Iowa expects coordinator Davis to return

Shortly after Iowa's season mercifully ended last Friday, rumors began sprouting that offensive coordinator Greg Davis might not be back for a second season.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. Head coach Kirk Ferentz made it clear Wednesday that Davis is in no danger of being let go. Asked at his end-of-season news conference if Davis would be back, Ferentz replied, "As far as I know, yeah."

"I've got every bit of confidence that Greg will be in [for 2013]," Ferentz said. "Not only getting into tenures or job security and all that stuff. That's not what we're here for. But Greg's a tremendous football coach. We wouldn't have brought him here 10 months ago or however many if we didn't feel that way. I feel stronger about the kind of coaching person he is now after working with him."

Iowa finished 11th in the Big Ten in both scoring and total offense -- finishing 111th nationally in scoring and 114th in total offense -- and last in rushing offense despite Mark Weisman's midseason emergence. Davis' play calls drew heavy criticism as Iowa repeatedly couldn't convert takeaways into points, often ran pass routes short of the first-down marker and made other errors.

The Hawkeyes scored 17 points or fewer in five games.

Ferentz acknowledged a learning curve for Davis, who stepped into a new situation at Iowa after a year away from the game.

"We've had some great discussion, and I think he's got a real firm handle on our best path moving forward at least at this point," Ferentz said. "I think we're all seeing it the same way. At least he and I are. As we get the whole staff together, we'll have those discussions too."

Ferentz also addressed the criticism both Davis and senior quarterback James Vandenberg took this season.

"Clearly James and Greg were lightning rods, and [former offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe] was when he was here," he said. "Ken's a good coach. That's been proven and documented. ... James had a tough year on the field. No question about it. I don't think anybody could have done a better job off the field in handling it and dealing with it and representing himself in a class way. Anybody that is paying attention, if they don't have respect for that young guy, they're missing the whole boat.

"We didn't design a 4‑8 year to check everybody's mettle and all that jazz, but your mettle gets checked pretty good."