Johns discusses Sudfeld’s play, Roberson’s pressing

Quarterbacks/wide receivers coach Kevin Johns met with the media on Tuesday morning and was, as usual, asked about quarterbacks. Not surprisingly, he had good things to say about sophomore Nate Sudfeld, who has gone over 300 yards in each of his last two games and has already thrown for 10 touchdowns in the first three games of the season. Johns said Sudfeld graded out well in his first start.

“He played well and performed well and I thought he handled the first start well,” Johns said. “He still, since he’s been here, he’s been a kid who’s never really never been rattled by any situation, which I think is a great quality for a quarterback and something we need to see continue.”

Johns said the hope for Sudfeld is that he simply maintains his level of play over the course of a full season.

“I think the next step is that word ‘consistent,'” Johns said. “We need to see him do it every single week to be a top-level quarterback. He has the ability to do that.  As long as he continues to focus and prepare each week, I’m sure he’ll do fine.”

Johns said he agreed with IU coach Kevin Wilson’s assessment that Tre Roberson might be pressing. Sudfeld has effectively won the starting job, but Roberson got the ball in short-yardage situations several times on Saturday and had mixed results. Roberson has rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and completed three of seven passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, but the Hoosiers failed to get a first down in his two drives against Navy and he fumbled the snap at the goalline in one of his appearances against Bowling Green.

“Just trying too hard,” Johns said. “When you get in a competition and you come up a little bit short, I think it’s human nature to try a little harder to do better. Sometimes you force a throw you shouldn’t, sometimes you squeeze a ball a little too tight. When he just relaxes and plays, he’s fine.”

Johns said he expects Roberson to still make an impact and that the Hoosiers don’t want to use him only as a running option as they did on Saturday when he ran the ball four times but didn’t throw a pass.

“I don’t think that we ever want to be in a situation when he’s only running,” Johns said. “Even though he can run, we all know he can pass. The kid can throw the ball. In our world, Sudfeld just throws it a little better. It’s not that Tre can’t do it. We don’t want to become one-dimensional with Tre at all and I don’t think that we will.”