ASSUME THE POSITION 2014: QUARTERBACK

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It's Jake Rudock's world. We're all just living in it and hoping his receivers get a lot better.

Assume the Position is our offseason guide to the Iowa Hawkeyes football depth chart. The math is difficult, so take it from us: As time moves on, we'll know more. That's why we rank the positions from most certain to least certain.

Today: Quarterback

Eligibility Remaining
No. Player Year Ht/Wt. Position 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
15 Jake Rudock JR(RS) 6-3/210 Quarterback
16 C.J. Beathard SO(RS) 6-2/205 Quarterback
9 Nic Shimonek FR(RS) 6-4/210 Quarterback
13 Justin Joyce FR(RS) 6-0/175 Quarterback
?? Tyler Wiegers FR 6-3/195 Quarterback

Typically, we wait until after the spring game to fire up Assume the Position, but there is so little in question in this year's quarterback depth chart that we're starting early, without even the benefit of a true spring game. Needless to say, any talk of a quarterback controversy looks like wishful thinking from those who want drama.

The Game Manager

Jake Rudock (#15, Junior (RS), 6'3, 210 lbs., St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Weston, Fla.))

On September 28, Jake Rudock went 15/25 for 218 yards and a touchdown against Minnesota. Iowa won 23-7. On November 9, Rudock completed 12/20 for 191 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-14 win over Purdue. On November 29, he went 9/15 for 126 yards and two scores against Nebraska. In all three games, Rudock completed exactly 60 percent of his pass attempts, and Iowa won all of them.

In fact, if you're looking for a quick-and-dirty stat for Iowa's 2013 season, it's this: Iowa was 8-0 in games where Jake Rudock completed 60 percent of his passes or better and 0-5 in games where he completed less than 60 percent. That completion percentage didn't have much of an effect on the success of the passing offense, mind you: Rudock's three highest yardage outputs (Northern Illinois, Michigan State, and Ohio State) all came in games where he didn't crack 60 percent, while Rudock's highest completion percentage (70.4 percent against Northwestern) came in a game where Iowa managed just 10 points in regulation and 169 total passing yards. There is a post hoc issue with fixating on completion percentage: Rudock's highest completion percentages came in games where Iowa's running game was largely successful, limiting his role in the offense and overall output. In 2013, Iowa won when Iowa ran, and Rudock completed a higher percentage of passes when Iowa ran. But Rudock completing more passes did not necessarily cause an Iowa win. The completion percentage correlation with winning is strong, but largely the result of its correlation with running yardage and defense.

What can be said, then, for Rudock's first season as a starter? His numbers were middling -- 59.0 percent completions for 2,383 yards, 18/13 TD/Int, 146 rushing yards on 67 carries -- and his game-by-game stats exclusively fell in the same category. Rudock didn't throw for 300 yards once in his first 13 games as a starter; he never threw for less than 100, either, which seems like a fairly low standard until you remember that Vandenberg managed just 92 yards on 24 attempts in his final game at Iowa. Rudock completed 19 fewer passes than Vandenberg had the previous season (on 43 fewer attempts), and managed just 134 more passing yards. If it weren't for the marked increase in touchdowns, Rudock would have essentially matched the worst season by an Iowa quarterback in nearly a decade.

That makes it basically the same season as every other Iowa first-year starter of the last decade.

Iowa Quarterbacks' First Season as Starter, 2003-2013
Year Player Comp.% Yards TDs INTs Record
2003 Nathan Chandler 53.9% 2,040 18 10 10-3
2004 Drew Tate 62.1% 2,786 20 14 10-2
2007 Jake Christensen 53.5% 2,269 17 6 6-6
2008 Ricky Stanzi 59.1% 1,956 14 9 9-4
2011 James Vandenberg 58.7% 3,022 25 7 7-6
2013 Jake Rudock 59.0% 2,383 18 13 8-5

The second-year results from those quarterbacks are all over the board, only proving that judging a first-year starter during the Kirk Ferentz era is a dangerous proposition. In fact, the player who was closest to Rudock's position -- had to win a battle to take the starting job in a run-heavy offense, then threw too many interceptions while trying to find a capable set of receivers from a grab-bag of youngsters -- was Ricky Stanzi. Ricky was a pretty solid quarterback by his second season. We'll see if Rudock follows suit.

While You Wait for the Others

C.J. Beathard (#16, Sophomore (RS), 6'2, 205 lbs., Battle Ground Academy (Franklin, Tenn.))

This is why a Playstation offense doesn't work in real life. Beathard completed just 9 of 27 pass attempts for 179 yards over five games of work. That's 20 yards per completion...and 6.7 yards per attempt. When pressed, Beathard often relied on the power of his arm and the speed of his receivers, chucking it deep and hoping for the best. Those attempts usually fell incomplete which, to be fair, was probably the best.

Beathard's 4/15 performance against Wisconsin following Rudock's knee injury was the emergency brake for an Iowa offense that was already barely moving. And while Beathard improved, running for touchdowns against Purdue and Nebraska and posting a respectable 4/7 line in relief duty against LSU in the Outback Bowl, the overall performance showed that the youngster has a lot of work to do. The LSU game raised the specter of a quarterback controversy, but all indications are that it exists only in the collective mind of the fanbase.

Nic Shimonek (#9, Freshman (RS), 6'4, 210 lbs., Mildred HS (Corsicana, Tex.))

Greg Davis, freshly minted as Iowa's offensive coordinator in early 2012, went to Texas looking for a quarterback. He came back with Shimonek, a giant-sized but relatively unrecruited project from 40 miles south of Dallas. If he never advances beyond an intriguing project, it wouldn't be surprising; he has the highly-regarded Wiegers behind him and at least one top-rated quarterback recruit in the Class of 2015. But Shimonek has height, he has a cannon for an arm, and he has the wonderful effects of low expectations.

Tyler Wiegers (#??, Freshman, 6'3, 195 lbs., Detroit Country Day (Franklin, Mich.))

Iowa wasn't looking to add a quarterback to the Class of 2014, and had already moved into the hunt for a signalcaller in 2015, when Wiegers fell into the Hawkeyes' proverbial laps. The borderline four-star prospect decommitted from Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights' class imploded in November and has told anyone who will listen that Iowa's system fits him perfectly. The depth chart is full, though, and Wiegers is just 195 pounds, so it's almost certainly a redshirt and two years as an understudy before joining the Beathard-Shimonek-Wiegers-Beneventi-Boyle Mexican standoff in 2016.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Black Heart Gold Pants

You must be a member of Black Heart Gold Pants to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Black Heart Gold Pants. You should read them.

Join Black Heart Gold Pants

You must be a member of Black Heart Gold Pants to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Black Heart Gold Pants. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker