MOUNT VERNON - Cornell knew that any chance for success against unbeaten Lake Forest (Ill.) would begin and end with stopping the Foresters' star tailback, Joey Valdivia.
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THE DEPTH CHART
QB — 1. C.J. Beathard, sr., 6-2, 215; 2. Tyler Wiegers, so., 6-4, 225; 3. Drew Cook, #fr., 6-5, 220; 4. Nathan Stanley, fr., 6-5, 212; 5. Ryan Schmidt, #fr., 6-5, 230
NEXT MAN IN: WHO HAS THE EDGE?
After senior C.J. Beathard, it’s going to be sophomore Tyler Wiegers. The Lake Orion, Mich., native is in his third year at Iowa. He’s super intelligent (a biomedical engineering major) and that, as much as anything, puts him in the game if Beathard is injured. Beathard, as you’ll remember, was injured pretty much all of 2015, but fought through groin injuries (torn groin and sports hernia) and stayed in the action. Early in fall camp, Beathard suffered a sprained knee and bounced back after three practices. Basically, you want to see Wiegers, but in the right situation, a blowout victory.
Wiegers got a chance to run the show during the spring game, when Beathard sat out with a minor shoulder injury. Behind an offensive line that plugged in two third teamers, Wiegers completed 14 of 28 for 100 yards and had two passes picked off. The picks have stuck with him.
“It was fun,” he said. “It was good getting more reps and being with the first team. Obviously, I wish I hadn’t thrown those two picks. It was a good learning experience and a good chance to get in there with the first team and go at a different tempo.”
The No. 2 QB has to have a fireman’s mentality. You have to be ready to be called into action at any minute.
“You always have to be ready to go,” Wiegers said. “If your role is going to be a little bit bigger, you’ve got to be ready to take it on.”
Beyond Wiegers, redshirt freshman Drew Cook is best poised for No. 3, but true freshman Nathan Stanley has seen reps with the No. 2s. When Beathard was limited for the Aug. 13 open scrimmage, Stanley, from Menomonie, Wis., grabbed some practice time with the second team. It might be a thing, it might not be.
After the open scrimmage, head coach Kirk Ferentz was asked if a move to TE for Cook was something the coaches were considering. Ferentz answered with a flatl no. He said, sure, they thought about it when they signed him three years ago out of Iowa City Regina — Drew’s dad is Marv, a former all-American TE at Iowa — but, no, Drew Cook is a QB. The question made sense because Iowa is running low on TEs.
Stanley showed a calm demeanor during the scrimmage, something he’s carried all camp, Ferentz said.
“I’m just trying to figure out right now if that’s the way he is,” Ferentz said, “or if he just doesn’t know what the heck is going on right now. It’s one of those two things. I hope it’s the first.”
A LITTLE LOOK AHEAD
Redshirt freshman Ryan Boyle guided West Des Moines Dowling to back-to-back state titles as the school’s quarterback in 2013 and 2014. Knowing he wasn’t going to play quarterback this season, Boyle, a 6-1, 215-pounder, didn’t want to wear headphones and signal in plays, so he talked with coaches and made the switch to wide receiver (he’s also in contention for special teams coverage units).
Ferentz said the move is for this fall and then it’s up to Boyle where he wants to line up and moving back to QB is an option. What would this do to the 2017 QB depth chart? Right now, that will go Wiegers, Cook, Stanley and Peyton Mansell (a 6-2, 195-pounder from Belton, Texas, who’s committed in the 2017 class).
Going off recent history, which has included three QB transfers, Iowa can reasonably expect to keep three scholarship quarterbacks. Boyle, who was more of a read-option QB at Dowling, moving back would make it crowded, probably too crowded. It’s probably not the most likely option, but the door remains open.
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