Less than one week to go, still no quarterback decision

Indiana’s first depth chart came out on Friday before Kevin Wilson’s press conference, and unsurprisingly, it gave no clues as to the mystery of who would be the Hoosiers’ starting quarterback. Junior Cameron Coffman and sophomores Tre Roberson and Nate Sudfeld and they were connected by the word “or.” That, of course, suggests that none of the three have been deemed first, second or third string, but that any one of them could still be the starter.

Wilson confirmed during the press conference that even just six days before the Hoosiers’ season opener at 7 p.m. on Thursday against Indiana State, he isn’t certain who he’s going to go with and that isn’t something that really bothers him.

“We haven’t even talked to the quarterbacks yet,” Wilson said. “For me to to tell you who’s going first, I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll even know until Tuesday-Wednesday. … We’ll see how the guys practice, all three have done well. The offense will not change. I’ve said that. You guys have asked questions. We’re gonna do what we do. Now, certain guys have certain strengths. … But the gist of our offense, is going to be what it’s gonna be.”

And again, as he has several times this preseason camp, Wilson floated the idea of playing multiple quarterbacks within the course of a game.

“All three of those guys are very, very good,” Wilson said. “They’re all a little bit different. That being said, you guys say, ‘Do we need to play more than one?’ Maybe we do, because maybe they can do different things for us. At the same time, we’re still kind of evaluating, because no one’s been the guy and no one’s been horrible. Again, Tre can make some plays with his feet a little bit better than the other two guys, but when he’s in, it’s not gonna be a Wildcat offense. We’ll throw our deep and intermediate and read our defense and throw our hots and adjust protections. He’s gonna play quarterback. And when those other guys are playing, if Cam’s in or Nate’s in, it’s not gonna be a throw-a-thon, where it’s pass, pass, pass. If it’s a play that we need to incorporate the quarterback as a part of the run, we’re gonna do that.”

When Wilson took the head job at Indiana, he said that this was the sort of thing he never wanted to do. He wanted one quarterback, and he didn’t want that quarterback looking over his shoulder. However, circumstances never allowed him to hold to that principle in his first two years at Indiana. In his first year, the combination of injuries and less than shaky play kept Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker from ever distancing themselves from each other and they ended up ceding the position to the then true-freshman Roberson the last five games of the year. Roberson then won the job out of preseason camp last year, but then broke his leg in the second game. Though Coffman started the last nine games of the year, Sudfeld played in seven of them and Coffman was never formally anointed as the starter.

Because of that and the fact that the Hoosiers have rotated repetitions in practice the last two seasons, the rest of the offense is used to all three quarterbacks and it’s also used to playing more than one in the same game. That minimizes the negative effect of not having a starter chosen a week before the opener.

“Last year, we wouldn’t even tell the guy who was starting he was starting,” Wilson said.  “We just said, ‘OK, you go.’ We were just letting them battle, compete in practice. They were both getting game ready. It wasn’t like, ‘OK, after two drives, put this guy in.’ We let it play. … I don’t think it changes our kids. You could ask those guys. To me, because we’re gonna run our offense, in my world, it has no effect on me. I think they’re all three quality leaders. I think they’re all three respected by their teammates. I don’t think there’s any favorites. … They look at them like another player.”

— Senior tailback Stephen Houston has been listed as a backup each of his three seasons at Indiana since transferring in from Independence (Kan.) Community College. In the previous two years, that was at least in part for the purpose of motivating him and getting more out of him in practice.

But this year, it’s different. Wilson said he’s been thrilled with Houston’s play. He’s been just a little more pleased with sophomore Tevin Coleman, however, so he was listed as the starter.

“Right now he would be the first one that goes out,” Wilson said of Coleman. “He’s a very good player and he’s done as well if not better and has consistently from the spring. Stephen’s not done poorly. He’s a very good player. When those scouts come in, they’re like, ‘Wow, that’s a good looking guy.’ I said, ‘You know, that other dude ain’t too bad either.’ It’s just a very healthy, competitive situation. I would expect both of those guys to play about the same as far as reps, carries. We don’t sit there and slash them up. I don’t think there’s great separation. I think Tevin’s been a little more hungry, a little harder, but Stepehen’s done as well as he’s done. So it’s not a slight of Stephen Houston at all. He’s an extremely good player, and the other guy has got a chance to be a really good player as well.”

Wilson said freshman tailback Laray Smith might have been third string for the Hoosiers, but suffered a minor hip injury that required a draining of blood. The time he missed kept third-stringer D’Angelo Roberts in his position.

— With right guard Dan Feeney out for the season, sophomore David Kaminski and redshirt freshman Jacob Bailey were listed as the two players most likely to take his spot, but Wilson said Ralston Evans and Jake Reed were still in competition for the position. Right tackle Peyton Eckert was held out of Thursday evening’s mock game because of an injury. Wilson said he doesn’t consider it major and Eckert was listed atop the depth chart, but Wilson said he would be held out if he doesn’t practice much this week.

“I’m not a guy you miss Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (sitting with our trainer),” Wilson said. “If they can get quality work, they’re gonna play, but we’re not going to miss and show up for Friday work, which for us would be Wednesday walk through and come out and play.”

6 comments

  1. It’s an insult to our intelligence to try and tell us anyone but Tre will be starting. I don’t know what Wilson’s problem is but I assume his contempt for the media is just making him mess with you guys. I look at our QB situation like the Philadelphia Eagles so called competition with everyone knowing Vick would start. Stop being gullible, Dustin.

    If Tre doesn’t start the season as QB1, I’ll buy each Scooper a yard from the Lion when I’m in town for the Navy game.

  2. Just like it was an insult to your intelligence to try to tell you Theo Pinson was going anywhere but Indiana?
    (Come on, you practically begged for that one.)
    Let me just ask, when was the last time you saw Nate Sudfeld throw a football?

  3. Being QB1 is about more than just throwing a football. Ryan Leaf could throw a football well. Tre has the athleticism and leadership intangibles that draws players to him. The entire fan base is tired of the ‘Who will be QB?’ stories when we all know it will be Tre so it’s time for you to call out Wilson at his next media briefing (i’d love to see his reaction to that).

    As for Pinson, you know once money changed hands in that deal EVERY SOURCE was proven wrong.

  4. Right. Nate Sudfeld isn’t Ryan Leaf. I promise. He’s got intangibles too. So does Cam Coffman.
    Also, if Wilson was treating Roberson like the undisputed QB1 in practice (sure, I’ll go with your Friday Night Lights reference) then maybe I wouldn’t go along with the story line. But he isn’t. There’s literally no evidence that this thing is decided and nothing that makes it look that way, and I’ve seen enough from Sudfeld especially to tell you Roberson is not the unspoken anointed starter.
    Also, on Pinson, doesn’t matter. If your sources were that good, they should have expected the exchange of money, which of course you have no actual proof of.

Comments are closed.