IOWA CITY — One quarterback talked about organic chemistry. The other talked about his days as a Fighting Artichoke. And the other talked about his father the country music songwriter and grandfather the former NFL general manager who helped guide seven teams to Super Bowl appearances.
Iowa doesn’t have one quarterback. It has multiple personalities trying to win one job.
As to that, coach Kirk Ferentz didn’t name a starting quarterback during the team’s media day Thursday. The Hawkeyes are only four practices into fall camp. No one on the staff seems to be in a huge hurry to choose between sophomore Jake Rudock, junior Cody Sokol and redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard. Iowa’s open scrimmage on Aug. 17 will have a story to tell. The Hawkeyes open Aug. 31 against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium.
“The truth is, I want them to make that decision,” offensive coordinator Greg Davis said. “I’d would like some separation at some point. If not, then we might have to go into the season and alternate guys and see what happens. In a perfect world, we’d be able to make a decision sometime before game week.”
There are no hot reads or out routes or really anything football-y on media day. It’s a get-to-know, and so here’s your would-be QBs in 2013, Iowa people.
Rudock (6-3, 205) is a microbiology/pre-med major. His class schedule includes “Organic chem II, physics I, contemporary anthropology and international health,” said Rudock, whose goal is to be a doctor, possibly a pediatrician. “Some of those classes will be harder than than others.”
That probably goes without saying.
The common thought with the Iowa QB mystery ’13 is that Rudock is the brains and that combined with him being at Iowa the longest will pull him into a lead. Will it?
“When you know more, it helps a lot,” Rudock said. “You can make reads quicker. You can be more confident with what you’re telling the line if you’re moving the protection somewhere. You can say, ‘I want you to go this way, because here’s what’s happening.’”
Sokol (6-2, 215) came to Iowa from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College, where he played for the Fighting Artichokes.
“I still have some gear and I actually brought it to camp,” said Sokol, who threw for 3,807 yards and 43 touchdowns as a sophomore Artichoke. “It’s just funny. The guys laugh about it. They think it’s hilarious.”
Sokol left Scottsdale CC before the school put a “big, golden artichoke” on its helmet. “They were actually pretty cool,” Sokol said with a laugh. “We didn’t have artichoke colors. We were black and gold.”
Artichokes aside, Sokol said he grew tremendously as a QB at Scottsdale. He suffered a broken foot in the third game of his senior year at Desert Vista High School. That derailed his recruiting and sent him on the juco route. He was at a summer camp prior to his senior year that was run by Scottsdale coaches. They said if it doesn’t work out in FBS for you, give us a call.
“The name was hilarious, but the opportunity was great,” Sokol said. “It was something I really needed. They were there for me. I ended up getting hurt and they were there. Things always happen for a reason, and it was funny how it worked.”
Sokol was asked about the perception that he’s the “gunslinger” of the group.
“OK, I didn’t know that,” he said, but . . . “I would say I do take chances. I just try to make plays more than anything.”
The outside world knows very little about Beathard, at least as far as football goes.
You probably have heard of his dad, Casey. And if you haven’t heard of him, you’ve likely heard the songs he’s written for such country stars as Kenny Chesney, Eric Church and Tim McGraw.
“When those big-name artists were coming up, like Eric Church, he used to come to my house and write with my dad,” said Beathard, whose Tennessee drawl sets him apart from the other two QB candidates. “Even now, he still comes over and writes. We have a barn that my dad uses as an office. They write down there. It’s just weird to say that there’s a country music singer at your house.”
And, oh yeah, his grandfather is Bobby Beathard, who won two Super Bowls as general manager with the Washington Redskins.
“My grandpa has seen it all,” said Beathard, who does, for the record, play guitar. “He’s just told me to go out there and give it my all. Don’t think about things too much. If something bad goes wrong, you’ve just got to shake it off. You can’t let things get you down, you have to move on.”
The QBs were the last players to show Thursday. Almost by design, they walked onto the practice field and performed. That was the last you’ll see of that.
Iowa has a future pediatrician, a former Artichoke and a Nashville guitar player. Eventually, it’s only going to have one quarterback.