Beathard's long-term fate with Iowa to be determined soon

Chad Leistikow

IOWA CITY, Ia. – C.J. Beathard's short-term future, whether he starts for Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl, will be known soon.

And how that unfolds might determine the sophomore quarterback's long-term plans.

Beathard said in a phone interview with his home-state newspaper, The (Nashville) Tennessean, on Monday that he would evaluate his future after the Jan. 2 game vs. Tennessee in Jacksonville, Fla.

His father (and country-music songwriter), Casey, told The Tennessean that his son doesn't want to leave Iowa City.

"He's really hoping he doesn't have to transfer," Casey Beathard said. "I said (to him), 'Hopefully it'll be obvious in this game, one way or the other.' "

Beathard has been the backup to junior Jake Rudock for the past two seasons. He started one game, and won it, at Purdue this season when Rudock was hurt. He also sparked a come-from-behind win at Pittsburgh.

"His biggest thing is he just wants to play," Casey Beathard said.

That remains a possibility for the TaxSlayer Bowl, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz reiterated Monday.

After Iowa finished what Ferentz and athletic director Gary Barta admitted was a disappointing 7-5 season, the head coach said every position — including quarterback — would be evaluated for the bowl game.

He egged on speculation during his radio show last week when he said Beathard "could start. Anything's possible."

Ferentz was amused at the attention those comments received.

"Boy, that really grew legs, too. I threw that word 'could'. A lot things 'could' happen," Ferentz said Monday during his final media gathering before the team departs for Jacksonville on Christmas Day. "It's been the most interesting topic. It's like everything, we're looking at everything.

"Practices have been competitive. We're putting guys in tough situations. We'll see where things unfold."

Ferentz said whoever outperforms the other during this month of bowl preparation will get the start.

"You've got to bring it every day," Ferentz said. "It's a challenge for Jake, too. It's that way at every position. I'll confess, (Outland Trophy-winning left tackle Brandon Scherff) is not getting pushed too hard."

The university did not grant The Des Moines Register's requests to interview Beathard leading up to the TaxSlayer Bowl.

Beathard told The Tennessean he was embracing the open quarterback competition. He and Cody Sokol (who transferred to Louisiana Tech) lost out to Rudock in a three-way battle for the starting job prior to the 2013 season, which ended in the Outback Bowl.

Iowa senior receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley said Monday that Beathard has been "really excited" in recent practices.

"He wants to take advantage of the opportunity that he's been given right now," Martin-Manley said. "He just sees it as a whole new opportunity for him to step in and maybe make some plays for us."

If Beathard chooses to transfer to another Football Bowl Subdivision school, he would only have one season of eligibility remaining. He could have two years if he dipped down to the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) level.

"We'll see how the bowl game goes," Beathard told The Tennessean, "and then go from there."