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College Sports

Hawkeyes getting comfortable in new system

IOWA CITY (MCT) — Jordan Cotton’s emergence as a receiving threat for the Iowa football team has been because the Hawkeyes have finally found the right spot for him, offensive coordinator Greg Davis said on Tuesday.

“Jordan Cotton has came the last couple weeks and given us some explosive plays,” Davis said of the Mount Pleasant High School graduate. “I think we finally got Jordan in the right place, which is, in our terminology, our sub-B position, and I think because of that, he’s really beginning to play well.”

The Hawkeyes, off this week for their bye in the Big Ten schedule, are coming off their best offensive performance of the season in a 31-13 win over Minnesota.

Cotton caught his first collegiate touchdown in that game, a 47-yard pass from Keokuk High School graduate James Vandenberg.

Vandenberg also seems to be getting more comfortable in Davis’ new offense. But he has just two touchdown passes this season, compared to 25 last season.

“It’s a big deal because I think we’re all a little bit surprised,” Davis said. “It’s not a big deal in terms of what we are looking at or what he’s looking at.

“I mean, would you like him to be better? Yeah, you’d like him to be better sure. But at the same time, you’re not going to force the issue.”

Davis said Vandenberg, who has completed 93-of-159 passes for 1,000 yards this season, has been close to adding to his touchdown total.

“We’ve had several situations where guys have been close to getting it in, they don’t get in,” Davis said. “We’ve had opportunities. So we’ll just continue to work with that.”

Davis said Vandenberg’s play hasn’t been shown in the numbers.

“The thing he’s done so well is he hasn’t let it bother him,” Davis said. “Because it’s not obvious, he doesn’t get the credit for some of the things he does that don’t show up, in terms of getting us in and out of different situations.”

Vandenberg has impressed Davis with his study of the offense.

“The one thing that happens with a guy like James is that he does so much study during the course of the week, a lot of times he’s getting a pre-snap tip as to what he feels like the defense is going to do,” Davis said.

Vandenberg’s knowledge, Davis said, has allowed the coach to give the quarterback some flexibility to make calls in the huddle.

“He studies really hard during the week so that he can make those checks,” Davis said.

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