s attack will be good enough with all the inexperience at quarterback and wide receiver to beat the Nebraska or Wisconsin in the West. As for four tight ends on the field, that might be a little too creative for Ferentz to handle, even with the lack of other options available. I think the most that Bill O’Brien got out there was three.
Stew: I do think the running game will be mostly successful, despite it being essentially the only offensive option going into the season. Wadley is a great running back, and the offensive line is phenomenal at run blocking. And despite all my years as an Iowa fan, I find myself cautiously optimistic about the passing game. I mean, it’s theoretically possible for it to be worse than last year, but the odds are pretty slim. No WRs, true, but the TEs should be good, and I think Brian Ferentz is likely a bajillion times more creative than Gerg Davis.