IOWA CITY — Noah Fant sees Iowa’s quarterback race as just that: An ongoing race.
“They’re both competing hard and they’ve both had their moments. It’s a good competition,’’ Fant said Saturday following the Hawkeyes’ Kids at Kinnick practice, the only public workout among the 29 Iowa has before its Sept. 2 season opener against Wyoming.
Fant’s analysis was echoed by running back Akrum Wadley, offensive lineman Keegan Render and eventually by coach Kirk Ferentz.
The Hawkeye coach plans to let sophomore Nathan Stanley and junior Tyler Wiegers continue to compete through the upcoming week, which will include a Friday evening scrimmage that Ferentz said could go a long way in settling who will replace C.J. Beathard under center.
“They’ve had 12 good days,’’ Ferentz said. “It’s gone back and forth a little bit and then Ryan (Boyle) is right behind those guys. We’ll see what happens this week. The scrimmage, that will be a big night for us.’’
Stanley and Wiegers have split first-team reps throughout fall camp and that was the case Saturday, first in passing drills and then throughout much of the 11-on-11 work that finished the two-hour practice at Kinnick Stadium.
Consistency remained elusive for both prospects, although Stanley did hit sophomore Devonte Young for touchdown passes of 54 and 22 yards and connected on a six-yard scoring play with freshman Max Cooper.
“Hopefully, we’ll make a lot of strides in the next five, six days here,’’ Ferentz said. “Maybe the thing will be a little more clear then, but we’d like to let this thing run on a little bit.’’
During the first two weeks of fall camp, Ferentz said Wiegers has seemed to be more comfortable at times.
He believes that is a byproduct of Wiegers beginning his fourth year in the program.
“Whoever ultimately is the guy has to be in charge and has to be in command,’’ Ferentz said. “That’s where it begins.’’
Render said both quarterbacks have improved since the spring and have done a solid job working with the offense.
“Half the time, you can’t tell who is in and that’s a good thing,’’ Render said. “They’re in, making the calls and running the offense the way it needs to be run. We all need to be more consistent, and I’m sure that will be a focus the next couple of weeks.’’
Wadley said both quarterbacks have shown improved attention to detail from the first to the second week of Iowa’s extended fall camp.
“They’re like the rest of the guys. They’re picking things up and learning from one day to the next, working hard,’’ Wadley said. “We’re going to be OK. We all just need to keep working.’’
Quarterback isn’t the only position where Iowa is searching for an answer to questions during the preseason.
The Hawkeyes have lineup spots to fill at receiver, tight end, defensive tackle, cornerback and on special teams at both kicker and punter.
Competition remains ongoing in those areas as well and Ferentz said the next few days will be important for Iowa in a number of areas.
“We have a lot of young guys in the mix right now and how much progress we make over the next week, the next two weeks, will be big,’’ Ferentz said.
He points to kicker as an example, where the strength of Miguel Recinos’ leg was noticeable Saturday as he battles Keith Duncan for both kickoff and placekicking responsibilities.
“It’s a little like quarterback. Those guys have each had their days and we’re watching everything they do,’’ Ferentz said. “Miguel had his best day as a Hawkeye (Saturday), kicking it well. He didn’t miss an attempt and kicked the ball true every time.’’
Iowa split placekicking duties between Duncan and Recinos last fall, something that could happen again, but a situation Ferentz would prefer to avoid at quarterback.
“We could play two if there continues to be no separation between the two, but I don’t feel at that position that is the best thing for the team,’’ Ferentz said. “We’d prefer a clear-cut situation develop, but I’m not certain that is going to happen.’’