Penix has practiced, still game-time decision

Indiana coach Tom Allen delivered some positive news on starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. on Thursday.

He said the redshirt freshman, who missed nearly three quarters of the Maryland game with an undisclosed injury, has been able to practice this week. Penix is still a game-time decision.

“He’s been able to practice, so we’ll see, game-time decision. We’ll know at kickoff,” Allen said, adding that Penix has been able to participate in “most” of this week’s practices.

This is the fourth week of eight this season where Penix has been a game-time decision. He had the same designation heading into Ohio State and UConn, two games he missed, as well as the week leading up to his return versus Michigan State.

Allen said after the Maryland game that Penix’s current issue was not related to the one that held him out previously. All indications are that the previous injury related to his shoulder.

Allen was asked Thursday if he’s went back and evaluated how Penix takes contact because of his recurring injury issues. Penix’s true freshman season ended after three games because of a torn ACL.

“Oh, no, I think there’s been different variables involved,” Allen said. “He does a good job, like all quarterbacks have to do, when you get in space, you have to slide, avoid as many of those as you can. But it’s still contact football. That’s part of it.”

The 6-foot-3, 202-pound lefty appeared hobbled following a 2-yard scramble at the end of the first quarter versus Maryland, but he finished off that series after the quarter break. Redshirt junior Peyton Ramsey entered the game on the Hoosiers’ next drive.

If Penix isn’t able to play, the reins of the offense will return to Peyton Ramsey, who started the OSU and UConn contests and helped the Hoosiers to a 34-28 win over Maryland.

On the season, Penix has completed 100-of-145 passing for 1,232 yards and 10 touchdowns. Ramsey, in his appearances, has completed 79-of-107 for 843 yards and six TDs. As a team, IU ranks second in the conference in passing offense (2,151 yards).

The Hoosiers have certainly been reminded of the value of a capable backup quarterback, but it’s something coaches across the country already knew.

“That’s what coaches across the country are looking for, and that will not change. That’s why you go out and you have to sign a quarterback in every class,” Allen said. “That’s the goal to do that, developing those guys, and buying into what you are doing, and staying with you, and being a part of your team, and helping you win games. It’s such an important position.”


  1. I think you identified the key point t,
    If MP can be effective, he will be on the field. If he is not, the he won’t. I agree, a 90% effective MP is still your best option. How much further we can quantify that percentage is hard to say, but we do know he is a great talent. Just hope the injury bug is a product of him being 19 and that he will mature out of it with age.

  2. If he’s not full strength to practice during the week preceding the game, then it’s probably best to let him heal. “Game time decision” almost seems like leaving it up to the kid…Sometimes that’s not the best course of action. Sure, no one is holding a gun to his head….but most young competitors will start building on adrenalin heading into a game. They’ll fool themselves into being ready.
    Does game time decision mean he’s been medically cleared…and it’s just a matter of making sure he feels ready? Or, is game time decision mean he still has to be medically cleared? I mean, this is a repeating theme with this young man…When are we at the point of just acknowledging he isn’t quite ready for the level of physical play required to be a BigTen starter?

    If this was Wilson, we would have already been in a full blown investigation…This sort of proves Wilson did nothing wrong…It was merely a personality clash between meddling Fred and Kevin.
    There are different ways to cajole a kid into playing when not 100%. Mockery and berating is one method….(as alleged with Wilson).
    “Michael, we really love how you’re working through this…Big game this weekend…This is what you wanted to be a Hoosier for” are other methods in manipulation.

    Bottom Line: We should not have already had four “game-time decisions” on this kid. It’s pretty obvious every week is taking its toll on the young man. Really surprised that Allen isn’t facing much more intense scrutiny. When do you just decide Penix needs to grow up(as in durability and mental/physical toughness). There’s nothing wrong with listening to your body and having some apprehension. I sure hope this is not a case of apprehension being quelled.

    1. H4H,
      I’m not so sure I can go along with your line of reasoning on this one. I think the game time decision may well be in the hands of the medical staff, not TA. If they give the go ahead for full game contact then I think MP will play. If they do not, then he will sit.

      1. Once or twice…but now 4 of his 8 potential appearances are “game-time decisions” awaiting medical clearance? Just doesn’t seem normal. He’s yet to face one team from the Murderer’s Row(OSU, Michigan, Penn State)…and he’s always questionable. Just don’t think he was ready for this level of football…

  3. What I mean is 90% chance he will start and play (9 times out of 10 odds) and I think MP will be effective. In other words I think MP will definitely start and play a good game. I don’t mean he will be at 90%. I expect MP to be ready to go.

  4. Just finished an interesting story about Kyle Allen, the undrafted quarterback who has come out of nowhere to go 4-0 as a starter for the Carolina Panthers putting up stellar stats in the process.

    Something particularly caught my attention with the discussions on the Scoop about quarterback transfers.

    In the story it tells how Allen lost his starting spot to Kyler Murray while at Texas A&M. Neither quarterback woule their careers at A&M. Both are NFL starters.

    1. Best thing Jalen Hurts did was leave Alabama. Alabama does not develop next level QB talent. Name one NFL starting QB from Alabama this season. Lincoln Riley is getting Jalen ready to play at the next level while Saban and his staff was not going to do that. That is one of the reasons I think that Tua will not be a great QB in the NFL, but will be drafted high by a team.

    2. Cardinals 0-2-1…Texans 2-2…Jaguars 2-3…Buccaneers 2-4.

      Those four recent Carolina victories (assuming its the last four games he’s won) are against teams with a combined 6-11-1 record. Has he come out of nowhere..or played nobody?
      49ers next. We’ll see how he does…

      1. Also, keep in mind that NFL teams do not set their schedule nor have control over how good or poor those teams are. I find these comparisons silly. The same could be said of the Patriots this year. They haven’t played anyone. The same could have been said of the AFC south when Manning was with the Colts. The Colts could have gone 7-9 and still won the AFC South every year.

  5. That’s partly why Kevin Sumlin, the former A&M head coach got fired and is now at Arizona. He recruited a bunch a excellent QBs, but couldn’t keep them on the team. It was a revolving door for QBs and assistant coaches. Imagine losing Murray and Allen and having them become starting NFL QBs a few years later. Ouch!

    Why numerous 5-star QBs sign with the same team is a mystery to me. I guess it’s ego or a hyper-competitive nature, but you’d think that more of them, like Penix, would sign with schools like IU, where they’d be virtually assured of being the starter within a year and getting lots of experience playing against great competition.

    If Kyle Allen keeps playing like this, Carolina’s going to trade or cut Superman and Kyle Allen is going to become a very wealthy young man.

    1. I lived in the Carolinas for 30 years and Cam is loved there. The guy never misses a charity event and is generous with his time and money. Always liked him.

      That being said, he makes $19 million or so a year. Allen makes less than $500k.

      You can pay a lot of offensive linemen with eighteen and a half million dollars. John Elway loves tall quarterbacks.

      1. Brother Chet, where do you get $500k for Allen? “Allen’s contract, obtained by IndyStar . . . through an open records request, will guarantee him $1.795 million annually — $500,000 per year in base pay, plus $1.295 million per year in what the contract terms “outside, marketing and promotional income.”

        1. Per CBS Sports, Kyle Allen’s current contract is for $495,000. Next year the Panthers can retain Allen’s rights with a $585,000 minimum salary tender. He won’t hit unrestricted free agency until after the 2022 season.

          1. We are both basically saying the same thing. He makes about $500k in salary. Total compensation is different. That’s why it is a good idea for a professional athlete to be popular.

          2. HA HA HA HA! Joke’s on me! I thought you were talking about Tom Allen! I forgot where string originated and couldn’t figure out who that bit about Superman, either. Still haven’t.

  6. The reason they don’t sign with IU is because the depth of talent is not present. Do the rewards outweigh the risks? How much attention can you get if you’re “questionable” every other game? Hoosiers wear down up front. QB with thin body and lots of potential asked to do too much. Must get out of trouble because of the line wearing down. In the BigTen East he could soon be like a Yellow Lab thrown to the Pit Bulls at a Michael Vick backwoods caged dog fighting event…

    1. H4H,
      Normally I would agree with your comment, but I think the talent issue may be changing. I hadn’t really looked at it from this perspective until someone made a comment regarding the current low status of the 2020 recruiting class team rankings. When I looked not at the team rankings but at the average player rankings, it paints a much different picture, especially the last two classes. The talent level, as V13 has noted several times, is improving. Does this mean IUFB will be world beaters soon? Not likely, but the trend for the first time in many, many years is moving in the right direction. It is not the numbers of recruits, which the team rankings skew the picture on, but rather the average level of talent per recruit which tells the ultimate tale.

      The 3.05 average posted on the ’19 recruiting class posted on Rivals was the highest average as far back as I can research for IUFB. TA’s first class of 2018 was the next highest, and both of the last two classes are considerably higher average rated than any previous class. I know it is incremental at best, but at least it is moving in the right direction significantly. When you consider the best class in the land is at a 4.06 as of a couple days ago, IUFB’s current 2.98 is considerably better than the usually around 2.5’s of the past.

      As for the Penix medical situation, I suspect we can thank KW for the hypersensitivity in this area. The main charge against him was related to the medical situations. 10-15 years ago, this would not have even been an issue, but it is now whether we like it or not. Penix may well turn out to be one of those gifted athletes which unfortunately are also very fragile. If this is the case, you have called it correctly from the beginning.

      1. If I were a qb, I’d want very high rankings in those who are in charge of protecting me.
        I’ll be honest with you, I don’t want to spend my day on rankings sites dissecting hundredths or incremental differences/variations year to year and making judgmental leaps on what that actually means.
        Wilson placed NFL caliber talent into our roster….But it does seem the changes need to beyond the signature/glamour positions to really make inroads for sustained winning/improvement/competitiveness in the brutal BigTen East.
        Sure, there may be a season or two with incremental improvements. And then what happens if the anticipated corners(as in results in wins and losses or showing some hints of competing against the elite of our conference) simply don’t happen?
        I like Penix….There is definitely some gifts in his game and some promise…along with many big “ifs.” Does he stack up now to the quality of talent at the qb spot on many top college programs? Wish I could say that I see him as in their league but what do I know?
        IU Football is a natural repository for hype and promise never finding fruition. It’s in the twisted and tormented DNA of our decades of losing to see someone with promise and suddenly elevate the status in anxious overkill as if the glory is now at the threshold.
        Rankings? Incremental baby steps in tenths and hundredths of “star” ranking designations? I want to see results on the field. I want to see a qb appear solid for four quarters against somebody a lot stronger than Eastern Illinois…or Rutgers.
        And let’s try to keep it all in perspective as we hold various ranking sites as “the authority” on what constitutes greatness and promise…Next time you watch that last draft pick playing on the New England Patriots, always remind yourself that the proof is on the field …and not on the prognosticator’s tables, graphs and stick-on stars.

  7. H4H, you seem too bright not to realize that “game time decision “ means “I want the other team to have to prepare for either QB”. Frost is doing the same thing to us with Martinez…

    1. You misjudge me….

      I’d prepare for Penix…because whatever Ramsey brings, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to create as much disruption or havoc.

      Of course, if I’m Nebraska and Penix starts (as I’ve primarily practiced for). I prepare to bring tons of heat early to test him and/or knock him back to “questionable to return’ status.

      Pretty sure we’ll need Penix for the duration…I don’t think dunk and dink will win in Nebraska. They will likely run at will against us…and we’re going to need some offensive firepower to stay in the game(e.g. long downfield passing threats/potential).

  8. The game as a whole has changed on the injury front in being more cautious it’s not a Kevin Wilson thing no need to always feel the need to place blame on somebody you do it so in the future you don’t get sued

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