Taking a look at Iowa’s deep passing


Let’s break down a bit of film, shall we?

By Jordan Hansen
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Iowa’s offense has taken something of an impressive leap forward this season and much of that has to do with quarterback C.J. Beathard’s deep ball.

Beathard has gone deep often and his longest throw from each game he’s played this season is 48-yard or longer.

Wide receiver Tevaun Smith has seen the biggest uptick in duty and caught Beathard’s longest pass this season, an 81-yard touchdown against North Texas.

Let’s take a look.


Iowa goes play-action here, with running back Jordan Canzeri in the backfield. He runs behind the fullback (either Macon Plewa or Adam Cox, it’s hard to tell) and sells the run.

It’s really a good time to take a shot down the field. Iowa had just been pushed back because of a penalty and a run play would make sense. Pick up a couple yards and get into a manageable third-down situation.

[RELATED: How Iowa fares with the deep ball]

Instead, Greg Davis decides to take a shot down the field.

It’s hard to see in the replay, but it looks like Smith is running a deep post route. Beathard airs out the ball— it travels around 40-yards in the air — and he beats the safety. Touchdown.

The secondary wide receiver (looks like its Matt VandeBerg) is running an ‘in’ route, while Canzeri slips out of the back field on and also does a bit of an in/drag route.

It’s very, very different from longest pass Iowa had last year — a cross route out of a formation with one receiver behind the other.


Former Hawkeye Damond Powell runs the crossing route and simply burns the Indiana defender.

Smith doesn’t have that type of speed, but has much better route-running skills. Iowa has not done a whole lot out this formation this season, instead opting to spread things out.

The Hawkeyes have done a bit of triple tight ends, something that might increase once Jake Duzey is back on the field.

Tight ends have been very good for Iowa over the last two games and this 43-yard touchdown to George Kittle ends up being easy as cake.


Both of Iowa’s receivers on the bottom draw a bit of coverage. This is a passing formation and the Hawkeyes do little to disguise it.

Henry Kriegier Coble and Kittle both line up standing up and each of them runs a simple out route. Kittle gets lost by the coverage team, which leads to the touchdown.

Beathard hardly looks at the other wide outs and knows Kittle is going to be open and he hits him in stride.

He’s been very accurate on his downfield passing so far this season and it’s a trend Iowa needs to continue if they have dreams of winning the Big Ten West.

Follow @JordyHansen on Twitter for Iowa football news, updates, and analysis.

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