By Pat Harty and Rob Howe
IOWA CITY, Iowa – C.J. Beathard understood the trainers’ concern for him after he took a hard hit against Pittsburgh Saturday night. That said, he would rather have been left alone.
Beathard was taken through concussion protocol after Panthers linebacker Matt Galambos jammed his helmet into the Hawkeye quarterback’s chin in the first quarter. The ball came out when the junior hit the ground. Originally called a fumble, it was reversed after replay determined he was down by contact.
Pittsburgh blitzed Beathard most of the evening in a 27-24 Hawkeye win. Galambos delivered the only head shot but it didn’t have the desired outcome against Iowa’s tough signal caller.
"I got to the sideline and I told (the trainers) that I was fine and I didn’t feel like I had a concussion at all. I was a little pissed off more than anything," Beathard said.
The trainers continued to blitz Beathard with questions to make sure he was OK. He wasn’t in the mood.
"They asked me what quarter it was and I was like, ‘I’m not stupid. I know what quarter it is.’ I obviously didn’t have a concussion is what I’m saying," the junior said.
Beathard said his jaw was sore for a while and he later hurt his hip. He popped some Advil to ease the pain.
"He was pissed off and he was hurting, I could tell, but he kept his cool and told us that everything was going to be OK. And it was," Senior Receiver Jacob Hillyer said.
Beathard completed 27 of 40 passes for 258 yards in the contest. He also ran 8 times for 38 yards, including three nifty trips on the game-winning drive which led to a Marshall Koehn’s 57-yard field goal as time expired.
"He’s a tough player," Hillyer said. "When I see him get up every time, it lets me know that we have a true leader back there."
Having looked at the film, Beathard agrees with what his teammates and coaches who were calling for a targeting penalty at the time of the Galambos’ hit. He isn’t as adamant about it as his head coach, however.
"I know in our conference it’s been made apparent to us that’s going to be a point attention," Kirk Ferentz said. "We’re coaching our defensive guys to really be careful about those hits because it’s been a point of emphasis the last two years and I know the Big Ten is going to continue to look at it that way, which is probably good for the game."
INJURY REPORT: Defensive end Drew Ott (elbow) and running back LeShun Daniels (ankle) left the Iowa State game two weeks ago with injuries. They played on a limited basis against Pittsburgh and clearly were not 100 percent healthy.
Ferentz said Tuesday Ott and Daniels still were hurting.
"The good thing is time is on our side right now. So every day we’re moved away from Saturday is a good thing. So they’re both practicing right now on a limited basis. They’re not a hundred percent, but hopefully by Saturday they’ll be close to it, if not there. The big idea is not to go backwards, so we’ll just keep pushing forward," the coach said.
Ferentz said Daniels struggled to drive off his injured ankle Saturday when he rushed nine times for 17 yards. Ott couldn’t use his elbow effectively, the coach added.
"It didn’t look like Drew out there," Ferentz said.
It appears tight end Jake Duzey (knee) could be on target for a return to action during the Big Ten opener at Wisconsin on Oct. 3. It would be his ’15 debut following off-season surgery.
Duzey was in uniform against Pittsburgh.
"Last week was the first time he got to do team work, got involved in that part of it," Ferentz said. "We knew he wasn’t going to play in the game, but we wanted to get him back in the routine of going through pre-game, being in the hotel, all those types of things. So it was great to have him out there and get back in the swing of things.
"I doubt he’ll go this week, but we’re moving closer and we’re all pleased to see him get more involved."
MORNING SUCCESS: The decision to switch practice time from late afternoon to the morning seems to be paying dividends, considering Iowa’s 3-0 record.
Kirk Ferentz isn’t ready to say that yet.
"The jury is still out on that one,” Ferentz said Tuesday. “I actually said to (strength coach) Chris Doyle last Thursday, I said to him, `okay, this seems like it’s going well. Now what shoe is going to drop here in October and November?’
“I’m still waiting and trying to figure out what the downside is going to be.”
The team now practices early in the morning instead of late in the afternoon, which had been the routine for decades. One of the advantages is that the players have the rest of the day to attend classes after finishing with practice.
NEXT MAN IN: Senior tight end Henry Krieger Coble already has caught seven passes in three games this season.
That equals the number of catches the Mount Pleasant native had in his first three seasons as a Hawkeye. It also shows that Krieger Coble is thriving as the next man in for injured starter Jake Duzey.
“I’ve told pro scouts over the last five years nobody has made more tough catches in practice than Henry,” said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. “So with Jake out, it was a blow to us. But I think all of us were confident that Henry would play very well, and he’s done that. He did a great job the other night, too.”
Krieger Coble is among a number of seniors on the current team who are performing well.
“For us to have a good football team, we need our seniors playing their best,” Ferentz said. “He’s certainly doing that, and doing a great job in all regards. If we can get Jake back, that just gives us one more guy to make us a better football team.”
Krieger Coble hasn’t scored a touchdown this season, but he came close against Iowa State before losing a fumble near the Cyclone end zone. Iowa receiver Matt VandeBerg recovered the fumble and then leaped into the across the goal line for a touchdown.
Krieger Coble isn’t a stranger to the end zone. He entered this season with three touchdown receptions. He only caught three passes last season, but two resulted in touchdowns.