Oct. 29, 2014
- Hawkeye Football Game Day
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – As the University of Iowa football team left the locker room at halftime of an early season win at Pittsburgh, freshman quarterback Tyler Wiegers realized the Hawkeye philosophy of “next man in” could include his name being called in the second half.
That didn’t happen, as C.J. Beathard took over in the second half against the Panthers, leading the offense as Iowa rallied for a 24-20 win. Starting quarterback Jake Rudock was injured late in the first half at Pittsburgh, leaving Wiegers, a true freshman with plans to redshirt, as the “next man in” behind Beathard.
“It was a little nerve wracking at first, but you have to get yourself in that mode where you are ready to go,” said Wiegers. “You have to remember the game plan, get in that mode where you are locked into the game at all points once you learn you are the No. 2 guy.”
As the Hawkeyes prepared for their opening Big Ten Conference game at Purdue the following week, Wiegers’ routine underwent a major change. He was now preparing for game action with the Iowa offense, not running the scout team offense against the Hawkeye defense.
“It was good. There were little mistakes here and there, but I got through them and learned a lot,” said Wiegers. “It was great getting reps with the older guys, playing with the tempo they work with. You just have to realize it’s another step up once you move up on the depth chart.”
Wiegers (6-foot-4, 215-pounds) is from Lake Orion, Michigan. He joined the Iowa program after a successful prep career at Detroit’s Country Day High School. He earned all-state recognition as a senior and was a three-year letterman. As a junior he led his team to the state championship game at Ford Field, home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions.
“It’s been good,” said Wiegers, of his first semester of college. “Obviously a little bit of an adjustment period at the beginning, but I am starting to get into the swing of things and the flow of the schedule. I’ve been having fun and learning more about football than I ever thought I could.”
Wiegers passed for over 2,000 yards as both a junior and senior, completing over 62 percent of his attempts. As a two-year team captain he is comfortable in the role of team leader, something that is required at the quarterback position. As a freshman, he knows he has to watch, and learn, from the older players.
“Physically, you want to get bigger, faster, stronger with Coach (Chris) Doyle in the weight room,” said Wiegers. “As far as on the field, I am trying to prepare just like Jake and C.J. would, trying to get in the mode of being ready to go in if that were ever the case. I’m trying to get to the point where I can be comfortable with the game plans and the checks, to be able to recognize different defenses like they can.”
For the first year quarterback, that means watching and listening to Rudock and Beathard, the two veteran quarterbacks on the Iowa roster.
“Ever since the start of camp, they have been helping me out,” said Wiegers. “They are great guys and we have a lot of fun together. They are awesome as far as answering any questions I have and helping me learn the checks and all the other stuff that goes with it.”
Iowa (5-2, 2-1) hosts Northwestern Saturday, (11:01 a.m., BTN). Tickets remain on sale at the UI Athletics Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, by phone (1-800-IA-HAWKS) or online at hawkeyesports.com. Tickets are $65 for adults and there is a youth ticket price of $25.