Lagow aiming to improve consistency in 2017

Richard Lagow spent a chunk of his summer watching film.

Lots of it.

He wasn’t focusing on opponents, or necessarily trying to get a head start on game prep for the 2017 season. Rather, Lagow’s interest centered on one individual — himself.

“More than anything this offseason, I spent time studying my own tape, going over all my decisions that I made,” the Indiana quarterback said. “Not just the bad ones, not just the good ones, but every single throw. That’s what I’ve focused on the most.”

Statistically, Lagow was one of the Big Ten’s deepest passers in 2016. He was also one of the most mistake-prone. This fall, to achieve a level of consistency that eluded him at times during his first year with the Hoosiers, the former junior college transfer is relying on self evaluation — and a new offensive approach — to find more reliable results in 2017.

Lagow certainly has the arm to deliver.

He ranked second in the Big Ten last year in passing yards per game (258.6) and finished third in yards per completion (13.3) and completions per game (19.4).

While demonstrating the arm strength required of a Big Ten starting quarterback, Lagow also struggled with his accuracy and consistency, particularly when it came to hitting his target on shorter throws.

Though the biggest concern after his first 13 games as IU’s starter was his ball security, Lagow finished second-worst in the conference with 17 interceptions. So during the course of the spring and summer, one of Indiana’s top objectives was figuring out how to significantly reduce those costly turnovers.

“We had to go through and try to evaluate why there were so many interceptions,” IU coach Tom Allen said. “That’s just calling it what it is. That was an area he struggled with last year. So we just tried to go through and figure out what caused those.”

Upon review, Lagow says fundamentals weren’t the root cause. Instead, he points to his decision making — hence the deep dive into film review, which he says helped him better understand what kinds of plays and decisions are appropriate in different situations.

From his view, Allen wanted new coordinator Mike DeBord, who will run Indiana’s offense just as Allen runs IU’s defense, to create a more quarterback-friendly system. That means giving Lagow further input on the plays he’s comfortable running, consider his preferences and allowing him to slow down and get more reps when the quarterback feels it’s necessary.

“If the quarterback doesn’t like something, the offensive coordinator should be able to scrap it,” Lagow said. “Coach DeBord tells me all the time that he doesn’t like any play enough. He’s not married to any play. If I don’t like a play, he’ll throw it out the window. Forget it. I think Coach DeBord is doing an awesome job, and (quarterbacks coach Nick) Sheridan as well, of taking in my opinions and what I like, what I don’t like and moving from there.”

Allen also thinks that Lagow can benefit from hearing one voice deliver input, rather than hearing multiple coaching opinions come from several different directions.

“I think that helps,” Allen said. “That’s something that we’ve done with the current situation now that may be a little different from the past. I just think it’s hard to have a lot of different people in your ear, especially when it’s your first year somewhere.”

This will be Lagow’s final season at Indiana, and he’s determined to finish strong after an up-and-down introduction last year.

All the offseason studying he completed was a step towards that improvement. Once IU’s fall camp opens next week, Lagow will have his first opportunities to deliver more consistent results.

“He’s got to go out and do it,” Allen said. “I believe in him. Our team believes in him, but he’s got to go out and get it done. That’s what he knows he needs to do. That’s the next step.”

14 comments

    1. Maybe, maybe not. He now has a year of B1G experience. This season he will not be suffering through the competition culture shock he had to transition in moving from JC pass D to B1G pass D. I think with the help from the new outlook of coaches focused the entire off-season on his passing decisions that turned out negative has to help. In a pass heavy offense in his 1st starting gig his year at Cisco he threw 10 INT’s.

  1. Wishing the best for the young man, but i cannot see the kind of improvement necessary to help this team take the next step (hope that I am wrong). It does not matter whether it is one coach in your ear or multiple coaches in your ear (i.e.– Jay Cutler), you still have to make better decisions and see the game situation you are in ….If your decision making is poor and your inability to throw the short pass (too high, too low – just inaccurate) is poor, than you are going to throw a lot of INT. IU just has to learn how to play (win) when he does throw those INT. hopefully those INT will not be to costly (poor timing). Every QB throws INT they just cannot be the type that cost the team the game.

  2. I’m optimistic that Lagow will significantly reduce INTs this season, but that assumes he has adequate protection and a reasonably effective running game. I think the increased confidence in IU’s defense will reduce the pressure that he and the coaches feel about the need to score on every possession. And I also believe that reducing the number of voices in his ear will reduce confusion and allow him to get comfortable sooner and improve his self-confidence. The way I interpret the comments about “too many voices in his ear” last year is that Wilson over-coached the young man, often shoving his O-coordinator aside and interjecting himself into Lagow’s ear, which may have been counter-productive for a first-year quarterback. Creating trust leads to harmony and creates confidence, which is essential for allowing an individual to perform at his best. I think DeBoard understands that and has made a key change that he believes will allow Lagow to reach his potential. We’ll see soon enough if it improves Lagow’s consistency (i.e., reduces INTs).

    1. Let’s see, instead of Johns, he had Wilson in his ear. So now Wilson has been replaced by DeBord and/or Sheridan. Philosophy is 1 thing but that is pretty easy number crunching.

    2. I also prefer ‘counterproductive’ without the hyphen…

      Maybe we should try cue cards with Lagow?

  3. Hopeful thinking. I would like to see him do well. Reality is physicality he cannot improvise well, lacks speed to escape. Film, decision making goes out the window once defensive heat, pressure, rattle his chain, ring his bell a little, not even a lot. He may or may not play entire season as #1, not because there is a star qb waiting rather IU is not strong at this position. However, if he were to hold that position as #1 that would be a good sign because it would probably mean he was doing fairly well. Otherwise, one of the other qbs may have a big opportunity whether it be qb from Georgia, a freshman, or h.s. coach’s son whoever.

  4. HC, I guess you’re an IU football insider and know first hand how many coaches were in Lagow’s ear last year and how many are in it this year. Either that, or you simply don’t agree that the comments made by Allen and DeBord are true. There’s got to be a reason why Allen was quoted as saying, “That’s something that we’ve done with the current situation now that may be a little different from the past. I just think it’s hard to have a lot of different people in your ear, especially when it’s your first year somewhere.”

    1. Point, counterpoint…and you’ve no idea about how many in his ear this year…

  5. In an interview at http://mediaschool.indiana.edu/nsjc/wp-content/uploads/sites/51/2017/05/T009_20170502.mp3 [the Wilson part comes around 40 minute spot] may say the most about how the offense and QB could be better this year. Zander is respectful of coach Wilson but makes the point that the way he couldn’t relate to players was a problem. Zander makes the point that he didn’t think coach should be a HC at a power 5 school. He agrees coach was needed to right the ship at IU but the wrong coach to steer the ship in the long term. This understanding of what was going on behind the scene is what gives me confidence IU could have a special season this year. None of us knows how good the offense or team will be but 2017 will show us what difference it will be with coach Allen in charge.

    1. Ya extremely revealing. If you want to believe a backup QB raised in Hollywood. I believe what my eyes saw of Wilson’s results.

      1. Completely agree with Clarion…..

        Zander of Xanadu and big stogie? That’s the port I’m supposed to dock the ‘big ship of credibility?’ Wilson protected that young man from being snapped like a tree twig.
        Plus, always need a good reason for some Olivia….

  6. Whether Lagow was getting conflicting/confusing directives from more than one source, a touchstone of coaching (to my thinking anyway) is that if players don’t understand a system, it’s on the coaches to change it. This was the problem with the IUD under Mallory. When players are badly out of position eight games into the season, it should have dawned on staff a long time beforehand that the players are “just not getting it” and that a revamp is in order.

    “If the quarterback doesn’t like something, the offensive coordinator should be able to scrap it,” Lagow said. “Coach DeBord tells me all the time that he doesn’t like any play enough. He’s not married to any play . . . .”

    To my amateur eye, it seemed as if Wilson treated the gridiron a chess board. He was looking for that one mismatch or one misalignment that he could exploit for the big gainer- the scheme being more important than the particular talents of particular players. In a lot of ways it worked for him (and may be why he seemed to be more willing than most coaches to shuttle QBs in and out games), but here we have a QB whose value appears to be one-dimensional (the big arm) and it would seem that Allen and DeBord recognize that the scheme needs to adapt to the QB and not vice-versa.

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