Jeffrey Becker/USA Today

2017 Iowa Spring Football Preview: Quarterbacks

Previewing and projecting what the quarterback position looks like at Iowa ahead of spring ball.

QUARTERBACK

STARTER: NATE STANLEY
BACK-UP: TYLER WIEGERS
OTHERS: RYAN BOYLE, DREW COOK
INCOMING: PEYTON MANSELL

2016 GRADE: B-

ANALYSIS: The 2015 grade was a B+, and though there was some extenuating circumstances in the case of the 2016 season, it would be completely unfounded to consider those seasons parallel or similar. Beathard was not nearly as effective, the stats suffered, and the passing game was at times non-existent. Did Beathard regress? It is really hard to know but I have my doubts. He's going to be playing on Sundays. I think it was a myriad of contributing factors that included a failure by the receivers to get open, a predictable scheme, and the continuous shuffling of the offensive line due to injuries.

The rest of the roster is largely unknown as there's little experience left after the departure of Beathard. Both Wiegers and Stanley have a very, very limited amount of snaps. I believe Wiegers got a lot of time during the Spring last year because of Beathard's offseason surgery but game experience is very lacking. The depth chart has the number one slot shared by Nate Stanley and Tyler Wiegers but I have every expectation to see Stanley taking the snaps in the fall. 

Stanley was rated as a four-star quarterback in his recruiting class by Scout, was a terrific three-sport athlete, has the strongest arm on the team now, and was the primary back-up to Beathard a year ago. The mental side of the game has to catch up to his physical attributes but he could follow Beathard in being a pro some day if he maximizes his entire talent and fulfills his true potential.

Derek Young/SCOUT

OUTLOOK: I basically already hinted at it but I think Nate Stanley is the unquestioned starter by the Fall. He'll have his growing pains so patience will need to be exercised, by both the staff and the fans, but I think the future is promising enough that you live with them throughout the year. And I think you live with them even if the result is only six or seven wins just because of what results he could be capable of bringing his junior and senior year. 

I have Wiegers as the back-up. There obviously could be a case of attrition if he weren't able to nab the job in the Spring and that will be something to keep an eye on, but for all intents and purposes, we need to assume he stays at Iowa. He's a good quarterback and he'll do what he has to do for his own personal reasons, just as Iowa will. Boyle and Cook look to battle for the third spot with Mansell taking a redshirt season. 

Before Boyle made the move to receiver a year ago during the Spring, he was actually in front of Drew Cook on the pecking order. He consistently got snaps as the quarterback before Cook. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out between the two.  

One thing is for sure, changes to the position are coming in some capacity. Iowa has five quarterbacks right now. Three of them have the same eligibility. Nate Stanley, Ryan Boyle, and Drew Cook are all sophomores. That is not sustainable. It's hard enough to add two quality quarterbacks in a recruiting class, much less three. And quarterback is not a position to play around with in terms of depth. No risks can be taken. 

QUOTES

"Ryan Boyle's going back to quarterback. Have we said that or not? I'm losing track where we are in this stuff. We've kind of focused on this. But Ryan wants to go back to quarterback, so we've made that move. Not that we've done anything football-wise, but I know he's out throwing the ball, that type of thing. That's probably the biggest thing at this point." - Kirk Ferentz

“I am excited to return to Iowa as quarterbacks coach. I look forward to working with Kirk Ferentz again, and the entire coaching staff.  I gained valuable experience in Miami the last five years, but at the same time I am anxious to return to coaching and working with college players, and being back on campus at the University of Iowa. - Ken O'Keefe


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