How will dual QBs work vs. Indiana? 'We're not sure'

Andrew Logue

Rudock and  C.J. Beathard on Iowa's media day.

IOWA CITY, Ia. – When it came to discussing Iowa's quarterback quandary, coach Kirk Ferentz was sort of edgy.

Jake Rudock and C.J. Beathard, however, were their usual easy-going selves.

"We'll both be supportive of each other," Beathard said. "If I get to go in, then I'll be excited."

Ferentz said during his Tuesday press conference both Rudock and Beathard will play in Saturday's 11 a.m. game against Indiana.

He just wasn't clear about how and when they would be used.

"We'll find out, I guess," Ferentz said. "We're not even sure what the plan is, right now.

"Bottom line is, we have two guys we feel really good about."

Then, as if he could sense Hawkeye Nation rolling its eyes, Ferentz added, "I sound like a broken record on this one. I apologize."

Ferentz is in a tough spot.

The line separating Rudock and Beathard is blurred. Rudock, a starter all last season and through the first four games this fall, is reliable. Beathard, the catalyst in a comeback win at Pittsburgh, offers a flashier skill set.

Planting either on the bench could be counterproductive. Then again, using dual quarterbacks can be dicey.

"I'm guessing it's because most teams don't have two quarterbacks," Ferentz said. "Most teams I've been around haven't had them, at least at a given time.

"So we have a little bit of a unique situation."

This situation can be traced back to the spring of 2013, when Rudock, Beathard and Cody Sokol competed for the job.

Rudock eventually won, and has completed 61.1 percent of his passes (289 of 473) for 3,181 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Beathard became the backup. Sokol transferred to Louisiana Tech.

"Honestly, I think we're kind of used to it," Beathard said. "Ever since the three-quarterback battle last year, we've learned how to embrace it and we're positive for each other."

Beathard can't match Rudock's consistency (he's completing just 46.7 percent of his career passes), but the sophomore from Tennessee has a knack for making the nightly highlights.

His 62-yard pass to Damond Powell against Pittsburgh is Iowa's longest play from scrimmage this season.

"Both guys to me have given good results when they've played," Ferentz said. "If they weren't, we wouldn't put them out in the field."

Rudock is thought to be the best decision maker, although some outsiders consider him too cautious.

"You have to factor that into the equation also if you're going to be fair about things," Ferentz said. "Anybody who's played longer than another guy ... you'd like to think there are certain things they're going to do better."

Beathard is a little more mobile and possesses a stronger arm. He's also a fan favorite.

"We try to look at it from our perspective," Ferentz said, "and what we think it does for our football team moving forward."

This much seems certain: Iowa's offensive approach will not change, regardless of who is under center.

"We have a game plan each week. Me and Jake both have to be able to run that game plan," Beathard said. "There is not specific game plans for each quarterback."

And there's no script Ferentz can follow that will guarantee a happy ending.

"We haven't gone down this road," he said, "but we're about to."