Competition brings out everybody's best according to University of Iowa sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock. That's a good thing, because it's a three-person race vying to be the Hawkeyes' starting quarterback.
"Competition is a great thing," said Rudock, a native of Weston, Fla. "It always brings out the best in everybody. Having that opportunity to earn the spot is rewarding because everyone wants to play."
Rudock, redshirt junior Cody Sokol and redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard are all trying to earn the starting role left when two-year starter James Vandenberg graduated.
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz says the quarterback competition is as open as ever, and it is a race that will go on through the spring and fall camp.
"We're going in really with a truly open mind," said Ferentz. "I don't think anybody has a clear advantage or edge. They'll all work with the ones, twos and threes, and have equal opportunities. Whenever the picture becomes clearer that is when we'll move on it. A lot of times it goes a long ways."
Rudock is tackling the challenge with a clear mindset.
"I am trying to approach it the same way and keep an even keel, which is very important for the quarterback," he said. "I don't want to make more of it than it really is, it's just football."
Rudock calls the early race results close, and as a result, said the repetitions are being distributed evenly in practice.
"It's pretty even, since we've all had (offensive coordinator Greg) Davis for one spring, minus C.J.," said Rudock. "This is the first spring where it's more of the groove, rather than install."
During 2012 spring practice, the Hawkeyes were installing a new offense under Davis. This year, the quarterbacks are more comfortable, which allows them to step back and focus on improving.
"We understand the offense a lot more," said Rudock. "We're able to take things slower this spring versus last spring, where we had to install, install, install. We're taking a step back and understanding."
Rudock says being second on the depth chart during the 2012 season helped his growth, and could give him a slight edge in the race.
"You get to experience a little more," he said. "You talk more with James (Vandenberg) because you're one play from getting thrown in there. You approach it differently."
Rudock agrees with one of Ferentz's primary mottos: Every player has to earn a starting position every season.
"For everybody, it's important, whatever position you're trying to earn," he said. "That shows something to the other guys that you've worked hard over the offseason, during the season, and in film study."
Being a sophomore, Rudock doesn't feel any pressure or urgency to win the starting job.
"I don't feel any more pressure than you normally feel," he said. "You come here expecting they're going to bring in a guy behind you and a guy in behind that. You always know there is someone right on your heels to get after you.
"Bottom line is, we all came here to play football, and everyone wants to play."
The Iowa baseball team won the series finale over Nebraska, 6-5, Sunday at Duane Banks Field.
The UI softball team was edged, 3-2, by No. 19 Nebraska in the rubber match of the weekend series.