Iowa hopes to diversify passing attack

2012-08-24T02:00:00Z Iowa hopes to diversify passing attackSteve Batterson The Quad-City Times
August 24, 2012 2:00 am  • 

IOWA CITY — Keenan Davis and Kevonte Martin-Manley believe they are ready to lead, but the most experienced receivers on the Iowa roster know they can’t do it alone.

The Hawkeyes expect to be part of a more diversified passing attack, one that throws the ball not only in the direction of its receivers but also to a deep, talented group of tight ends and a collection of running backs with pass-catching abilities.

“I like the number of options that we have in this offense,” quarterback James Vandenberg said. “We may not have another Marvin (McNutt), but we have a lot of guys who are capable of catching the ball and moving the offense.”

Davis and Martin-Manley are the most experienced of the group.

Now a senior, Davis caught 50 passes for 713 yards a year ago, while Martin-Manley pulled down 30 passes for 323 yards as a redshirt freshman.

“We understand that there are questions at our position, but it’s up to us to answer those questions,” Davis said. “I’m a senior now — the time, it has flown by — but like Marvin last year, I need to step up and compete at a level that you would expect a senior to compete at. That’s the plan.”

He’s not alone.

Martin-Manley realizes his eligibility clock is ticking as well.

“I look around the locker room and I’m realizing that I’m not the new guy anymore,” Martin-Manley said. “The game is slowing down for me and things are coming more naturally. It takes time, but I’m seeing those things happen that I always heard would happen with experience.”

Iowa hopes to create mismatches with the pair and with 6-foot-7, 265-pound C.J. Fiedorowicz at tight end. Senior Zach Derby and redshirt freshman Jake Duzey factor into things as well in an offense that will rely more frequently on double tight end sets.

“It’s competitive, and not just with the other receivers,” junior Jordan Cotton said. “We’re competing with tight ends and running backs to work our way onto the field.”

Cotton is among a handful of young receivers attempting to work their way onto the field more frequently this fall.

Don Shumpert, a junior whose quickness has been utilized on special teams, finds himself competing with Steven Staggs, Cotton and a number of younger receivers including freshman Tevaun Smith for roles in the receiving corps.

“Certainly Kevonte had an outstanding spring, and we’re counting on him to play really well, and Keenan had good production in the Big Ten so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have a great year as a senior,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

“Now, we have to supplement that, and the door is wide open for those other guys. It’s certainly an opportunity for them.”

Shumpert, a St. Louis native who has yet to catch a collegiate pass, Staggs, a senior from Oskaloosa, Iowa, and Cotton, the son of former Hawkeye and Davenport Central standout Marshall Cotton, are among those getting a close look this fall.

“I feel like I’m ready now to step in and contribute,” Cotton said. “I’ve watched and learned from the guys in front of me, and I feel like I’ve positioned myself for the chance to compete.”

Cotton believes Hawkeyes coaches when they say that roles in the receiving corps are up for grabs as Iowa works toward its Sept. 1 season opener against Northern Illinois.

“They’ve talked a lot about having a clean slate, and with the staff changes, there are fresh sets of eyes on everybody right now, and I feel like we’re all getting a chance to show what we can do,” Cotton said. “That’s providing all of us with motivation. Marvin caught a lot of balls a year ago, and it’s up to us earn those opportunities now. That’s what we’re all working toward.”

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Football schedule

2014 Hawkeyes (7-6)

Date Opponent Time/result
8/30/2014 Northern Iowa W 31-23
9/6/2014 Ball State W 17-13
9/13/2014 Iowa State L 20-17
9/20/2014 at Pittsburgh W 24-20
9/27/2014 at Purdue W 24-10
10/11/2014 Indiana W 45-29
10/18/2014 at Maryland L 38-31
11/1/2014 Northwestern W 48-7
11/8/2014 at Minnesota L 51-14
11/15/2014 at Illinois W 30-14
11/22/2014 Wisconsin  L 26-24
11/28/2014 Nebraska L 37-34
1/2/2015 Tennessee L 45-28

Future schedules

2015 Hawkeyes (0-0)

Date Opponent Time/result
9/5/2015 Illinois State TBA
9/12/2015 at Iowa State TBA
9/19/2015 Pittsburgh TBA
9/26/2015 North Texas TBA
10/3/2015 at Wisconsin TBA
10/10/2015 Illinois TBA
10/17/2015 at Northwestern TBA
10/31/2015 Maryland TBA
11/7/2015 at Indiana TBA
11/14/2015 Minnesota TBA
11/21/2015 Purdue TBA
11/27/2015 at Nebraska TBA


Trophy case: Empty

Hawkeyes bowl history

1957 Rose   Oregon State W 35-19
1959 Rose   California W 38-12
1982 Rose   Washington L 28-0
1982 Peach   Tennessee W 28-22
1983 Gator   Florida L 14-6
1984 Freedom   Texas W 55-17
1986 Rose   UCLA L 45-28
1986 Holiday   SDSU W 39-38
1987 Holiday   Wyoming W 20-19
1988 Peach   NC State L 28-23
1991 Rose   Washington L 46-34
1991 Holiday   BYU T 13-13
1993 Alamo   California L 37-3
1995 Sun   Washington W 38-18
1996 Alamo   Texas Tech W 27-0
1997 Sun   Arizona State L 17-7
2001 Alamo   Texas Tech W 19-16
2003 Orange   USC L 38-17
2004 Outback   Florida W 37-17
2005 Capital One LSU W 30-25
2006 Outback   Florida L 31-24
2006 Alamo   Texas L 26-24
2009 Outback   South Carolina W 31-10
2010 Orange   Georgia Tech W 24-14
2010 Insight   Missouri W 27-24
2011 Insight   Oklahoma L 31-14
2014 Outback   LSU L 21-14
2015 TaxSlayer   Tennessee L 45-28