Aug 31, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Even with a first-year starter making his University of Iowa debut at quarterback today against Northern Illinois, the Hawkeye offense is more comfortable heading into the second year of offensive coordinator Greg Davis' system.
"We know how to spit back what he would say," said redshirt sophomore Jake Rudock, the winner of a three-man race to be Iowa's starting quarterback. "He says certain words and we respond in a certain way so he understands.
"You have to understand that his terminology is the easiest way to talk to him and the fastest communication, just like learning a new language."
The Hawkeyes never clicked offensively in 2012, averaging 18.8 points and 286.8 yards per game in the first year of Davis' new offense. With another spring and fall under its belts, the unit has seen progress.
"We have a better understanding of the offense," said junior offensive tackle Brandon Scherff. "We worked on it during camp and in spring ball. We have to keep moving forward."
"We have been hungry since our last game. We have been working hard, but all that set aside, now we have to show it on the field."
Junior running back Mark Weisman
Senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz says the addition of the no-huddle attack has added a new dimension that will allow the offense to improve and get more opportunities.
"We were comfortable last year, but we added a couple of extra things (this fall), like the no-huddle, and a couple of extra trickery plays," said Fiedorowicz, who was third on the team with 45 receptions for 433 yards and one touchdown in 2012. "The offense is a little different.
"Last year, we got 70 plays per game. With the no-huddle, it will be closer to 80-90 snaps a game."
That will give playmakers like Tevaun Smith, Damond Powell, Don Shumpert, Damon Bullock, Mark Weisman, and Jordan Canzeri more opportunities in 2013. Smith says the Hawkeyes are a faster team, which will help both the rushing and passing attacks.
"There is a lot more speed on offense," he said. "We're able to stretch the field, so we're able to run and pass the ball at the same time. We have the best of both worlds... you don't want to have only a running offense."
Whether it's handing the ball off or directing the team's passing attack, Rudock knows he needs to do the little things to put the Hawkeyes in a position to improve on its 4-8 record from a season ago.
"I have always thought as a quarterback you have to manage the game," he said. "There are going to be plays you make and plays you miss and regret, but that's football. It is an up-and-down sport. (I want to) play and have fun, that's the biggest thing, have fun, and make sure the guys are on the same page and do our best."
Iowa is ready to showcase an improved offense and get back on the field.
"We have been working for eight months, I am ready to play," said Bullock.
"We have been hungry since our last game," said Weisman. "We have been working hard, but all that set aside, now we have to show it on the field."