Vandernberg, Davis feeling each other out at spring practice

2012-04-02T15:00:00Z Vandernberg, Davis feeling each other out at spring practiceBy STEVE BATTERSON, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

IOWA CITY, Iowa --- Different terminology isn’t the only thing James Vandenberg finds himself adjusting to this spring.

Iowa’s senior quarterback is also adapting to the expectations and style of new Hawkeye offensive coordinator Greg Davis a little over one week into the start of spring practices.

“He’s a fairly intense coach, one of the most intense I’ve been around,’’ Vandenberg said. “He stresses the details and expects the little things to be done right. It’s not just the quarterback position, but everybody on offense. He’s pretty active on the field, running around, trying to make us all better."

Vandenberg welcomes the energy and attention to detail that Davis insists on as he works with the Hawkeye offense.

“You can see why he’s had the type of success that he has had over the years. He doesn’t settle for second best. That’s something that I think is going to rub off on everybody here,’’ Vandenberg said.

“I like that. It’s what we should all strive for and while everything is still new to us right now, it should be our expectation to do things the right way."

Vandenberg, who ranked third in the Big Ten with an average of 235.5 passing yards per game last season, finds himself adjusting to plenty of changes.

Davis bases his system and its calls on numbers, while former offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe used a word-based system.

“There are some similarities to what we are doing, but there is a good chance that the same thing is probably called something different right now, so we are all learning and adjusting," Vandenberg said.

That might lead Vandenberg to wear a wristband with a play-call card for the first time in his life next fall.

“If we had to play today, it might go all the way up my sleeve to my shoulder,’’ Vandenberg said. “There is just a lot to learn right now. I feel a little like a freshman again right now."

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Vandenberg finds himself in the same situation as everybody on the offensive side of the ball, including coaches.

“We’re all learning this spring, but I feel good about James and where he’s at," Ferentz said. “He gives us good leadership to build around."

Vandenberg has watched plenty of tape of the offenses Davis coached during his 13 years as Texas’ offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, trying to learn the nuances of the offense that is being introduced at Iowa this spring.

The Hawkeye quarterback has been impressed with the variety and depth of the Longhorns offenses, seeing how Davis has matched his playing calling from one season to the next based on the talent he had to work with in a given year.

“He’s had a lot of good quarterbacks to work with and by watching different Texas teams, you gain an understanding of the way he thinks and works based on the strengths of that particular team,’’ Vandenberg said.

Davis told Iowa offensive players that they won’t be reinventing the wheel as they develop this year’s Hawkeye offense.

He does expect that wheel to move a little smoother as the team gains experience in its new offense.

Vandenberg said that offense remains a work in progress and given Davis’ past, he expects it to reflect the abilities of the talent he is working with during his first spring on the Hawkeye staff.

“We’re not going to become Texas Tech. We’ll be a bit different, but I don’t see us going with a five-wide attack or anything like that,’’ Vandenberg said. “Mostly, I think we’re going to look for ways to win.”

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