Allen plans to announce starting QB this week

A decision on Indiana’s starting quarterback is coming soon.

Very, very soon.

IU coach Tom Allen said after Monday morning’s practice that he planned to huddle with his staff later in the day and discuss the next step in this month’s open competition between redshirt sophomore Peyton Ramsey, graduate transfer Brandon Dawkins and true freshman Michael Penix.

An announcement on a starter is expected by the end of the week.

“I really want to have it announced before our mock game, which is on Saturday of this week,” Allen said. “I would like to be able to make that final decision, that way we can get our guys in position to get the quality reps that they need to be able to get ready for Week 1.”

For the duration of fall camp, which concluded with Saturday’s closed scrimmage, Ramsey, Dawkins and Penix were given equal opportunities to take snaps and make their case. Allen and offensive coordinator Mike DeBord mixed and matched each quarterback with the first-, second- and third-team offenses, getting a view at how all three handled different personnel groupings.

Allen said last week that he was still waiting for one of the three quarterbacks to make the decision obvious. Asked Monday if that separation has occurred, Allen told reporters that the decision has become clearer.

“It’s become more obvious to me what we need to do,” Allen said. “And I feel great about the room. I think it’s three guys that they’re all going to have to help us when it’s all said and done. I think that that excites me. I remember last year at this time, we didn’t have three guys that we felt were going to be ready. We thought we had a couple, but not three. Anytime you have that many, you really feel like you got a great opportunity to put the very best person on the field to lead our team.”

Which player will that be? No one is saying. At least not yet.

But as the month has developed, Ramsey, Dawkins and Penix have all demonstrated their unique strengths.

“They’re all such good athletes,” said tight end Austin Dorris, who played quarterback in high school. “… Dawkins is just so fast, and he’s learning the offense along with everyone else. And I’ve always said Penix is going to be — has the potential to be — one of the best players in the country. He’s so explosive on the plays he makes with his feet and the ability to throw while running. He’s incredible.

“And Peyton is just the most consistent guy on the team. Every single day he brings the energy, brings the juice and is just always ready.”

With Indiana moving closer to beginning its game preparation for the Sept. 1 opener at Florida International, anticipation builds for Allen’s announcement.

In a matter of days, the second-year coach expects to make it.

“I do plan to announce it here sometime this week,” Allen said.

29 comments

  1. I predict Dawkins will start and Ramsey comes in if they absolutely must pass the ball or if Dawkins begins to flounder. As talented as they say he is, I just don’t see T.A. trusting Penix to lead this offense as a true freshman. He’ll play in at least four games, but I don’t see T.A. giving him the keys to the car this year unless the other two are beat up.

    1. Po,
      I believe conventional wisdom would stack it in the way you mentioned. If Dawkins has the decided edge over his two teammates then it is likely a superior running ability, although his passing ability in anything other than a Rich Rod system could surprise us all. If he is successful in displacing Ramsey as the starter, it won’t be the first time in football such has happened, and it won’t be the last time. You go with the one who gives you the best chance to win, not on what they may or may not have done in the past.

      The only thing is I have this nagging suspicion that Penix may be more involved in the strategic planning for this year than we may expect. Ideally, you want to preserve his redshirt status to allow for a 5th year, but who knows, the future could be now.

  2. I think that each of the 3 deserves quality reps in game 1! Let’s see them in action! Let’s score 60 and run and pass with abandon! Let’s have some fun!

  3. From IndyStar.com:
    “Under current leadership, this IU football program is safe, it is cautious, it is all about the percentages. Tom Allen was a conservative hire in the wake of Kevin Wilson’s ouster in December 2016, already on staff and making noticeable progress at defensive coordinator. Allen’s choice of offensive coordinator also was conservative: 60-year-old Mike DeBord (now 62), who has been good enough to land nice jobs at nice places, but not good enough to make much of a difference at any of them.

    Now comes another decision, the biggest of Tom Allen’s IU career, one he can’t afford to get wrong. Not with IU taking a small step back in his first full season, failing to qualify for a bowl for the first time in three years. And not with Purdue picking up steam 100 miles to the north, a truly lousy football program in 2016 hiring Jeff Brohm and skipping a step by winning seven games in 2017, beating IU for the first time in five years to get bowl-eligible — while denying the same of the Hoosiers — and then beating Arizona (ahem) in the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl.”

  4. I commend the writer of that IndyStar article. I believe those statements are accurate and right on target. Tom Allen was a “safe” hire (made by a risk averse AD). Purdue, in hiring Brohm, took a big step forward last season while IU took a step back. And therefore, the decision as to who will be IU’s quarterback is huge. I believe it will determine whether IU recovers momentum in 2018 and produces a winning season, or whether it will be mired IU in mediocrity.

    Another more recent thought came to me. If Penix is as talented as those who have watched him say he is, and if he is truly the future of IU Football, and if his lack of experience is the only thing that separates him from Dawkins and Ramsey, he’s got to play this season. Maybe not as a starter, but as a regular back-up. And maybe he has to play more than four games! If he’s that talented and has that much potential, being conservative with him so you can redshirt him may be the wrong strategy. Is a guy with that level of talent going to stay in Bloomington for five years? Unlikely. If Penix turns out to be as good as some people believe he is, he’ll be the starter for at least three seasons and then enter the draft. Getting him significant playing time his freshman year will allow him to develop that potential much faster than having him hold a clipboard for eight games this season.

  5. Now the opening chapters
    The season begins
    Page One opens with quarterback decisions
    Our anticipation stirs
    The books on the shelves
    Speak of tragic old tales
    IU Football stacks heavily upon hearts
    A plot rarely changes
    A new story rarely unfolds
    Losses fill the library
    Faster than the minutes
    Surrender to hope an hour holds.

    Rest again in worn leather chair
    Another year of crisp pages for thumbs
    Upon the dreary and stale air
    Familiar dissections of roster spots
    And all the little things to care.

    What is left of a fan to invest
    Some unfamiliar plots unfold
    Upon too many the same sorry endings
    To properly put to warming rest?

    Dark is the room of Hoosier Football
    New words as hollow as the echoes of old
    Asleep with brandy spilled about my chest
    I put the book down…No true mystery
    saves the sleepy eye of such failed time to test.

  6. Not that IU couldn’t win big or score 60, however it is just a laughable comment. Maybe, they can win the game is reality. Anything else is imaginary dream which is ok to.
    On qbs and Penix; Penix won’t be the last qb that will be recruited if IU can win at a higher rate. Another/s qbs will have to be recruited within the next 2 or 3 years if IU football is going to be even somewhat successful. To much emphasis or concern on red shirt or not because one quarterback if he is the best option by saving him for future is not going to determine future success.

    1. t- such nonsense. Many observers see what I see. IU is way too conservative on offense! IU needs to run and pass with abandon. IU needs to excite the players and fans by stretching our heretofore limits on offense, while shutting down our opponents on defense. Turn lose each of the 3 QB’s. Let’s see who is better right now, in these first few games. Then ride him to 7-8 wins. We know that we have 2 good backups ready to go if a problem develops. This has to be the “Breakthrough” year! Next year will be too late!

  7. The problem with knowing about the QBs is I haven’t seen them yet other that short clips on the internet. Personally I would choose to start Dawkins because he is a dynamic player that could help the running game and make the passing game more dangerous [however not consistent]. We know Ramsey can come in and spark the team based on last year. This gives IU a chance to be explosive yet having an alternative for the first game if needed like it was against VA. It is apparent that the coaches have a clear idea of the starter and based on that I would think Ramsey will be the starter.

  8. Ramsey is the safe pick. He has experience and does everything O.K.. But he does nothing great! And I believe that if IU is to have a winning season, our quarterback is going to have to be exceptional at something; a great runner, a very strong arm, or both. Ramsey is not going to make any Big Ten defense nervous. He’s just not! IU’s quarterback is going to have to be “a difference maker” and special at something. And I just don’t see Ramsey as having any special gifts. I fear that T.A. is going for the safe, conservative, game-managing quarterback in the belief that his defense will be really good and hold opponents to fewer points than last year. That’s a huge risk to take because I don’t think this year’s defense is going to be as good as last year’s defense. Too many young guys without experience. A defensive line that is not going to stuff the run against Big Ten teams. And when I read about two freshman that are going to get significant playing time at cornerback, that means we have a problem with depth and experience in the defensive backfield.

    IU is going to have to score a lot of points this year if it is going to produce seven wins.

  9. I would think Dawkins will either be one or two and if he is two behind Ramsey will eventually be one due to limited passing and durability of Ramsey. Dawkins; does he rattle, kill drives after looking good with mistakes, can he be successful playing within himself not trying to overdo high risk plays? I wouldn’t think he would be happy not playing after transferring to IU and being a starter at Arizona before getting beat out by what is suppose to be a really good qb.

  10. Hey I’d only seen Penix’s highlights from his junior year- and he looked good. But I just saw his senior year- wow, IU has never, NEVER had a qb recruit like him. You name it, he can do it- throw long, throw on the run, throw with touch and out run just about anyone on the field. He seems to have a poise beyond his years. Like Austin Dorris said, he will be one of the best quarterbacks in the country at some point. This year should be about grooming Penix for next year. Whoever pulled his scholarship offer at Tennessee will be selling insurance in a year or two. IU has 2 capable qb’s and 1 future star.

    1. 123,
      That has been my impression regarding Penix ever since he signed. Problem is, you just don’t know how what appears to be good in HS and in the highlights will translate to a higher level of competition.

      1. Don’t get too sold on YouTube highlights…I’ve also found that many on Scoop have very inflated assessments for recruits from their same stomping grounds(translated: if the recruit is from my home state/town, they’re the best thing since sliced bread).
        There are multiple divisions governing various state’s h.s. football programs. Some of these so-called “greats” may have looked very average if playing in a higher or top division(usually containing much larger schools and deeper rosters/competition levels).
        Apples and oranges …but I do remember how some resident basketball “experts” of Scoop were going way over the top concerning the skills of Max Hoetzel. The game never matched the hype. Much the same with Diamonte.
        There will be some “sleepers” coming out of smaller h.s. divisions/classes, but breaking tons of passing records playing for a ‘Class 3-A’ may not excite an OSU recruiter in the same fashion an IU recruiter. If many of our recruits had to face a murderer’s row of opponents in the same fashion Indiana Football must face the sledgehammering elite teams of the BigTen East, I doubt the YouTube clips would look as glorious.

  11. Tennessee football has been a train wreck ever since some moron fired Phil Fulmer. If I didn’t know better, I’d think a bunch of former IU Administrators took jobs at Tennessee about a decade ago and then set about to trying to ruin its football program.

    1. Po,
      Tennessee FB has been dysfunctional for a while, but they can still exhibit a powerful draw for talent across the country. Funny how 2 traditional powers with the initials UT can both mess it up so bad for so long, with all the resources available to them.

  12. Each of the 3 can play! Let each play in game #1. Then this meaningless speculation will give way to informed projection, based on a small body of actual data!

    1. The last thing you want to do is play all three in game #1. Show belief in one guy ….Allow the choice to develop some chemistry in the huddle and on the field. The last thing you want to do is act like you expect great decision making from a revolving door.

  13. Beware of scheduling against Southern states favoring multiple use of the same vowel…(e.g. Tennessee…Mississippi…Alabama).
    Good football = favorite consonants and soft vowel repetition? a, e, i, o, u…and sometimes ‘Why worry about the rest of the letters in the alphabet?’

  14. Not a bad idea, BP. Bit IU must win the first game. And I don’t believe IU is going to get such a big lead that it will allow T.A. to play all three QBs. Hope I’m wrong, but I’ve watched IU struggle to win games that otherwise should have been relatively easy. And the other thing is, once you pick a starter, you have to maximize game experience with the offensive skill players so the “chemistry” is established. I’m guessing that unless it is a blow-out at half time (hardly likely), or the starter really struggles, only two QBs will play in the first game.

  15. Actually, Penix may be a quality qb however some lack perspective. Teammates are suppose to believe in one another so it is not uncommon for one of the best in the country type statements. However, no one really knows how good he may be. It just shows that IU is trying to catch up with other major league football teams with some players that can actually be identified as big ten quarterbacks. Currently, at this time IU has average to a little above average major league qbs. Perspective is high 3 stars. Some jump at this upgrade of qb position labeling them as high achievement status before they even take a snap this season on their way to a high win season. It’s ok to dream. For now that’s all it is. It is a dream.

  16. Comical statement “IU must run and pass with abandon.” Pretty much every team wants to at their own strategy and pace if they can. That includes opponents. Yes even Lagow, A.D., Ramsey, Suds, among others did. Hahaha. Reckless!

    1. t- I really have no idea what you are trying to say? Your posts are really hard to follow. I’m you sure you had a good idea when you started composing but somehow the train went off the rails….

  17. This is the most talented and deepest stable of QBs we’ve seen at IU in 20 plus years. Lets enjoy this!

  18. Qualifier is “by IU standards.” I agree that IU does have a legitimate identifiable physical big ten QB room. This was a struggle in past so it is somewhat of stark contrast for the positive in comparison what was there before. The season/s will determine How great.

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