Austin King looking for strong finish in IU’s spring quarterback battle #iufb

Kevin Wilson issued a challenge and Austin King responded.

A week ago, Wilson expressed concern that younger quarterbacks King and Donavan Hale weren’t doing enough work behind the scenes to warrant consistent snaps with the first- and second-team offenses. There are limits to what coaches can request of their players beyond the weekly limits, but players are free to put in work on their own time.

Often, it’s the best players — or the ones that have something to prove — who take advantage of the opportunity before them.

“It’s kind of like the library is open and a lot of guys go over and study, but some guys go home,” Wilson said last week. “As a quarterback, you have to get up to speed.”

That, apparently, was a message King received.

The redshirt freshman quarterback has turned what was briefly a two-man battle at quarterback this spring into a three-man race with junior college transfer Richard Lagow and redshirt sophomore Danny Cameron. Wilson says King has shown improvement during the last few days of practice, including Saturday’s first scrimmage of the spring.

IU offensive coordinator Kevin Johns agrees.

“Austin has all the tools to be a really good player,” Johns said. “Now it’s the mental part of things that we’re trying to get up to speed on, and really just game experience. He’s still learning the offense and still going through reads and progressions and things, but when he knows what he’s doing, he can rip it as well as anybody. It’s just a matter of confidence and reps and knowledge and continued growth.”

King, who took a redshirt last fall, threw for 2,370 yards and 21 touchdowns, while completing 56 percent of his passes as a senior at Alpharetta (Ga.) High School in 2014.

At the moment, Lagow and Cameron seem to be at the front of the quarterback battle. While Lagow has the arm strength, he lacks the consistency of Cameron as he continues to learn the playbook and develop confidence. Cameron, who may lack some of the physical tools of those around him, can compensate with his leadership and understanding of the high standards Wilson sets for quarterbacks.

With only a handful of practices remaining before Indiana closes its spring, it seems King is forcing his way back into the race with a strong finish.

“I think he sees that he’s just as good as these other guys he’s competing with,” Johns said. “He lacks the experience, but he knows he’s just as good. There’s a sense of urgency of trying to learn and trying to grow.”

7 comments

  1. As the Spring practice continues it shows that the two best arms are working hard to be the starter. Lagow and King are heads above the others as far as arm strength goes. However a QB has to do more than throw passes better than others so this summer work with receivers will be big. I saw at practice that Lagow needed to have more time with receivers and listening to the receivers they are going to make sure the QBs get the time they need this summer.

    Coming out of the first scrimmage both Lagow and King were mentioned to have some real good plays. It will be fun to see how the three QBs do in the Spring Game.

  2. If IU is to have a 7-5 or better year in 2016, then Lagow and King will have to be 1-2 at QB (in any order). I hope that Cameron continues to improve and to impress. Three good QB’s is a necessity, not a luxury, in college football today! The emphasis is on the adjective “good”. Indiana has to score 40 in every game to win. We played very well, scored 40, and still lost last season to MI and to Duke. If those 2 had been wins the record would have been 8-5 not 6-7. Throw in a W over Rutgers in the “great collapse” game, and 9-4 is a great year. The D will improve this season, but Indiana still must score 40 in each game to win! So Lagow and King must play really well at QB!

  3. BeatPurdue, I agree with what you are saying. It will be important to have three QBs [as you say it is a necessity] ready because you never know when the injury bug will hit. What is exciting this year is how close the team was to having a 9-4 year [10-3 with a TD and 2pt PAT at the finish] with just winning games they had every right to win. IU needs to have the capability to score 40 or more every game but if the defense comes around there will be games they won’t need so many point against top competition. It looks like the OL will retool and be a strength so the running game should be impressive again this year while our returning receivers and new QB should be able to light up the scoreboard like the 2013 team did. If we can dare to hope for a better defense some close wins should happen instead of close losses.

  4. There is a tendency to say if IU won a couple of the close games last year the record would be????? There is also the case if IU lost a couple of close games they actually won the record could have been worse than it was. I think this is a tendency in not just IU fb but in most situations as well. If this or that trying to be hopeful, wishful, and positive.

  5. t, it is hopeful that with a very good DC that IU can do better than last year; you are right that they could have lost some games too. The comments about last year’s team possibly winning more games is about recognizing how close IUFB is to breaking out of the doldrums. Will the team win more games this coming year we will have to wait and see but with the early signings from 2017, recruits seem to think IUFB is improving. A very good year this year will really help recruiting for 2017 and make IUFB even better.

    Our offense with a very good QB has shown it is as good as any B1G team so now we need the defense to show they can play as well as other defenses to help IU win more games in 2016. By the way I am being positive about this coming team but realize they could disappoint me again.

  6. I think IU fb has been on a slow steady positive pace. I have always disagreed that the offense was as good as any in big ten a consistent basis mainly due to injuries and lack of depth to compensate at same level that was lost because of injury. On occasion the offense let the defense down. Overall offense was better than defense. I think Austin King will be a star qb before he leaves IU. He will probably play behind Lagow and have to wait for his opportunity. I look for a 7 plus win season next year. Of course for over the last 50 years I have been optimistic in an imaginary way. However, 2016 will be good for KW+Staff+Players and IU FB.

  7. t, I agree about King being a star QB when his time comes. IU is starting to get players in backup positions that have real talent and it should make it easier to handle the injuries that happen. IU’s offense is different than others in then league but based on points and yards, they rank with the best in the league the past 2 out of 3 years. The offense has let the defense down at times but if our defense can get to the level of NW’s defense then it won’t be as noticeable. Like you, I expect 7 or more wins this coming season but our optimism hasn’t been based on previous success yet. Last year was enticing yet the team still came up short too many times.

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