IOWA CITY - Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz isn't quite ready to announce a starting quarterback.
But it sure sounds as if he has already picked sophomore Jake Rudock.
Rudock took nearly all the snaps with the starters Saturday night during an open scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium. Redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard ran most of the plays with the second unit, and junior college transfer Cody Sokol appears to have fallen back to third on the depth chart.
Ferentz will likely announce a starter for the Aug. 31 opener against Northern Illinois by the end of next week - and all indications are that Rudock will get the nod.
"He's doing a good job. No real complaints there, but he's still a young guy," Ferentz said of Rudock. "He's done a good job, and I don't think anyone is displeased with the other two guys either."
The three-man race to become Iowa's starter has been about the quietest quarterback conundrum in recent memory.
After all, how are fans supposed to get riled up when none of them have seen any of the candidates take a snap?
Rudock entered fall camp as the presumed leader, if only because he was listed as the backup to James Vandenberg in 2012. Rudock never saw the field, of course, but this is his third year in Iowa's system - one more than Sokol or Beathard.
The 20-year-old pre-med major is listed at 6-foot-3 and seems to be the traditional pro-style quarterback often preferred by the Hawkeyes.
"He has more experience, and that plays to his advantage," Ferentz said about Rudock. "He's practiced with poise, for the most part ... and he's improving."
Beathard, a redshirt freshman, led all of Tennessee in passing yards, completions and touchdowns as a junior and senior at Battle Ground Academy. But Beathard is also the youngest of the three at just 19.
Sokol starred at Scottsdale Community College in 20011, throwing for 3,807 yards and 43 TDs, before redshirting last season.
But it seems like he's looking up at Rudock and Beathard - who has apparently made big strides since spring ball.
"He's gotten better. He threw some good balls (Saturday) night," Ferentz said of Beathard. "That's the good thing about guys that haven't played. They've got a bigger window to improve. Whoever starts, I mean the next guy is one play away from being ready. So that's how we're kind of looking at it, like we've got to get two guys ready here."
The Hawkeyes aren't just searching for a starting quarterback.
They also need playmakers - and a few relative unknowns flashed potential on Saturday night.
Junior college transfer Damond Powell, who averaged a staggering 30 yards a catch at Snow Community College a year ago, broke free for a number of big gains. He caught one TD pass and had another long touchdown called back, drawing loud cheers from Iowa fans desperate to see improvement out of an offense that averaged just 19.3 points a game in 2012.
True freshman Leshun Daniels Jr. has also apparently worked his way into Iowa's rotation at running back. Daniels already has a Big Ten-ready body at 215 pounds, and he could spell starter Mark Weisman if needed.
The Hawkeyes are also working versatile running back Damon Bullock at wide receiver as well as in the backfield.
"Leshun is a big guy, his biceps are as big as my torso. It's ridiculous," Rudock said. "Powell runs and runs - and all he does is run. It's great. You want to get the guys in there who are ready to play. If they're ready to go, we're going to use them."