Kirk Ferentz isn’t really sure if a staff can feel really good about three quarterbacks on the depth chart entering a college football season, but he’s optimistic that will be the case in 2021.

Iowa is in a good situation at quarterback, bringing back returning starter Spencer Petras and having Alex Padilla and Deuce Hogan battling at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the depth chart. It’s pretty clear to Ferentz, at least right now, that Petras is still the Hawkeyes’ top option at QB.

Still, he’s going to let both Padilla and Hogan get their shot in the coming weeks.

“I think we’re going to keep an open mind for every position, but Spencer clearly has that experience. Didn’t a year ago, but now he does. And he did a good job through spring practice, start to finish,” Ferentz said while speaking with reporters this week. “Probably the real story is the other two guys improved. Usually you expect that for guys that haven’t played a lot, you hope it does click.

“Alex, in particular, not that he wasn’t doing well but he had just kinda flat-lined for about the first two weeks. That last half he really ascended. He looked a little bit more comfortable, a little more natural and a little more decisive.”

In his first year as the starter, Petras threw for 1,569 yards and 9 touchdowns while rushing for 2 more. He did only complete 57% of his passes and tossed 5 picks on the year, but was still good enough to lead the Hawkeyes to a 6-2 record.

Padilla played in just two games last fall, completing 1-of-2 passes for 12 yards and rushing twice for 7 yards. Hogan hasn’t played for the Hawkeyes yet.

The key for Petras entering the 2021 season is consistency. If he can improve on the completion percentage and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers, the Hawkeyes have a chance to contend in the B1G West again this fall.

But even if Petras does run into some bumps, Ferentz is confident in the depth at the position.

“The takeaway for us, right now, we feel like we have a couple guys can go,” Ferentz said. “I don’t know if it’s possible to have three guys you fell good about, but we’re hoping so. It’s good.”