Wilson looking for a steady hand at quarterback #iufb

CHICAGO — He doesn’t necessarily care how far his quarterback can throw the ball, and he won’t be easily impressed by deep shots to the end zone.

Kevin Wilson is more interested in finding a quarterback that can manage his offense, execute plays with confidence and take care of the football.

When preseason camp opens in Bloomington a week from today, junior college transfer Richard Lagow and junior Zander Diamont will be among the quarterbacks trying to show the Indiana coach they can be that guy.

Speaking at the Big Ten’s annual media day event on Tuesday, Wilson said he’s not ready to name a replacement for Nate Sudfeld, the program’s career passing leader.

Instead, he’s looking to preside over a battle.

“I just don’t think it’s right to anoint someone until they’ve earned it,” Wilson said. “…. I was at Oklahoma when Adrian Peterson walked in the first day. He was different. But he didn’t start till game four or five … You’ve got to earn it. You’ve got to earn their respect, especially at quarterback.

“It’s not being coy. I’ve got some guys who have been in that program from three years, busting their tail every day and one of them didn’t even practice in the spring.”

That would be Diamont, who will be given a fair shake to earn the job after missing all of spring practice due to an ankle injury. Diamont has appeared in eight games across the past two seasons, including starts in hostile environments at Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. He has swagger and moxie, along with the ability to zip out of the pocket and shimmy downfield.

But consistent command, be it of his throws or the offense at large, has eluded him. Plus, as a lithe quarterback standing merely 6-foot-1, 174 pounds, he could still use the redshirt season that has eluded him during his first two seasons on campus.

Lagow, meanwhile, was brought to Indiana for a reason. Junior college quarterbacks aren’t recruited to sit on the bench, and the 6-6, 240-pound Texan has the size, the arm strength and the throwing motion that reminds some of his predecessor at IU.

But how quickly can he find comfort and command the playbook?

“It’ll be interesting when those two guys start going against each other because they didn’t in the spring,” Wilson said. “I don’t want to drag it out.”

Others are certainly in the mix. Danny Cameron split the first-team reps with Lagow during the spring, and Austin King authored a strong finish at the position after an unassuming start to spring practice.

Wilson also speaks in complimentary terms of incoming freshman Peyton Ramsey, a coach’s son from Cincinnati who walked onto campus this summer with a professional work ethic and composure.

But while Wilson wouldn’t specifically say it, this is likely boiling into an August showdown between Lagow and Diamont.

“Those two guys, from what I’ve seen and gathered, they’re both having great summers,” Wilson said. “I think Zander is at a different place mentally. I think he’s calmer. I think he’s more relaxed about him and not worrying about things that don’t matter. I’ve liked the look in his eye and the way he’s went about his business.

“What I’ve seen from Richard has been good, and I’ve gotten great reports from the coaches and the team that’s been around him. It’d be nice to have a quote-unquote quarterback, but in 2013 we played two quarterbacks when Cam (Coffman) didn’t play.”

In the past, that approach was one of the arrows in Wilson’s quiver. Sudfeld, Coffman and Tre Roberson all played during the 2012 season. Sudfeld and Roberson split starts the following year and Sudfeld’s separated shoulder and Chris Covington’s torn ACL forced Diamont into action for the final six games of 2014.

So, at the very least, Wilson sees the battle at quarterback as part of building a stronger program. Having capable and prepared options at the position is a good thing.

But Wilson would love to see someone earn the job — and do it quickly.

Because this is a potent offense just waiting for a steady hand on the helm.

17 comments

  1. Players want the best QB so it isn’t so much what coach wants. Good coaches have pulse on the team and know which QB has the most confidence of the team and that will be the QB. Unless Zander has grown a lot and has really improved his arm the QB will be Lagow. I know coach wants all the QBs to work hard especially with the experience the last few seasons of needing more than one QB. That may not be the way this season goes so the best QB will start and finish every game.

    Without much question if the QB turns out to be very good this will be an top 20 offense and I would say a top 10 offense this year.

  2. My mind set about IUFB is the most optimistic I’ve ever held pre-Fall camp. That covers a hell of a lot of seasons. New contract for HC, steady committed resources to the program, AD is an avid FB fan, 2 new top notch D coaches, lots of youth with lots of experience, full staff are very good talent evaluators and recruiting proves it and most of all robust competition at every position honing talents into skills for the season. Never before could I have described IUFB this boldly and positively.

  3. So far Z.D. seems to be one of the ultimate college student athletes. He is confident and always takes the opportunity to do his best when called upon thus far. Z. D. Has a sense of humor, works hard, has fun, tremendous competitor that gets a lot from his abilities. He seems to be a team player with a good head and a good guy. I have always thought he will play a significant role on the team.. ..and he has when called upon. I think the same will be true this year when he is called upon. Lagow may not or may start out of the gate and will probably be the #1 QB for IU but you can bet Z.D. will be ready when called upon at QB or another position. Z.D. kinda just belongs on the field with some playing time. Also the QB from Georgia hopefully has the desire to develop at the level he needs to and will be ready. I think He will be a starting QB at some point in his career at IU.

  4. t, I agree with you on Zander. If he isn’t the starting QB the coaches need to get him on the field and use his abilities. It is more than his ability but the attitude he brings to the huddle and to the team. Yes he is small but no smaller than many slot receivers plus he has the speed to get the job done. He can still be the back up QB while playing slot receiver, as long as one of the other QBs can finish a game if needed. It should only take Zander a week of preparation to become the starting QB. As far as King goes, I have no doubt he will be IU’s starting QB down the road. Lagow and King have special arms the other Qbs don’t have. King has a year or two to see what is required to be a B1G QB plus he has Peyton Ramsey behind him. Ramsey is a coach’s son and knows how to work and according to coach has come in doing the right things and working hard. IU is in a far better situation at QB than they were last year once you got past Nate.

    HC you have said just the way I see with this team. They have a chance to be two deep at each position so they can weather any loss due to injury better than in the past. I hope the injury bug turns this year so IU avoids any injuries to starters. We have been hit by injury so hard the past couple of years it is time for it to turn around this year. As good as the offense could be, I can’t wait to see Patrick on the field. I am going to the MSU game and it would be great to see him on the field for the Hoosiers. I am very excited about the defense this year as I really believe Coach Allen can turn this defense around. The players are very excited about the changes that have taken place with the defense. This is the most confident I have heard the defensive players going into a season.

    I want to see the Hoosier excel this year for the joy this season would bring but also because 2017 is a key year in recruiting. With the new coaches in the East division they will take full advantage of their recruiting base which has a lot of 4 and 5 star talent. IU’s recruiting has to improve if they are to keep competing in the B1G East.

  5. Gents I just don’t have the positive vibe about ZD you do. I keep thinking if Tre Robinson could not shine in the IU offense then Diamont can’t. Tre had a lot more skilled ability and natural talent than ZD. But circumstances make things happen just as did the playing time ZD has already accumulated shows but again he did not shine as well as TR..

  6. HC, I don’t see Zander as a starting QB but he does bring a vibe to the team and I hope they move him to a slot receiver to get that confident vibe on the field. It is clear from Camiel that he and other players think Lagow will be the starter and I think Coach Wilson is just making Lagow prove he is the QB and let the other QBs know they have to work hard to be a starter. Zander has great speed that he showed against the Buckeyes along with the year before when he made the great scramble against them. Like you I don’t see him as the starting QB but he has talent to play slot receiver.

  7. Lagow looked head and shoulders better than the other 2 qbs in the Spring game. I don’t think there is much of a competition. KW is using the “competition” to motivate Lagow but I don’t think anyone else will be starting at FIU. I don’t know if you want to play ZD each game with a few wildcat packages or in the slot for a couple of reasons. First, we are stacked at both running back and receiver. It will be hard enough to keep everyone happy as it is. Second, Diamont was called into action each of his first 2 years. The reality is that qb’s get hit and get hurt. You will probably need a healthy ZD for at least a couple of games. No reason to risk his availability for 6 or 8 plays a game. I love his attitude and confidence, but I think you keep him on the sideline until you need him because of an injury to Lagow. I think there will also be mop-up duty games with Ball State and maybe FIU. I’d put in King to see what he can do and keep ZD available if necessary. I think ZD’s ceiling is backup QB.

  8. My comments regarding ZD are based on observing from the outside is based on his attitude as a team member. Yes, Tre may had the edge in ability. ZD could do well at Illinois State. I felt Tre projected a positive attitude on the outside but he did not demonstrate being a team player. He could have been the starter after Sudfeld was injured. Tre transferred rather than stayed and competed. That hurt IU. ZD answered the call as best he could. Beat PU.

  9. I also believe ZD may play when starting QB gets a ding or twisted ankle etc. Plus QB from Georgia will eventually play. I still think ZD will play a little or have a somewhat of a role in offense due to him being a team player. KW is really good at putting a player like ZD in positions to be successful. It will be worked out between player and coach.

  10. v, Diamont does have quick feet, some burst and shiftiness energy. I’ll bet a large malt there are 12-20 on the team faster. And some of those are slot receivers. But yes I would also agree he is a willing backup QB and would not risk him in the slot.

  11. Please tell me that Zander does not still weigh 174 pounds! Come on, that has to be old data. When I was his age, I had a difficult time gaining weight (oh how I wish that were still the case), but even back then, I worked at it and gained 15 pounds between my Junior and Senior year in HS. If Zander still weights 174 pounds, the dietitians and conditioning coaches need to explain what they’ve done wrong. Going into his Junior year, at 6’1″, Zander should weight 190 pounds right now.

  12. Maybe now he actually weighs 174! I thought he looked about 150 with those scrawny arms and legs. Guys like him just have very high insulin sensitivity. He’s going to have trouble gaining weight. Incidentally, if you used to not gain weight and now you do, you just need to improve your insulin sensitivity. The more carbs you eat, the less sensitive your body gets to them and the more insulin you need to make to handle the carbs. That’s why most people gain weight as we age. The more insulin, the more fat we pack on. Just cut out the sugars and the carbs that break down to sugars like potatoes, flour and rice. As your insulin sensitivity goes up, your insulin levels go down and your waistline gets small again. Your risk of heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and cancer go way down too.

  13. HC, Zanders talent isn’t so much that he is faster than other players although I bet he would surprise you where he ranks. The reason I would like him to be on the field as a receiver is his attitude that the offense needs. He has the belief and confidence that others pick up on. IU’s offense has stalled too many time and settled for FGs when TDs are needed. I would wager IU would score more TDs with Zander and Lagow on the field together. In the Spring game Lagow showed the accuracy to finish off drives that Nate seemed to be missing. Lagow is more accurate and I think IU’s offense will benefit from that this year.

  14. V- I agree ZD has the talent to play the slot and I don’t remember him getting caught from behind too many times. I think he showed against some really good db’s from OSU that he could run with them. But I also think you are correct about the QB situation. We have one guy that looks really good (Lagow). Cameron and King just are not the answer. So unless KW wants to use Ramsey as a true freshman, ZD is your back up qb. I think he has too much value as a guy that could come in and win a game or 2 as the backup to jeopardize his health as a slot receiver. We already have Paige and J’shaun Harris plus probably 2 or 3 other capable guys. Keep ZD available if necessary at QB. IU is just getting to a point where all the talent can’t get on the field….seems like a nice problem to have.

  15. 123, you hit it on the head with IU now having a nice problem of not getting all the talent on the field. Don’t low rate King at QB. He didn’t get much of a chance at the Spring game but the practice I went to it was clear he had an arm as good as Lagow. King was also very accurate which can’t be ignored. It will be several years before Ramsey has a chance to get on the field for IU, in my opinion. Wilson’s talk about Ramsey was comparing him and Ball against the other freshmen this year. He wasn’t comparing Ramsey to the QBs already on campus.

    There are several freshmen that will be interesting to see on the field this year – Gest, Johan Morris, Natee, Enis, Cronk, Ball, Jerome Johnson, Stallings, and several others.

Comments are closed.