The Iowa Hawkeyes did something rarely done under head coach Kirk Ferentz on Saturday: they played the backup quarterback for meaningful minutes. Lots of them. Starter Spencer Petras played just 11 snaps against the Northwestern Wildcats before backup Alex Padilla came in and took over.
Padilla looked sharp early, helping Iowa drive the field for their only two touchdowns of the night on consecutive drives. After a win over the Cats to push Iowa to 7-2 on the year, the question now is whether Padilla showed enough to earn the starting job heading into a rivalry game this week against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
On Monday, the Hawkeyes released their weekly depth chart, potentially giving Iowa fans a glimpse of what to expect come Saturday. Here’s a look at Iowa’s depth chart for the matchup with Minnesota and the notable takeaways for this week.
- Yep, that’s Alex Padilla listed as the starter. Former third-stringer and first team all-name teamer Deuce Hogan is now the backup. Former starter Spencer Petras is nowhere to be found on the depth chart.
- In news likely less exhilarating for Hawkeye fans, starting left tackle Mason Richman is also nowhere to be found. After leaving Saturday’s contest, he’s replaced on the depth chart by Jack Plumb. Tyler Elsbury is listed as the backup to both tackles.
- On the other side of the ball, still no Riley Moss. Or Terry Roberts. Jermari Harris is again listed as the starter this week with Xavior Williams his backup. Williams is also listed as the backup to Matt Hankins on the other side.
Those are the only things really worth pointing out this week. But those are some big ones that deserve some dissection.
Let’s start at QB. Yes, for the first time since 2014 Iowa has now listed two different quarterbacks as starter during the same season. But this comes with a major asterisk. Not an asterisk in the sense that Padilla didn’t do what you want him to in order to win the job, but in the sense that we don’t actually know that he is the new starter.
Ferentz reiterated on Saturday that the change came because Petras sustained a shoulder injury against Wisconsin that was impacting his throwing ability. Tyler Goodson confirmed that was the case. So we won’t know for sure what his status is likely until this Saturday.
But more importantly, what Iowa fans should know at this point in the season is these depth charts are not forward looking. The names you see above are not in any order you should expect them to be in on Saturday (OK, some are, but the changes are not necessarily there to stay). Instead, it’s a reflection of how the game ended the week before.
Hence, Padilla is listed as the starter and Petras is nowhere to be found because that is how Iowa ended things against Northwestern. Now, Kirk will absolutely be asked about it 7 or 8 different ways in his media availability on Tuesday, but we all know his response is going to be something along the lines of, “we’ll know more as the week goes along... we’ll see how he’s progressing and cross that bridge when we get there.” Yada. Yada. Yada.
The same cannot be said on Richman. His injury is apparently relatively serious and he is likely not playing this weekend. Moss and Roberts are likely much closer to playing. But again, we’ll hopefully get some form of an update on that Tuesday and will know how meaningful the depth chart is at that point.
Regardless of how this shakes out, we do have an historic depth chart this week. We should see Padilla as the starter because that shoulder injury provides KF exactly the kind of cover he craves for making any move at QB. And if that first half was at all real, we should see something resembling a competent offense on Saturday. Should.
The Hawkeyes will face off with Minnesota at 2:30pm CT on Saturday from Kinnick in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale. The game will be broadcast on BTN.