Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Former Iowa QB Jake Rudock to Michigan

I'm writing about this only because it involves two B1G teams, one for which Rudock played, and another for which he is transferring to.

(Charlie Litchfield/The Register)
This is what I had to say about the Iowa QB situation early last season

QB Situation I really don't think Rudock got any help from his receivers. His INT was just about a perfect throw, he also had a TE drop one that hit him in the gut. I thought, for the most part, his accuracy was good, arm strength was good enough. Where he struggled, IMO, was his eyes and getting to the right spot in his progressions on time. Missed a open bench route that should have been his first or second read in his progression (based on defensive key) that lead to Iowa's first punt, for instance.

Beathard might have a little bit better arm strength, though his ball wobbles a bit more. But where he separated himself to me was that he tended to see the field better. Not always on time, but he got the ball where it needed to be eventually. With such a run heavy offense, a lot of the routes will be slower developing, so at least getting it where it needs to be is a good thing, or at least a significant enough improvement.

At the end of the day, I'd have to see the two of them more regularly to make up my mind on who I'd prefer though, this is a small sample size without much separation.
My feelings don't really change on him. He's a guy that is above average in a lot of ways but stands out in few. He struggles getting off of primary reads on time and is at times late getting the ball out of his hands. What this leads to is that by the time he makes his initial read, his primary is now covered and the defense has been able to collapse on the underneath routes, leaving less potential for run after catch (this is scene in his low YPA, despite his nice completion percentage). One of the things I was most impressed with Harbaugh's QBs throughout his time in college though, was that all of them learned to get rid of the ball on time and very quickly. The style of offense changes for Rudock to much more of a quick read O (most of the progressions go from short to deep in Harbaugh's offense) from the longer developing routes Iowa often runs, so that may help Rudock a bit more in that area.

Beathard, on the other hand, simply has better arm skills. He needs to improve his consistency as far as his feet and release, which in turn will help his accuracy, but his stronger arm allows him to stretch the defense deep, keep bodies out of the box for the Iowa run game, and allows him to fit the ball in even tighter windows when his reads are a bit late. He was a young guy, but his ceiling is probably higher at this point, and the threat of his arm likely helps the run game more than Rudock did (FWIW, Iowa tends to hit the flats through their stretch zone scheme and pin and pull, their passing attack counters this with deep to short progressions and lots of crossing routes).

At the end of the day, I think, for whatever reason, Rudock also didn't inspire enthusiasm in his teammates. Take that however you will, but the Iowa offense (WRs and the run game) seemed to try harder and perform better with Beathard, despite Beathard not really looking significantly better. I think Beathard's upside is higher, which is why he eventually took over. While it'd be nice for Iowa's depth to have a SR playing backup QB, if that SR doesn't want to be there and is a guy that previously led the team, the best thing to do, in my opinion, was to let Rudock transfer to put the team fully in Beathard's hands.

In this scenario, I think this situation worked out well for both teams and both players involved.

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