|James Vandenberg's 2012 is not going as planned. (US Presswire)|
“He's our starting quarterback, if that's what you're asking," Kirk Ferentz told reporters on Tuesday. "We all believe in James. I think I speak for everybody involved in our program, team and coaches.”
Coming into the 2012 season, there were plenty of people who considered Vandenberg to be the best pure passer of all the quarterbacks in the Big Ten. You couldn't blame them for feeling that way, either.
Vandenberg finished the 2011 season having thrown for 3,022 yards and 25 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. Seven games into the 2012 season, the numbers don't look nearly as nice. Vandenberg currently has thrown five interceptions compared to only three touchdowns. His passer efficiency rating is a lowly 103.91, the worst mark of any starter in the Big Ten.
You don't have to be a genius to notice the big dropoff, but I have to agree with Ferentz and his decision to not bench Vandenberg.
First, the Hawkeyes are still 4-3 overall this season and 2-1 in the Big Ten. There's still plenty to play for in Iowa City. Considering Vandenberg's backup is redshirt freshman Jake Rudock -- who has never thrown a collegiate pass -- I just don't see how replacing Vandenberg helps the situation.
Secondly, I don't think Vandenberg is as bad as his numbers suggest. One of the main differences between 2011 and 2012 for the Hawkeyes' offense is that the team changed offensive coordinators. Greg Davis replaced Ken O'Keefe, who went to the Miami Dolphins. To be blunt, the offensive game plan hasn't exactly been impressive.
Davis was fired at Texas following the 2010 season, after the Longhorns had a terrible season offensively and finished 5-7. I see a lot of the same problems in this Iowa offense that I saw in that Texas offense.
You'll have to excuse me if I'm of the opinion that Vandenberg isn't the one who needs to be benched.