Kirk Ferentz met with the press Tuesday. It was surprisingly full of news. Here's what we learned.
As expected, redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Wilson has been jettisoned from the program. Wilson was already sitting out August camp due to academic indigestion when he was picked up for OWI last weekend. There are few certainties in Iowa player discipline, but a player having a run-in with the law while out due to grades is a near-certain expulsion.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Emmanuel Ogwo has also left the program, though not the University. Ogwo had always been a bit of a project, with only two years of high school football under his belt. The reason for his departure is the same as the reason why he hadn't played much football before coming to Iowa City: He's focusing on track. Ogwo had been a fairly successful high school sprinter.
The Fight to be Everyone's Favorite Player
The biggest news out of Tuesday's press conference: Nathan Stanley, the true freshman quarterback out of Wisconsin who impressed spectators at Iowa's lone open practice this month, has already passed the two redshirt freshman quarterbacks ahead of him and is challenging sophomore Tyler Wiegers for the second line on the depth chart.
Ferentz said Tuesday that the backup quarterback spot was “still being contested pretty strongly.” Later, he was asked specifically about Stanley making a bid to become Iowa’s backup as a true freshman, something that hasn’t happened since Drew Tate in 2003.
“Anything is open right now,” Ferentz said. “It’s fair to say C.J. (Beathard) is our best quarterback. He’s really been practicing well. After that, we’ll continue to reassess. I don’t think we’re ready to make a decision yet. In a perfect world, we’d love to redshirt him, but we’ll let it play out. All three guys are competing.”
Move the conversation over to Davis and it gets a little more specific. Stanley is in contention for the No. 2 spot with sophomore Tyler Wiegers. Davis said Stanley is the No. 3, ahead of redshirt freshman Drew Cook.
The effects on the depth chart of Stanley's possible ascension are numerous. Ryan Boyle, who already moved to wide receiver this fall for a chance to play, almost certainly won't move back to quarterback.
I don't see Boyle moving back to QB. Just don't see it.— marcmorehouse (@marcmorehouse) August 23, 2016
Boyle's transfer to another position keeps Iowa's streak of placing every "dual threat" quarterback since Brad Banks in another position, a streak that will be extended when Drew Cook, now apparently the fourth-string quarterback, is moved to tight end/defensive end/linebacker next week.
As for Stanley, there's now talk of whether he will become the first Iowa freshman quarterback to avoid a redshirt since Drew Tate. Chad Leistikow writes that, if Stanley beats out Tyler Wiegers for the backup spot, he should play.
Let’s say Beathard’s helmet comes off in the first quarter against Miami of Ohio. He’ll by rule have to leave the field for at least one play.
Who goes in? Let the guy that won’t burn a redshirt year (Wiegers) hand off to LeShun Daniels Jr. and take him back out.
But suppose Beathard is sidelined for extended time — a quarter, a game, a few weeks.
With a division title potentially on the table, Next Man In — whoever that is — is your Best Man In.
If that's Stanley, don't hesitate to give him the ball.
I can't say I agree -- from what we've seen of Tyler Wiegers, the marginal benefit of playing Stanley over him, losing the redshirt year, and guaranteeing a gigantic depth chart issue for 2017 when Wiegers transfers is minimal -- but Greg Davis has essentially said that a second-string Stanley would play.
Elsewhere, weakside linebacker is completely open, with Bo Bower and Aaron Mends in play. Iowa coaches have been talking about Mends for years, simply waiting for a spot to open for him. Weakside linebacker has always been the catch-all for the best linebacker without a home, so Mends makes some sense (especially with Bower's experience at strongside linebacker and Ben Niemann's injury issues). True freshman Amani Jones is also in the mix on the weakside, but that seems unlikely with two more experienced players available.
Wide receiver remains a dead heat between Jay Scheel and Jerminic Smith, and kicker is nowhere near decided. Ron Coluzzi, a senior transfer from Central Michigan, has won the punting job.
Wow, double bonus for Ron Coluzzi. Felt like it was headed that way. Experience won out.— marcmorehouse (@marcmorehouse) August 20, 2016
Kirk Mad, Bro
Kirk's still pissed at the NCAA over Drew Ott's fifth season of eligibility:
Thought I would share Kirk Ferentz's comments on Drew Ott today, unprompted, in his opening statement: pic.twitter.com/x76ewHGiRj— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) August 23, 2016
The player referenced: Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee, who was granted an extra year of eligibility because of a coordinator change while he was at Tulane. Nebraska fans are naturally treating Ferentz's mention of their program as an example of their continued relevance.