116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — In the world of more and more spread offenses, Fox Big Noon Kickoff’s analysts are seeing something a little different this week.
“It’s kind of what I expect from Iowa,” said Matt Leinart, a Fox analyst and former quarterback at USC and then in the NFL. “Do I say boring?”
Brady Quinn, another former college football and NFL quarterback on the Fox crew, has a different word for Iowa’s offensive style.
“It’s actually refreshing,” Quinn told The Gazette Friday after a Fox Big Noon Kickoff rehearsal in Iowa City. “To be quite honest, it’s more of NFL-style football.”
Whatever one wants to call Iowa’s offensive style, Leinart and Quinn see the shortcomings in Iowa’s offensive results as multi-faceted.
“What you see offensively watching this team is there’s things that break down from time to time,” Quinn said. “It’s not the same guy every play, but it’s one person every play.”
Quarterback Spencer Petras has completed 51 percent of his passes and thrown one touchdown and two interceptions this season.
“He hasn’t played as consistently well as I’m sure he’d like to,” Quinn said.
Leinart similarly has noticed Petras “got off to a slow start.” But Quinn sees it as a larger problem than just who is taking snaps at quarterback.
“You read all the stories and articles coming into this that everyone’s kind of pointing at Spencer Petras,” Quinn said. “Look, he’s got to take his fair share of the blame, but it’s not all on him.”
The 2007 first-round pick out of Notre Dame pointed to offensive line protection and route-running by wide receivers as other possible problems.
Leinart, meanwhile, sees Petras’ starting experience as “extremely valuable.” Saturday’s contest against Michigan will be Petras’ 24th start at the collegiate level.
“Obviously he’s been in big games,” Leinart said. “That experience helps. That leadership helps, especially when you have some young players around you. Those are the things you just can’t teach or coach.”
The Hawkeyes, Quinn said, “need that big offensive game to then get that confidence, that feeling of what it should be like.” That won’t be easy against the Wolverines, though.
Michigan’s defense has limited teams to 3.2 yards per carry and a 51 percent completion rate.
But the Hawkeyes’ strengths on defense and special teams could keep them competitive against No. 4 Michigan, even if the offense doesn’t have that “big” game that Quinn would like to see.
“That (Iowa) defense is always going to keep you in games,” Leinart said.