116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Kirk Ferentz doesn’t double down. He triples, quadruples, quintuples, octuples down.
Spencer Petras is Iowa’s starting quarterback.
“The bottom line right now,” Ferentz said Tuesday, “our focus is about staying together and moving forward, and what we have to do is get better in each and every meeting, every practice, try to take those opportunities to improve, and that'll be our approach moving forward.”
In other words, to quote the band Talking Heads, it’s the same as it ever was.
Football is hard, but change must be harder. There will be no quarterback switch for the Hawkeyes in the foreseeable future. Petras is the No. 1 QB, and the others on the roster are not.
“We're looking at the whole thing,” Ferentz said, “and that's our assessment right now.”
Nothing to see here, the cop tells the rubberneckers as they stop to get a look at the train wreck.
The team that’s a distant dead last in the nation in yards per game and has completed 44.2 percent of its passes is going with the status quo for its next game.
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.
OK, on Saturday night the Hawkeyes probably walk over potential foot wipe Nevada, which surrendered 55 points and 616 yards last Saturday in Reno to — ahem — Incarnate Word.
After that comes the Big Ten, and maybe the receiving corps will be healthier and the offensive line will make progress. Maybe, just maybe, the Hawkeyes can crawl out of that offensive abyss.
But for now, futility has combined with familiarity to make the Hawkeyes a national punting bag, er, punching bag.
Jokes and insults have been streaming the Hawkeyes’ way from pundits with national perches and John Q. Fan in Anytown, USA. Iowa has become a punt line, er, punch line.
It’s been noted the Hawkeyes have more punts (16) than points (14) this season, the nation’s only team with that distinction. At various times Sunday as the NFL offenses of Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas and the New York Jets struggled, they were compared to Iowa.
That’s not what you want if you’re the Hawkeyes. Or those pro teams.
Part of the reason for the jibes is the Hawkeyes don’t have a fourth-year coach whose teams were 26-9 over the last three years. It’s not a fairly fresh face who has yet to be clearly defined.
Instead, Ferentz is a 24th-year coach who was 26-9 over the last three years. He is recognized for all his success, but also for being a football conservative’s conservative.
Ferentz is the general of field position, not hyper-aggression. His offenses almost always live in the shadow of his defense. His race is not given to the swift, but to the one who endures to the end.
So when you’re one of the best-known coaches in the nation and your team has one offensive score over two games and averages a puny 158 yards, you’re a target for media near and far.
When your offensive coordinator is your son and your offense is dreadful, you’re fair game to your fans as well as the world at large. That includes unidentified tricky trolls on the Internet.
Was there no enduring joy from this year’s Cy-Hawk affair? Iowa State’s team had barely gotten home from Iowa City when Nebraska fired Scott Frost and “Here we go again” began in Ames.
Some sportsbooks made Cyclones Coach Matt Campbell the favorite to replace Frost. The game of throwing you-know-what at the wall was on, in Nebraska and beyond.
Last year, Campbell supposedly was out the door and headed to USC. Then Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley entered the equation.
Campbell reportedly was romanced by Florida State a couple years before that. Since his second year at Iowa State, when his program logged the first of its five straight winning seasons, his name often is attached to high-profile openings until they’re filled.
Yet, Campbell somehow is the second-longest tenured Big 12 coach. Nonetheless, the Huskers have an opening, again. So this will be a commotion at Iowa State until it isn’t.
That Nebraska noise, in fact, makes all the current howling in Hawkeyeland sound like mild discomfort. Plus, Iowa plays Nevada Saturday. The Huskers face — ahem — Oklahoma.
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