Here's what Iowa football's Kirk Ferentz said about the Hawkeyes' quarterback change ahead of Minnesota game
IOWA CITY — The Hawkeyes' change under center is officially official.
With Spencer Petras both injured and ineffective, Alex Padilla will start at quarterback as No. 14 Iowa (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten Conference) hosts Minnesota (6-3, 4-2) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium.
Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media Tuesday to discuss the move and the matchup.
On Alex Padilla starting Saturday
"He's got to be ready to go," Ferentz said. "I can't say enough about what Spencer's done this year and last year, the way he goes about his business. I can echo that about Alex. It's a good room. Those guys are really serious. Spencer and Alex are together a lot. You'll see them out here eating together a lot. They spend a lot of time together. I can't say enough about how Alex went in and performed. You watch players, and he made you feel like no big deal. He was ready to go. This is the opportunity he wanted, not in those circumstances, but it was time to get in there and play. And he did. Didn't think much about it. And based off what I've seen for two days, he's handled himself well. I don't want to call Alex low-key, but he's a pretty steady, even-keeled person. And that helps at that position, certainly.
"You hope guys are going to step up and do a good job. I had no reason to think he wouldn't, but players still have to do it. I thought Alex just kept a real clear head and kept a good demeanor about him. And really executed things pretty well for us. There's no better way to learn than being thrown into a game."
On Spencer Petras' health status
"Our strategy has really been to rest him, Ferentz said. "We'll see what he can do (Wednesday) and see how he looks. He's feeling pretty well, it's just a matter of throwing the ball effectively. That ultimately led to the decision Saturday. Was just real clear on his last throw he couldn't get the zip on it he needs to. Medically, he's cleared to play if that makes sense. And that's how every decision is made. There's a medical component, and then the rest is the player playing effectively.
"And for a quarterback, if you can't throw it effectively, it's really tough. So we'll see where it is (Wednesday). I think all of us are of the mindset right now that Alex will play. And then we'll see where it all takes us from there. But Spencer's done a great job, a great leader and team-first guy."
Will Deuce Hogan will be the backup quarterback?
"Deuce has to be because right now, Spencer's not practicing," Ferentz said. "Deuce has to be ready, and that's his task. It's pretty simple. The medical part of it and what guys can and can't do really dictates it for us. We've got to prepare mentally like Alex is going to be the starter, and then Deuce will back him up. And then we'll see what we can do with Spencer.
"It's really probably the biggest gap there is. The advantage of being No. 2 is you get a lot of work during the course of a week. It's hard to practice three quarterbacks. ... So it's a challenge for him. Obviously, he's been here a while and has been paying attention, watching. He has gotten some work but not as much as Alex. So Alex is much more prepared to go in."
On quarterback status once Petras is healthy
"Alex helped himself Saturday," Ferentz said. "The good news is we stand here today with two guys who've played pretty well. We know more now than we did a week ago, that's for sure. I'd love to have both guys healthy and ready to go."
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.