The Sports Desk -- The Derby thing

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March 31, 2014 | 1:42 pm

It's toward the end and KCRG's John Sears and I probably didn't get it enough run, but we do talk a little about Iowa QB A.J. Derby.

Yes, he's a QB. Still is. Is that where Iowa coaches see him? I thought it was interesting when coach Kirk Ferentz fielded a question last week about whether Derby, a 6-4, 232-pound redshirt freshman, would switch positions if he wasn't first-team QB.

"We've had conversations," Ferentz said. "We recruited him under the premise that he would be a quarterback. Part of it was, too, we wanted to see him on the field, see how he'd progress and improve. He's done a nice job."

They've talked and Derby is still a QB.

"He fully wants to compete for the job," Ferentz said. "We're on board with that because he's got, I think, a lot of upside.Probably the question down the road is if he's not the first-team quarterback, will he play on special teams?

"That's a conversation we'll have to have. But I think he can help us, could've helped us last year. I don't think it would've been wise to burn his [redshirt] year last year to put him out there as much as he probably or maybe could've helped us. Speculating a little bit."

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Frankly, I think this will play itself out, but there is a sense of urgency this season. Derby has a chance to get his foot in the door at QB, competiting with junior John Wienke for the No. 2 QB spot behind junior James Vandenberg. Jake Ruddock will be on campus this fall as an incoming freshman.

If Derby makes some waves in the QB race this year, maybe he gives it a shot again next season. If he doesn't, he's a competitor. You know, from the success he had at Iowa City High, that there's a competitor in there who doesn't want to sit.

Coaches want to maximize his "footballness," and the kid is going to want to play the game.

Either way, it'll work itself out and Derby will contribute. I think that's a given.

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