Kevin Wilson reiterated on Monday night that he’s happy with both of his quarterbacks, but reiterated that he views them both as starters and who actually starts against Michigan State on Saturday will be determined by practice this week.
“They’re both good,” Wilson said. “I’m glad we got both of them. I don’t plan to have a revolving door, we’ll just see how the week goes and go from there.”
Wilson said that despite Cameron Coffman’s struggles, he felt both played well in Saturday’s game and that film study found more positives in Coffman’s game than the Hoosiers originally realized and a few more miscues in Sudfeld’s.
“They both played reasonably well,” Wilson said. “Cam had the one pick and actually just went the wrong side on the ball. One of the few balls we’d thrown that it was ‘hey, why’d you go there?’ Ball should’ve been going to the other side of the field. It just kinda got bluffed with coverage and had one interception. Outside of that, we didn’t force the ball, but our whole offense, the bulk of when (Coffman) played was just ho-humming. I don’t know if anything picked up until the one drive we got going, Stephen Houston made a physical play, ran through a DB, scored a touchdown and it kind of ignited us. From there, the team kinda took off. After that we went with Cam. I told them both, we didn’t even talk about it as a staff. I talked to them Wednesday night last week, and said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna start (Coffman) he’s been here longer. Like him, but I think you’re both good. We’ll see how it goes. Don’t plan to play two. Don’t plan to play one. I plan to win. I think we’re gonna win with both of you. I want you to be a better quarterback after this meeting. Better quarterback tomorrow. Better quarterback after Saturday’s game, whether you throw a lot of passes or throw none, I want to get better every day. That’s where these guys are this week. They both played today. They’re both getting equal reps. As we go through it, we’ll see how it plays. They’re both similar. Nate made a few plays, but when the game was on the line, Nate had a chance and didn’t make some plays.”
Wilson said he can tell that whoever wins the job will have the team behind him.
“I have confidence in both of them,” Wilson said. “And I believe if you talk to our receivers, our receivers have confidence in both of them. And I think our team has confidence in both of them. And that’s a credit to those kids.”
— As bad as some of the numbers looked, particularly the 704 yards of offense the defense allowed, Wilson said he still saw a number of things he liked. One thing in particular was the play of the IU wide receivers, especially Cody Latimer and Kofi Hughes, both of whom made highlight reel grabs on Saturday.
“They made some acrobatic catches,” Wilson said. “It’s nice to make those big plays because they’re capable. They’re big, strong, athletic kids. At the same time, we’ve gotta be a little bit more efficient and make the more high percentage throw and run the route proper and not have to jump over top of guys. Some of those catches, I think one was an ESPN play, they were both awesome. That’s what they’re capable of, but you’re not gonna win games with jump balls. It’s nice a guy can go out jump a guy and get a ball, and we did a little bit of that, but it’s timing and spacing, it’s all those receivers. It’s getting Duwyce, who didn’t have a big game or Shane Wynn, get those guys in the flow of things. Nick Stoner, Ted Bolser, we’ve got a nice complement of guys there.”
Wilson couldn’t deny that the defense generally wasn’t good, because it gave up 44 points and 704 yards and was gashed by the zone read option over and over and over again. But he said he saw some fight and that he believes the defense is better than statistics indicate.
“We can point out some things,” Wilson said. “But again, they’re creating some thing in the second half with turnovers. They’re fighting their tails off. You watch the tape and you don’t see guys not giving you effort. We gotta get off the block. We gotta make a tackle, we gotta scheme it better, we gotta put ’em in better positions, we gotta make some plays. But you look at the kids and say,’I like your effort.’ We’re not giving up the ghost. There’s a lot of fight in these kids. There’s some things to build with as we move forward.”
— Wilson on Michigan State: “I know they’re disappointed with where they’re at because they have a high standard, high expectations coming back last year having won their division with expectations and a team that can do so again. Stout on defense. Starting up front, excellent linebackers, blitz pressure, very aggressive in the secondary. Quality defense, as good as we’ll see all year. No disrespect to anyone else. Offensively, gonna pound the ball with a running back. The (La’Veon) Bell kid. Going to get 30, he’s had games where he’s been pushing 50 carries. A quarterback that they’re settling down. They’re struggling a little with the passing game, but they’re trying to make a commitment, because with the run game, the play action’s always there. Great big tight end. Coach Dantonio always does a great job kicking. We’ll need to play good in all three phases. A little bit different animal if we play defense properly. Not as much quarterback run game, some things that gave us problems last week, but a very very stout test offensively. You’re going to work to get your points.”
— Rudy Ruettiger, the famous former Notre Dame walk-on immortalized in the movie “Rudy” was in Bloomington on Monday and addressed the team in the afternoon. He was with Angelo Pizzo, the Bloomington resident and screenwriter who penned both “Hoosiers” and “Rudy.” After speaking with the team and taking pictures with several players — most of which ended up on Twitter — he attended the radio show and spoke briefly at the end.
“Underdog,” Ruettiger said when asked about his message to the players. “No. 1. Don’t go back to where you were. Fight for where you’re at. Stay there. They liked that.”
Ruettiger said he watched Saturday’s game with Pizzo.
“We saw some very positive things happening with Indiana football,” Ruettiger said. “… A good thing’s happening here. … This is gonna happen, guys. This is not a I-hope-it-happens. This is happening, and it will happen because of this attitude they’re bringing here.”