Let's be clear: Nate Stanley, while often cutting a remarkably statuesque profile in the pocket over these past three seasons, has shown some ability to tuck the ball and run. He's certainly not a smooth runner, like Brad Banks was, nor is he a canny scrambler, like Drew Tate and C.J. Beathard often were. If we keep up this comparison to past Iowa quarterbacks, Stanley's running ability most resembles a slightly more graceful-looking Nate Chandler. (It's a Nate thing, apparently.)
But he did finish with positive rushing yards last season (not always easy to do when college counts sack yardage against a QB's rushing stats) and he had some notable runs against Iowa State two weeks ago. He galloped for 10 yards on a 3rd & 7 play to pick up an Iowa first down in the first quarter. And on Iowa's lone touchdown drive of the game, Stanley scooted for 14 yards (on 3rd & 11) and six yards (on 2nd & 8), before scoring the touchdown himself on a one-yard QB sneak.
Even so, we were not prepared for Middle Tennessee State head coach Rick Stockstill to describe Stanley quite like this (skip to 3:20 in the video below):
Week 04 Press Conference: Blue Raiders at Iowa, Sept. 28th at 11am CST. https://t.co/16OKDIgzON— MT Athletics (@MTAthletics) September 23, 2019
Did... did we hear that correctly? To the transcript!
QUESTION: As much as they like to run, Nate Stanley just continues to put up just solid numbers for them -- what impresses you most about the way he plays him?
STOCKSTILL: Probably just, you know, his tenacity... uh. You know, he runs... uh... mad. He runs, you know, like he's got a chip on his shoulder, which I'm sure he does. But he's a physical, down-hill, hard-nose runner that, you know, breaks tackles... um, you know, mostly, I think, because of his effort, you know. He can make you miss, but a lot of his production is a result of his effort and his refusal to go down by the first tackler.
Are... are we sure he's been watching Iowa game film from, uh, the last three years? Did his staff only get him tape from six years ago? Does he think Mark Weisman is Iowa's quarterback?
I will grant that the phrasing of the question is a little misleading -- it starts off talking about how much Iowa likes to run -- but still, the questioner clearly asks about Nate Stanley. Who is Iowa's quarterback. And while Stanley is a more effective runner than you might think from first looking at him, none of the descriptions that Stockstill applies to him are, well, accurate. He runs mad? Like he's got a chip on his shoulder? A physical, down-hill, hard-nose runner? That breaks tackles? No, nope, nuh-uh, not really.
Stockstill runs through so many clichés and generic running back platitudes in that quote that more than anything he sounds like a kid being asked to deliver a book report when he's only looked at the cover of the book. ("It's about an old man. He goes fishing... in the sea.")
This is not quite as good as the time that Ron Zook thought Nate Kaeding -- who we remind you was a kicker, albeit a very good and very athletic kicker -- was a running back before the 2004 Outback Bowl. But it's still pretty great that Middle Tennessee State seems to be preparing for Crazy Legs Nate Stanley to put his head down and try to plow through the Blue Raider defense. Please, Iowa: start the game with Stanley throwing a deep post route to Smith-Marsette off play-action. They'll never see it coming.
H/T to @casualgmork for bringing this to our attention