One of the most intriguing battles for the Hawkeyes in fall camp won’t be for a starting job. It will be the head-to-head duel to see who is the backup quarterback behind Ricky Stanzi.
Redshirt freshmen James Vandenberg and John Wienke are – by all accounts – very comparable in ability, intellect and temperament and also have become good friends. Any time coach Kirk Ferentz or offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe or Stanzi is asked about the two youngsters, they’re very careful to point out how equal they are.
Based on the little bit we saw in the spring scrimmage, which was closed to the general public, Vandenberg looked a little smoother and a little more accurate throwing the ball. But that was just one day. Whatever happens in workouts the next three weeks will decide this thing.
The Hawkeyes are only carrying three quarterbacks on the roster – a few less than most college teams – but Ferentz said he’s not really concerned about that. It just means those three may get more reps in practice each day.
It no doubt helps that Marvin McNutt, who is battling for a starting receiver job, spent the first two years of his Iowa career at quarterback. He would be available to move back behind center on an emergency basis should there be multiple injuries at QB.