IOWA CITY — Fried, scrambled, poached, over-easy or sunny side-up, Jake Rudock knows a little bit about cooking eggs.
Most of all, the University of Iowa’s starting quarterback knows not to put them all in one proverbial basket.
The Hawkeyes’ junior triggerman, who likes to whip up a Sunday morning feast for his roommates, looks at the football field much the same way he looks at the kitchen. There are no limits to what can be created to satisfy a hearty appetite. It’s all about planning, decisions, consistency and execution -- one egg at a time.
“Everybody’s gonna go up and down,” Rudock said recently during Iowa’s annual media day. “You lose a game and everybody’s crying wolf. Then you start winning and it’s, ‘Oh, we’re gonna win every game.’ The thing is, we just want to go out there and focus on that first game.
“Every team in the country wants to win every game they play any time you go ou ton the field. For me personally, it’s all about UNI right now (the Hawkeyes’ Aug. 30 season-opener). That’s the first team we play, and it’s our first opportunity to get a win.
“Each game is its own little monster. Regardless who we play, it’s going to be tough. When you play this game, you realize nothing comes easy.”
With a year under his belt and 13 games as Iowa’s starter, Rudock does have a comfort level he didn’t enjoy leading into his first season on the top line of the depth chart a year ago.
“Just experience,” explained the 6-foot-3, 208-pounder from Weston, Fla., who completed 204 of 346 passes for 2,383 yards and 18 touchdowns with 13 interceptions a year ago. “Game planning is a little different when you know you’re the guy versus trying to be the guy or the second string guy. There’s that experience knowing that every Saturday’s a little bit different and camp’s different than the season. You just know what the difference is.”
Rudock also knows what he has to work with this season. Up front, Brandon Scherff and Austin Blythe lead a highly regarded offensive line.
“I sleep a little better at night,” the microbiology/pre-medicine major joked. “We’ve got four guys with proven experience as starters. That’s huge for us.”
Meanwhile, the backfield is versatile and experienced, and there is size and speed in the receiving corps. Ideally, that will mean a balanced Hawkeye offensive attack capable of striking quickly or grinding out long drives.
There’s also talk of a package of plays for backup C.J. Beathard, a sophomore who was 9 of 27 passing for 179 yards and a TD with two interceptions in five games last season. Beathard also ran 13 times for 49 yards and a pair of scores.
“C.J. is a little bit different and offers a couple of different things to his repertoire than maybe Jake does, so that’s something we’ll evaluate over the next three weeks,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “If we can get a competitive edge, then we’re going to try to utilize that. If not, we won’t.”
Rudock is always willing to expand the menu.
“Whatever we have to do to get the win, we’re going to try to do that,” he noted. “There’s a bunch of plays that nobody sees that every offense has. Maybe we’ll bring out more as the season goes on. If that’s what we end up doing, that’s really up to Coach, but if it gets the ‘W’ I’m all for it.”
Whether he’s in the middle of the omelet or on the other side, Beathard will be prepared.
“You’re only a play away,” he said. “You don’t know when it’s ever gonna happen. You just have to continue to prepare like that.
“Having gotten to play in a few games (last season), I feel a lot more confident with not only knowing what it feels like to play in big games like that, but just more comfortable with the teammates. I’m gonna approach camp as if I have a spot to earn because I didn’t come here to settle to play backup quarterback.”
©2014 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)
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