A few seconds of talking with Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock and it’s easy to see why he has all the poise of Tiger Woods putting for birdie on the 18th hole to win the Masters.
Rudock, three games into what could be an historic career with the Hawkeyes, is smoother than any 20-year-old has a right to be. Calm needs a Quaalude to reach Rudock’s level. Deliberate could be pulled over for speeding next to him. And nerves? If there are any buried inside the sophomore redshirt from Weston, Fla., they need an oxygen tank to reach the surface.
“I feel like everybody in the beginning of the season, we were all a little bit timid,” Rudock said. “You start settling down a little better and start understanding that you’re good and relaxed, and you just start playing football.”
Much like Woods who rarely flinches between the ropes, Rudock is all business inside the sidelines. His stats aren’t gaudy, partly because the offense lacks playmakers and runs the ball a lot. But he plays and acts with a calculated efficiency, much like a Robo QB. And he does three things all winning quarterbacks do: completes more than 60 percent of his passes, finds a way to score in the red zone (four rushing, three passing TDs) and makes the players around him better.
Even on defense.
“I try to talk to everybody, tell them, ‘Hey, we need to keep going,’ said Rudock, who can often be seen patrolling the bench area cheering on teammates. “I’m pretty quiet for the most part, but when I’m with those guys I’m like, ‘Hey, we got to keep going. You can’t take anything for granted. We got to keep working and get back into the endzone.”
Even after the big victory over Iowa State, Rudock allowed himself little time to celebrate. To him, the game was a challenge, a task assigned to him by coach Kirk Ferentz. And the 60 minutes of game action was merely another test that the pre-med major had to complete en route to earning his football degree.
It’s safe to say he passed with flying colors.
“It was fun,” he said of the Hawks’ first victory over the Cyclones in the past three years. “That feeling of being in someone else’s locker room and saying, ‘Hey, we came here on a business trip and we got the work done and we did it correctly.”
And if Rudock can maintain his cool throughout the rest of his career, it’s a good bet the Hawkeyes will be back in the business of winning football games.