BTN’s crew visits Bloomington, breaks down the Hoosiers #iufb

The Big Ten Network’s football crew kicked off its annual conference tour on Monday, making Bloomington the first stop.

BTN’s Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith, among other network crew members, caught IU’s sixth practice of fall camp on Monday morning and broke down their observations during the evening broadcast of BTN Live.

Some highlights of their analysis, along with some comments from IU coach Kevin Wilson and offensive coordinator Kevin Johns can be found below:

— The defense authored a very strong practice and DiNardo said the most impressive thing he saw was IU’s ability to bring pressure with seven guys without tipping off which seven are coming. Overall, Griffith said, there was a palpable sense of aggression on the defensive side of the ball fed by the input of new coordinator Tom Allen.

“I think it’s clear what Tom Allen brings,” DiNardo said.

— BTN called IU’s quarterback competition a three-man race between Richard Lagow, Zander Diamont and Danny Cameron, but DiNardo didn’t seem very impressed with what he saw.

“Watching today’s practice, I don’t think anybody’s close to Nate Sudfeld right now,” DiNardo said. “But it’s one practice — I think it was the sixth practice of the preseason camp. They have a long way to go at the quarterback position.”

— Personally, from my view at Monday’s practice, Diamont had a few very strong throws downfield. We saw more touch and accuracy on Diamont’s deep ball than I can remember seeing during each of the past two seasons. One of his best throws came while he was rolling out and passing on the run to Donavan Hale along the sideline. Griffith, too, liked what he saw from Diamont on Monday.

“Zander’s done an outstanding job of trying to make plays with his legs and it does look like his arm has gotten a lot stronger this year,” he said. “I think he made some outstanding throws today. Lagow, I think, has to continue to get into this offense and continue to be comfortable. He can throw it around, as well. I think it’s going to be tough to name a guy early.”

— Indiana, however, seems to be getting closer to committing to a No. 1 quarterback.

“They’re all competing,” IU offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said. “We’re trying to be as fair as we can with reps, but we’re also getting to the point where we have to start giving certain guys a couple more reps.”

Wilson added that a decision could be coming soon.

“I haven’t thought about a date,” he said. “… I still think we’re going to need more than one. Every year, we have several guys at several positions play. There will be a guy who will go out there first. Hopefully, that maybe gets done in the week or so, but I’m kind of waiting to see the team.

“Do they rally around a guy and respond? Does that kid take care of the ball? So, kind of watching how are the quarterbacks interacting with their teammates? We’re looking a little bit at performance and is he an extension of what we’re trying to do? Can we trust him, because we put the game in his hands.”

— There’s a lot of intrigue around IU’s options at running back, particularly freshman Tyler Natee. Revsine tweeted that Wilson sees similarities to Ron Dayne, the former Wisconsin Heisman Trophy winner, in Natee.

To that point, Wilson said IU could look to use more of a ball-control offense this fall.

“I like a couple of those big backs,” Wilson said. “You saw Tyler Natee at 280 pounds today, who I think is going to be a player. Clyde Newton coming over, and we have a 1,000-yard kid in Devine (Redding) and (also) Mike Majette. We’ve got some depth at running back that maybe they can take some stress off. We’re still gonna have to do run-pass combos. They can always load the box. We’ve got some great players on the perimeter with Simmie (Cobbs), Ricky (Jones), Mitchell (Paige), J-Shun Harris and Nick Westbrook. We have players on the perimeter, but … even though we’re a spread team, we’ve prided ourselves the last few years on being a very good running football team. If we run the ball and the defense picks up, we can play a little bit more traditional Big Ten football and have a chance to have a winning season.”

— Griffith also quickly mentioned that “it’s unbelievable” how many weapons IU has at the offensive skill positions.

18 comments

  1. Once again, I’m confused by Wilson’s comments about his QBs. Is he planning to play two QBs on a regular basis this season (platooning) or is he just anticipating that he’ll need to play more than one QB? Reading between the lines, his comments imply that Zander will be the starter until he gets hurt of until Lagow learns the offense. That’s the only way Wilson’s comments make any sense. Who am I to question Wilson’s offensive genius, but most good college football teams are able to identify their starting QB and then stay with him unless he unravels or until he’s physically unable to play due to injury. It’s one thing to give the back-ups garbage time, but to go into the camp (again) making comments that imply that there is no clear cut starter just seems counter-productive. Wilson has done this before and I believe it contributed to a number of valuable QBs transferring when IU could least afford them to do so. Glad to hear Zander is showing a stronger arm and better passing skills, but if Lagow is not the starter through most of the season, Wilson wasted a scholarship.

  2. There are a number of people that are not making the QB position clear but if you listen closely I think the players favor Lagow and coach will pick him as the starter. I think it was telling that Feeney described Zander and Cameron in the same terms ‘guys that can scramble looking to make a play’. He described Lagow as a player benefiting by IU’s defense stunting so much. Feeney said Lagow was growing in the system and throwing the ball well. Lagow needs a lot of reps with the top receivers in the weeks leading up to the season opener.

    Po I don’t think coach Wilson will drag out naming the QB as he said he wants to avoid the situation he created with Tre, Nate, and Coffman. I don’t think coach’s decision will lead to a wasted scholarship as I think his comments about working with Lagow this fall. We will see how it works out this year and if coach creates a better QB situation than he did back in 2013.

  3. I dont get you people whats hard to understand?its not even a week into the practices chill the hell out!!!the opener is 3 weeks away worry about it when its the week of the game and there hasnt been a starter named

  4. I’d personally be thrilled if we can win six games again and go to back to back bowls since 1990-1991. I think it would be a feather in the cap if Wilson could give us seven wins. I love the optimism with people saying this team can win eight or nine games but I just do t see it yet. It’s getting there but not quite yet.

  5. Zanadu… at IU!
    Scramblin’ fast to put a spell on you.
    From Venice Beach and oceans blue
    To a Hoosier town with no football clue…
    He throws mean spirals long and true.
    On wings of spicy sauce and lots of hullabaloo
    But Zander, oh Zander, of beaches and Xanadu
    Run ’til your brown eyes find a saving seat at the sideline pew
    Buckeyes have lineman rivaling elephants at the zoo!
    If one were to land or roll on poor Zanadu…
    I fear any replay of the punctured beach ball once you
    Of the colorful character, a pancake flattened, topped with chrome-crimson goo….
    Too young to ‘Memorialize’ with bronze not a tan but of your statue
    Look! There’s a marker and a dedication of.the last pass you threw!
    I speak of dangers, I speak of candor, our Zander of Xanadu
    May the gods of Mojo Risin’ keep you from breaking into a reincarnated stick or two.
    And safer.than the job security of those sacrificed in the revolving doors of a Hoosier coaching crew.

  6. Seahawk–

    Remember the lock box? Don’t know why that just popped into my head….Basketblog memories seem to live on…..They sure destroyed our lock box….They wiped Basketblog clean…..I think it may be easier to find Hillary’s 30,000 lost emails than our lost posts from “the island” They dropped a Hoosier Hype atomic bomb to obliterate our chance to reminisce, recapture, and reclaim a friendly hammock swinging between a couple lonely palms of memories. Somewhere on the ocean floor is the lock box….Our oxygen…Our old friendship and trusted fun.drowned and sealed….and forgotten. Forgotten, my ass.

  7. Harvard- So the lockbox archives are lost forever? That’s too bad. I guess change is inevitable. Hard to remember sometimes that “The Cloud,” where our old data lives, is not a bottomless and limitless void in the universe, but an actual brick-and-mortar server farm with space limitations.

    I guess the lockbox will have to live on in the memories of the living rather than in the annals and archives of recorded history. Kinda like the way that medieval bards were responsible for informing the non-reading publics about local heroes and legends through their oral poems and songs.

    On that note, great work on the Zanadu poem.

  8. I guess the old TV show “To Tell the Truth” would escape some of the sprightly crowd of Scoop….

    Will the real brownbomber please stand up? Not u…u sit down.

    Isn’t “sprightly” a wonderful word? It speaks of fresh clean air, friendly waters, and cooling temps still to be found.. I dare you to try and find “sprightly” in any lockbox(or lock box). I found it dancing off a ray of sun behind a cloud. King Vocab might even be proud.
    Some on Scoop are quite gory today….I’d say there has been some serious climate change on this thread(courtesy: Al Gore).

  9. I remember in the first couple of years with KW, BTN would comment on IU just needing to find a couple of play makers. Now they say“it’s unbelievable” how many weapons IU has at the offensive skill positions. Dinardo would also comment on what really separated an IU from the upper half of the B1G was their lack of quality line play. Now the offensive line is one of the best in the league. BTN was also impressed by the defensive line although they admitted that IU still doesn’t have the quality depth required. Also, the freshmen players that continually are mentioned- Natee, Gest and Ball, were all originally lower-level recruits. KW and staff continue to find high level 3 or 4 star talent that, for whatever reason, is getting rated as low 3 star or even 2 star players. Simmie Cobbs is a good example as he was thought to be slow out of HS even though his HS coach said he was the fastest and most athletic player on the team. He is now considered one of the fastest players for IU. If Lagow can manage the game and the defensive front can continue as a group to play fast, there is no reason this can’t be an 8 win team. BTN and the Coaches agree that this is the most talented team of the KW era, now they have to play up to their potential.

  10. Those IDS frat-rat Osterdweebs may have buried Basketblog with dried up pile of scented fake hype, but they shall never kill the spirit of the island lockbox(captured beautifully by E.LO..). And long live our king, King Remora of Planet Clevertron.

  11. H4H, back to waxing poetic once again and nailing it like usual.

    Expectations are rising and now people want the team to be ready now three weeks before the season starts. The coaches will have the team ready when the season gets here.

  12. Have you seen Karate Kid…?

    On a bit of an off-topic note(though actually on-topic considering our fine Hoosier swimmers), I thought one of our candidates for president has claimed repeatedly that “we(as in America) just don’t win anymore.”
    Phelps another gold in the butterfly(now 20 gold medals)…Women gymnasts dominating….Lilly …Ledecky. USA leads in the total medal count with 24…China and Russia barely have more combined(29).
    Our proud and powerful Americans are sure letting the world now there is no shortage of “winning” in their vocabulary.

  13. world [know]……

    I’m not concerned or worried about Wilson. He carries himself like a true winner. He acts. He exudes confidence without arrogance. He is very accessible to the media. He has zero snidely approach with answering any critic. The guy is a winner and the victories are beginning to fill the ballasts of a sneaky old submarine still barely resting on the bottom but poised to surface and destroy those who had given her up for dead. Hoosier Football will rise under Coach Wilson.

  14. H4H, a great way to describe Coach Wilson and IUFB “The guy is a winner and the victories are beginning to fill the ballasts of a sneaky old submarine still barely resting on the bottom but poised to surface and destroy those who had given her up for dead. Hoosier Football will rise under Coach Wilson.”

    IUFB was like a submarine [a knock off of UM coach as he goes into their submarine each preseason] on the bottom, not knowing if it could be brought back to the surface any time soon. We are still waiting for it to surface; last season we saw the periscope, they just could sink any of the battleships in B1G. Maybe this season we can see the team sink some teams from the top of the B1G.

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