Former Hawkeye QB Nate Stanley offers advice to Spencer Petras

Iowa’s new starting quarterback has struggled this season. So, he’s sought advice from former Hawkeye quarterbacks to try and improve.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras attempts a pass during a football game between Iowa and Michigan State in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. The Hawkeyes dominated the Spartans, 49-7.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

The beginning of Spencer Petras’ tenure as Iowa’s starting quarterback has been rocky. But the quarterback who started before him could’ve told him that.

In addition to studying film and seeking advice from his coaches while preparing for the season and even during it, Petras has found an alternative source for feedback – former Hawkeye quarterbacks like Ricky Stanzi, Brad Banks, and Drew Tate.

The resource Petras has called upon the most is Nate Stanley.

“In the last month, I’ve talked to Nate a few times because Nate is one of my close friends and a great mentor, in a way,” Petras said. “After those first couple ballgames where things really weren’t going our way, reaching out to him, [asking] how to deal with different things, he has plenty of advice, plenty of experience, and it was really helpful.”

Petras worked in the same quarterback room as Stanley in 2018 and served as his backup in 2019.

At the end of his career as a Hawkeye, Stanley had thrown for 8,302 yards and 68 touchdowns – ranking second all-time behind only Chuck Long in both categories. Stanley, similar to Petras, started as a sophomore for Iowa.

Stanley was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the 7th round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and is currently competing on their practice squad.

After Iowa’s 35-7 win over Minnesota in the Battle for the Floyd of Rosedale on the road last Friday, Petras noted that he needs to cut down on the turnovers going forward.

Petras has also been known to go on hot and cold streaks in games throughout the season. Against the Gophers, Petras went 1-for-9 between Iowa’s first scoring drive and the second play of the fourth quarter.

Against Purdue, Petras completed just two of his first eight passes. He then converted on 15 of his next 16 passes and rounded out the game missing on 10 of his last 15 throws.

The eye test hasn’t been kind to the sophomore quarterback either. Petras has missed a number of throws to wide-open receivers, causing some Monday morning quarterbacks to take to social media to criticize him and advocate for a change at the position.

RELATED: Halfway through first season as starter, Petras focused on cutting down turnovers

Head coach Kirk Ferentz has voiced his support for Petras throughout the season, realizing that there will be “growing pains” with any new starting quarterback – especially one that didn’t go through regular spring practices and summer training camp because of COVID-19.

“Spencer has done a good job,” Ferentz said during his Tuesday press conference. “He has led our team and is learning quickly. Spencer has a good feel and grip on things. He will get better with experience.”

When Petras has sought Stanley’s advice, the Menomonie, Wisconsin, native has echoed the words of Petras’ coaches.

“[We’ve talked about] some specific things about game planning and that kind of deal, but a lot of it has just been like, ‘It takes time,’” Petras said. “Obviously those first two ballgames [we] were not getting the results we wanted, even myself, just finding that I’m not where I know I can be. [Stanley] just tells me it takes time to keep focusing on improvement, and letting the game come to you. It’s not easy. It takes time. It’s difficult, but more preparation put in, more focus on improvement consistently over time will lead to the results I want.”

This Saturday, Petras will have the opportunity to accomplish something his predecessor never did – snap Iowa’s losing streak to Penn State. Stanley was 0-3 against the Nittany Lions in his career, extending Iowa’s losing streak to Penn State to six games.

Petras can become the first Iowa quarterback to beat the Nittany Lions since Stanzi did it back in 2010.