IOWA CITY, Iowa – C.J. Beathard is hurting. He admits that. He’s just not copping to a rumor that he needs sports hernia surgery that will cause him to miss Saturday’s game at Northwestern.
"A lot of people I just ignored. Some people I just said I don’t know where you heard that from," Iowa’s Starting Quarterback said Tuesday about what he told people who asked if the speculation was true. "Obviously, I’m the only person that would have started it (if it were true). I don’t know who started it."
Asked point blank if the hernia surgery rumor was true, Beathard said no. He said he was sore but directed questions about specific injuries to Head Coach Kirk Ferentz.
Beathard attended Saturday’s post-game press conference following a 29-20 win against Illinois with ice wrapped around his hip (which he injured against Pittsburgh) and groin area. He said here Tuesday that he’s been receiving treatment and will continue it throughout the week. He said he planned to play Saturday against the No. 20 Wildcats (11 a.m., ESPN) in a key Big Ten West tilt.
"A lot of guys come up banged up after games. It’s just a matter of getting treatment and getting ready for the next game. Certain guys have little tweaks after games but nothing serious. I feel good. I think I’ll be out there for sure," Beathard said.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz was asked Tuesday after Beathard was interviewed if he thought his junior would be on the field Saturday.
"Count on it, yeah. I’m counting on it, absolutely," he said.
The Hawkeyes are 6-0 overall, 2-0 in the Big Ten and ranked 17th in both major polls with Beathard leading the offense. His backup is redshirt freshman Tyler Wiegers, who’s seen limited game reps in mop-up duty this season. Behind them are two true freshmen – Ryan Boyle and Drew Cook.
Beathard ranks third among Big Ten signal callers in total offense (238.5 yards per game). He’s fifth in passing efficiency (141.2) having completed 99 of 162 attempts for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns against two interceptions.
Beathard said he could miss practice time this week. He didn’t feel like that would hamper his preparation for a much-improved Northwestern (4-1 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) defense.
"I feel like my position is such a mental game. If I know I can throw the ball fine and do all the mental stuff and do all that stuff, any week of the season, mentally is what’s the hardest part of quarterback; practicing mentally and watching film for us," he said.
Defenses have pounded on Beathard throughout the season. Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and Illinois were especially tough on him. His ability to tuck the ball and run also has put him in harm’s way.
"You don’t think about that going into games when you have 300-pound defensive linemen running at you and I’m sitting there (thinking) I’m just going to take the sack because, whatever, I’m a competitor and I’m going to do what I have to do to get out of the pocket and make yards," he said.
Teammates in charge of protecting Beathard said they need to do a better job of it. That said, they’re inspired by his toughness.
"It’s definitely good when you see him popping up fired up and he wants to keep playing. It fires up for sure," Offensive Lineman Jordan Walsh said.
Said Tight End Henry Krieger Coble: "He’s as tough as it gets. Just to see him pop up like that, that’s just a boost to our offense. We know he’s going to come out and bring it no matter what the play before was. That’s just a huge boost to have a guy like that back there."