Iowa quarterbacks looking to take big step up in 2022

The top talking point of the Iowa offseason has been at the quarterback position. Every angle has been written about, analyzed and discussed to the point of nauseam. There’s no doubt that it’s going to continue to be a talking point, especially with offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz moving over to quarterbacks coach while retaining his coordinator duties.

Petras 165-of-288 completed passes for 1,880 yards, 10 touchdowns, and nine interceptions last season for the Hawkeyes. Petras battled injuries midway through the season, but returned in Iowa’s final regular-season game against Nebraska. Padilla started the other three games and had 636 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 46.3% completion percentage.

“I think their attention to detail and wanting to get better,” Iowa safety Kaevon Merriweather said at Big Ten Media Days. “I think that’s what we’ve been able to see throughout the spring and throughout the summer. I’ve seen Spence and Padilla in the film room. Even now, watching film and trying to get better on their reads and how they’re reading the game and how they can attack the game different and improve on their game. I think just their attention to detail is what’s going to make them a little bit better going forward.”

“Yeah, I mean, I see two guys who want to get better and I feel like that’s a great starting point. They put a lot of energy and effort into what they do. They love the game of football, so I mean you just start right there. And then, now it’s the time to just go out there and compete and just do what you do. I’m excited to see them this season. I know it’s a great opportunity for the both of them to just both have a little bit of experience and being able to use that to help the offense will be exciting,” Campbell said.

Iowa’s target completion percentage is 60, but they haven’t reached that number since CJ Beathard did back in 2015. The Hawkeyes have prioritized making the offense less complicated throughout the past couple of months.

“To think that we’re going to live in the world of success if we’re passing 52 percent of our passes is probably not realistic,” Ferentz previously said. “It’s cutting it close. We definitely would like to be up over the 60s.”

Despite Iowa’s struggles, they managed to win 10 games last year, but lost the final two games of the season. Ferentz said during Big Ten Media Days that there’s still competition at who could take over as the starter. He also credited both quarterbacks for being able to continue to win games.

“I think we have two pretty good quarterbacks,” Ferentz said at Lucas Oil Stadium. “And selfishly, I look at it, there’s some teams in our conference or in college football that struggled when their number one guys went out. We kept winning. We found a way to get back on our feet and win those last four games.”

Petras went from October 9 to January 1 between throwing touchdowns. He fought through injury and missed most of the Northwestern game, but in modern day football, you have to be able to throw it. Petras has done a great job of limiting the outside noise and staying focused on his craft.

“He’s never really lacked confidence,” his private quarterback coach Tony Racioppi told 247Sports. “Last year, he was banged up after the Wisconsin game, and his body was never the same. His kind of snowballs because that injury never gets better, then another thing comes up, and by the Michigan game, you’re limping in there. He never really lost confidence from a mental standpoint. I think last year was good for him going through those adversities. It could’ve been real easy to quit whether feeling like he should’ve gotten his job back quicker than he did. At the same time, when you’re the quarterback, it’s tough because sometimes you feel like the fanbase is pulling against you than for you. Kenny Pickett went through this, too. You almost develop a thick skin and it’s almost like another skill of not really caring what people think and only worrying about what your teammates and coaches think of you.”

Iowa’s media day will take place on August 12 and we’ll get the chance to catch up with Petras again. For now, Iowa’s offense will be watched more this season because the pieces are there… now it’s about execution.

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