IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Iowa football team was practicing recently when the sounds of pads and helmets colliding suddenly fell silent.
Everybody was sort of numb as star quarterback C.J. Beathard withered in pain after being inadvertently hit by a teammate.
“It got quiet,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said after Saturday’s open practice to conclude spring drills. “It got quiet. It’s just one of those deals.
“Good news, it’s a bruise and he’ll be fine.”
That was the latest bullet Iowa has dodged with regard to Beathard’s health. He managed to play in all 14 games last season despite being hobbled by several injuries, including a sport hernia that required surgery after the season in late January.
Beathard was withheld from Saturday’s scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium. But he met with reporters after practice and talked about his latest injury, which occurred this week in practice.
“It did scare me at first,” Beathard said of the injury. “But it’s nothing to be too worried about.”
Beathard was relieved when an MRI on his shoulder showed no structural damage. He plans to rest for a couple weeks while the team has a short break before resuming training.
“I was nervous,” Beathard said of his mood before the MRI. “There were times when I was scared. But I had to do a lot of praying and it showed up negative.”
Beathard refused to identify the player whose hit caused the injury. Quarterbacks are off limits with regard to hitting in practice, but especially a quarterback as celebrated as Beathard, who made second-team all-Big Ten last season.
“Not supposed to, but it was inadvertent, accidental,” Beathard said of the hit that caused his injury. “It happens.”
As for his other injuries, Beathard is making steady progress, but it takes time to fully recover from the injury that required surgery barely three months ago.
“It’s a slow process,” Beathard said. “But I think here, especially with this break coming up, it should be at close to 100 percent.”
Sophomore Tyler Wiegers replaced Beathard as the starting quarterback for Saturday’s scrimmage. Wiegers had some good moments and some bad moments, including throwing a pick-six from his own end zone that was returned for a touchdown by freshman cornerback Michael Ojemudia.
Freshman quarterback Drew Cook led the second-team offense on Saturday, while fellow freshman Ryan Boyle played receiver on Saturday after recently switching from quarterback.
Beathard thinks the 6-foot-1, 208-pound Boyle will benefit as a receiver from having played quarterback.
"The few days he’s been there he’s done a good job," Beathard said. "Having played quarterback, he knows the offense and he doesn’t have to go in there and learn stuff over and over again."
Boyle caught a 6-yard touchdown pass near the end of Saturday’s scrimmage. "He also caught another short pass that he turned into a substantial gain.
"He did a good job when he was out there today," Beathard said. "And I think he’s got a bright future there."
Beathard also spoke highly of the 6-5, 230-pound Cook, who threw a 24-yard touchdown pass on Saturday.
"He’s a young guy, still learning and I’m still trying to teach him the ropes and everything," Beathard said of Cook. "But he’s shown improvement this spring for sure."