IOWA CITY, Iowa — Holy crap! C.J. Beathard can walk!
(OK, with a brace.)
Beathard makes his way into stadium. Brace on left knee: pic.twitter.com/aydCTMi9dV
— MarkEmmert (@MarkEmmert) August 13, 2016
And … move!
(OK, also with a brace.)
— Steve Batterson (@sbatt79) August 13, 2016
And … throw!
(Yep, same brace.)
— Steve Batterson (@sbatt79) August 13, 2016
And … sign!
— Mark Woodley KWWL (@MarkWoodleyKWWL) August 13, 2016
And … talk!
Here’s what Iowa QB C.J. Beathard said about his injury in practice this week https://t.co/rbfuRQcTqt
— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) August 13, 2016
So, yeah, basically, they were right.
The Hawkeyes’ senior quarterback Saturday afternoon affirmed the SCREAMING RAGING PANICKING WE’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT social media buzz/assertions that yes, he was hurt. Again.
— Hawks101 (@Hawks101101) August 13, 2016
Officially, it’s a bruise.
Unofficially, it’s a little hilarious.
Photoshopping aside, the scrape occurred earlier this week, during the accidental rolling of his left knee. Beathard explained to reporters after Iowa’s annual mid-camp “Kids Day” open practice that, yes, the knee required him to miss two days and three practices total — one session was a two-a-day — before a return to drills on Friday.
1. He’s fine. (Ish.)
2. Put down the sharp objects.
Please. For the love of (Mike) Goff.
“If there was a game today,” coach Kirk Ferentz said, “he would’ve been playing full-speed.”
And with a shield.
Even with an injury, Beathard still rolls into practice like… pic.twitter.com/TeSJO7gODo
— Des King’s CowboyHat (@KingsCowboyHat) August 13, 2016
“I mean, I heard about it from, you know, people here and there,” Beathard, tapped as the top returning signal-caller in the Big Ten by Pro Football Focus, told the assembled media throng. “But yeah, I didn’t think too much about it, especially when I know some of (the rumors are) not true, stuff like that.
“It’s kind of funny to hear. People text me about, ‘I heard you broke your ankle, you OK?’ I’m fine. I didn’t break my ankle, you know?”
Nor did he look exceptionally rusty, all things considered. Beathard completed his first three pass attempts, including nifty little shovel pass to tailback Akrum Wadley. Less charming was a 55-yarder toward Matt VandeBerg and into double coverage, a rainbow picked by Josh Jackson.
Blame the heat.
Or, hell, just blame the brace.
“It’s just a pain to wear,” the Nashville native groused. “(It) makes me slower. But you know, I’m out there (Saturday) doing stuff and I felt good.”
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who pretty much green-lit live hitting Saturday save for the quarterbacks, wasn’t taking any chances, keeping No. 16 on the sidelines for most of the afternoon as a rotating cast of quarterbacking understudies went through their paces.
And it’s a fine line. He wants Beathard used to daggers flying at game speed, but even tossing a red “no-contact” jersey on a quarterback doesn’t preclude an accidental injury if a running back or a tackle, going at full bore, would happen to get shoved into him in the heat of the moment.
“You don’t want guys to take unnecessary shots at a quarterback,” the veteran coach said.
“(But) you’ve got to be able to cross the street right? You just can’t live not being able to cross the street.”
Given a choice, Hawkeye fans would prefer to see Beathard in bubble wrap until game day, then wrapped up again afterward and stored in a cool, dry place.
The Nashville native played through a hip injury for much of last fall and had sports hernia surgery in the winter. A few months back, Iowa’s top quarterback was hit on his right (throwing) shoulder and held out of the spring game as a precautionary measure.
And with good reason, considering his passing lines in 2015 when …
- In the fourth quarter: 44-for-63, 69.8 completion percentage, six touchdowns, zero picks;
- Faced with 3rd down and 10 or more to go: 17-for-27, 63 percent, one touchdown, zero picks;
- Iowa was trailing: 44-for-76, 57.9 percent, seven touchdowns, one pick.
That and the fact Beathard’s top backup, sophomore Tyler Wiegers, has thrown all of four collegiate passes. And the other three quarterbacks on the camp roster are freshmen, redshirt or true.
“One of the guys told me (the talk) was a broken ankle?” Ferentz cracked. “Be careful with those rumors, huh. Word to the wise at that one.”
Sure, it’s all fun and memes now. But if you happen to see Beathard standing on some curb, steps from oncoming traffic, you might want to help him cross the street. Just to be on the safe side.
You can reach Sean Keeler via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @seankeeler