Iowa CITY, Iowa - It was like the Twilight Zone in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. Iowa ran a no-huddle offense for all but one play of their annual open spring scrimmage.
You could count on one-hand the number of times the Hawkeyes have employed a hurry-up attack during Kirk Ferentz's 14 years as head coach. That is, of course, other than those occasions when they were trailing late in a game or trying to get some points at the end of a half.
Receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley said earlier this week that he felt Iowa would be in the no-huddle 80-90 percent of the time in 2013. Then, offensive coordinator Greg Davis showed it in front of an estimated crowd of 16,500 people on Saturday.
"In the beginning of the spring it was introduced and we didn't know what we were doing with it," running back Damon Bullock said. "Right now, we feel real comfortable with it. It's all about making the defense tired and making plays when they're not ready for it."
When Bullock was asked if he felt Iowa would be running the no-huddle a lot this fall, he answered matter-of-factly - "Yeah. All of the time."
The Iowa offense looked crisp running up-tempo. It did appear that it caught the defense flat footed on a number of occasions. It was a breath of fresh air after last year's train wreck that resulted in a Big Ten low 22 touchdowns.
With that said, you shouldn't fall in love with the idea that Iowa will be fastbreak basketball on turf in 2013. Ferentz still retains some of his football faculties.
"We may use more of it, we may not," the coach said. "We'll see what it looks like. There have been times this spring where we said no way. It looks terrible. But we kind of anticipated that going in."
Ferentz said it benefits the offense in practice because it makes the players think on their feet. It also helps the defense because that unit sees it from many of its opponents during the season.
"At the end of the day, hopefully after 15 days (of spring practice) we're better for it," Ferentz said. "Although, again, there have been times when it doesn't look so good. I have to be honest with you there. In fact, it looked awful at times. But at least I think we're getting better."
PERFORMANCE REVIEW: Defensive tackle Carl Davis disrupted Iowa's offense throughout the day. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound junior also looked strong in the West Des Moines open practice a few weeks ago and appears ready to live up to his tremendous natural ability with the injury bug behind him.
Another player who stood out in West Des Moines, Jordan Canzeri, followed up with a strong scrimmage. The running back from New York showed the best burst, vision and elusiveness of the Iowa ball carriers for a second consecutive open workout.
QB COMPETITION: Ferentz echoed what offensive coordinator Greg Davis said on Wednesday. None of the three quarterbacks competing for the starting position has emerged from the pack.
Ferentz said that he would like to make a decision as early as possible in August Camp.
"At some point, we have to make the call. If it's dead even, you do what you have to do," he said. "At some point you have to get the team ready and there has to be some type of flow and continuity. We'll make a call when it's appropriate and just go from there."
Jake Rudock, as he did in West Des Moines, looked again to grasp the offense better than Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard. Rudock moved the team the most consistently well on Saturday. Having said that, the other two quarterbacks were not completely outclassed.
If this reporter were putting together a depth chart right now, it would show Rudock, Sokol and then Beathard. But, it's close.
THIS AND THAT: Jordan Walsh continues to take most of the first-team reps at RG with Conor Boffeli and Andrew Donnal sharing time at LG. That's been a bit of a surprise with Donnal starting at guard last year before a season-ending injury hit…Bullock and Canzeri both lined up at wide receiver in certain formations…wideouts Don Shumpert and Riley McCarron missed the scrimmage with injury…Barkley Hill also was not in pads after missing the West Des Moines workout as well. He tore his ACL last August…Sean Draper served as the nickel back…the kickers did not have a good day. Mike Meyer missed two field goals and walk-on Alden Haffer misfired as well…Canzeri and Martin-Manley returned punts. The team did not perform kickoffs on Saturday…Johnny Lowdermilk started and took most of the first-team reps at strong safety. Projected starter, Nico Law, has been banged up this spring, although he did dress on Saturday…Ferentz said there was a good chance that Iowa would continue to have an actual spring scrimmage with a score again next year.