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C.J. Beathard provides his insight into the ongoing troubles for the Iowa offense. Chad Leistikow

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This hasn’t been the season that Iowa senior quarterback C.J. Beathard envisioned for his team or himself. But coach Kirk Ferentz said the cause for an inconsistent passing game doesn’t lie solely with his signal-caller.

“I think really the question is about our offense. Certainly, a quarterback is an integral part of that,” Ferentz said Tuesday on the weekly Big Ten coaches’ teleconference.

“They get way too much blame and they get way too much credit. We’ve got to do a better job of supporting him.”

Iowa is 5-3 entering its bye week, coming off a 17-9 loss to Wisconsin that marked the first time in three years the team failed to score a touchdown. The Hawkeyes rank 106th nationally in passing offense at 180.3 yards per game.

Beathard entered the season as a highly regarded NFL prospect. But his production is down from his breakout junior campaign, although the season-ending injury to top receiver Matt VandeBerg after four games has played a part in that. Beathard has completed 118-of-201 passes for 1,380 and 11 touchdowns. He also has thrown only four interceptions, giving him a passing efficiency rating of 130.5 to rank 65th among FBS quarterbacks. Last season, he finished 45th in that category at 139.5.

“We’re not playing well enough right now to win,” Ferentz said after seeing his Hawkeyes lose three consecutive home games for the first time in four seasons. “We’ve got to find some answers.”

That includes, but is not limited to, offensive coordinator Greg Davis, Ferentz said.

“What we do offensively, defensively and special teams-wise is a staff effort, and I’m involved in that, too. The head coach has the most responsibility,” Ferentz said. “Through good times and bad times, we all work together and try to find solutions.”

Other topics Ferentz addressed Tuesday include:

  • Injuries: The Hawkeyes have been hit hard along their offensive front in recent weeks. Starting right tackle Cole Croston missed the Purdue game Oct. 15 with a left leg injury but returned to play against Wisconsin. However, Boone Myers, who started at left tackle against Purdue, left that game with a sprained ankle and did not play against the Badgers. Tight end George Kittle injured his foot early in the victory at Purdue and could only play a half against Wisconsin, and then as a run-blocker and not a receiving option. “We’re hoping that we’ll have all those guys back” on Nov. 5 at Penn State, Ferentz said. “That’s one of the goals this week, hopefully we can get guys caught up.”
  • Resting players. Ferentz said there will be limited physical activity for his starters this week since they’ve played eight games in eight Saturdays. “That’s the age-old question,” he said when asked about the balance between getting players more practice vs. letting them heal any bumps and bruises. “We’re trying to be very, very careful with what we ask the guys to do physically.”

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