On line -- QB A.J. Derby

Published: May 28 2011 | 12:01 am - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 4:48 pm in

No one is ever going to declare anything on this topic, but Kirk Ferentz said something at the end of spring practice that made a whole lot of sense.

“It’s not like we have an eight-deep at quarterback," Ferentz said. "You guys saw we have three guys out there right now. The way we protected in the spring a couple of times, we might need eight quarterbacks.”

Sheer numbers say A.J. Derby stays at QB. Look at the depth chart: The 6-4, 232-pounder is in a tight competition for No. 2 heading into summer conditioning. At worst, he's No. 3 and a high-ankle sprain and broken finger from being the guy. The cavalry isn't coming here, either. Jake Rudock, an incoming freshman, is the only other scholarship QB on the roster. Kyle Anderson, from Ames High School, will walk on in August, giving Iowa five QBs for '11.

Look at the amount of time Derby has invested in the postion: He graduated a semester early at Iowa City High School and enrolled for spring 2010. He went through practice before redshirting for the 2010 season. He's just starting the engine and he's already had two springs with Iowa's playbook.

Three most interesting bio items a year in . . . 1) Participated in Army All-American Bowl and Hawaii vs. Mainland All-Star game; 2) completed 99-187 passes for 1,820 yards and 23 touchdowns in leading team to state title as a senior . . . also rushed 142 times for 752 yards, averaged 40.8 yards on 29 punts and collected two interceptions on defense; 3) brother of Hawkeye sophomore Zach Derby.

Key quote . . . What would have to happen for the position thing to go away? “Probably start,” Ferentz deadpanned. “Until then, we’ll probably be speculating and all that kind of stuff. We see him as a quarterback and that’s what he sees himself as and we’re on board with that 100 percent."

Earlier this spring, Ferentz said the staff had approached Derby about playing special teams. It’s something Ferentz said they’d consider.

“Just looking at him, he is a good athlete who I think could play other positions, certainly,” Ferentz said. “That might be a decision we’ll have to discuss. Last year, I think he could’ve been a good special teams player for us, but he was redshirting and that was the wise thing to do. Next year, it might be a discussion.

“Now, if he is the No. 2 guy, do you run that risk? All those things you’ve got to talk about, we’ll see.”

Standing after spring . . . Derby is QB No. 2a or 2b. Passing someone on the QB depth chart has been extremely rare (really, Stanzi over Christensen and maybe Beutjer) under Ferentz's staff at Iowa. Ferentz called Derby (who completed 9 of 11 for 115 yard during the spring practice) and junior John Wienke even coming out of spring. Derby is cleary invested at the position.

Still, players want to play and James Vandenberg isn't going anywhere.

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