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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hawkeye Football Media Day

IOWA CITY – The horde of reporters at media day that surrounded Iowa’s new starting quarterback, Jake Rudock, wasted little time in grilling the redshirted sophomore about his new job and the upcoming season, seemingly asking him to explain everything except Einstein’s theory of relativity.
He probably could have answered that, too.
The Hawkeyes officially kicked off their season Tuesday at the Hayden Fry Football Complex and, as expected, Rudock was the star of the show. But what probably wasn’t expected was the cerebral and businesslike approach that the 20-year-old Rudock displayed and that other players and coaches talked about almost to a man.
“I asked him last night what (classes) he was taking,” coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I didn’t take many of those courses, I can tell you that. Probably none of those courses, to be specific. He’s on a different planet. That’s a good thing. He communicates well, he’s not an egghead. . . He’s a smart guy but he’s also a guy who prepares. He’s very, very serious about what’s in front of him and he does the same thing academically.”
When not dissecting the Hawkeyes’ defense in practice, Rudock is a pre-med major whose course schedule includes organic chemistry, physics, anthropology and library research. He said his scientific approach to taking his first college snap in the season-opener against Northern Illinois on Saturday will mirror the way he tackles Einstein, Newton, Curie and Nobel.
“My high school coach always said I was very businesslike,” said Rudock, a son of a lawyer and a three-year member of the National Honor Society while at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.  “I’m smiling with all you guys right here, but in a game I’m not really smiling. I kind of stay to myself, but I go around the team and talk to the team and really focus on that and not pay attention to much else.”
Rudock has waited two years for his chance but it didn’t come easy. He was locked in a battle with two other young quarterbacks with no college experience, C.J. Beathard and Cody Sokol. The competition was so close that Rudock only found out a few days ago that he would be the starter Saturday.
“It’s hard to say it surprised me because I’ve been trying to prepare as if I had to be ready to go,” Rudock said. “I wouldn’t say as much as surprised as it was a great feeling, a happy feeling.”
Rudock will take the reins from former Hawk quarterback James Vandenberg, who took every snap last season. Vandenberg threw just seven touchdown passes in 2012, and Rudock knows that a repeat performance this year won’t sit well with Hawkeye Nation.
“I came to Iowa to play football,” Rudock said. “I’ve been working since high school to say, ‘Hey, hopefully I’ll get a shot somewhere in college.’ Then you get the shot but you still have to keep working and keep going. Hopefully it’s just the beginning.”
It may be just the beginning, but Iowa fans are hoping the great Rudock experiment will someday be worthy of a textbook or two of its own.

By Brian Campbell
Hawkeyesportsnews.com Senior Writer

** Photo courtesy of (Brian Ray/The Gazette-KCRG) **