The Iowa football team’s offense has struggled, but oddly enough, the starting quarterback Nate Stanley doesn’t deserve as much blame as he is getting.
It’s what happens when you are the starting quarterback of a Division 1 football program. You are going to be blamed when the offense struggles, and that’s what Nate Stanley has been going through for the last five games of the season (and quite honestly most of his career) as the starting quarterback of the Iowa football program.
Unlike in past seasons though, Nate Stanley hasn’t been the problem.
He’s actually putting together a pretty fine season all things considered.
Just imagine if he got time to hang out in a clean pocket as Jalen Hurts does or Joe Burrow does.
We noted before the season, that Nate Stanley can be pretty superb when given a clean pocket. With the struggles of the interior offensive line though, a clean pocket is far and few between these days for the senior signal-caller. More frustrating is that the run game isn’t exactly scaring people either (see the issue with the interior offensive line again), meaning teams can key on Stanley and not respect the play-action, which is a big staple of Iowa’s offense.
Some may blame Stanley for not being able to escape pressure like some of the more elusive quarterbacks in college football, but to be honest, he is what he is. Stanley is not a mobile quarterback, and that’s fine if the play-calling reflects that or the pass-blocking can handle that. Neither has happened.
From his junior to senior season, Stanley has raised his completion percentage from 59.3% to 60.7%, and he has decreased his interception rate as well. He also happens to be second in the Big Ten in yards passing with 2,158. While his quarterback rating is down from previous years, I attribute, at least partly, to the poor interior o-line play rushing him through his reads or not allowing him time before getting hit.
What I have really seen though is growth from Nate Stanley in the mental aspect when making decisions after the snap. Last season, he was usually good for one or two bone-headed throws. This season, barring some bad pre-snap reads during the Michigan game, he has been significantly better in that area.
This offense may be bad enough for Kirk Ferentz to call out Brian discreetly, but it’s not because Nate Stanley has been terrible.