IOWA CITY — It wasn’t totally indicative of the afternoon, but if your offensive linemen are ever going to end up doing burpees because of their performance, you want it to be in August when it doesn’t count.
After the final play of Saturday’s scrimmage before a few thousand fans at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa offensive linemen gathered around coach Tim Polasek. Five minutes or so of chatting soon broke into the majority of the group doing burpees.
What did the offensive line do to deserve the burpee treatment? Well, it might not have been the 12 sacks. Sacks are subjective in a scrimmage situation. It might’ve been the seven false starts.
“I can give you an exact number if you want me to pull it out,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said of the false starts. “It was seven or eight. It’s probably pretty similar to last year at this time. Self-inflicted wounds, that’s the race we’re running right now.”
This is the time of year where you want your O-line doing burpees because of false starts. On Sept. 2, that’s a 5-yard penalty, and Iowa’s offense probably doesn’t live through a first-and-15.
Iowa will, after all, have a new starter at quarterback. And, no, Ferentz didn’t name a winner in the race between sophomore Nathan Stanley and junior Tyler Wiegers.
“I think we’re going to let those guys continue to compete,” Ferentz said. “They’ve had 12 good days, going back and forth a little bit.”
Ferentz said there’s no timetable on a decision. He was definitive, however, about not rotating quarterbacks in games. A starter will be named sometime before Sept. 2.
“We’d rather not, quite frankly,” Ferentz said. “It’d be nice at some point, in a perfect world, when we start preparing for our first game to have a 1 and a 2. I think it’s better for the team overall. We’ll handle it however we have to handle it.
Going off Saturday’s performance — it was Iowa’s 12th practice of fall camp — it feels like Stanley holds a slight edge, maybe even more than slight.
Stanley completed 14 of 26 for 167 yards and three TDs. He hit wide receiver Devonte Young for 53- and 21-yard TDs and, in a goal line drill, fired an out to true freshman Max Cooper for a 4-yard TD. Wiegers finished 7 of 13 for 65 yards.
The quarterbacks weren’t available for interviews. Everybody else said all of the right stuff. It’s a QB competition and not a QB campaign.
“It’s obviously a high-level competition,” tight end Noah Fant said. “The best thing I like about it, every day they push each other to be better. If one throws a bad ball, the other will motivate him to get back in there and do better next time. It’s vice versa. They bring a great attitude to the competition.”
Young was the most productive wide receiver Saturday. True freshman Brandon Smith had three catches for 13 yards. Tight ends did some damage, too, with redshirt freshmen Shaun Beyer catching two passes for 52 yards and T.J. Hockenson grabbing two for 33 yards.
The big news at wide receiver on Saturday was Matt Quarells’ arrival. The 6-1, 190-pounder finally finished the graduate transfer process, coming in from New Mexico with two years to play at Iowa. Friday was the St. Louis, Mo., native’s first practice. Ferentz tapped the brakes a little on what Quarells might be able to contribute in the short term.
“If he can help us in September, great,” Ferentz said. “If he can help us in October, great. Hopefully at some point, he’ll be able to help our football team.”
Saturday was senior running back James Butler’s first contact drills at Iowa. The graduate transfer from Nevada rushed 11 times for 57 yards and two TDs (6, 1 yards). Senior Akrum Wadley played a few series and rushed four times for 23 yards. The top tier at running back is Wadley, Butler and redshirt freshman Toren Young, who had nine carries for 25 yards.
One little wrinkle in the offense was putting running backs in the slot. Wadley lined up there a handful of times.
Ferentz said he felt better about wide receiver than he did after spring practice. Same for kicker.
Junior Miguel Recinos put on a show Saturday, hitting 9 of 9 field goals, from both hashes, with long kicks of 51, 49 and 46. Sophomore Keith Duncan hit 5 of 9 with a long of 48 and a miss from 27 that he probably wants back.
“It was probably his best day as a Hawkeye,” Ferentz said of Recinos. “The ones he hit, they were true. They weren’t limping over the goal post. That was good to see.”
On the injury front, Ferentz said a few players might miss a couple of weeks. He didn’t mention names and he did say there weren’t any injuries that were expected to linger into the season. Wide receiver Nick Easley and true freshman O-lineman Tristan Wirfs were noteworthy scratches. Wirfs was injured Thursday.
Stats and lineups
Nathan Stanley — 14 of 26 for 167 yards and three TDs
Tyler Wiegers — 7 of 13 for 65 yards
Ryan Boyle — 4 of 6 for 62
Peyton Mansell — 2 of 5 for 49
Toren Young — 9 carries for 25 yards
Akrum Wadley — 4 for 23
James Butler — 11 for 57 2 TDs (6, 1)
Ivory Kelly-Martin — 9 for 41
Boyle — 1 for 4
Marcel Joly — 7 for 17
Ihmir Smith-Marsette — 2 for 0 (fumble)
Toks Akinribade — 2 for 6
Kyshaun Bryan — 2 for 2
Wiegers — 1 for 8
Wadley — 1 catch for 0 yards
TE Shaun Beyer — 2 for 53
WR Brandon Smith — 3 for 13
WR Devonte Young — 2 for 74 2 TDs (53, 21)
WR Adrian Falconer — 2 for 15 drop
RB Toren Young — 1 for 4
WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette — 1 for 7
RB James Butler — 3 for 9
RB Ivory Kelly-Martin — 1 for 25
WR Max Cooper — 1 for 4 TD (4)
TE Noah Fant — 2 for 18
TE T.J. Hockenson — 2 for 33 drop
TE Drew Cook — 1 for 4
Miguel Recinos — (9 of 9) 30 right hash good, 34 RH good, 46 RH good, 49 LH good, 42 RH good, PAT, 27 middle good, 30 LH good, 51 RH good, 48 LH good
Keith Duncan — (5 of 9) 40 RH good, 48 LH good, 38 RH good, 21 LH good, 30 RH good, PAT, 27 middle miss (right upright), 30 LH miss (wide left), 51 RH miss (short), 48 LH miss (short)
LB Bo Bower 2
CB Matt Hankins
DE Anthony Nelson
DE A.J. Epenesa 3
DE Chauncey Golston
DT Brady Reiff
DT Nathan Bazata
DT Jake Hulett
False starts 7
Delay of game
Lineups (courtesy of Land of Ten’s Scott Dochterman)
FIRST OFFENSE (first play): LT — Ike Boettger; LG — Ross Reynolds; C — James Daniels; RG — Keegan Render; RT — Sean Welsh; TE — Jon Wisnieski; WR — Devonte Young; WR — Adrian Falconer; Slot — Akrum Wadley; RB — Toren Young; QB — Tyler Wiegers
OTHERS: QB — Nathan Stanley; LT — Boone Myers, Alaric Jackson; C — Render; WR — Matt VandeBerg, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Brandon Smith, Dom Daffney, Max Cooper; RB — Wadley, James Butler, Kelly Ivory-Martin; TE — Noah Fant, Peter Pekar, Shaun Beyer, T.J. Hockenson; FB — Drake Kulick, Brady Ross;
DNP — WR Nick Easley
SPECIAL — Young was only wide receiver in two-back, two-tight end set
FIRST DEFENSE (first play): DE — Anthony Nelson, Parker Hesse; DT — Cedrick Lattimore, Nathan Bazata; OLB — Ben Niemann; MLB — Josey Jewell; WLB — Bo Bower; CB — Manny Rugamba; LCB — Joshua Jackson; FS — Jake Gervase; SS — Miles Taylor
OTHERS: DT — Matt Nelson, Hesse, Brady Reiff, Jake Hulett; DE — A.J. Epenesa, Sam Brincks; MLB — Kristian Welch; NB — Michael Ojemudia
DNP — LB Jack Hockaday, S Brandon Snyder
SPECIAL — On passing downs, Hesse moved inside to play defensive tackle
SECOND/THIRD OFFENSE (first play): LT — Mark Kallenberger; LG — Cole Banwart; C — Spencer Williams; RG — Landon Paulsen; RT — Alaric Jackson; TE — Pekar, Beyer; WR — Smith, Smith-Marsette; RB — Kelly-Martin; QB — Ryan Boyle
OTHERS: QB — Wiegers, Stanley, Peyton Mansell; RB — Butler, Young, Toks Akinribade; WR — Cooper, Brandon Bishop, Daffney, Cam Harrell, Henry Marchese; TE — Drew Cook, Nate Vejvoda, Jacob Coons; RB — Marcel Joly, Kyshaun Bryan; FB — Austin Kelly; T — Myers, Banwart; G — Myers, Kyler Schott;
DNP: OL — Tristan Wirfs, Levi Paulsen
SECOND/THIRD DEFENSE (first play): DE — Epenesa, Chauncey Golston; DT — Garret Jansen, Reiff; MLB — Welch; WLB — Aaron Mends; OLB — Kevin Ward; CB — Ojemudia, Matt Hankins; SS — Amani Hooker; FS — Geno Stone
OTHERS: DE — Brandon Simon, Romeo McKnight, Jack Kallenberger; DT — Hulett, Jake Newborg, Daniel Gaffney, Austin Schulte; MLB — Kyle Taylor; WLB — Djimon Colbert; OLB — Nick Niemann, Barrington Wade; CB — Josh Turner, Trey Creamer, Cedric Boswell, S — Noah Clayberg, Wes Dvorak, John Milani, Jack Koerner
DNP: LB — Nate Wieland; DL — Levi Duwa
SPECIAL: Rugamba played nickel
FIELD GOAL: Snapper — Tyler Kluver; G — Welsh, Landon Paulsen; T — Render, Jackson; E — Brincks, Boettger; WB — Hockenson, Pekar; Holder — Colten Rastetterl Kicker — Miguel Recinos/Keith Duncan