IOWA CITY, Ia. – For the first time since Jake Rudock joined the Iowa football program, the quarterbacking job is up for grabs.
The sophomore from Weston, Fla., spent last season as James Vandenberg’s backup, but began spring practices atop the Hawkeyes’ two-deep depth chart.
“Just trying to approach it the same,” Rudock said. “Trying to keep an even keel.”
Rudock continues to split snaps with Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard during workouts, and coach Kirk Ferentz has set no timetable for naming a starter.
During Wednesday’s interview session, however, Rudock showed a little verbal agility. When a reporter asked if it was his position to lose, the pre-medicine major answered “I look at it as my position to win.”
“All of us are looking at it that way,” he added. “Coaches told us from the start, it’s an open competition.”
Rudock arrived in Iowa City two years ago with gaudy statistics – he threw for 5,082 yards and 73 touchdowns during his high school career – and a decent amount of hype.
He was a three-star prospect, choosing Iowa over Illinois, Minnesota and Memphis, and the Miami Herald’s offensive player of the year for 2010.
“I’ve had two years with (Vandenberg),” Rudock said. “Just talking with him, learning from him. He would explain things so I would understand.”
Vandenberg struggled when Greg Davis became the offensive coordinator a year ago.
After throwing for 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2011, Vandenberg reached the end zone just seven times in 2012, with eight picks.
Neither Rudock, Sokol nor Beathard has ever thrown a pass for the Hawkeyes.
“Having snaps under your belt always helps,” Rudock said. “You see a guy who has played a few years and comes back, usually he’s pretty good.
“He’s comfortable. He’s knows what he’s going to see. He knows what to expect.”
The Hawkeyes should know what to expect in their second season under Davis, even if the quarterback spot remains unsettled.
“What I’ve seen from the quarterbacks is that they all throw the ball well,” first-year receivers coach Bobby Kennedy said. “That position is always tough when you don’t have an established guy… but as they gain that experience, they’ll get better.”
Offensive tackle Brett Van Sloten echoed those thoughts.
“We just have to trust that the coaches are going to do what’s right,” Van Sloten said. “An injury can happen, just like that. So we have to be comfortable with all three of them.
“We’ll block for whoever it is.”
Sokol, who redshirted last season, threw for more than 3,800 yards at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College.
Beathard, a freshman, was the leading prep passer in Tennessee, throwing for a combined 4,556 yards and 42 touchdowns his last two seasons.
“We’re all learning, picking up what the coaches are saying,” Rudock said. “A lot of film work.”
Rudock, who led St. Thomas Aquinas High School to a state title and a 29-1 record over two years, was the first quarterbacking candidate to face the media.
He didn’t flinch.
“Earning it,” Rudock said of the starting job, “is a lot better than just having it handed to you.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football