Diamont could redshirt, still battling for starting job

The hope is that Indiana won’t need Zander Diamont to play quarterback this year, that Nate Sudfeld will finish his college career in good health.

If everything goes according to this plan, and if he doesn’t miraculously beat Sudfeld for the starting job in August, Diamont will focus on becoming the Hoosiers’ quarterback of the future, not the present.

To do so, he’ll reclaim the redshirt that he lost last season.

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said after Saturday’s spring game that Diamont would likely only see the field this fall if the Hoosiers somehow lost Sudfeld and needed a quarterback to play more than a mop-up role. With redshirt freshman Danny Cameron in the mix, IU has another option to step onto the field and finish a game that’s already decided.

“If Zander’s the two and all of a sudden you need him, he plays,” Wilson said. “But if you stay healthy and the game’s over, ‘Hey Danny, we’ve already used your year.’ You always have that option to do that.”

Diamont arrived for his freshman season last year standing at 175 pounds and in desperate need of some bulk. The Los Angeles native said he’s already added approximately eight-to-10 pounds since the end of the season, and wants to add more between now and August.

More than anything, the experience of starting the final six games of Indiana’s season allowed Diamont to begin spring practice at the end of March feeling far ahead of where he was a year ago at this time.

“I think it’s no comparison,” he said. “Last spring I didn’t really know the playbook, wasn’t ready and now I feel like I kind of know the playbook and (I’m) so much more confident after being thrown in last season.”

In his half season as Indiana’s starting quarterback, Diamont completed 64 of his 132 passes for 515 yards, with one touchdown and four interceptions. He also took off running 55 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

After navigating the learning curve and coming along stronger over IU’s final three games of 2014, including the game-winning touchdown run in the Hoosiers’ Old Oaken Bucket Game victory, Diamont has had his moments this spring. He completed eight of his 16 passes in Saturday’s spring game, throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Damon Graham in helping the Crimson team to a 13-10 win.

Diamont’s off-season has taken a three-prong focus. There’s the weight training, for one, then there’s his time spent in the film room going over film with Sudfeld and IU’s returning group of receivers. Diamont and the rest of the quarterbacks have also worked focused more on their footwork in and out of the pocket, per Wilson’s requet.

He’s still not the crisp passer that Sudfeld is, but Diamont picked his spots well scrambling out of the pocket. He had one run that would’ve gone for a long touchdown sprint before it was called off due to an early whistle.

The Hoosiers will also welcome incoming freshman quarterback Austin King this summer, but he too could be a candidate for a redshirt. So if Indiana needs a second quarterback to play, especially early in the season, Wilson said he and his staff will choose carefully between Cameron, Diamont and King.

“It’s not like (Diamont) needs game experience,” Wilson said. “He’s played (at Ohio State and Michigan), he’s been chased around by good teams, he knows the pressure and he’s playing in big games. So we don’t need to get him used to the environment. If Zander is the two, to get his year back, that’s what we’ll do, but I don’t control that. If it’s Week 11 and all of a sudden we needed him? (I’ll say) ‘I’m sorry, but it’s a three-week run, baby, and we need you. Let’s go.'”

Diamont isn’t thinking about a redshirt, nor is he letting that probability define his spring. He gained confidence as the starting quarterback last season and wants to give Sudfeld a battle for the No. 1 spot this summer.

“Nate deserves that first shot at the No. 1 spot and he’s been playing great and you saw that (Saturday),” Diamont said. “But he knows that me and him are competing and I’m coming for it. I support him and hope he does great.”

7 comments

  1. Mike Miller, I’ve read attendance was good. Any handle on the # of folks in attendance?

    1. HC, Yeah it was fine for IU standards. I’d probably guess an actual attendance between 5-7k, though it’s hard to say for certain because it seemed plenty of folks took advantage of the beer garden in the south end zone. A good showing, all things considered.

  2. MM,
    Just read CFT and they have a chart of of all conferences with teams that have had their Spring games and lists the attendance reported. IU had 10,014. Pretty strong for IU’s long history. But Beer Gardens do help. It does look like the B1G will end up with the 2 largest attended Spring games this year and a fair chance for the top 3. I do expect the Vols who have not yet had their game to have something to say about #3.

  3. My wife is a Tennessee grad and former UT swimmer. Her parents were long time season ticket holders for football and both men’s and women’s basketball. I have been to quite a few games there and I’ve seen the Vols take on the
    likes of Notre Dame and the Tide. I’ve also been to games at many of the most fabeled stadiums in the country and Neyland Stadium is, without a doubt, the worst dump in all of college football.

    It’s a tribute to their fans that anyone would spend 3 hours in that fire trap.

  4. I should add that I’m still a fan. I just have no interest in cramming my body into a seat more appropriate for chew toy.

  5. “Yeah it was fine for IU standards.” And IU standards are, in relative terms, very, very low.

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