Ramsey ready for starting responsibility

Once he received the marching orders last Sunday evening, Peyton Ramsey knew what to do.

Ramsey reached for his phone and dialed his father, Doug, who doubled as his coach at Cincinnati football power Elder High School.

Indiana had just named Ramsey its starting quarterback for Saturday’s non-conference finale against Charleston Southern and Ramsey wanted to share the news with his longtime mentor.

“He told me that he’s seen me work and that I earned it,” Ramsey said.

Now, it’s up to Ramsey to take this week’s opportunity and turn it into the start of something meaningful for the Hoosiers, who will need stability at the quarterback position in the weeks to come.

Ramsey, a redshirt freshman, demonstrated enough ability during his first year and a half inside Indiana’s program to earn at least a niche role in the offense at the start of this season. With the weekly challenges of Big Ten season on the horizon, and plenty of IU’s big-picture goals still within reach, the time is now for Ramsey to step forward as the quarterback Indiana needs to succeed.

“I think I’m ready,” Ramsey said. “I’ve had opportunities to go out and play against good football teams. I feel like, from that standpoint, I’m prepared and confident and ready to go.”

Through the first month of the season, Ramsey has offered a sampling of his skill set as a mobile quarterback with a determined mentality. After juggling snaps with former starter Richard Lagow, the position now belongs exclusively to the 19-year-old from Ohio.

With it comes a new set of responsibilities.

Beyond orchestrating efficient scoring drives on the field, one of Ramsey’s primary objectives is to continue earning the confidence of his teammates.

“That’s the biggest thing,” he said.

As a true freshman scout team quarterback last fall, cultivating relationships with those around him was a process he had to learn to navigate. But Ramsey — and those around him — gradually saw his teammates place more trust in him as the 2016 season progressed.

It started with IU’s first-team defense, which scrimmaged against Ramsey and saw his attention to detail up close.

As IU’s then-defensive coordinator, Tom Allen saw it, too, developing a keen appreciation for the youngster’s approach and work ethic.

“There’s a grit to him,” Allen said. “There’s a toughness to him that he’s got a linebacker mentality in how he works and how he handles adversity and all that. I’ve noticed that since he’s been here in our leadership training. Those are the kind of things that I always saw that he had in him. So those need to come to the forefront. That’s what leaders do.”

Although his arm strength remains a work in progress, his running ability has added a different dimension to Indiana’s offense.

Ramsey grew up admiring the way Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson could elude opposing defenders, while also protecting his body. Avoiding big hits is a skill Ramsey has worked to develop since his high school days, and it’s allowed him to strike a balance between performing as a quarterback with decent throwing skills and one who can make things happen with his feet.

“He wants to throw the ball, but when he takes off running it’s because you’ve done something that took away what he wanted to do,” said longtime Elder High School assistant Craig James, who has known Ramsey since he was a small child.

“When he tucks it and he runs, it’s because he sees something that you did that took away his read. If he makes a mistake it’s because he’s trying to make something happen. But he would definitely rather pull it down and go as opposed to forcing something. He’s always been like that.”

That mobility should aid Indiana’s offense reduce the third-and-longs that have frustrated Allen through four games. IU enters October having faced the fourth-most third downs (68) among Big Ten teams, and Allen hopes Ramsey’s penchant for working on the run can help the Hoosiers move the chains more consistently.

The first month offered a glimpse into what Ramsey can bring to Indiana’s offense. Now, as the dedicated starter, Ramsey hopes to bring a little more consistency and a whole lot more success.

“This is what I’ve dreamed of,” he said. “This is something I’ve worked at for a really, really long time so it’s really exciting for me.”

6 comments

  1. He will probably look great this Saturday. It will mean nothing. How good he looks next Saturday will mean everything. Is it a move out of frustration and then back to Lagow out of frustration again? That is the question. Of course this is more than just a qb question.

  2. I like Lagow’s arm. But he doesn’t always process visual info fast enough unlike Nate Sudfeld did. A split second lag in target passes makes it a coin flip + he can become conflicted throwing to timing routes if he feels pressure. He has not improved his weaknesses enough. Ramsey possesses a considerably larger dose of just pure athleticism and he looks to process info more timely and handles the pressure smoother. Maybe he can keep improving game to game to make the change at QB the breakthrough needed. But it is going to take a lot better job by the offensive coaching staff to maximize the potential of the QB change.

  3. Where will Reese Taylor play IU 2018? He is Randell El type athlete. I do like the qb change to Ramsey because Lagow has hit the top of his ceiling which means not athletic enough and inconsistent. Having said that he still may be needed if Ramsey gets dinged etc. Also Ramsey gives more durability and toughness to qb position along with being a smart gamer. He is a competitor.

  4. Coach Allen called Taylor after his game Friday and told him he wanted him to play QB on Saturdays at IU. IU has gone from an athlete to a QB recruit. He is getting attention from Alabama and UM along with a #of other schools as a slot receiver. From what has been said he wants to play QB and should be given a chance to show how he can compete against B1G talent.

    I am a bit frustrated IU is sticking with redshirting Tronti as he is a more physical QB and in HS showed a strong arm than Ramsey. Tronti is getting the same comments from the defense Ramsey had last year. I hope Ramsey can do the job against B1G talent but we will have to see if his understanding of the game overcomes his limitations.

  5. I know it is h.s. However, considering Ramsey and Tronti (I have never seen Tronti play) but evidently Ramsey is ahead of him….Reese Taylor could very well be the future qb at IU. Though only 5’10” he passes well, lighting quick, very very athletic, speedy, heady plus smart and poised, and very durable.

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