Allen considers Ramsey IU’s returning starter

Peyton Ramsey started all 12 games for Indiana last fall, and in coach Tom Allen’s view, that makes him the man to beat.

When the Hoosiers open fall camp later this summer, Ramsey will be the quarterback listed first on IU’s offensive depth chart.

Allen recognizes he has other options at the position this season, with a replenished depth chart that includes redshirt freshman Michael Penix and Utah freshman transfer Jack Tuttle in the mix to compete over the coming months. But as a nod to Ramsey’s work the past two seasons, Allen believes the redshirt junior has earned the first crack at the top job.

“Peyton is the returning starter, and they’re gonna have to beat him out,” Allen said. “I know that’s his mindset. That’s the way it should be.”

Ramsey has been a steady presence inside IU’s offense since surfacing early in the 2017 campaign. The Cincinnati native is already Indiana’s all-time completion percentage leader (65.8), having thrown for 4,127 yards and 29 touchdowns in 21 games, and he also might be the most mobile option IU has at the position. Last season, Ramsey scored five rushing touchdowns — fifth-most among Big Ten quarterbacks.

But while Allen appreciates the toughness and command Ramsey has brought to the huddle over the past two years, he also recognizes that Indiana needs a jolt.

Fixing the stagnancy and the lack of explosive plays inside of the IU offense is a priority for Allen and new coordinator Kalen DeBoer, who was hired to replace the retired Mike DeBord this past winter.

Is Ramsey equipped to be part of the solution? The next few months will be telling.

However fall camp plays out, Ramsey is eager to back up his credentials.

“This is my third year going into a QB competition, at this point,” Ramsey said after IU’s spring game in April. “I’ve experienced it. I’ve lived through it. I’m comfortable. I’m excited for it, because this was a good spring for me. I’m excited for what’s to come.”

Indiana needs a more consistent downfield passing attack in 2019, an area where the Hoosiers struggled to create traction with Ramsey leading the offense last season. Penix demonstrated the most impressive arm strength at the position in limited action in 2018, completing 21 of his 34 passes for 219 yards before an ACL injury ended his season in October.

Penix continues to progress well through his rehabilitation and will once again try to challenge Ramsey for the job in August.

“He’s where he needs to be right now,” Allen said. “I’m just really encouraged by the way he’s handled that. The ability for those guys to dive into that rehab and handle it the proper way really determines the recovery. You can’t take anything for granted with that, even though we’ve gotten better and better with ACL surgeries, medically. The effort they put into the rehab is really the key to how quickly they can come back. Really excited about his progress and how hard he’s worked in the weight room. He needs to have a huge June and July.”

Tuttle, a former highly-touted high school prospect from San Diego, looked the part of a Power 5 quarterback during IU’s spring practice. Tuttle, like Penix, also appears to have an advantage on Ramsey when it comes to arm strength.

But there are still qualities other than throwing power that Allen is eager to evaluate in fall camp. Each of Ramsey, Penix and Tuttle will have opportunities to impress.

As of now, Ramsey’s opportunity may come first.

“All three guys are ready to have a highly-effective June and July going into fall camp to compete to be the man,” Allen said.


  1. About all TA could say at this juncture. Of course it is your veteran QB’s job to lose, but if IUFB is to have a chance of winning more games, there has to be a serious vertical threat. To this point, that downfield threat has been non-existent.

  2. Of course he is the returning starter because he is the returning starter. That would apply to every returning starter.

    Will the be a story on each of them?

    1. Good question. Here’s another one to go along with your question, will there be a true and “open” competition for the job? I’m prepared to give TA a mulligan on the last two years as it takes time to recruit talent to a school with a history like IU, and especially at the QB position. If Penix and Tuttle are as advertised, then fall camp should be a very interesting event.

      1. That’s the real question.

        I don’t see how he can avoid it. He would be putting everyone’s job on the line if he doesn’t.

        We shall see.

  3. Another poster on another put it this way, if Ramsey is the starter IU can make a incremental improvement but if they are to make a leap either Penix or Tuttle needs to be the starter. IU has some very good talent at the skilled offensive positions and they need the QB that can make them better. Ramsey seems to be a QB that the skilled positions make a better QB which limits what the receivers can do.

    IU has the best chance of choosing the best QB with a new OC and all three QBs learning a new offense. Penix is on track to be 100% this Summer with the OC calling him the QB with the “IT” along with Tuttle being able to go all out this Summer with the OC talking about him being able to throw all the passes with a strong arm. Ramsey has experience but his experience is coming up short in B1G games. If he is the starter will the change in OC be enough to win the games IU has come up short in the past?

    Ramsey gives IU a solid fall back option if the other two QBs don’t win the job but the team has a better chance of a winning season with someone other than Ramsey at QB.

    1. V13,
      Here’s what I see as the bigger issue. Against all odds TA is achieving a certain amount of recruiting momentum. The perception out there is that both Penix and Tuttle represent a significant jump in the caliber of recruit IUFB is getting, and the QB position is one of the most difficult parts of recruiting to improve. If neither Penix or Tuttle are the starter this fall, I believe a significant amount of damage will be done to the recruiting momentum. This will be especially true if the W/L record continues to suffer.

    2. Coach Allen made a mistake. IU needs to markedly improve on offense, starting at QB. Just say nothing. Let the chips fall where they may! Penix, Tuttle and Ramsey will compete. Keep it even!

      1. BP,
        I think TA had to say something, because sometimes saying nothing does say something. If asked about Ramsey’s status and he says nothing, then he has said something to Ramsey, the team, and others without saying anything. Actually saying it was Ramsey’s job to lose might have been the safe thing to say. Funny how what you say or don’t say, says so much.

        How’s that for saying something without saying anything!

    3. Penix has very limited experience and is coming off a serious knee injury that ended his freshman season and kept him out of spring practice. Tuttle, while highly touted out of high school, was running a clear number 3 at Utah and was unlikely to get on the field any time soon. So there is great doubt about both of them. Remember, there are people who raved about Austin King even though it was obvious he wasn’t a Big Ten level player.

      Ramsey, on the other hand, has the benefit of significant game experience, even if it was under DeBord. And even with a new OC, there’s no guarantee of a big step on on O, since the OL is a major question mark in terms of experience, talent and depth and the skill, while decent, isn’t regarded as game changing. And there is strong buzz that the new OC left the shadow of Jeff Tedford, who was the real architect of the Fresno offense, not DeBoer.

      The best, healthiest guy will play, so lets tap the brakes until the players get on the field and we can see who that is.

      1. DeBoer is the real deal. He had 3 very successful offensive ventures before FSU. In fact his resume is why JT wanted him to help kick off his Fresno debut.

          1. That’s 1 way of putting it. But there is a distinct difference. DeBoer has been successful OC at Souix Falls, So. Illinois and E. Michigan. Johns was never an OC prior to being promoted to such while at IU. Unlike the experienced DeBoer Johns truly was an OC in training under Wilson.

        1. Makes you wonder why he wasn’t in very high demand, doesn’t it? There’s a reason he wasn’t wanted by bigger P5 programs, and it was because of the widely held view that Tedford was the brains behind the Fresno offense. Not saying he’s not a good coach, but the coronation of him as an all time great is a little pre mature. Reminds me of the reaction to the S&C hires, which proved to not be as impactful as some thought it would be.

          1. Not really. He spent 10 years at his alma mater playing for and winning 3 collegiate championships. There is no cookie cutter path to moving up. Look at Tedford’s resume. It proves it.

          2. But the coaches that climb are in high demand. KD wasn’t one of those, probably because of the widely held perception that JT was the brains behind the Fresno offense.

      2. Yes we need to wait and see who wins the QB job this season. Your wait and see attitude about DeBoer doesn’t hold as much water though as he has a track record as a HC and OC to see what he can do for offenses. If he were just a position coach moving to OC I would agree with your assessment. Your point about his lack of buzz by P5 schools may just be coach Allen moving before other schools did. DeBoer knows if he does the job in the B1G he will be able to pick his next job. He is moving up the ranks like most coaches do to get higher ranking jobs.

        1. V13,
          I agree the best thing we can all do is take a wait and see attitude for this year. There are a couple variables which will have a major impact on the outcome of the upcoming season. First, are Penix and Tuttle as good as advertised? If so, then we should see a change at the QB position for the better. This is important because if DeBoer is as good as advertised, then based on the past limited capability at the QB position, he will make the obvious personnel change for the better.

          The second variable is the insane addition of an additional B1G game damaging the ability of IUFB and 6 other B1G teams to become bowl eligible. In the supposed pursuit of more revenue the B1G and P12 have gone to the 9 conference game scheduling. What’s the thing both conferences have in common? When’s the last time either have won a national championship?

          Here’s the problem with a 9 game conference schedule, you have guaranteed 7 teams in your conference an additional loss they might not have incurred. Yes, they might have lost the extra game anyway, depending upon who they would have scheduled out of conference, but they also might have won the game too. Yes, the 7 conference teams who win the extra in-conference game might have lost to an out of conference foe, depending upon who they scheduled, but the probabilities say they would have won. Why? Because we all know for the most part B1G schools were not scheduling any more difficult out of conference competition than necessary, B1G competition was tough enough.

          Replacing an out of conference foe with a defending western division champ Northwestern or a resurgent Nebraska, did IUFB no favors for the 2019 season. The same can be said for the other B1G football schools, depending on who their additional east or west conference foe might be this year.

          1. This will be the 4th season of 9 conference games. It’s not a new issue, and it hasn’t kept the Big 10 from filling out their bowl slots.

  4. think, I believe you are exactly right about the risk to recruiting associated with selecting the right quarterback.

    A really gifted quarterback can make an average team much better, and a great team can make an average quarterback look good. IU is not yet a great team, so it needs a really good quarterback.

    I have a feeling that Ramsey is one of those “practice players.” He looks great in practice, projects intelligence, confidence and leadership skills, etc., but his lack of any special skill prohibits him from achieving enough success in games.

  5. Every time I see that headline I chuckle.

    It might just as easily have said ‘Allen considers Ramsey a 3rd year player out of Cincinnati’ or ‘Allen considers Ramsey a part of the Indiana University student body’.

    Stating a simple fact is now a headline.

    1. I do expect Ramsey to come out of the gates as the starter 8/31 against Ball St. During his freshmen year I really doubted his arm strength and was seriously doubting his abilities as a B1G QB. During his Soph. year I thought he showed he had improved his arm strength enough to be a B1G QB but his decision making was my biggest issue. He didn’t take shots downfield that were there to be taken. I’m not sure if it were his confidence or he is just not seeing it out there. I think we’ll know where he really stands by game three against the Buckeyes. If he takes all of the snaps vs Ball St. and E.ILL then we’ll know where he stands. If he is splitting reps and is outplayed during those first two games, then he’ll likely be holding a clipboard helping signal in plays during the Ohio St. game.

      1. That’s a good one there FS,

        It’s going to take WLt a little to live down the moniker Chet gave out.

        I do want to take note of your comments on the PR situation. If it is likely PR will start the first two games only to be replaced in the OSU game, it will a serious mistake on TA and KD’s part. I do not share your perspective regarding PR as viewed through the lens his first two B1G seasons. Yes, he does well when IUFB was playing mediocre competition, but B1G defenses quickly adapted to his limitations and the rest is history. This year IUFB will have to play one additional B1G game.

        If the scenario plays out as you have described, IUFB will be repeating the same mistake from last year. We saw this played out in the PSU game when virtually the same circumstances presented themselves. It became very obvious that PSU was going to employ the exact same strategy OSU had used successfully against PR, so early on the switch to Penix occurred. There was one major problem which limited the success which could IUFB could have enjoyed on the field that day – lack of receiver in game experience with a different QB while playing against a decent B1G defense.

        It is as simple as the ball coming at you much faster with a left handed spin. I saw too many passes being dropped which should have been caught, and likely led MP to take more chances with his feet than he should have. If the possibility of a QB change is on the table it needs to be settled in camp. Otherwise you risk lack of in game experience on the part of your offense, especially your receivers, with much stronger armed QB’s at the controls. As we saw in the PSU game, the case of being somewhat out of sync, led to something very bad.

        1. I expect we’ll see Penix and or Tuttle during the first two games at some point. I’m pretty confident if Ramsey doesn’t take the downfield throws the defense gives him, DeBoer will make the move. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still Team Penix all the way but Ramsey will likely get his chance to show he’s capable of being the guy again. I do agree that it would be ideal if this were sorted out in camp but my gut says it won’t be. I’m assuming the Ball St. game might be a tight one being an in-state rival and all. Ramsey will need to really show up early in that one or he’ll get yanked and his replacement will likely start game #2 against E.Ill to get more game action.

          1. FS,
            You may be right, but I think the key will show itself quickly. If BSU comes out packing the line of scrimmage and dares PR to throw over them, we’ll have our answer. Not sure how much defensive firepower BSU has, but if adequate, it should be telling. I’m not well versed in BSU’s capabilities, but hopefully some of the other posters are. I know that last year the non-cons simply didn’t have the personnel to deal with IUFB packing the line of scrimmage or not. The true weakness didn’t show itself until PR went up against decent B1G defenses.

        2. Good points thinkaboutit and I hope the new OC sees what most of us see. It is frustrating to see Ramsey do well against the non-conference teams and struggle against B1G teams. Now this year he may benefit from the new OC but the difference in talent is notable and it is tough to overcome a lack of talent.

          We saw the receivers drop passes in the 7 on 7 with Penix as the QB. Some posters asked who Penix was throwing to in practice but ignored he wasn’t working with the first offense. The other issue is the receivers have to get enough reps to get used to Penix or maybe Tuttle throwing into tight windows and catching the passes. Many of the 7 on 7 reps where receivers dropped passes were tight coverage but the ball got into them. This ability will make the offense a real threat to B1G defenses and if Ramsey is QB he has shown the inability to throw those passes.

          1. V- I didn’t go to the spring game but the tv commentator stated that his receivers were not getting much separation and thought it could be from Penix staring down who he wanted to throw to. I couldn’t tell from watching on tv. Did you go to the game and/or have any thoughts? He had the same problem of receivers dropping passes in last year’s Penn State game. Could just be that Penix’s throws get on the receiver so much faster than Ramsey’s.

          2. 123, The receivers didn’t get much separation but I saw it more a case of defense not having any worries about a run game. Defenses usually dominate 7 on 7s because they only defend the pass and not even screen passes because you can’t fake the run. I didn’t see Penix staring down receivers after the first series of plays as he seemed to warm up and get into a rhythm. What I did like was he was willing to throw over the middle while Ramsey still continues to go outside the hash marks. I have confidence coach DeBoer will choose the best QB to let IU win games as he wants the offense to improve knowing that is why he was brought in.

          3. The lack of separation is more a function of the lack of explosiveness at the wideout positions. IU has not been a big strike team, which has really hurt the offense.

          4. BD, sure. Explosiveness is important (and can be improved) but separation in a two to three yard framework is mostly about technique (IMHO).

            Personally, I am of the opinion that a skilled wide receiver coach is disproportionately important, not only in player development but in recruiting.

            Successful wide receivers get a lot of face time.

  6. I’d say there’s about a 99.9% chance that Ball St. comes with eight men in the box. Any DC with a half a brain will try and make Ramsey beat them over the top.

  7. I think either Penix or Tuttle will win #1, and the other plus Ramsey will be listed as co-#2 on the depth chart- solves a lot of problems.

  8. If either Penix or Tuttle do well in Summer camp, one of them will be named the starter and play the majority of the snaps in the first two games. PR has the experience and therefore it is easier to insert him if the other guys do not perform well in the first two games. But if Penix/Tuttle do well against the weaker competition, that guy will be the starter until he gets injured. You have to build the chemistry and allow the offensive playmakers to get used to their quarterback and vice versa in real games. Obviously, it would be a season-ending disaster if IU were to lose against either BSU of E. IL, so TA needs to be confident that the guy he names as the starter for the first week is more than just a good practice player. But if PR starts the first game, he’ll be the starter against OSU unless he gets hurt, and the Hoosier Nation will then conclude that the 2019 season will be a repeat of 2018 . The summer’s camp will be huge, and I just hope either Tuttle of Penix demonstrates their WOW factor.

    1. Po,
      That’s pretty much the story, you are spot on as to how the 2019 season will go unless PR Shows us something we haven’t seen before. It will indeed be a repeat of 2018 even if IUFB wins the first two games. You can just about guarantee the OSU defense will come out 8, 9, or 10 in the box, daring PR to throw over them. The only way around it is for PR to prove he can air it out and accurately enough to hurt a defense.

      1. I think the Hoosiers should feel lucky if we have a rotation with PR as a backup. He’s no Cam Newton but having a guy off the bench with two seasons as a Big Ten starter is pretty great.

        Like most years, in June the quarterback room looks pretty good (cue asteroid strike).

  9. Which leads the ? of Reese Taylor. Regardless of size, last year I commented that RT would eventually end up at qb (mostly before Penix was in the picture). Then, last year RT went to defensive corner and back to receiver and then back to backup QB due to injury situation. RT was sparingly used. The question; is RT good enough to be given a home at a full time at any position on the IU roster as a sophomore. IU looks much improved on paper at qb. However, nothing has been proven on the field yet. Things have happened in the past where IU looks promising in different positions and (somewhat including at qb) only to have things not work out as expected. As a sophomore does RT enter qb discussion for whatever could be a variety of reasons? Does RT play a corner? receiver? What does his IU fb career end up looking like?

    1. They had better find a valuable place for RT or they will have a helluva time signing the next great football athlete the state produces.

  10. Reese Taylor will not play quarterback at IU unless Ramsey, Penix and Tuttle get injured. Taylor did well last year, and I expect he will get even more playing time this season. He’s smart enough and athletic enough to play a variety of different positions. The Q is, which position is he most likely to make the biggest contribution?

  11. This Spring RT played only corner and he looked capable in the Spring Game. After a year of needing him due to injuries he is at the position he wants to play and the coaches want him to play. I have no doubt he will play corner this season with only a disaster like Maryland had when they lost their top 3 QBs to injury.

  12. This goes without saying. IU and RT need to make his sophomore season the beginning of RT maximizing his ability for himself and the team for a stellar fb career. If Penix or Tuttle or both work ok. However, for whatever reason that may or may not include injury/s might present itself it would be a big negative for RT to set behind PR for a large portion of RT’s sophomore season.

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