Ramsey confident, focused during crucial offseason

For the bulk of Indiana’s football team, practice ends when Tom Allen sounds the siren on his trusty megaphone.

For Peyton Ramsey, it’s over when he says it’s over.

IU’s redshirt sophomore quarterback has made a habit of staying on the field long after practice has ended this spring, throwing passes to a team of receivers. Some days, Ramsey lingers on the turf for 45 minutes post-practice, sending teammates Luke Timian, Chris Gajcak and Nick Westrbook, among others, on routes across the field.

Ramsey is taking this year’s quarterback competition as serious as he can, doing whatever he can to put himself in good standing come the fall.

“That’s what spring ball is about,” Ramsey said. “It’s about getting better and fine-tuning the little things so once you do finally get into fall camp and into the season, you’re ready to roll.”

There’s a long way to go before Tom Allen names his starting quarterback for the Sept. 1 opener at Florida International. Soon, Arizona graduate transfer Brandon Dawkins will also enter the mix, joining Ramsey and true freshman Michael Penix in a three-way race for first team reps.

In the meantime, Ramsey is drawing upon the experience he gained last fall to propel him through a crucial offseason.

Starting four of the nine games in which he appeared, Ramsey introduced himself to the Big Ten by completing 65 percent of his passes for 1,252 yards, with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.

It all helped the Cincinnati double his confidence, cementing his belief that he belongs as a starting quarterback in this conference.

“I think being in this offense for a year, being comfortable seeing what the defense is giving me and throwing the ball down the field, it’s been so, so big just to relax and see the defense,” he said. “It’s been really good. I’ve made really big strides this spring in terms of confidence.

“… It helps a ton, more than I really imagined it would. Just being out there playing Big Ten football, the best of the best. I think being out there helped me so much in terms of confidence. It’s really just the intangible things I feel like I’ve improved at, and then the tangible things come along with that. Things like the timing of routes, throwing the ball down the field, checking the ball down, throwing it away, slide protections. All that stuff just comes along with the confidence from playing in the Big Ten.”

Ramsey says it’s helped, too, having Penix on the field, pushing for his own reps.

The two have worked together, while breeding a fierce but healthy competition for first team snaps. No matter who wins the job later this summer, Indiana should have good depth at the position come the fall.

“We try to promote competition at every position,” quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan said. “Certainly, quarterback is no different. Our job is to make as much of a competitive room as we can. They understand that, so I think it’s made them both better.”

Saturday’s annual Cream and Crimson game will offer a glimpse at where each quarterback stands. Although their full running capabilities won’t be on display — play will be whistled dead when a defender approaches the quarterbacks — Ramsey and Penix will have a chance to show off their arms, timing and decisiveness in competitive situations.

And after it’s over, given his track record, Ramsey may just hang around and keep throwing.

“Spring ball, that’s what it’s all about,” Ramsey said. “It’s all about getting better.”

19 comments

  1. QB’S of Ramsey ‘ s ability say and try to do all the right things as often was the case with Lagow. (Intangibles). However, ability level/limitations come into play (tangibles). Often everything looks great against the likes of FL Internet and whoever and part of a game against high caliber competition. Then, all of a sudden ability limitations are exposed into a string of loses.

  2. I hope he improves totally missing the fact that he was a freshman and his numbers are better than the guy everyone is praising as a great pick up in Brandon Dawkins with his 15 tds in 3 yrs of playing at Arizona yay

  3. Ramsey is a good QB for the room and is capable of winning games; let’s face the OL was the biggest issue last year. Of course the more dynamic the QB the better IU’s offense will be and IU seems to have a couple of options for 2018. A dynamic QB makes the OL look better and RBs have more holes to run through as defense have to play more honest.

    No one I know is saying Dawkins is the savior for IUFB but he does add athletic ability to the room. Any of our QBs that can be more dynamic in 2018 will make our offense better and the best thing is, we now have every QB in the room that can run to go along with passing the ball. Not all are dynamic runners but adequate runners through exceptional runners. We now have stronger arms to turn to if needed so Ramsey’s leaderhip is an important advantage for him.

  4. I count 4 very impressive QB’s on the roster for IU next fall: Ramsey, Penix, Tronti and Dawkins. Plus the most gifted HS QB IU has had since Randel El as a true freshman on the roster!

  5. IU has maybe impressive QB’S by IU standards. That equals 500% or less fb wins. Not so impressive by major league standards, however definitely improvement for IU fb program.

  6. Dawkins has length, running ability, and what appears to be damn good acceleration/speed. Hell, if it doesn’t work at QB, then try him at wide receiver.
    Gotta feeling he’s going to be on the field…Speed rarely rides the pine.
    I doubt he’s moving 1500 miles farther from family and friends to put in one final season of watching from the sideline.

  7. this is not the most gifted IU quarterback rosters!!! Tre Robertson, Cam Coffman and Nate Sudfeld was by far more gifted then this group of quarterbacks. This group of quarterbacks may be more athletic and better “runners” and maybe better suited for this run-run-pass offense, but more gifted. Tronti is a defensive back, playing quarterback…..Ramsey and Dawkins are at best a option quarterback for Georgia Tech or Navy. Dawkins and Phenix are very similar type athletics as Joshua Dobbs (former QB at Tennessee University) this is the type of quarterback Mike Debord wants to run his offense. So according to most Indiana fans on this blog, Mike Debord and Tom Allen has everything needed for successful year provide the offensive line performs. The best overall quarterbacks and running backs group in years??

    1. 79,
      I’m not prepared to prejudge the QB roster one way or the other until we have more game evidence. The C&C game may give a little idea as to the progression of Ramsey and Penix, but we really won’t know anything until the fall. Like you and others, I also see potential promise and pitfalls with this group.

      That being said, I agree with you TA & Debord have a specific prototype of QB they want to run their offense. It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that all 4 have similar styles and skill sets. That’s also a certain amount of injury insurance especially with running QB’s. Some are better runners than others and some are better passers than others. Are any of the going to set the world on fire with exceptional talent? I doubt it. Do they represent an overall upgrade at the QB position? Yes, in that they all reasonably fit the QB template desired.

      The big question is as others have said, how well will the various pieces of this offensive team fit together? If they mesh together well and replicate anywhere close to Debord’s last Tennessee offense, they will be hopefully much more effective than the ’17 offense. No doubt, improved line and RB play will help much. If the passing game is effective enough to compliment the running game, then ’18 could be very interesting, especially if there is no fall off from the defensive roster losses.

  8. You have to love Ramsey’s grit, determination and work ethic. It’s obvious that he’s doing everything he can to make himself and his teammates better. He’ll be a valuable member of the team for the next two or three seasons.

    I think we’ll see three quarterbacks get significant playing time in 2018. I believe Dawkins will be named the starter, based on his experience and running ability. Compared to Ramsey, Dawkins is bigger, much faster (watch video of him at AZ, he outruns PAC-12 defensive backs on numerous occasions), more experienced and has a stronger arm. He’s not as accurate a passer, but he has a stronger arm (watch the video of Dawkins throwing from deep in his own end zone to the opposing team’s 47-yardline on a rope). Compared to Penix (hard to compare), Dawkins is simply a lot more experienced and physically mature. I believe Dawkins will hold on to the starting job for as long as he stays healthy. But running quarterbacks are more likely to get dinged up and miss time due to injuries, so Ramsey and Penix are going to play.

    As for IU’s offense, I think it’s going to change a lot compared to last season, especially if Dawkins is the starter. There will be a lot more plays where the QB has the option to hand-off, run, or pass based on his read of the defense. And the running backs and wide receivers are going to have to improve their blocking, especially their down-field blocking. DeBoard should be asking Rich Rod for his old playbook right now, or studying all of Arizona’s game tapes. Arizona’s defense was terrible the last two seasons, but their offense was very productive, with either Dawkins or Tate at QB.

    If IU’s defense and special teams can be as good as they were last year, IU will produce an upset or two and go to another bowl game.

    1. Yes yes PO! DOWNFIELD BLOCKING. BLOCKING OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES, COLORS AND KINDS! This sport should be called blockingball. Don’t read much about it here or anywhere else. Can’t quantify it with statistics. The most important muscle in football is the heart for contact.

  9. bb, I don’t know why you’re down on Dawkins, but having watched every game in which he appeared over the last two years at AZ, he’s very good. His running ability is a game-changer, and while he’s not a great passer, he’s not a bad one either. You don’t have to agree with me, but there’s a reason why Allen, DeBord and IU’s QB coach recruited him so hard.

  10. When IU gets any fb recruit of a pinch of potential significance, IU fb fans are so starved as to jump for joy and excitement. Then, win it is all said and done they have done nothing more than dance in a bucket of 5 or 6 wins and by the end of the season hopefully it is not 4 or less.

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