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Iowa Notebook: Quarterbacks, Kenny, and more

BY CODY GOODWIN | SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz knew this week’s press conference would be a little different from almost any other he’s had this season. He said as much in his opening statement, informing the media that starting quarterback Jake Rudock wouldn’t be available for interviews because “I would imagine all the questions center on one thing,” he said. “So we’ll spare him that detail today.”

Instead, Ferentz shouldered the load of quarterback questions — and boy, were there a ton of them.
Sixteen of the first 17 questions Ferentz answered revolved around the quarterback situation between Rudock and backup C.J. Beathard, the latter of whom played the entire second half against Pittsburgh on Sept. 20 in place of an injured Rudock. In all, Ferentz was asked 38 questions on Tuesday, and 20 of them were about the quarterbacks.

“We’ll play whoever is ready to go,” Ferentz said. “It’s not that big a deal to us. We’ll rally whoever is out there. We’re not going to put Jake out there if he’s not able to play the way he has to. C.J. will be ready to go if that’s the way it turns out.”

It made sense, after all. Iowa fans across the country — and, perhaps more specifically, the Twittersphere — clamored for Beathard to be the team’s starting quarterback after his showing against Pittsburgh.

The sophomore completed 7-of-8 passes for just 98 yards but engineered three-consecutive scoring drives in the second half that helped the Hawkeyes come back and beat the Panthers, 24-20. But on Monday morning, Iowa announced Rudock was still the starter on the most recent two deeps.

“We’ll play it day by day and see what it looks like,” Ferentz said about Rudock’s health. “We’ll move him around, see how he feels, and go from there.”

Beathard, a native of Franklin, Tennessee, said Tuesday he’ll be ready for another opportunity if called upon for Saturday’s conference-opener against Purdue.

“You have to look at it like that because you don’t know when the next opportunity will be,” Beathard said. “I went into it saying this is my time to lead now, and I just tried to win the game.”

Kenny finds a home at fullback

Iowa opened the 2014 season with two traditional fullbacks in Adam Cox and Macon Plewa. Now four weeks into the season, both Cox and Plewa are hurt.

Cox is out for the whole year with a knee injury, while Plewa will sit for the third-straight week because of a shoulder injury.

In their place, though, is John Kenny, who’s started each of the last two games at fullback for Iowa after starting the season at linebacker.

“John’s really not perfect, but he’s really adapted to it pretty quickly,” Ferentz said. “[He’s] really bailed us out and given us an ability to keep a personnel group out there.”

Kenny’s helped pave the way for 262 total combined net yards rushing against Iowa State and Pittsburgh. He’s even caught 2 passes for 7 yards in his two games at fullback.

The redshirt freshman said the transition from linebacker to fullback has been somewhat natural because he normally took on fullbacks as a linebacker. He added that the physicality required of the position came naturally.

“It was a pretty big adjustment just lining up behind the quarterback and looking at the defense,” Kenny said. “The first week was pretty weird. After that, I got the hang of it, just knowing my assignments and studying the playbook, taking reps and execution.”

‘He probably needs a hobby’

A picture made the rounds on Twitter earlier this week of an Iowa fan’s calf. On it was a tattoo of Ferentz’s face.

A reporter asked Ferentz on Tuesday if he had seen the picture, and what his thoughts were on the display of fandom.

“I’ve heard about it. I haven’t seen it,” Ferentz said. “I think he probably needs a hobby or two would be my guess.”

Follow @codygoodwin on Twitter for updates, news, and analysis about the Iowa football team.


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