Next season, whoever starts under center for the Iowa Hawkeyes will be taking their first snaps ever at the FBS level. The Iowa quarterback race is filled with inexperience, making it the biggest question mark for Iowa as spring practice rolls on. With the No. 1 quarterback job on the line, will the steady yet unexciting approach of Jake Rudock win out?
Rudock acted as the backup quarterback last year to James Vandenberg, who threw every pass attempted by Iowa in 2012. He’s put together a strong spring despite playing with a lot of flash. During scrimmages this spring, he hasn’t made any throws that leave a lasting impression, but more importantly he has avoided making the big mistakes that could squash Iowa’s chances during a game in 2013.
He is in a tight competition this spring with Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard, but Rudock has a distinct experience advantage in this race (despite never being in a game). Sokol comes to Iowa after transferring from Scottsdale Community College, and has shown some zip on his throws this spring with his strong arm. However, there are questions about how well he will transition to the major college level and some have noticed a bit of a hitch in his throwing motion.
Beathard is a freshman from Tennessee who is coming in with a lot of promise. He has excellent touch, a nice throwing motion and looks smooth athletically when he rolls out of the pocket. He’s a little under-developed physically, listed generously at 6-foot-2 and 195-pounds, so there’s questions about how well he’ll hold up against a pass rush that is allowed to actually hit him. Plus, there’s always concern about how well he’ll handle the heightened level of play going from high school to major college football.
For now, Kirk Ferentz is rotating the quarterbacks through every two plays, giving each of them reps with the first, second and third offense. The coaching staff will take their time with the decision, but Ferentz has told reporters that Rudock “has the best handle on things,” thanks to his time in the program.
He isn’t flashy, but Jake Rudock is a steady presence under center which could give Kirk Ferentz exactly the quarterback he’s comfortable with in 2013.