As far as they appear to be from a destination, Kevin Wilson said he continues to be pleased with the progress of his quarterbacks in the passing game, and he gave the most definitive statement to date that sophomore Tre Roberson will be the starter.
“It’s getting there,” Wilson said Saturday after a closed scrimmage. “… Where the quarterbacks are getting better is the receivers are getting better at getting to their spaces on time, so collectively we’re working as a group. All three guys did well. Nate Sudfeld, who sometimes as a young guy struggles, had a great two-minute drive, took his team for a touchdown, in (1 minute, 55 seconds) got a score at the end of the scrimmage. Nice scramble play, a couple of nice plays just being creative. Tre, for the athlete, is really throwing it better. It’s great to see. He’s embraced the ‘I need to be a good quarterback.’ … Right now all three quarterbacks are better than any three who played last year today. It still ain’t as good as we want, but I like all three of them right now. There’s not a competition, Tre right now is our guy. But those other two guys are on his heels and they’re competing. It’s encouraging.”
Sudfeld, a true freshman, and junior college transfer Cameron Coffman have been competing with Roberson and Coffman — at least in open practices — has seen roughly the same number of reps with the first team as Roberson, but Wilson appears to be leaning toward the incumbent. He made it clear, however, that it’s necessary to prepare all three scholarship quarterbacks for the job.
— Wilson also singled out Tevin Coleman as one of the most impressive performers on offense, saying the true freshman from Illinois had the most impressive scrimmage of any of the tailbacks on Saturday, including incumbent starter Stephen Houston.
— Wilson said he’s looking for more from defensive tackles Larry Black and Adam Replogle. He hasn’t necessarily been disappointed, but he said those two need to be dominant for the defense to improve.
“I’d like to see those inside guys, (Nicholas) Sliger, Replogle and Larry Black stick out and start being upper-level Big Ten players instead of just starters on our team,” Wilson said. “Right now, I’m not mad at them, it would just be nice to see that happen. If we could get solid, stronger upfront play, those young linebackers with the JC guys, where we could play better defense without cheating, then our secondary would be OK.”
— Wilson said Charlie Chapman, the presumed starter at left tackle, has been out for several days with a concussion. “That’s a little bit unfortunate, but Jason Spriggs and Dimitric Camiel have gotten more work,” he said. “Not that it’s good that a guy’s been hurt, because we were counting on Charlie. We need too get him back.”
Otherwise, he said, there haven’t been major issues in terms of injuries. One player was taken to the hospital Friday for precautionary measures after a head injury, but Wilson said that player is fine and will return to practice Monday. He would not release the name of the player.
Wilson also said that offensive lineman Ralston Evans (knee) and Ralphael Green (foot) suffered minor injuries, but he doesn’t expect them to have long-term effects.