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Thoughts on Vandenberg's Issues

  • I got into this topic with a friend of mine earlier today and we were brainstorming why Vandenberg is struggling this year. Here are some thoughts...

    1. McNutt and Coker were really that good? I believe those 2 were last year's playmakers who we all know departed. While the running game issue appears to be solved, there appears to be a huge drop in talent at the receiver position after McNutt graduated. McNutt's talent also allowed other receivers to get open easier with defenses keying on him. So, is McNutt the reason Vandenberg was able to pass for 3,000+ yards last season?

    2. Was Ken O'Keefe better than we gave him credit for? Vandenberg appeared to be a better QB when he was coached by O'Keefe and it shows every week this season. While it is only season 1 for Davis, one would like to think a QB would improve and not get worse. Maybe Davis isn't that great of a QB coach.

    3. Poor play calling when it comes to the pass offense? From what I have watched this season, most passes are thrown horizontally to the sidelines. I've seen maybe 3 or 4 passes per game to tight ends. Iowa has been known to utilize the tight end as a major part of the game plan under Ferentz. So, maybe it could be the play calling.

    4. Maybe Greg Davis' system just doesn't fit with the players we have, including Vandenberg.

    5. Maybe the receivers we have this year aren't very good which in turn makes Vandenberg look bad. Didn't Greg Davis did make a comment about the receivers during spring training in that they need more speed? Although, I've seen receivers open many times and Vandenberg doesn't even look their way.

    6. Maybe the new system is too hard for Vandenberg to take in. Russell Wilson transferred to Wisconsin and learned a new system easily, so why can't Vandenberg? Maybe the receivers haven't learned the new system very well, which in turn would make Vandenberg look bad.

    7. Maybe it's a mixture of all 1-6.

    8. One may argue that Vandenberg just isn't very good.

    Im trying to see all sides of this debacle. We need at least average, and at times above average play by Vandenberg if this team is going to make a run for a B1G championship. Vandenberg is a great kid and i hate to see what's happening with him on the field.


    This post was edited by u2Hawk 18 months ago

  • I like 1/3/4/5/8 myself. Love #8, in fact.

    The one thing about Coach Davis so far that surprises me is how little he's in gun here. Vandenberg was at his best imo last year when he could survey the rush, make his read and take off it it wasn't there.

    Texas used the spread quite a bit as I recall. Really amazed he didn't have a package for #16 to use as a comfort zone in the transition to the horizontal pass game he favors.

    Yeah, McNutt was a big help. Upperclass WR are nothing special I'm afraid. Yet; Weisman has done a damn fine job replacing Coker......who saw that coming?

    The other guy missed big-time by James is Reiff. Scherff isn't in his league pass-protecting at LT, and with a jittery QB to begin with..............

  • 106.6 QB Rating

    Ranks 118 out of 124 QBs

    Ranks last in the B1G

    5th yr RS Senior. 2nd yr as starter. Has played in 22 games.

    4* Senior 6'4'' Wideout

    2 Legit TEs. Both 4*s, one is 6'7''

    Good Slot reciever in KMM

    Good rushing game that blocks and catches the ball well

    OL that has pass protected well since wk 2

    JVB is a joke. I'll take Nathan Chandler ALL DAY over JVB.

  • I am tired of the new system argument, it would be more legit if he wasn't making atrocious throws constantly. If this was basketball then I would understand why he is trying to bounce pass it so often, Dr. Tom would love it. So many of his throws are just no where near where they need to be, is lack of being able to throw a good ball the system's fault. And other QBs (as you mentioned Wilson) have to deal with new systems all the time too, do many of them struggle this mightily?

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  • He definitely hasn't put it all together yet, but he's still made some outstanding plays this year that often get overlooked. That being said, I do agree that his performance in the first six games this year is at a lower level than what he played at last year, which is disappointing.

    I think it's a combination of a number of things. The pass protection is several notches worse than it was last year, and I don't think that has gotten enough attention among Hawkeye fans. Also, Iowa clearly doesn't have any receivers that are as talented this year as McNutt was last year. Additionally, I do think the change of system has had a major impact on the passing offense as a whole. Vandenberg and the receivers/backs/tight ends are way too often not on the same page, so the passing game rarely has a chance to get in rhythm in a series or game. Lastly, Iowa still hasn't found a good mesh between the play calling and the talent on the roster.

  • #8 going away. The game Saturday was horrible - at one point he underthrew a receiver so bad that it resulted in an interference call. If this is clearly our best option at QB, we are in trouble again next year.

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    Life is hard. It's really hard if you're stupid.

  • I made a list because I think it's a combination of all just as you mentioned.

    I know a lot of people say he's just not good, and I've even criticized him for not being good. But there have to be reasons why he has taken a step back this season and it seems to be a number of reasons.

    I wonder how Drew Tate, Rick Stanzi, or Brad Banks would be looking if they were the QB this season???

  • I think its combination of the new system, the receivers, and Vandenberg simply not being as good as advertised. It's clear to me that Vandenberg and the receivers either aren't comfortable with the system or aren't comfortable with each other. Probably both.

    It's easy to pin all of the offensive struggles on Vandenberg, but I still think he gets an unfair amount of blame. There's been times when guys in pass protection have been atrocious this year and his receivers have dropped passes or have not read the defense properly. He's also played in some poor weather conditions lately.

    I'm not saying Vandenberg is anything more than an average quarterback, but his struggles this season have been far from all his fault as some here suggest IMO. The bottom line is that he won't lose Iowa a game with mistakes, but he also won't single-handedly win a game either.

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  • First of all, Vandenberg was not highly rated out of high school so my expectations weren't very high. Having said that, watch his mechanics because they are horrible! He does not transfer his weight on throws and his footwork is very poor. He also is not a threat to run and his ability to check down on receivers is not good at all. And since Michigan State was his second road win of his career in conference play, he is not a winner. I have been saying these things since the start of the 2011 season.

  • Morrison71

    You know I have to say I'm really disappointed in Keenan Davis. It just can't all be Vandy's fault. McNutt was probably the greatest WR at Iowa and he got him the ball. I think Davis should be getting some of the blame here. He was a big star in high school and it seems like he really has never stepped up. I'm glad he started enjoying blocking finally and he has made some plays. But he is a senior now, it may be too little too late.

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  • To me it's completely the intangibles.

    For some players, the game never completely slows down for them, and I think to a certain extent JVB falls into that category. He seems like a good kid, and by all accounts, has been a model student, but, simply put, more is expected of a 5th-year senior with two-plus years as a starter. It's highly commendable to defend him and point out some of the positive plays, but the reality is he is really struggling, and it's almost painful to watch at times.

    There's no doubt that the offensive struggles can be attributed to more than just James. It's a team game, and as casual fans watching a play unfold, we are not privy to the design and timing, and a lot can go wrong in just a few seconds. The player that looks bad is not necessarily the one who made the mistake.

    That being said, I would point to the first series Saturday, since I feel it somewhat epitomizes the problem:

    First pass, he locks-in on the receiver the entire play, then throws right into double-coverage and the DB simply drops what should have been a pick-6. Second throw (I believe), he is scrambling for a 1st down, and would have made it easily, but decides to throw, on the run, in the rain, to gain probably 4 or 5 extra yards. He got away with it, but dumb decision. Lastly, he tries to throw a pass over a rushing 6'7" athletic end that gets tipped and intercepted. Those are not scheme issues, WR issues or protection issues. They are QB 101 issues that are taught to 5th-graders.

    For whatever reason, JVB doesn't have the intangibles you would expect at this level, or the "It" factor if you will. I'm really hoping that he gets out of this funk and makes us all feel bad for ragging on him, but for now it is perplexing that he is struggling as much as he is.

  • Did JVB have a Nebraska offer?

  • He did, and owns most of the passing records in the state of Iowa (High School)

    This post was edited by Buck Russell 18 months ago

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