Hawkeye QB Tyler Wiegers' goal: 'Improve every day'
IOWA CITY, Ia. – I posed the question to Tyler Wiegers several weeks before he signed a national letter of intent to play quarterback at Iowa.
You'll be competing with Jake Rudock, C.J. Beathard and Nick Shimonek for playing time, Tyler. How will you handle that?
"There's going to be competition anywhere you go," Wiegers said.
He has yet to take his first snap in a college game, but the redshirt freshman has already moved up to No. 2 on the Hawkeyes' depth chart. Beathard is No. 1. Rudock is at Michigan. Shimonek is at Texas Tech.
"I'm just trying to improve every day," Wiegers said. "Obviously, it's an important spot I'm in. It just comes with the territory."
Wiegers, a 6-foot-4, 222-pounder from Lake Orion, Mich., has made positive steps since spring practice. His workload increased after Rudock decided to use his final season of eligibility at Michigan.
"Spring ball was huge for me, just getting all those reps," Wiegers said. "I came into fall camp feeling a lot more comfortable. I feel like I have a lot more command. I'm making progress."
Ferentz is encouraged by that progress and calls Wiegers an eager study.
"He's an intelligent guy, he works hard, and he has a great positive attitude," Ferentz said. "You can't learn this stuff sitting in a chair. You have to go out and go through the ups and downs of practice and competition."
Every snap, every film session and every position meeting are important to Wiegers' development.
"He's learning from every experience," Ferentz said. "If he makes a mistake, it's rare that he makes the same one. This has been invaluable to him, and he's a much better player than he was in the spring. We'll just keep pushing him ahead."
Like Beathard, Iowa wasn't Wiegers' first college choice. He committed to Rutgers, but had a change of heart. Beathard originally committed to Mississippi, but went in a different direction after a coaching change.
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Now they're teammates. Beathard, who has taken snaps in 14 games with one career start, is the veteran. Wiegers is the untried, untested No. 2.
"I'm just taking whatever coach (Greg) Davis tells me and trying to apply it on the field," Wiegers said of Iowa's offensive coordinator. "Obviously, there's a difference between learning it and doing it. Any mental rep I can get, any different situation I can try and play through if I'm on the sideline or I'm in there, will help. It's just a constant building process."
Wiegers' coach at Detroit Country Day, Dan McLean, calls him "a tremendously hard worker who has a great desire to become better."
He passed for 2,093 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior at Detroit Country Day. Wiegers also rushed for 200 yards. He is not the dual-threat quarterback like Beathard.
"I don't think I'm that fast, so I try to hang in there and get it out to the guys who can run a little bit," Wiegers said. "I can get a few yards if I have to. But I'd prefer to just run the offense."
Once he learns the offense, of course. Because you never know when that debut will come.
"I'm trying to study as much as I can, just to be ready when I'm called upon," Wiegers said.
Hawkeye columnist Rick Brown is a 10-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Follow him on Twitter: @ByRickBrown.
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