Tall Answer To Tall Challenge

Replacing All-American quarterback Brad Banks is not an easy task. However, Nathan Chandler has accepted the challenge. The articulate Chandler does not conjure up any images of a wild and crazy, foot-loose and fancy-free guy interested in being the focal point of every group. When I spoke with Nathan, his feet seemed planted well on the ground as he focused on the fundamentals of Hawkeye Football 101.

Nathan Chandler is not your average quarterback, or young man. Standing 6-7, you would think that Nathan might be better served playing somewhere in front of the quarterback rather than actually being the quarterback. However, Chandler has worked very hard to improve the skills that his great size impedes. "Although I need to work on my total game, footwork is the one area that I need to work on the most. All quarterbacks need to work on footwork so that they are in the proper place and can make all the reads quickly. This is important at all levels of football, even the NFL", added Chandler.

Nathan has traveled a long and circuitous path from Texas to a California JC before arriving in Iowa City. He quickly noted that the biggest difference between junior college and Iowa is the atmosphere around the teams. "I worked hard in junior college by lifting weights and attending all practices. A lot of guys don't go to all the practices, let alone lift weights. At Iowa, it's totally different as everyone is focused on improving themselves and winning ballgames. The difference in work ethic is incredible. Everybody here wants it".

Chandler quickly noted one of the biggest differences between the weight rooms. "Chris Doyle is a great motivator. He shows us that all the hard work will pay off on the field. Dallas Clark is a great example of that", Chandler emphasized.

When asked what his ideal playing weight would be this fall, his response drew a quick reaction from other reporters in the audience. "I plan to play at 250 pounds", said Chandler.

In spite of what you may envision of a 6-7, 250 pound quarterback, Reese Morgan was quick to tell a group in Des Moines recently that Chandler can run the entire Iowa offense, including all the quarterback draws and options.

Therefore, if Iowa's offense changes this year, it will not be due to the departure of Brad Banks. "Dallas Clark departing to the NFL may change the offense more than any difference between Brad and me. Losing a playmaker of his caliber at tight end may necessitate more 3-4 WR sets in the fall. We are running those type sets now in practice. This will also lighten the load on Freddie Russell".

According to Chandler, "There are three great playmakers on this team. Fred Russell, Mo Brown and Ed Hinkle have all proven themselves. Mo Brown is an amazing receiver. My on field communication with him has improved this spring as I practice with him more. I like hanging out with Mo also as he is really a good guy". Nathan added.

When asked if he has a different demeanor in the huddle than Brad, Nathan was quick to respond. "I have a good rapport in the huddle with Gallery, Borchers, Rothwell and the other blockers up front. I'm working hard on the communication with Mo, Eddie, Razor and the other receivers. I learned a lot from Brad Banks. He showed that it doesn't take a three-year starter at quarterback to be successful on the field. I roomed with him on the road and picked up his demeanor. Brad raised the bar very high last year. I'm not worried about my personal statistics. I want to help the team win this year rather that any personal accolades I may receive".

As if you couldn't already tell that Chandler is a very serious young man, he added, "I'm always looking for a perfect practice. That is the goal everyday".

Nathan Chandler is obviously a serious young man focused on doing everything he can to help the Hawks win this season. He is not backing down from the challenge of replacing a Heisman Trophy runner-up.

I came away from the interview with the distinct impression that the Iowa offense will be in good hands this fall with Nathan Chandler at the helm.

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