Iowa, Kirk Ferentz ‘impressed’ with QB Deacon Hill

The hope is that Cade McNamara will indeed be ready to play and start for the Iowa Hawkeyes against the Utah State Aggies on Saturday at 11 a.m.

While he’s been medically cleared following a non-contact injury from Kids’ Day at Kinnick, McNamara is still questionable per Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz.

If McNamara is unable to go, the Hawkeyes would turn to one of a pair of redshirt sophomores in Joe Labas or Deacon Hill.

Labas has been rehabbing from his own soft tissue injury that he sustained in mid-July. The Hawkeyes’ starter in Iowa’s 21-0 Music City Bowl win over Kentucky, Labas just returned to practice at the end of last week.

Though Labas has looked good and healthy in his return, Ferentz said it’s reasonable to assume Hill would be the choice to start if McNamara can’t play.

“I’d say that’s fair right now, but we’ll see how the week plays out. Joe started out probably further than maybe I would have expected, and that’s good news, but I’d attribute that to the work that he got last year, especially in December,” Ferentz said.

Hill was listed as the backup quarterback in this week’s depth chart release. A transfer from Wisconsin, Hill played in one game last season with the Badgers but had zero pass attempts.

Should Hill be called upon, though, Iowa and Ferentz are confident in what Hill would provide at quarterback after what they’ve seen in camp the past several weeks.

“Regarding Deacon, a lot better than three weeks ago, two weeks ago or one week ago, and that’s what camp is for is to watch guys improve. If there is a blessing, when Cade was out, it gave him every opportunity to work a lot.

“Then, Joe just returned last week, at the end of last week, so it’s good to get him back out there. He looks good, and he seems like he’s fully healthy now. It would have been nice to have him the whole period, but we didn’t, so he’s playing catch up. But, that month of December advanced him as well, and obviously spring ball.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s a healthy situation right now and I am impressed with Deacon and his tempo. But you have to go out there and operate to do that, and he’s taken advantage of that, and he’s doing a nice job so far,” Ferentz said.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire