Is Kirk Ferentz really going to allow his team to use a lot of the no-huddle this coming season? REALLY?
When Iowa rolled out the no-huddle for the entire final spring practice, I was as surprised as anyone. Some will rip Kirk Ferentz for being to conservative or predictable and there are times where I have shared at least some of those opinions, if only partly.
But to go from what Iowa has done to a no-huddle seemed like a space aged jump…going from horse and buggy to landing on the moon. Would he really do it come the season?
In this item, Ferentz is talking as though the no-huddle angle is here to stay.
“The good thing is that it helped our defense, first and foremost. They’re going to face a lot of it. And it forced our guys offensively to concentrate more. The other part in the back of my mind, as we move into the season, is we can dictate how much or how little we use it. But if we don’t continue to invest time in it, it’s hard to say, ‘OK, Week 4, we’re going to use no huddle this week.’ At least now we can pull back. But we can’t go in the other direction. It’s kind of like getting hurt, I guess.”
You can read the rest of the item at the link above.
The part I bolded is why I remain skeptical as to Ferentz turning the keys of the offense and these sorts of decisions ENTIRELY over to Greg Davis…
The fact that Iowa spent so much time on the no huddle in the spring was a surprise, because there are only so many practices you get in the spring and this program needed a lot of work. They didn’t have bowl prep, which would have been very big for three inexperienced quarterbacks Iowa had on campus back in December. Iowa didn’t get that yet they committed so much time to the no-huddle.
I expect them to use it more than they did a year ago, but I have a hard time believing that they are going to use it every series. Then again, just because a team doesn’t huddle doesn’t mean they are running plays rapid fire. When you don’t huddle and go ‘check with me’, you still have some control over the type of defensive alignment your opponent can play and how liberally they can or cannot substitute. It’s tough to sub in nickel or dime personnel when a team is going no huddle and up tempo.
While Ferentz mentioned the positives for the defense up above, I am reminded of something he said years ago about the no-huddle and up tempo offenses; you can punt pretty quickly, too. Your defense can be put back on the field in short order without rest and that causes some problems.
Those things are true and Ferentz may feel there is a time and a place for the no-huddle (up tempo) and a time and a place for slowing things down.
Just don’t confuse not huddling with having to be up-tempo…the two don’t have to go together hand in hand. A lot of programs have ditched the classic ‘huddle up’ look and gone no-huddle check-with-me set ups. That’s something I think Iowa should embrace nearly full time, even if they don’t go Ludicrous Speed all of the time.
One final thought on this; the majority of high school quarterbacks are playing no-huddle, shotgun style of offenses these days. Traditional looking, pro-style offenses are a dying breed at the present time. I’d wager fewer than 20 percent of FBS & FCS teams use them at the present. Alabama is one of them and they are certainly winning at a big time clip playing Old Man Football. Yet they have personnel advantages other programs just don’t have.
Regardless, it’s good to see that Ferentz is embracing some change. He’s not the kind of guy who is going to change for the sake of just changing; he’ll only do it if he sees a benefit and he clearly saw some benefit if he allowed so much of spring football to be devoted to the no-huddle.