Iowa's McNutt catches on quickly at receiver

August, 17, 2009
8/17/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Marvin McNutt won't be channeling his inner Terrell Owens this fall.

Though McNutt would love to match T.O.'s on-field production for Iowa, he doesn't think a position switch to wide receiver gives him the license to act like a diva. Hawkeyes starting quarterback Ricky Stanzi will appreciate that fact.

"We always mess with [Stanzi], but I try not to because I know as a quarterback, that can be really frustrating," McNutt said. "I mess with him, like, 'You're not getting me the ball enough,' but it's all just play."

McNutt might have no reason to joke with Stanzi about getting the ball thrown his way. He should get plenty of touches this season.

The former Hawkeyes quarterback has made a smooth transition to wideout. He finished spring ball as a starter and should play a big role in an Iowa offense that likely will pass more after losing star running back Shonn Greene.

"Right on schedule," wide receivers coach Erik Campbell said of McNutt's development. "He showed what he can do during spring ball. Spring ball was the key for him, and coming into camp right now, he's a little bit of a seasoned veteran."

McNutt had mixed feelings when told he would switch from quarterback to receiver. He led his high school team to the Missouri state championship game and excited Iowa fans with the athleticism he brought to the quarterback spot.

But Stanzi cemented himself as the starter, and the coaches didn't want the 6-foot-4, 215-pound McNutt to go to waste.

"It was more of me convincing myself," McNutt said. "As I really started thinking about it, it's more of a blessing. Everything happens for a reason. I was taught that by my parents. Just don't dwell on things if you feel it's the right move."

McNutt's speed largely contributed to the switch, but he had to adjust to the increased conditioning demands placed on receivers. The sophomore didn't feel fully in shape until the latter part of spring ball.

"It really puts your mind into the perspective," he said. "When you run a 50-yard route and have to come back into the same huddle and do it over again, it shows it's way harder than what it was as a quarterback."

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