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IOWA CITY — The number of quarterback questions Kirk Ferentz fielded last week could've stretched from the Pentacrest to Neptune. OK, impossible to measure that, yes, but it sure did feel like it.
This week, 27 questions were asked before the Iowa head coach took one about how quarterback might work out for the Hawkeyes (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) when they travel to Maryland (4-2, 1-1) this weekend.
Here are some of the topics that came before quarterback:
— Maryland punt returner/defensive back William Likely
— Maryland dual-threat QB C.J. Brown
— Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs
— Did Iowa try to recruit Diggs
— Maryland's other QB Caleb Rowe
— The health and status of guard Jordan Walsh (questionable with an ankle injury)
— The health and status of wide receiver Derrick Willies (questionable with a muscle strain)
— How Laissez-Faire economics led to inequality and recession
OK, that last one did not make it into Tuesday's news conference. But Ferentz was finally asked what the plan might be for Iowa QB this week.
'It's just kind of a quiet day today,' Ferentz said with a laugh. 'We're even talking about Maryland, the team we're playing, yeah.'
Of course, a major reason for all quiet on the quarterback front was the performance of junior Jake Rudock.
After sitting out a week with hip and midsection injuries, Rudock had his most efficient day of the season, completing 19 of 27 for 210 yards and two TDs in Iowa's 45-28 victory over Indiana. After leading Iowa to victories in back-to-back road games, sophomore C.J. Beathard completed 2 of 5 for 9 yards and rushed four times for 28.
Rudock started and started hot. In the first quarter, he completed 9 of 11 for 128 yards and two TDs, including a 72-yard score to wide receiver Damond Powell. That first quarter was, by the way, a pass efficiency of 239.56. And that might reach from Iowa City to Neptune.
And, yes, Beathard, who wasn't available for interviews Tuesday because of a scheduling conflict, according to Iowa sports information, has eyes and knew that was pretty good and so totally understood how playing time was divvied up last week, with the heavy lean to Rudock.
'The offense started off really fast. You can't complain about it, you're doing great,' Beathard said. 'Why go in now? I got my opportunity later on and I tried to get the most of out it. We're winning games, that's all that really matters.'
Rudock and Beathard have a positive relationship. As you can imagine, the QBs are a small group — three on scholarship right now — so it's more of a collective than a prowling ninja thing. The objective is clear, win football games for Iowa.
'We both want this team to succeed,' Rudock said. 'That's as simple as it has to be. I understand he's a good quarterback. That's good, that's good for our team. But I think the desire we have, we both want to win and that's pivotal.'
Rudock took in the fruits of his labor against the Hoosiers. He made it down a few times for end zone celebrations. And that was a chore in and of itself, with the 72-yarder and, on Iowa's next offensive play, a 60-yard TD rush from freshman running back Jonathan Parker.
'I get there,' Rudock said with a laugh. 'I'm a little slower than DP [Damond Powell], but I eventually get there. He's a little quicker than me, I'll admit that. I have no problem admitting that.'
Last week, Rudock did Tuesday interviews with a certain amount of intensity, as you can imagine. He was much more relaxed this week.
'More relaxed? I don't know,' he said. 'Maybe. It's another week, another stressful week preparing for a good team. We want this win. In that regard, it's a tough week.'
Rudock is a Type A personality and he responded to the hint of a QB competition the way you'd expect a Type A pre-med major and QB who saw his streak of 17 consecutive starts go by the wayside because of injury to respond.
Quarterbacks are asked to control so much, and so much of that is obvious. They are trusted to move the offense and score points. The emotional control is less obvious. As you might imagine with a Type A personality, Rudock likes to stay in control.
'I think a lot of quarterbacks like to have a certain amount of control,' said Rudock, whose completion percentage of 67.5 leads the Big Ten and is tracking to a Ferentz-era high. 'I think that's a trait that's there. With that, you have to understand there are a lot of things out of your control. You have to hope those go the best way. That's kind of life. You want to control certain things. You want things to go a certain way, but you have to understand it's not always going to go that way.'
Rudock seems to have control of things this week. Ferentz didn't indicate anything crazy was coming on the QB front.
'We [the staff] haven't talked much about it, yesterday or today,' Ferentz said. 'I don't know. We'll probably play C.J. in there somewhere, but we just feel pretty good about things at that position.'
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