Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By MATTHEW WEITZEL
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Anticipation continues to grow toward the start of the 2016 college football season with only six Saturday’s remaining until kickoff.
On the heels of a historic season for the University of Iowa football team, senior quarterback C.J. Beathard is approaching 2016 with the same mindset and attitude as a year ago.
“I go into every game wanting to win and do whatever it takes to win those games,” Beathard said at the 2016 Big Ten Football Media Days this week in Chicago. “I want to lead this team the right way and I’m going to do everything I can to do that.”
The native of Franklin, Tennessee, points to his full year of starting experience as an advantage heading into his senior campaign.
“You can’t simulate game-like situations in practice,” Beathard said. “Being in those game-like pressure situations, being up or down in the fourth quarter, and seeing certain blitzes… you can’t emulate that in practice.”
In addition to training at the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center throughout the summer, Beathard received insight and wisdom on quarterback play from a current and former NFL quarterback in Eli and Peyton Manning at the Manning Camp.
“It was awesome to be around 25 of the other top college quarterbacks in the country and the Mannings,” said Beathard.
Beathard had the opportunity to work with other elite quarterbacks on the field, and he took advantage of a panel with the Mannings to pick their brains about pass protection.
“The offense we run at Iowa is similar to what Peyton and Eli run in the NFL,” said Beathard. “I was able to relate with them on protections and IDs. They provided valuable insight that will help me this season and beyond.”
After falling short in the Big Ten Championship Game and 2016 Rose Bowl Game, Beathard says winning a conference title and bowl game is what fuels him.
“Winning a Big Ten championship is No. 1 on the list followed by winning a bowl game,” he said. “This is my fifth year and I haven’t won a bowl game. That’s something that hasn’t been done here since 2010 and it’s eating at a lot of guys.”
All-American cornerback Desmond King touts Beathard’s leadership qualities.
“Everything about him makes him special,” said King. “He’s committed to the team and is a great leader. He sacrifices his body for the team.”
Beathard, a second-team All-Big Ten honoree a year ago, has been studying film with offensive coordinator Greg Davis and working on the chemistry and timing with the young receivers since last spring.
“Working with those guys was huge so when we start camp we can hit the ground running,” said Beathard. “We had a great offseason, are excited to play this season. We want to finish the season strong.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz touted Beathard’s poise and mental toughness during his injury-plagued junior season, and expects him to be one of many leaders on this year’s squad.
“C.J. is an intelligent and prideful young man,” said Ferentz. “He’s representative of our good players on our football team.”
Iowa football single-game and mini ticket packages are available online at hawkeyesports.com, by phone at 1-800-IA-HAWKS, or at the UI Athletics Ticket Office located in Carver-Hawkeye Arena between 9 a.m. (CT) and 4 p.m. on weekdays.