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What’s next for the UNI offense after a breakout 2022? Bodie Reeder has a plan
Second-year offensive coordinator says giving MVFC defenses new looks is important
CEDAR FALLS — The 33 points per game Northern Iowa football averaged last season was its most since 2009, when the Panthers averaged 33.36.
It was a much-needed breakout for the UNI offense — and expectations are accordingly high headed into the 2023 season — but second-year offensive coordinator Bodie Reeder isn’t allowing his unit to assume anything.
“They had success on offense last year, but what we’ve been saying as a group is you can’t claim anything that was last year,” Reeder said. “We went right back to the base install (this spring), the basics of the offense and the DNA and alignments and assignments. I think we can go further, faster now this year because they’ve heard all the words and all the plays.”
When it comes to what’s next in year two of Reeder’s offense, he quickly said interchangeability. Running the same concepts out of different formations, as well as individually having wide receivers capable of playing any spot in any formation.
As Missouri Valley Football Conference opponents benefit from a season’s worth of film on his scheme, he says it's important that they’re able to give different looks to those defenses.
“It’s a lot like a pitcher the first time through the lineup. He’s got the advantage on the hitter because they haven’t seen him. Now, we’re getting ready to go the second time through the lineup, (so) now we have to be ready to counter,” Reeder said. “It’s a two-sided coin, (though), there’s a book out on these defenses, too.”
Year two will also feature more autonomy for returning starting quarterback Theo Day. — well beyond the freedom he had to manipulate the Panthers run game a season ago.
“I wouldn’t say he’s going to have the whole playbook at the line of scrimmage, but he’s going to have some things in his back pocket that if he doesn’t like the defensive look that he can get to,” Reeder said. “We’re built on audibles and checks in our run game, so we already did (that) last year, but now we’re going to progress it and give him a little bit more freedom to kind of call the game a little bit at the line of scrimmage.”
While there are a lot of positives to build off of, Reeder says improvement is needed in their two-minute, end-of-half and end-of-game offenses. He also says there needs to be more consistency with 4- and 5-yard gains to more frequently be ahead of the chains.
UNI’s 2023 offense will publicly go on display for the first time on Friday, April 21, the tentative spring game date. A kickoff time has yet to be announced.