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IOWA CITY — There are a bunch of questions flying around on the Hawkeyes in regard to both sides of the ball.
When Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis spoke last week he mentioned some things that might help show why on a few of the hanging issues, most notably backup quarterback and the mix at wide receiver.
First, true freshman Nathan Stanley has made a charge to challenge for backup quarterback behind senior C.J. Beathard. Here’s Davis on what he’s seen from the Menomonie, Wis., native.
“He’s a really good all-around athlete, played baseball and basketball,” Davis said. “He’s a coach’s son, so he’s been around the game a lot. He came in with a great understanding that he didn’t understand, if that makes sense. So many of them (true freshmen) come in and they think it’s going to be so simple to gather all of this information and make mic points and all of that. He came in understanding that this is going to be a lot, so I need to really focus from the beginning and get the foundation down, not unlike going to your first day of class.
“Throughout it, when he’s made a mistake, he hasn’t beaten himself up over it. He’s just handled making mistakes very well and because of that the next play is a whole new play for him. He just plays that play. He has shown great maturity for a young guy.”
Stanley could be the No. 2, but he also could redshirt. Davis and head coach Kirk Ferentz both said that’s their preference.
Davis said sophomore wide receiver during fall camp 2015 Jay Scheel was right on the edge of playing scout team or being in the rotation. Scheel ended up playing just three snaps last season, so you know the choice.
Last year, it was scout team or getting in the game. This year?
“He’s going to be in the game, I’ll say that,” Davis said with a laugh.
“He’s way, way ahead,” Davis said. “Jay not only had a position change that he was going through (Scheel played quarterback at Union High School), but he also was going through knee problems. Last spring and fall camp was the first time he started getting kind of healthy. We made the decision that he wasn’t quite ready. But starting this spring, he’s been really consistent, he’s been really smart with what he’s done.
“That’s been good, because our X position is really important for one-on-one situations. Between he and Jerminic pushing each other, I think that position is in pretty good shape right now.”
When asked about true freshmen playing, Davis deferred to Ferentz making that announcement. He mentioned that they were still trying decide on freshmen running backs Toks Akinribade and Toren Young and on Stanley. The one name Davis did offer was wide receiver Devonte Young, a 6-0, 195-pounder from Brandywine, Md.
“We started him at the X position and about six practices ago we moved him to the B position to see if he could handle it,” Davis said. “He’s really smart, really conscientious. He’s been a guy who could go either way for us.”
The “X” position is the outside wide receiver, usually lined up farthest away and alone. The “B” receiver lines up outside of the slot receiver. Jacob Hillyer played this position in 2015. And then the slot receiver is Matt VandeBerg. The slot plays closest to the line of scrimmage.
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