IOWA CITY -- Kirk Ferentz didn't say Jake Rudock is the Hawkeyes starting quarterback. Jake Rudock didn't say Jake Rudock is the Hawkeyes starting quarterback.
Pretty much everything that happened on the field during a two-hour scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night screamed Jake Rudock is the Hawkeyes starting quarterback.
The No. 1 offense ran seven offensive series. Rudock was the quarterback for every one of those snaps.
"You can say that," Ferentz said when asked if Rudock was the No. 1. And we have to get out the italics, because Ferentz definitely referred to the outside world as in you can say that, because he certainly wasn't saying it.
"We'll look at the tapes and talk about it in the next couple of days, but we'll probably make that decision this week," Ferentz said.
Rudock wasn't going there, either.
"I'm not going to comment on that, at all," Rudock said. He smiled the whole time saying it, but he covered that up, too.
"I smile, I like to smile," Rudock said. "I like to mess around with you guys. It's just a smile. Just playing football."
There were clues everywhere Saturday night. Rudock ran every snap with the first offense. Redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard was the first QB out with the second offense, but he rotated with junior Cody Sokol.
Every QB made some plays. Beathard scored first with a gorgeous 29-yard TD pass to junior wide receiver Damond Powell that split defensive backs Nico Law and Gavin Smith.
"He's gotten better," Ferentz said. "He threw some good balls tonight. . . . Whomever starts, the other guy is one play away from being needed. We've got to get two guys ready, but the good news is I think we have three guys who are capable."
On the next series with the No. 2s, Sokol hit wide receiver Tevaun Smith on a short pass that Smith made into a 59-yard gain.
Rudock then led a drive that ended in a 43-yard field goal by Alden Haffar. A few drives later, Sokol threw a short pass to Powell who turned it up field for a 39-yard gain. The drive ended in running back Michael Malloy scoring on a 2-yard run.
Rudock helped a TD drive of his own with a 12-yard gain on a called QB run. He finished the drive with a 23-yard TD pass to Jordan Cotton, who looked like he got a foot down before being shoved out of bounds. Defensive coordinator Phil Parker called for a review, but it's preseason for everything and the Kinnick crew didn't have a good angle.
Ferentz didn't officially say it's Rudock's job, but everything on the field said it for him.
"He's had some ups and downs, but he's practiced with poise," Ferentz said. "He's improving and I think all three guys are improving and that's what I was hoping to see, especially with them being young, inexperienced players."
Nothing's official, mind you.
"The thing might turn a little bit here in the next couple of days," Ferentz said, "but at some point . . . we'll talk tomorrow . . . but I would think somewhere by the end of the week we'll number them 1, 2, 3."
Maybe an unbaised source can bring some clarity.
"[Rudock] has been running with the 1s most of camp," running back/wide receiver Damon Bullock said. "C.J. was the No.2, that's how it's been going on so far. Rudock has been here, he knows what he's doing. He's a very smart quarterback, so right now he's with the 1s. We'll see what happens."
Powell and Smith jumped off the page with the wide receiver group Saturday night. Running backs were slotted Mark Weisman, Bullock, Jordan Canzeri, Malloy and true freshman LeShun Daniels, who fueled a scoring drive with a 21-yard gain off a zone-read run.
Powell had what would've been a 63-yard TD blown dead because the scrimmage had just kicked into tag rather than tackle. Powell, a junior college transfer, arrived in Iowa City just before camp started.
"We'll see," Ferentz said. "He's learning quickly, but we hope he can help us."
Daniels, a 6-0, 215-pounder from Warren, Ohio, looks to be in the mix at running back."Based on what we've seen, he's done a really nice job," Ferentz said. "He's had some opportunity because a couple of guys were out, so he moved up the charts and he seems to handle it really well. He doesn't look overwhelmed by things. I could see him in there."