The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Hawkeyes Wake-Up Call here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is your Wake-Up Call for Wednesday, Jan. 4.
Where does Iowa go with its passing attack?
The most damning part of Iowa’s Outback Bowl loss didn’t come on the field on Monday. It occurred about 30 minutes after No. 17 Florida won 30-3, when Florida DB Chauncey Gardner explained his two interceptions to reporters.
“It was really what we game-planned because we knew they was going to go two-by-two and three-by-one (with wide receiver sets),” Gardner said. “(Iowa QB C.J. Beathard), he’s a good quarterback. He’s pretty accurate. Older guys back there were talking around, like hey, he’s coming this way, he’s coming this way, he’s coming to the left. He’s a one-look guy and we jumped on him early.”
A lot was said and written about Iowa’s passing game and the wide receivers in the past few days. Nearly all of it was spot on. If there is any doubt left about something needing to change, it should be gone with Gardner’s comments.
An opponent knew it wouldn’t take much to stop Iowa’s aerial attack. It’s a major red flag. The Gators knew what was coming with the formation. Predictability can be a concern with offensive coordinator Greg Davis.
The Gators knew they could attack routes. There is plenty of blame here. Part of this is on Beathard. Florida realized it could jump on his routes. Part of it is on the receivers. Getting open was a season-long issue. Part of it was the scheme. Florida knew the deep threat wasn’t there.
Part of it was the day. Beathard’s injury changed the dynamic of the day, tilting everything in Florida’s favor.
This wasn’t the first time an opponent shut down the passing game, but it was the first time one was so blunt in discussing it.
Matt VandeBerg’s return will solve a lot in 2017, but not the systematic issues Iowa faces.
The fact Riley McCarron, a former walk-on, was the only receiver to consistently make plays says volumes about the lack of development at the position over the years. The blame falls on the coaching staff.
There is no other wide receiver ready to be a No. 2 option next to VandeBerg based on their 2016 performance. Yes, there is an entire offseason for improvement, but wide receiver depth is as big of a question mark for 2017 as it was this past season.
Davis’ preferred quick-strike, short passing game isn’t helping either. More often than not in Davis’ five years, the results just weren’t there.
VandeBerg will likely cover up a lot next year, but he won’t hide the fact opponents don’t believe much is required to stop it.
Until that changes, not much likely will with Iowa’s passing results.
Your daily U.S. Army All-American Bowl update
Monday, it was Iowa commit Tristan Wirfs doing a handstand. Tuesday, turned commit A.J. Epenesa’s play turned heads in one-on-one drills.
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) January 3, 2017
Odds are it won’t be the last moment involving either Iowa commit that makes it to social media this week. The Wake-Up Call has you covered for what comes next.
Christian Williams and his back injury
Iowa point guard Christian Williams sat out the second half with a back injury against Michigan on Sunday. Coach Fran McCaffery couldn’t give much of an update because the team took Monday off.
“He has been getting treatment,” said McCaffery on his Tuesday teleconference. “We’ll see how he does (on Tuesday.) I don’t really know.”
If Williams can’t go against Nebraska on Thursday (9:05 p.m., ET, BTN), expect Brady Ellingson to get work as the backup point guard.