Jake Rudock, a junior-to-be from Weston, Fla., broke onto the scene a year ago and emerged as Iowa’s starting quarterback from a three-way battle that included C.J. Beathard and (the now-transferred) Cody Sokol. On Wednesday, Rudock answered this week’s five questions with Hawkeye reporter Andrew Logue:
1. How do you feel, after having knee injuries last season?
Jake Rudock: “I feel really good. Both knees feel really good now. It was nice last Wednesday to kind of escape the pocket and run a little bit. Feels much better than it did at the end of the year. So that’s always a positive. The strength staff and the medical staff did a real good job of getting me healthy.” Note: Rudock said he continues to wear a brace on his left knee just as a precautionary measure. “You don’t want anything unnecessary or kind of dumb to happen.”
2. What do you want to work on, improve on?
JR: “Right now, improving decision making. Making those quicker reads, quicker decisions. Also, coming to the line and if I see something that’s a little fuzzy just (take) the safe play. Do something that can be positive. You don’t want to go second-and-10, but sometimes second-and-10 is the best play to go with.”
3. How different does this spring feel, after competing for the starting job a year ago?
JR: “It’s different, but at the same time, coach (Kirk) Ferentz always talks about how you have to re-earn your spot every single year. You can’t just walk on the field expecting to be where you were. You have to keep moving forward, keep getting a little bit better each and every day. The most important thing now is to get the entire team ready.”
4. What did you think of the fake Twitter account dedicated to you?
JR: “I thought it was funny. But at the same time, it’s like this is a little fiasco. It is what it is, and our staff has taken care of it.”
5. Do you sense a different mood with the team, from 4-8 in 2012 to 8-5 last season?
JR: “It’s a different mood, but at the same time, we don’t only want to win eight games. Every team in the country is going out trying to win every single game that they play. It’s a little bit of a different mood, but you can’t have a little success and expect that to continue. You have to work even harder to get back to where we were and a little farther ahead.”
BIG TEN BUZZ
An article in Sports Illustrated irked Illinois coach Tim Beckman, when it quoted him as saying, “I want this program to get better. That’s the bottom line. And that means five or six wins.” Beckman told reporters Monday, “I think there was like maybe a misquote.” He went on to explain that success meant reaching the Big Ten championship game. … Tight end Tyler Kroft, who led Rutgers last season with 43 catches and 573 receiving yards, is out of spring practices with a shoulder injury. Defensive end Quanzell Lambert is also sidelined by a sore shoulder. … Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan told ESPN’s Brian Bennett why he cut his long, blond hair while recovering from ACL surgery. “My showers were taking way too long,” Ryan said. “It was way too much to take care of that and the knee. You can’t have too much on your mind.” … Four-star offensive lineman Steven Gonzalez and four-star linebacker Josh Barajas have verbally committed to Penn State, giving the Nittany Lions one of the Big Ten’s most promising recruiting classes for 2015. … The battle to be Indiana’s starting quarterback continues between Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson. Offensive coordinator Kevin Johns told the Indianapolis Star that Sudfeld has been addressing footwork and Roberson accuracy and balance. … Reports surfaced last week that Minnesota would break ground on a new $70 million football facility in December. A representative for the school called the report “erroneous.”
THE WORD FROM HAWKEYE NATION
Last week’s reader question: Which team do you pick to win the Big Ten’s new West Division? Nebraska? Wisconsin? Iowa? Here’s what @IowaHawkGuy had to say, via Twitter: “Iowa. Nebraska, Wisconsin both at Kinnick at end of season. Wisconsin loses a ton. Worse Iowa beat a better (Nebraska) team last year.”
This week’s question(s): Who is the most indispensable Hawkeye, the player Iowa can least afford to lose? Email your response to Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow and reach him on Twitter (@AndrewMLogue).