After his three-interception performance during U-M’s 24-17 loss to Utah last Thursday, it was far from consistent. It also wasn’t exactly the best debut for the signal caller.
However, Monday is the start of the new week and U-M is preparing to play Oregon State. Leading the offense out on the field will continue to be Rudock, as he is listed as the clear starter on the depth chart.
U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh also propped up his quarterback publicly on Monday as well.
“(Rudock) did a lot of really good things,” Harbaugh told reporters on Monday. “He was involved in really punitive plays. Where he had fingerprints on it along with another player but that’s the way that goes, welcome to football. For his performance, look at it not even being a first game or a first time playing with this team, I thought he was accurate and that’s what he showed in camp, consistently accurate. Consistently accurate in camp means consistently accurate in the games like any position.
“I think he managed the game very well, no fumbled snaps, there’s no going the wrong way to make a handoff. He kept the ball off the ground in passing and running situations from the quarterback standpoint. He showed a lot of courage in the pocket.”
The ringing endorsement for Rudock from Harbaugh shows that he is no way prepared to abandon ship and try his luck with another quarterback on the roster. Rudock earned his place through camp and will get another shot on Saturday to prove that last Thursday was an anomaly.
Although he did give Rudock an endorsement, Harbaugh did not shy away from due criticism about his quarterback, either. Saying that despite a poor, not crisp, route by his receiver does not change the fact that Rudock had to attempt the pass in the first place, alluding to poor decision making.
What made Rudock stand out to Harbaugh? The whole purpose of bringing him in as a graduate transfer was to add experience to a position that had very little. Though it wasn’t immediate, Harbaugh noticed Rudock began to separate himself as a competitor and his consistency put him over the top.
“Day in and day out he was consistently playing at the highest level,” Harbaugh said. “We charted, tracked, we used all the indicators possible that you can track. You can just watch him, he was consistently doing the best. It was honest and fair that way. I wouldn’t say it was like that way since day one, there was some getting acclimated with the group, a couple struggles in the first four or five days. I felt after that, he really got into a grove and proved he was the best player in the camp.”