IOWA CITY, Ia. — Spring football practices came and went, with little separation in Iowa’s quarterback scramble.
After Saturday’s scrimmage, it’s not a matter of when the Hawkeyes will have a definitive starter, but if.
“Clearly cloudy,” coach Kirk Ferentz said of the three-man competition. “We didn’t really plan on making any decision coming out of today … but I think all of them are doing some good things. All of them have things to work on.”
An estimated crowd of 16,500 filtered into Kinnick Stadium, where the Iowa offense beat the Iowa defense 61-37, according to an adjusted scoring system.
What fans saw was a no-huddle scheme that sputtered most of the first half, accounting for just four plays of 20 or more yards.
None of the quarterbacks distinguished themselves in size, speed or accuracy. At times, it was difficult to tell who was even taking the snaps.
“As an offense, it’s all about grinding until the end,” said Jake Rudock, last season’s backup quarterback. “Second half, we turned it up a little bit, started getting on each other, because we knew we had to pick it up.”
Rudock, a sophomore, finished 16-of-27 passing for 160 yards, but no touchdowns.
Cody Sokol, a junior college transfer, went 15-of-20 for 185 yards, while rushing and passing for a touchdown.
C.J. Beathard, a redshirt freshman, was 11-of-19, 187 yards with a touchdown pass.
“It’s not an official game, but at least it gets them in game situations and game circumstances,” Ferentz said. “It’ll be a good learning tool for all of them.”
It may also be the last chance for anyone outside the Hawkeye football complex to see this trio before the season opener Aug. 31 against Northern Illinois.
Remember, none of them played a down in 2012.
As the summer speculation begins, the smart money is still on Rudock.
He struggled in the second quarter Saturday, but connected on his final six passes, leading a 68-yard touchdown drive.
“We’ve all got to get a little bit better each and every day,” Rudock said. “If you’re not getting better, you’re probably getting a little worse.”
Sokol produced the best statistical performance of the scrimmage by hitting tailback Jordan Canzeri for a 46-yard touchdown.
“It’s going to take consistency,” Sokol said. “We all can throw it. We all can run it a little bit.
“We’re all going to make plays, but whoever is going to do it consistently, get us into the right plays, that’s who’s going to eventually get the job.”
Beathard turned in one of the most impressive moments Saturday, looking off two receivers before tucking and running for 20 yards.
It was a savvy decision for a newcomer who is not yet allowed to talk with the media.
“It doesn’t matter who is back there,” Sokol said. “They’re going to do their best. We’re just going to keep moving forward as a team … and we’ll see come August.”
What if the picture remains muddled?
The Hawkeyes appear to be picking up the tempo offensively, and a quarterback rotation would likely cause things to bog down.
Can a rebuilding Iowa move forward from a 4-8 season without an entrenched quarterback?
“Definitely,” running back Mark Weisman answered. “That’s all up to the coaches. We’re just going to play with whoever the coaches decide. It doesn’t matter.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football