Nate Stanley gives Iowa football a voice for its offense

Nate Stanley has progressed from being an underclassman at the head of the offense, to being a strong voice for on-field action.

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Nate Stanley gives Iowa football a voice for its offense

Quarterback Nate Stanley poses for a portrait during Iowa Football media day on Aug. 10.

Quarterback Nate Stanley poses for a portrait during Iowa Football media day on Aug. 10.

Nick Rohlman

Quarterback Nate Stanley poses for a portrait during Iowa Football media day on Aug. 10.

Nick Rohlman

Nick Rohlman

Quarterback Nate Stanley poses for a portrait during Iowa Football media day on Aug. 10.

Anna Kayser, Assistant Sports Editor

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With one year under his belt as the starting quarterback, Nate Stanley has grown into his role as a vital leader of the Hawkeye offense.

Stanley’s progression from fighting for a backup position to becoming a starter on the national stage has given him the confidence to be a vocal advocate for the offense with the coaching staff.

When something is put up on the board or is shown on tape, no matter how great it seems to the coaching staff, Stanley’s viewpoint is vital in translating the play onto the field.

“When you’re a young guy trying to win a job, the first thing you’re going to do is not going to be to say, ‘Hey, I don’t like that play call’ [or] ‘I don’t like that one,’ ” offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz said. “But we’re to that point now, and I think that’s a great sign of progress and maturity.”

A lot of that growth has come from Stanley’s work ethic and ability to learn on the fly, something Ferentz says plays to his benefit as quarterback.

Arguably the most important factor, however, has been his experience from last season. That familiarity with both the coaching staff and his teammates makes Stanley the type of weapon that he hasn’t been before.

“There is no substitute for experience. He has a lot of it now, and I think the version of Nate that we see every day is a much different version than a year ago and a much improved one because of his work,” Ferentz said.

A large focus for preseason camp has been on footwork, ball placement, and, most importantly, building that deeper understanding of the offense.

“Mentally, Coach Brian and [quarterback] Coach [Ken] O’Keefe have really helped me to gain the knowledge of the offense, and also, they’ve let me swim sometimes, too,” Stanley said. “Really, trial by fire is sometimes one of the best things that can happen, and that has allowed me to grow as a quarterback mentally as well.”

A common theme during Iowa’s media day on Aug. 10 was Stanley’s freedom in the offense, something that goes hand-in-hand with his progression from Day 1 in a Hawkeye uniform.

“I think there was always freedom to do stuff, but just building that knowledge of the offense allows for you to open up, and expand more, and use a lot more of the playbook,” Stanley said.

“I think there was always freedom to do stuff, but just building that knowledge of the offense allows for you to open up, and expand more, and use a lot more of the playbook,” Stanley said.”

— Nate Stanley

Stanley is only one of two Hawkeyes in the history of the program to be selected by the team to be a captain following his sophomore season, said head coach Kirk Ferentz at Big Ten media days on July 24. The other was Josey Jewell.

Kirk Ferentz said that being voted a captain alone has shown Stanley’s growth over the last year.

“I think that just tells you how far Nate came last year, from being a guy we weren’t sure was going to start in August — at this time last year, we didn’t know who our starter was — and really had a good season,” the head man said. “But most importantly, I think, he’s gained the respect and confidence of his teammates.”

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