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Kirk Ferentz continues to keep the door open to C.J. Beathard being Iowa's starting quarterback in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

Ferentz reiterated on his radio show Wednesday night what he said Dec. 7 during Iowa's bowl-announcement press conference: All positions were open for competition for the Jan. 2 game against Tennessee.

Ferentz seemingly needled those wanting an answer with his response to the Beathard vs. Jake Rudock question with host Gary Dolphin.

"I'll really muddy the waters. He could start," Ferentz told host Gary Dolphin. "Yeah, he could start. Anything's possible.

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Here's what Hawkeye reporter Chad Leistikow and columnist Rick Brown are looking for leading up to Iowa's Jan. 2 TaxSlayer Bowl game against Tennessee. Andrea Melendez

Rudock, a junior, had mixed results in Iowa's underachieving 7-5 season. He went 5-5 in games that he finished healthy. Beathard, a sophomore from Tennessee, came in at halftime of the Pittsburgh game to rally the Hawkeyes to a 24-20 road win, then won his only career start the next week at Purdue, 24-10.

Rudock started Iowa's following game after a bye week, a 45-29 win over Indiana, and kept the job the rest of the way. He committed two key red-zone turnovers in the season-ending 37-34 loss to Nebraska.

After the bowl announcement, Ferentz said on the topic of evaluating starting spots (including at quarterback): "We're looking to get better and that leaves everything open for discussion and most importantly open to competition."

On Wednesday, he added, "Basically what I said is what I said, and that's what I meant. And that's why I said it."

Other notable tidbits from Wednesday's radio show:

--Ferentz expanded on the Derrick Willies situation Wednesday. Willies, the hyped wide receiver who starred in spring ball but left the program in October to be closer to his ailing father, and Ferentz have talked about returning to the team.

Ferentz said Wednesday the issue will be revisited after the TaxSlayer Bowl.

"The ball's pretty much in Derrick's court at this point," Ferentz said. "He's got some things to think about. We'll just kind of go from there and see what he chooses to do."

--Ferentz said running back LeShun Daniels had a chance to see limited action in the bowl game, barring a setback. Daniels missed Iowa's final five games with a foot injury. Ferentz added that fellow running backs Jordan Canzeri and Damon Bullock continue to be slowed by injuries.

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