2014 Position Previews: Quarterbacks

BY DANNY PAYNE | AUGUST 26, 2014 5:00 AM

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Following Iowa’s 8-5 2013-14 campaign that ended with a loss to LSU in the Outback Bowl, there was talk that the Hawkeyes would have an open competition at quarterback.

It didn’t last too long, however; offensive coordinator Greg Davis named Jake Rudock the starter early on in spring practice.

However, just because Rudock will enter his second-straight season under center doesn’t necessarily mean he will be the only guy taking snaps.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said backup C.J. Beathard could see some time this year if the situation calls for it. Beathard played in five games last year, going 9-of-27 for 179 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. The Franklin, Tenn., native also added two scores on the ground.

“[Beathard] is a little bit different and offers a couple different things to his repertoire than maybe Jake does,” Ferentz said at Iowa’s media day on Aug. 5. “… But if we can find a way to maybe get a competitive edge, make it tougher for opponents to prepare, that would be a good thing.”

Ferentz said the Hawkeyes aren’t going to use a two-quarterback system just to use a two-quarterback system. There has to be a reason to do so, he said.

But Davis said he thinks it could be a good option for his team.

Now in his third year as the offensive coordinator, Davis said both quarterbacks grew plenty during and after spring ball. But much of the hype surrounding Beathard could stem from the spring game, where he performed just as well — if not, better — than Rudock.

Beathard threw numerous deep balls, the highlight being a 40-plus yard touchdown pass to spring sensation Derrick Willies.

Both Davis and Ferentz kept their plans close to the vest, so it’s unclear if Iowa plans to use them on more a situational basis or if each quarterback will get a certain percentage of snaps. (Remember, the Hawkeyes traditionally go with one signal-caller and stick with one signal-caller.)

“They’re more similar than dissimilar. If you put them in a 40, they would be really close,” Davis said. “C.J. probably has a little bit more short-area quickness.

“Jake is a little bit quicker at getting through the reads and getting the ball down to a back or whatever if it’s not there, where C.J., because he has a big arm, he wants to sit and wait and wait. But they’re really pretty similar.”

Either way, both guys have experience, with Rudock holding an advantage after starting each game a year ago. That’s something that is going to help them mesh with an experienced group of receivers Iowa has at its disposal.

In typical Rudock fashion, the Weston, Fla., native played off questions at Iowa’s media day that he may take fewer reps. The junior said his job is to help the team win in any way possible and to not worry about which quarterback is the one helping to do so.

“If it gets the W at the end of the day, I’m all for it,” Rudock said.

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