CHICAGO — Quiet by nature, Nate Stanley is working to become a more vocal leader for the Iowa football team.
The Hawkeyes’ third-year starter under center has grown more comfortable in leading in ways beyond his actions.
“He’s speaking up more and when he talks, people listen. He’s been through a lot as a starting quarterback,’’ Iowa running back Toren Young said at the recent Big Ten kickoff.
Those experiences are now helping Stanley speak.
“It hasn’t been necessarily a steady line, there have been some ups and downs and that is all part of it,’’ he said.
Expressing that as a senior has become easier for the 6-foot-4, 243-pound signal-caller from Menomonie, Wisconsin as he prepares for the start of Iowa's fall camp on Friday.
“I’m still doing what I’m supposed to be doing, leading by example, but there are a lot of different avenues for people to benefit from,’’ said Stanley, who said he has become more confident in expressing himself in joining teammates in conversations with a sports psychologist who has worked with Iowa players over the past year.
“It’s about being who you are and if you give your best every single day you don’t necessarily have to worry about the rest. It will just happen. I’m more confident and comfortable being a leader and a lot of it has to do with the way I go about things every single day.’’
Stanley enters his senior season after ranking fifth in the Big Ten with a pass efficiency rating of 136.5 and 2,852 passing yards a year ago.
He has thrown 26 touchdown passes in each of the last two seasons — one shy of Chuck Long’s single-season record — and his 52 career scoring passes leaves him 22 behind the career record Long has held since completing his career in 1985.
Stanley’s completion percentage has improved in each of his first three seasons at Iowa and he enters his senior season ninth on Iowa’s career passing list.
He has completed 58.4 percent of his 747 passes, throwing for 5,351 yards and in addition to his 52 touchdown passes he has been intercepted just 16 times.
Stanley said his energy has been centered on learning from it all, the good and the bad.
He said Iowa’s experiences in its four losses a year ago, including a string of three consecutive setbacks by six, two and four points to Penn State, Purdue and Northwestern, now help him compete.
“There have been ups and downs. That’s just how it is for everybody,’’ Stanley said. “You’re always going to fail, but I think what determines how successful you can be is how you learn from those failures and what you take from them.’’
Stanley counts on those experiences to benefit Iowa now.
“I think we need to do what we can to minimize those bad runs,’’ he said. “No matter how perfect you are, there is always going to be some adversity within a game and minimizing those stretches is the biggest thing we need to do.’’
Stanley believes carrying the confidence to deal with those moments is one of the things he has gained from his first two seasons as a starter.
He believes it has positioned well for Iowa to contend for its first Big Ten West Division title since running the table in conference regular-season games in 2015.
“We have the potential to do a lot of good things this season as a team. There is plenty of talent here to win a championship,’’ Stanley said.
“The most important aspect is preparing each week to be at our best every time we take the field. What we learned last season has given us a clear understanding of what it takes to make that happen.’’