Hoosiers have three options to weigh at quarterback

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Entering the season without a capable backup quarterback was the gamble Indiana had to take when Cameron Coffman and Tre Roberson decided they’d be better off elsewhere.

Now, after losing Nate Sudfeld to a shoulder separation in Saturday’s 45-29 loss at Iowa, the Hoosiers face their biggest in-season challenge in four seasons under Kevin Wilson.

Their options aren’t particularly appealing for a variety of reasons.

Chris Covington, who replaced Sudfeld in the second quarter against the Hawkeyes, completed only three of his 12 passes and was intercepted twice on Saturday. He also ran for 41 yards on 11 attempts, but didn’t always seem to be on the same page with the rest of the offense while running the read option.

Recruited as an athlete out of Chicago, Covington spent his first few months in Bloomington learning to play linebacker until switching to quarterback shortly before the season started.

He was fine in high school, throwing for 1,993 yards and 26 touchdowns, while adding 657 yards and 13 scores on the ground as a senior last fall. But the learning curve in college can be steep, as it appeared for Covington against Iowa.

His first collegiate completion went for negative-four yards on a screen pass to Tevin Coleman, who tripped in the backfield. Covington also fumbled and didn’t appear sharp while looking downfield, but he’s Wilson’s guy for now.

“We’re just trying to figure it out,” Wilson said. “It’s kind of tough because both of those guys are a little different. He’s young compared to Nate, so as you practice there are just certain plays where that’s not a play we’re gonna do with him. … He can throw it well and we have to get him comfortable in the pocket, but he’s got a live arm.”

Indiana’s next best option is another true freshman, Zander Diamont. The Los Angeles native is also in the mold of a dual threat passer, matriculating from Venice High School where he was named LA City Player of the Year after throwing for 3,501 yards and 47 touchdowns as a senior.

But the Hoosiers want to redshirt Diamont, who stands at only 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds. One option could be playing Diamont this season and offering him a redshirt next fall, while Sudfeld is a senior. By that point, the Hoosiers will also have Decatur Central’s Tommy Stevens in the program.

Wilson said he didn’t give much thought to burning Diamont’s redshirt year on Saturday, but that consideration could change depending on Sudfeld’s prognosis.

“He’s just not ready,” Wilson said. “Moving forward, we’ll see what Nate’s timetable is. If Nate’s gonna be more than a week or two, we’ll definitely reconsider like, at the end (of the game), if you put him in for that drive at the end of the game and that’s all Zander plays, then you blew a year. When we get a feel for that, if the timeline is gonna be a little long — three, four, five weeks — then we’ll probably work in Zander not only as the (backup), but as the (backup) that we need to get out there playing.”

Indiana’s third option is redshirt sophomore Nate Boudreau, who started the season listed as one of Sudfeld’s backups, along with Diamont. Boudreau, however, doesn’t seem to be a longterm option. He walked on to the team prior to the 2012 season and has fallen behind Covington on the two-deep.

“He’s OK, but he’s just not as talented as the other guys,” Wilson said. “He’s solid, steady, but he’s a guy sitting in the pocket. … He’s done nothing wrong, he’s one of our guys, but right now Chris Covington is hands down the best and he handled it well today.”

3 comments

  1. coach, can you please tell your linebacker turned quarterback to sop sliding when a 180lb corner comes up to tackle him. sheesh

Comments are closed.