Iowa City, Iowa – Spencer Petras downplayed the competition with friend and Iowa teammate Alex Padilla in December. Both started last season’s matches.
Petras has once again shied away from classifying what’s going on between him, Padilla and new student Joey LaPass as a contest this spring. He was recently asked how he treats others in his range of positions.
“You don’t have to worry about that at all,” Petras said. “When I say competition (in terms of midfielders), I talk about it on the field, we work hard against defense every day. I focus on myself. I focus on improving the things that Brian (Ferentes) said wants me to.
“Any energy spent on anything else is a waste.”
Offensive coordinator and new quarterback coach Brian Ferenc, along with his father, coach Kirk Ferenc, noted that there is an open quarterback competition. Petras heard this. He just didn’t care himself about the possibility of losing his job.
Petras (6-5, 233) has started 19 of the 22 potential matches in the last two campaigns. He missed two games through injury last year, and spared Padilla in the second half of November’s win in the regular season finale in Nebraska.
Padilla replaced the injured Petras at Northwestern last season and led the team to victory. Then the victory over Minnesota and Illinois began with an injury to Terrass.
Petras started the Big Ten Championship match against Michigan before sustaining an injury and making way for Padilla in the second half. Peters played the entire Capitol One Ball game against Kentucky in January.
Late season developments have opened the door to the possibility of a Padilla transfer. He returned after being told he could compete for the job in the spring and summer.
Time will tell how close the competition is. Kirk and Brian Ferencs praise Padilla and Lapas, but also make her known as Petras is QB1 at the moment.
Playing in the center should improve no matter who calls the signals. Iowa comes in a season in which it ranked 109th out of 130 FBS schools with 180.1 yards per game and handicapped 6.24 yards per achievement. It is looking to raise its 55.0 percent completion rate which ranked 114th nationally.
“I think the most important thing looking back is that I’m smarter about not getting better coverage than I did,” said Petras, who completed just 57.3 per cent of his passes in 2021. Quickly I can determine the coverage and how fast I can get the ball out of my hand, if I’m getting soft coverage under it I need to take more.
“I know how to attack coverage. The completion rate should be much higher. It’s not a talent issue with me. It’s not a talent issue with our audience.”
Petras wants to increase the completion rate to at least 65 percent.
“It’s huge for attacking because it’s efficiency in the passing game and efficiency in the running game,” Petras said. And for the scrolling game, it seems like 65 percent.
“It doesn’t mean I won’t catch the ball because the coverage will tell me where the ball should go. But when I know the coverage is giving up a short pass, I need to take it.”
Bowling until bail
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If Keavon Merriweather asks you to compete with him at anything, make sure the stakes are low. Iowa safety seniors like to suggest games he’s good at.
When fellow Michigan minor Brendan Desvernandez showed up on campus a few years ago, Meriwether challenged him to a basketball game outside Slater Hall. Merriweather got into sports during high school and almost went to college instead of soccer.
This winter, Merriweather invited other members of Hawkeye’s defense to a local bowling alley. When his teammates showed up, they saw a ringer.
“Caevon came in with a bag and had his shoes and a ball of his own,” Noah Shannon said. “I was like, OK, that’s not fair. Seems a little prepped to me.”
Shannon took a bowling class during his senior year at Oswego High School. He thought it might give him and his linemates a chance against teams organized by position. But Merriweather helped with the secondary win.
“It was fun but we didn’t run on the D-Line,” Shannon said.
The activity succeeded in promoting bonding away from the football facility.
“You might come in here and get a little nervous about all the things we have to do, but getting some time away from the building and taking our minds off football and getting out and having fun together was good,” Shannon said. .
There’s no arguing that Iowa State lost their top offensive lineman from last season. Center Tyler Linderbaum was expected to hear his name in the first round of the NFL Draft, which kicks off April 28.
However, there is a belief, inside and outside the locker room, that the front could take a step forward this year. The inexperienced bits around Linderbaum in ’21 can best be pictured with the game’s actors under their belts even though very few players are lower class.
“We’re still young,” Big Handler Jack Plumb said. “We are in a continuous business now. We don’t have one leader. Everyone is working and it’s good to hear everyone’s voice. Everyone appreciates everyone’s opinion.”
Plumb started two right-hand interference games in 20 and four competitions there last fall. He started two games on the left at 21. Junior Nick Dejong started nine games last season, seven on the right tackle and two on the left tackle.
Redshirt sophomore Mason Richman started 11 games on the left tackle in ’21. Real sophomore Conor Colby started in the final 10 contests last season as the right guard. Redshirt junior Justin Brett started his first three games of ’21 in the right guard before bouncing in and out of the squad due to poor health.
David Davidkov, Beau Stevens, and Josh Falk showed up at two depths to start the spring ball at the end of last month. The competition for Linderbaum’s vacant place included Tyler Elsbury, Logan Jones and Matt Fagan, and injured Michael Myslinski expected to be there when fall camp begins.
Diversity is one of the group’s biggest assets. Guys are on the move a lot this spring in search of the top five and beyond.
“We have a lot of competition going on right now,” Plumb said. “We attract men in and out, and see who the man is going to be in any place.”