Iowa quarterbacks Jake Rudock (15) and C.J. Beathard (16) last August.

John Schultz, Quad-City Times

IOWA CITY - Iowa quarterbacks are showing the type of growth that coaches hoped to see during spring drills.

Coach Kirk Ferentz said during a Big Ten teleconference today that returning starter Jake Rudock and backup C.J. Beathard are both making solid progress after the first six of the Hawkeyes' 15 spring practices.

"Our expectations for both are to continue to compete and get better," Ferentz said.

Rudock is fully healthy, recovered from the knee sprains which forced him off the field twice late in the regular season last fall.

"He has looked good, they all have," Ferentz said, including redshirt freshman Nic Shimonek in his reference although indicating that he "is on a different tier" than the two quarterbacks with game experience.

"We expect all of them to be smarter, better and both of the guys who are back are performing better than they were last spring and in December," Ferentz said.

Iowa assistants Chris White and Bobby Kennedy also see growth.

White believes the depth of competition he oversees at running back and on special teams is leading to a higher level of performance.

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Kennedy senses the same among Hawkeye receivers.

"We tell our guys every day that competition is a good thing," Kennedy said.

The Hawkeyes are working toward their first public appearance of the spring, a 1 p.m. practice Saturday at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines.

"We've got a ways to go, but I'm pleased with how the guys have progressed and it will be interesting to see what kind of stories develop over the next couple of weeks," Ferentz said.