Backup QB sparks attention

Backup+QB+sparks++attention

By Jordan Hansen

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There are just 10 days until the 2016 football season arrives, and with Iowa’s summer camp now over, players are spending these last few days jostling for position.

While an official depth chart for the game with Miami (Ohio) won’t be released until Aug. 30, head coach Kirk Ferentz, offensive coordinator Greg Davis, and defensive coordinator Phil Parker dropped some hints during Tuesday’s media session.

One of the biggest stories has to do with freshman quarterback Nate Stanley, whom the coaching staff seems extremely pleased with.

“He’s done a really good job — for a freshman,” Davis said. “The thing is right now his head is still swimming, because there’s a lot on him, but he’s a really mature kid, and we’ll see how it plays out.

“He’s certainly got himself in the mix.”

If there is indeed a battle for the No. 2 spot, then things could get very interesting. Tyler Wiegers, Iowa’s second-string quarterback last year, got tons of work last season. When C.J. Beathard missed a huge number of practice snaps last season, and Wiegers picked them up.

Stanley — who is listed at 6-5, 212 — seems to be the pro-style quarterback Ferentz has long preferred. He also has the multi-sport pedigree the coaching staff likes (he played baseball and basketball as well), and there is a very good chance next season’s QB competition comes down to Stanley, Wiegers, and Drew Cook.

But don’t expect to see Stanley this year. If Beathard happens to get injured, it seems extremely likely Ferentz would go with Wiegers and his experience.

It also sounds as if Iowa would like to redshirt Stanley, but that he’s already pushing for depth-chart movement should give Iowa fans a reason to take notice.

“Anything’s open right now — I think it’s fair to say C.J. is our best quarterback, he’s been practicing well, but after that, we’ll continue to reassess,” Ferentz said. “I don’t think we’re ready to make a decision and preferably we’d like to redshirt him.”

Into the void

Linebacker Nick Wilson is now former linebacker Nick Wilson; he has been dismissed from the team.

He was probably a stretch to make the team anyway — he was a regular walk-on, not a preferred walk-on — but now his chance seems to be gone.

“I think he’s reassessing his future right now,” Ferentz said. “It was no one single event but a cumulative thing.”

That was not the only roster news; wide receiver Emmanuel Ogwo has decided to leave the football team and focus on track.

It’s a little surprising, considering that with Iowa’s general lack of depth at wide receiver, there seemed to be space for a burner such as Ogwo. There seems to be no specific reason he left, but it’s probably not the last time we see Ogwo.

“He was a really outstanding track runner in high school, prolific that way,” Ferentz said. “I think he wants to gravitate in that direction.”

Injury empire strikes back

Tight end could end up being a battle of the last man standing.

Jon Wisnieski has an MCL sprain and is expected to be out for several weeks. In his absence, it seems likely fellow tight end Peter Pekar will grab some of his reps at the second tight-end spot.

This is significant, considering Iowa often runs double tight-end sets, and the second tight end sees plenty of very real game time. Finding a consistent second tight end was definitely a focus for the team in the off-season, and this only makes it more difficult.

Ferentz also noted that defensive lineman Jake Hulett broke his arm, though the injury did not require surgery. Both players are expected to be back well before the end of the season.

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

Correction: In the Aug. 24 story “Backup quarterback sparks attention,” former Iowa linebacker Nick Wilson was described as a walk-on. That is incorrect, he was a scholarship athlete in the 2015 class and redshirted last season. The Daily Iowan regrets the error.

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