QB still a question mark for Hawkeyes
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
IOWA CITY — Iowa opened spring practice hoping that quarterback Nathan Stanley would seize the starting job.
The Hawkeyes will open fall camp hoping for the same thing.
Stanley and Tyler Wiegers failed to clarify Iowa’s vacancy during spring workouts, which concluded Friday night with a scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said earlier this week that Stanley and Wiegers will compete to replace C.J. Beathard through the start of workouts in August.
“The cohesiveness, the timing hasn’t been there all spring, quite frankly, most of the time. At times it’s been there. This week it actually looked a little bit better,” Ferentz said. “We’re not that far off, and I think we’ll get that cleaned up as we move on.”
Wiegers was shaky at times during Friday’s spring game, throwing two interceptions in the first half. Stanley also threw a pick though, and neither looked as if they’re ready to start in the Big Ten just yet — though some of that can be attributed to the fact that Iowa spent much of the spring working on a new offense under first-year coordinator Brian Ferentz.
“There’s a long ways to go,” Stanley said. “Tyler and I are just trying to get better.”
One player who won’t be fighting for the starting quarterback job is Drew Cook, who recently moved to tight end.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Cook stuck at quarterback despite a size and a pedigree that suggested that he’d have a bright future at tight end, a position of prominence in Iowa’s run-based, balanced attack. His father, Marv Cook, also played tight end for Iowa before making a pair of Pro Bowls during his NFL career.
Cook said Ferentz approached him about a week ago to make the switch.
“It feels good. I’ve always known that I’m a big guy and I can run and all that. So when you put your hand in the dirt, there a little confidence there. But there’s still a big learning curve for me. It’s been a fun transition,” Cook said.
Cook’s move has left Ryan Boyle as the third-string quarterback, and it looks as if he’ll stay there despite the spring struggles of Stanley and Wiegers.
Boyle, who showed significant dual-threat abilities as a star at prep powerhouse Dowling Catholic, switched to wide receiver as a freshman in 2016 to help out a depleted unit. Boyle barely saw action though, and this spring he moved back behind center.
One player who should help whoever starts at quarterback next season is transfer walk-on receiver Nick Easley.
Easley, who grew up in nearby Newton, Iowa, caught 72 passes for Iowa Western Community College last season before joining the Hawkeyes.
Iowa is very young and inexperienced beyond senior Matt VandeBerg, who was out this spring while nursing a foot injury sustained in 2016, and Easley moved up the depth chart this winter.
Easley was featured prominently in Friday’s scrimmage and will likely enter fall workouts with an opportunity to earn a starting spot.
“He fit in right from the start,” Ferentz said. “He’s just jumped in there and done a great job.”