With Ricki Stanzi now on the roster of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, James Vandenberg of Keokuk is set to take over the starting quarterback role for Iowa. Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe says the position changes is routine.
O’Keefe says he doesn’t see the two as different in their overall abilities, but he says the thing that will emerge is the type of throws that Vandenberg makes better than Stanzi did. He says every quarterback has things that he does better. O’Keefe says he’ll see how things develop in camp and adjust from there.
O’ Keefe says part of his job is to make sure he calls the plays that involve the things the quarterback does best. He says the change the routes thrown each year in part because of the change at quarterback, but he says the other team may also have been studying past tendencies and the routes don’t work like they did the previous year. Vandenberg says the most important thing he learned from Stanzi was how to prepare.
He says Stanzi was as good off the field in watching film and preparing than he was on the field and that commitment is something that rubbed off. The Keokuk native started a couple of years two years ago when Stanzi was injured. He says that gave him extra experience at preparing to be a starter.
Vandenberg says handling the whole game week is different when you are the starter compared to the backup from the meetings to taking all the snaps in practice, and he thinks that will really help him this season. Vandenberg is seen as having a strong arm, but he doesn’t think he will bring anything to the job that Stanzi didn’t have.
Vandenberg says the only advantage he has is “that I got to learn from a good guy and he never got to” and he says he got to sit and learn the offense one more year than Stanzi, but he says they are pretty similar. Vandenberg says it’s important to have a connection with the receivers and he says that’s something you get with repetition.
He says it comes from experience and even as the number two guy you get to throw to all the receivers, so it’s not like he hasn’t thrown to them. Vandenberg says getting to take all the snaps in spring and fall will help with the timing. Iowa opens the season on September third in Kinnick Stadium against Tennessee Tech.