New Offense, New Coach: Meet Joe Davis

New UNI offensive coordinator Joe Davis with Rashadeem Gray #20 (courtesy UNI Athletic Communications)

| this report is courtesy UNI Athletic Communications, originally published at UNIPanthers.com |

Uptempo is the name of the game for newly hired University of Northern Iowa Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Joe Davis. Davis arrived in Cedar Falls in the Spring after spending two seasons with Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, leading the Raiders offense to a top ten ranking in Division II with 513 yards per game while averaging 87 plays per contest.JoeDavis-ShippensburgFB Although he hasn’t been in the Cedar Valley for long, Davis and his family have enjoyed their time in their new community.

“From a personal standpoint, my family and I have really enjoyed getting to know Cedar Falls and have just been very welcomed by the community,” said Davis. “It’s been humbling to be part of such a tradition rich program here. Head coach Mark Farley has done a great job at integrating the new staff into a program that has been so successful here for so long. It’s been nothing but positive here so far.”

The former college and Arena Football quarterback has been adding schemes to his offensive repertoire since he began his coaching career in 2003, picking up new concepts and ideas that fit his players’ skill sets no matter where he is coaching.

“I think most coaches, we would lie if we said we were all innovators,” said Davis. “We do our best to be gatherers of information. I think any great coach would tell you that they’re always on the lookout for the best schemes, plays, or system that fits their players. With this system that we’re running here, it evolves every year. What year do you have what players? What we’re doing now is sort of a mix of plays and systems that all the coaches have brought and we try to mesh it together the best way we can to make it teachable for our players here at UNI.”

courtesy Mike Dunlop

courtesy Mike Dunlop

For Davis, getting his new team ready for his uptempo style is more than handing out new playbooks to his players. Getting them ready from a conditioning and mental standpoint has been something he and the UNI coaching staff have been focusing on since Spring ball.

“I think conditioning is number one and Coach Farley has done a great job at integrating the whole team,” said Davis. “Anytime that you go to an uptempo system, it’s a program philosophy. It’s not just the offense. The defense has to be ready for that type of style. The special teams have to be ready for that type of style. And obviously the players on the offense have to to be ready for that. From a conditioning standpoint, not only physical conditioning, but I think mentally. Being conditioned to say, ‘hey, let’s get ready to run the next play and lets be fast and lets be efficient’. Really our focus right now is that we do want to play fast but we want to be very technically sound and be able to play fundamentally sound football.”

Davis has been impressed with how his squad has adjusted to the new coaching changes, from the veteran players to the newcomers on the team.

“There’s great energy and enthusiasm amongst the players and I think the coaches have brought that as well,” said Davis. “We’ve got four new coaches on offense, all with great backgrounds from different programs. Everybody’s got great ideas and I think all the players have fed off that very, very exceptionally.”

Davis and the other coaches have a unique melting pot of options at the quarterback position as the Panthers have four quarterbacks competing for the starting job come Sep. 5 when they travel to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State.

courtesy UNI Athletics Media Relations

courtesy UNI Athletics Media Relations

Returning Panthers Sawyer Kollmorgen and Eli Dunne along with transfers Dalton Demos and Aaron Bailey have been competing for the job so far this camp, but Davis is fine with having multiple options to choose from when picking a field general to run his offense.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said Davis. “I’ve been in programs where we didn’t have enough and you were really trying to protect one guy. We’ve got four guys that are battling out here. They’ve really run the offense very well and now it’s going to come down to who can execute it. Those guys have studied hard, they’re all football junkies, they’re all passionate about it, they all encourage each other, they’ve all bought into the system and the program. It’ll be fun to watch and see who emerges here. Whatever happens, don’t count anybody out because my gut tells me we’re going to need all four of them all the way this season as we go through it. It’s a very positive thing for us.”

Dalton Demos #7 & Savon Huggins #28 (via UNIPanthers.com)

Dalton Demos #7 & Savon Huggins #28 (via UNIPanthers.com)

The quarterback position is an integral part of the offense, but especially for Davis’ system that has saw his quarterbacks account for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in four consecutive seasons. Davis is looking for a starting quarterback that can establish a presence on the field while efficiently moving the chains and putting points up on the scoreboard.

“The number one thing is operationally, he has to be able to run the show,” said Davis. “He has to be able to manage the game and I tell our young men this all the time. Before you throw a touchdown pass or before you make a run you have to get us lined up, make sure we’re in the right protection, the right motion. Is there enough time on the play clock? You also have to do that with a very composed demeanor. As you’re composed, the rest of the players are composed. The second thing is, we’re looking for a guy who can be very accurate.

Illinois junior transfer Aaron Bailey will figure in to the UNI quarterback competition this off-season.

Illinois junior transfer Aaron Bailey will figure in to the UNI quarterback competition this off-season.

A guy that can find the open receiver, that can minimize turnovers. And the last thing they’ll be judged on is production. When they’re in the game or practice, are we scoring points? Good, bad or ugly, they’re job is to get us in the endzone.”

Although Davis’ debut with the Panthers will be on the road, he is looking forward to getting his new offense in front of the UNI Faithful in the UNI-Dome where the Panthers won six games last season including their FCS Playoff opener against Stephen F. Austin.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to get in the Dome for that first game and really hear that place rock,” said Davis. “You hear so much about it and seen videos and things but to be a part of it I think will be a very, very special thing.”