Willies decided to leave the Iowa program with five games to play in the regular season. The redshirt freshmen receiver and Beathard built a friendship and they spoke about the move.
"I talked to him. I was like, "Is it for sure? Is there no chance of getting you back?" He said he was pretty firm with his decision. He said he made his decision and that's what he was going to go with," said Beathard, a redshirt sophomore.
Iowa released a statement Tuesday morning saying that Willies was leaving to be closer to his ailing father, who resides in Arizona. Coach Kirk Ferentz followed it up by providing that as the reason when he started his press conference in the afternoon.
Ferentz was asked if Willies had expressed dissatisfaction with a lack of playing time.
"Not to me, no" he said.
Willies did confide in Beathard that he wanted more time on the field.
"I think that was one of the things," Beathard said. "I guess he wasn't getting the reps that he wanted to get and that was maybe one of the reasons (Willies decided to leave). But there was a lot of stuff that went into it."
Willies played sparingly this season. He missed the Oct. 11 game against Indiana with an injury. In five games, he caught four passes for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Beathard shared more of his thoughts on Willies with the media on Tuesday. See what else he had to say in this video interview: