Northern Iowa football coach Mark Farley says the one missing ingredient last season was a passing game.
The Panthers opened spring drills this week with nine starters back from an offense that set a school record for rushing in 2015 as UNI won seven of its last eight games. But the Panthers only passed for 101 yards in a loss at eventual national champion North Dakota State in the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs.
“Our whole thing is how do we get from number six in the country which we were last year to number one and it is the passing game”, said Farley. “I think we need to develop the passing game because we have proven we can run the ball with this group as well as anybody in the country. If we can throw the ball and get that balance we will get the scoring we need to go through a 15 or 16 game season.”
Four starters return on the offensive line, running back Tyvis Smith rushed for more than a thousand yards last season and dual threat quarterback Aaron Bailey rushed for more than a thousand yards. Farley says Bailey he has the tools to become effective in the pocket.
“He has a tremendous arm but he needs to be developed in the drop back passing game.”
The Panthers’ spring game is April 29.