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Hawkeye football spring practice in Des Moines showcases QB battle

BY CODY GOODWIN | APRIL 15, 2013 5:00 AM

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WEST DES MOINES — The Hawkeye offense saw a different signal-caller nearly every two plays on Sunday afternoon at Valley High Stadium.

Each of Iowa’s three potential starting quarterbacks — redshirt freshman Jake Rudock, junior Cody Sokol, and freshman C.J. Beathard — cycled through the offense during the practice, giving each one an opportunity to take snaps with the first-, second-, and third-team offense.

Each quarterback shone at different times during the practice despite not finding a constant rhythm because of the rotation. Both the struggles and successes were expected.

“We’re rotating them in, which is probably a little tough for them to get a rhythm going,” Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said after the practice. “All three of them are doing some good things, and all three still have things to work on. At this point, it’s early to try to predict, and we’re not going to.”

Rudock, held by many as the front-runner for the job, threw a trio of touchdown passes later in the afternoon. The Weston, Fla., native appeared confident when under center and looked comfortable calling the shots — likely due to the extra practice time he received during last season.

But Sokol still called the position battle a race, saying that each of the candidates have made strides but are still learning and improving with each practice.

“I’ve had a good spring so far,” he said. “Still need to keep improving, keep getting better. Everyone needs to, but I think I’ve done well so far.”

Canzeri sees action

Iowa’s Jordan Canzeri, after tearing his ACL last spring, returned to the field Sunday.

Ferentz talked of possibly letting Canzeri get some time at running back near the end of last season but said it wouldn’t have made sense given the circumstances. But allowing him to continue to work back from the injury paid its dividends on Sunday.

“Thought he really looked good at the end of the season, and [Sunday] was certainly a good day for him,” Ferentz said. “That was good to see. It was the first time he had really been tackled to any great extent since he had been hurt. I thought he looked really good out there.”

The Troy, N.Y., native was adamant in his comments following the practice, saying that he’s ready to see more action — even if that means learning another position.

“They’re putting me out [in the slot position],” Canzeri said. “It’s a fun experience to learn a different position, too, and knowing that there’s another spot that I could fill to be able to help out and contribute to the team.”

Zone-read?

The Hawkeye offense showed a few instances on Sunday that the zone-read might actually become a part of the playbook this coming season.

The concept was introduced to play this spring, and it seems to have been well-received, said running back Damon Bullock.

“I feel like it’s a great play,” Bullock said. “Our defense sees it every day, and they still can’t stop it.”


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