Carbon Copy: Ferentz Talks Quarterbacks

In each of the last four seasons, Iowa has started a senior at quarterback. That will change this year, as likely candidates Drew Tate and Jason Manson are sophomores. While Iowa is glad to be developing for the future, they also realize there could be a few bumps in the road as the 'young guns' gain experience. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz talks at length about the quarterback position in this Q & A.

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Kirk Ferentz on this year's quarterback Situation:

Could you talk about your quarterback situation? You've had pretty good success the last few years replacing your quarterback.

Yeah. We've gone three years with a different senior quarterback each and every year. That's a real tribute to our offensive staff. They've done a great job getting our guys ready to go. The big difference this year is that we're going to be young, whoever ends up playing.

That being said, both Drew Tate and Jason Manson, from a preparation standpoint, they're basically in the same position as Nathan was a year ago or Brad was two years back going into August. We've still got a lot of work to do with both of those guys to get them game ready. That being said, I think we're going to be OK there.

The drawback is that those guys (Chandler and Banks) were fifth-year seniors. So we got maybe a little more maturity from an age standpoint. The upside is that we're investing now in the next couple of years, not just this coming year.

Will you have one steady starter?

That's our plan right now. I wouldn't rule anything out. In a perfect world, we'd like to have starter named and then a back-up after that and then operate after that.

Are you going to let it play out throughout camp?

This year's a little bit different because of the structure. But when we start school, I think we have four practices that week, and then we get into game week, it's fair to say when we start school we want to have a starter named sometime that week. We'll start our preparation for our first ballgame probably later that week. It's important at that point that our team knows who the quarterback is going to be. We'd rather not be juggling balls in the air the last week of preparation.

Drew played as a freshman in high school in Texas and was in the pressure cooker playing for his dad. Can you talk about how that has shaped him? He seems to play with a chip on his shoulder.

He's already thrown more passes than most guys do in a career. That's basically what they did in high school. As far as him throwing the football, that's not going to be a problem.

Two things impressed me about Drew. He committed to (Texas) A&M going into his junior year. I don't know a lot about a lot of things, but I'm not totally dumb. They had him down there at camp and they wanted to keep him at A&M. That told me a lot.

Secondly, when we recruited him at the same time we were recruiting Chris Leak, the only question Drew asked was that he wanted to know what Chris was going to do. To me, quarterbacks are a lot like point guards. Usually quarterbacks are very interested in who else you're recruiting. How many are you going to sign? There's only one quarterback that's going to play. There's only one point guard in basketball.

He was aware of the fact that if Chris came, Chris was probably going to get a pretty good chance to get the first crack at the job. But beyond that, if Chris wasn't coming, he didn't care who we were recruiting. He didn't care how many guys we were going to sign. It was just a quiet comment he made, but that told me an awful lot about his confidence level; the way that he felt about himself. He wasn't worried about competition. I don't think he's going to be in awe of this whole situation.

Is he going to make mistakes? Heck yeah. He's going to do some things he probably wished he hadn't done; we all wish he hadn't done. But that's part of the learning curve. We'll live through that. But we're really high on his personality.

We feel the same way about Jason. Jason is a different guy, but Jason has always had the intangibles; the leadership. He has the charisma that you're looking for. The big thing is that Jason physically has improved an awful lot in a year's time. As he's gotten bigger and stronger, he's playing at a higher level. That's exciting.

Is (Manson) more comfortable with the playbook? He said that he was still trying to get a good hold of that at this time last year.

He's done a great job there. Even going back to the spring and last fall, I don't think anybody had a better command of what we were doing schematically than Jason.

Did Eric McCollom get his redshirt?

Yeah. As far as I know. I haven't heard, actually. But I'm assuming that that's gone through. I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't.

With the numbers at quarterback, are you giving any thought of moving him around like you did last year?

I doubt it. Last year was just an unusual circumstance. We recruited Eric to be a quarterback. That's what he wants to play. Our thought is to give him as much work as possible there. We really want to speed the clock up for him. I talked a lot about Drew and Jason. But Eric is a guy in our future, too. We're very high on him as a quarterback. We think he's got a ton of potential. That's our focus right now is to getting him comfortable as we did all spring. He didn't take one snap at receiver, and I don't foresee that happening again this year.


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