QB Quandary for '13

Kirk Ferentz and James Vandenberg expect stiff competition for the No. 1 QB spot in 2013. What should we expect from that position next fall? We discuss in a story/video feature.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - Kirk Ferentz announced at Tuesday's press conference that he would answer questions about the future of the program at a media gathering next week.

Ferentz wanted Tuesday's focus to be on Nebraska and he was hoping the media would play along. For the most part, it did.

The coach did lend some insight into the future of his quarterback position. He expected a wide-open race between current back-up Jake Rudock, JC transfer Cody Sokol and red-shirting freshman C.J. Beathard in the spring and likely into August.

"There is no entitlement in sports," Ferentz said. "There should be no cast system or royalty or that stuff. Everybody's got to earn their keep every day. That's just how it works.

"It's one of the few arenas that to me competition is truly fair. Nothing's perfect, but at least everybody on our team has an opportunity to start. So it's whether you're a senior, freshman, by next September or August, whenever we open up, hopefully we'll have the guy that we feel gives us our best chance to win playing there."

That answer came from a question that asked if it was Rudock's job to lose. It was a message and probably had been shared with his current No. 2.

From the ridiculously crazy statistic department, Iowa Senior James Vandenberg is the only starting quarterback in FBS to take all of his team's snaps. He agreed with his coach that the competition would be stiff for next year's No. 1 job.

"They can all play," Vandenberg said. "Obviously, Jake has the most experience and that certainly shows at times. But C.J. and Cody definitely aren't slouches."

Ferentz predicted a wide-open quarterback competition in 2004 after Nathan Chandler graduated. He tried to convince us that Matt Bonet was going to beat out Drew Tate.

Tate seemed annoyed by questions that spring about the competition. He, Ferentz and his teammates knew he was the choice even if Bonet didn't realize it at the time.

I don't think that's the case heading into 2013. Rudock must be miles away from being able to step under center at this level. Why else would Ferentz not have played him this season?

"There's probably a time that you could make an argument (for playing Rudock)," Ferentz said. "It was brought up after the Penn State game. It was a decision I made during the game, and we kept all of our starters in at that point. Felt like that was the best thing for our football team.

"Otherwise we've been trying to score, trying to make points, what have you. James is our starting quarterback right now. I just felt like that was the best thing to do."

The Hawkeyes trailed Michigan, 42-10, heading into the fourth quarter on Saturday. They weren't going to win that game if you watched the first three quarters.

Maybe Ferentz didn't want to play Rudock on the road in the Big House for fear of damaging his confidence in a disappointing season . He played Vandenberg as a freshman in Columbus due to an injury to Ricky Stanzi.

Rudock has been through two seasons at this point, however. And if Ferentz isn't confident in letting the kid take a snap, Iowa fans better hope someone in that trio makes tremendous strides in the next nine months.

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