Hoosiers off and running at fall camp

Indiana coach Tom Allen played his part in setting the tone Friday, roaming the practice field with a megaphone on the first day of fall camp.

“Fanatical effort, every day. Coach them hard!”

“Every rep. Take pride in every rep!”

“Energy and effort. We gotta finish, men!”

The pads weren’t on yet — just pants, jerseys and helmets — but the Hoosiers did finish as Allen demanded. And it was senior Reakwon Jones who answered the call, stripping the offense of the football on the last rep of team drills, stampeding toward the end zone with a herd of teammates surrounding him.

As the linebacker went to his knees, his hands held toward the sky, his defensive counterparts went wild.

“Just conscious effort of taking it from the offense. That’s how you win games,” Allen said after practice. “You score on defense, you are going to have a great chance at winning ball games.”

IU is a long way from putting actual points on a scoreboard, but Friday was forward progress. Allen will want the offending running back to secure the ball, but the inexperienced defense of a year ago seems to be maturing, while the offense — still in search of its quarterback — had some positive moments.

Redshirt junior Peyton Ramsey, the Hoosiers’ most experienced signal caller, seemed like the more polished of the three quarterbacks pursuing the starting role. His footwork was crisp. His passes were on time. On one play, he connected with junior receiver Ty Fryfogle deep down the field for a sideline catch.

But it’s just Day 1. This early in fall camp, it’s impossible to make any grand pronouncements about Ramsey’s standing compared to Michael Penix Jr. and Jack Tuttle. They will each continue to rotate reps with the first-team offense.

“Every day matters,” Allen said. “It’s just about evaluation. It’s what it is. You are going to go through and watch every single play. Every single day, you are going to grade it, you are going to evaluate it. That’s how that’s going to work. Same as every other position.

“We’ll go over who is chasing the football, who executes right on defense. Those are going to be the guys who play. And once we get pads on, who can finish plays?”

The defense had that practice-punctuating takeaway, and the defensive line — able to really get into a padless offensive line — was able to register a few batted balls at the line of scrimmage.

The Hoosier defense just wanted a little bit more than a batted ball during those team periods. Hoosier defenders hit the ground for pushups when they weren’t able to come up with an interception. IU forced 26 turnovers last season — a marked increase from 13 in ‘17 — but Allen thinks the Hoosiers can have more.

Thus the pushups. Thus the importance of Jones’ scoop and score.

“That, to me, is what is critical, and we have so many guys back from last year of such a young group that did create a lot of takeaways but was not consistent,” Allen said. “Maturity creates that, too, but a leader like Reakwon making those kinds of plays is what we want to see.”

But there are still things Allen would like to see improve, especially coming out of summer workouts where coaches aren’t allowed to be present.

“The negative of not being out there is sometimes you can get some bad habits. You are talking two months full of that,” Allen said. “The hope was, with all the leadership we have, all that we did leading up to it to try and prevent some of those negative habits … to me, I thought it was a lot crisper than it’s been, with more guys involved, which is a reflection of good things.

“But I still think, like on defense, when guys are in that setting over the summer, there are no coaches out there making them chase the football, they don’t have that ingrained in them yet. And the average high school kid doesn’t understand that concept. Some of our younger guys I didn’t see that like I expect to see it.”

So Allen will continue to push in the coming days, using that megaphone to get his point across. But all in all, the third-year head coach was pleased with Day 1.

“We had great energy and effort in all that we did, and a lot of guys got a lot of reps, especially these new guys,” Allen said. “Good first day. Great start to fall camp.”

45 comments

  1. I can’t wait until the first pad practice as that is when players really get into it. We will get to see how the OL deals with a big DL and if they can open holes for the RBs. The defense gets to establish the tone of how they will play. I liked seeing film of the first practice and see they were working on punt blocks going after the ball. Come on Hoosiers end our string of losses to the Big guys in the B1G; beat everyone you should and knock off teams you aren’t supposed to beat.

  2. You know, many have said we was a truly ‘open’ quarterback competition…but I don’t believe we really mean it.

    We have PR fatigue and we want to see what Penix or Tuttle can do in games.

    In practice? There is little chance that one of those guys is going to look as crisp and efficient as PR running the offense against many of the same guys he ran the offense against in practice all last season…and the season before. Unless one of the other guys just demonstrates far, far superior skills, PR is going to look sharper in practice.

    In my military days the older guys always waxed the newbies. Every time. It was about proficiency. Being there before.

    I hope to see a new face calling signals in the fall, too, but beating out Ramsey in practice is not going to be easy.

    1. Chet,
      I have a major concern with this too. If we see PR and the same results as the last two years, it will be on TA and it won’t be pretty. Here’s another major problem. As hard as it is to get higher quality QB’s to sign on with IUFB, if potential recruits see this happen again, it will be virtually impossible to recruit higher rated QB’s. IF PR cannot prove it on the field against quality B1G defenses, then all the good which it appears TA is trying to do for IUFB will be for nothing.

  3. Per espn qb ratings out of high school
    PR 74 (3 star) lower recruited
    JT 79 (3 star) highest recruited
    MP 78 (star) highly recruited
    Best long term (even within one season) winning options is with MP and/or JT.
    PR had almost 2 years opportunity plus this training camp to maximize ability level.

    1. I completely agree but that wasn’t the point. I just said that it is going to be difficult to look sharper than PR in practice since, in large part, he is going to be doing things he has done for going on 3 years. If the coaches are truly having an open competition it is gonna make that tough.

      It might take a game environment for one of these guys to shine brightly enough to pull the trigger.

  4. If chairs could be the armchair quarterbacks on Scoop, they’d look like this. Those are some damn beefy arms…Hold big drinks for big throws of big beer cans at big screen television.

  5. Here is my “armchairing”…If Allen doesn’t have the guts to put Ramsey on the bench and allow Tuttle or Penix to open the season, then the job is simply too big for him. You have to get the future qb out of the gate early. The only reason Penix shouldn’t start would be his knee not being ready…I don’t care if he’s not sharp in practice.
    If Penix’s knee isn’t ready, it should be Tuttle getting the nod.

    Ramsey should be a back-up qb. It’s not complicated at this point. You must turn the corner with the truly “it factor” qb who has a bigger arm…and bigger marquee draw for the fans.

  6. I attended the Penn State game, when Penix entered the game you could see the difference between him and Ramsey, Penix had quicker release, more velocity on the throw, longer passes and how the Penn State defense had make major changes in their defense. I don’t know anything on Tuttle’s abilities and how he compares to the other two QB’s but I did see the difference with Penix on the field, before he was injured.

    1. IUS
      You saw at the PSU game exactly what anyone with an unbiased eye should have seen. This is why I have been saying all along, the B1G defenses are the best argument for someone other than PR. Unless he can prove on the field he is a bigger threat than he has thus far, B1G defenses will continue to show PR zero respect. PSU showed PR absolutely no respect by how they defended the IU offense, just like every other B1G defense. When MP entered the game, they showed everyone which QB they respected and which one they didn’t. If PR cannot prove them wrong and continues to start, then the lack of respect will fall not only upon him, but upon TA and DeBoer as well.

  7. Yep, no question PR is a polished practice player. He’s a coach’s son and knows how to impress the coaches in practice, doing all the little things well and demonstrating his “intangibles.” Problem is, that good stuff does not translate into winning Big Ten games. You can polish a VW Beatle and make it look real good sitting in the driveway. But take it out on the road and see how it performs against a BMW/Audi/Mercedes. There’s a place for simple, old fashioned power, whether it’s in an engine or in a QB’s throwing arm.

  8. Yes, I agree that it will be a challenge for the other 2 qbs to beat out PR in practice given his experience. Part of that it seems that TA is slow to let Ramsey go to 3rd string in this case. However, where I might disagree is that you know you have a qb with more limitations than the other two regardless of experience. Honestly, P.R. Scramble/Run ability is because defense takes away a downfield game and contains P.R. Very seldom does he break away for a long one except for a couple times. The next thing you know P.R. is beat up limping around in survival mode and his threat is greatly diminished. If the other two qbs are better passers then the scrambling/running is pretty much equalized. Then, it becomes a matter of leadership and the new offensive coordinator. T.A. needs to coach the whole team and not just qb. So, it is good for someone other than P.R. that there is a new OC. Waiting to make qb change provided the other two qbs are legitimate until after games start being played will just slow down progress and complicate things and IU tradition will continue negatively. In other words a direct and straight forward decision making process is very much needed. Now, if PR has improved to the point of a top big ten qb that is going to lead the big ten/nation in passing, scoring, no turn overs etc that is a different story.

  9. Of course Ramsey looked sharper in practice as he had the whole Spring working with the offense. Penix didn’t really work with the offense with any pressure on him. Tuggle by all accounts looked really good during his time this Spring. I hope coach DeBoer is the one that chooses the starting QB as he has had success doing that. I worry coach Allen will weigh in heavily in the decision and Ramsey will win under his criteria.

    Ramsey has to show he is much better than he has been the past two years if he is to be the starter but I would still worry about his up side – that there isn’t much more he can do than he has already shown Whoever is the starter needs to play both games before OSU if IU has a chance to be OSU this year. If the starter is Ramsey the question needs to be – can he beat OSU if they are unsure then one of the other two needs to start.

    1. Every head coach has heavy involvement in choosing the starting quarterback. No HC abdicates on this responsibility. If he passes it to the OC, he has no business being the head coach. Allen will definitely have the final say on this, though DeBoer will have great input.

  10. PR would be a better 3rd string qb or situational qb (in IU situation) than as a starter because of his intangibles, leadership, coaching background. If one othe other qbs goes down or is dinged and the other is having a bad day or some situation that calls for your 3rd string qb to go in then PR would be an excellent choice for that. That is his role as a team player/mate. He would be very good at that because he should be healthy and fresh.

  11. I think JT will be the starter. It would give MP more time to mend if more time is needed. The last thing MP needs is a re injury.

    1. Tuttle is a good prospect, but he’s probably not ready, based on what came out of Spring practice. There was a reason he couldn’t get on the field, and was no better than #3, at Utah.

  12. Throwing MP in Penn State game after not playing much at all earlier against weaker competition proved to be an immature coaching decision. If MP would have been playing in earlier lower competition games he would have been more comfortable and coached to get on the ground win running among other things. He would had time to grow into qb position a little. JT or MP will need time to grow into qb position as a starter. PR had already had his time = limited ability

  13. And a new qb is not all that risky as far as wins and losses because PR limitations and 5 wins back to back.

  14. I for one am in the start Peyton Ramsey corner….I figure that Peyton Ramsey will win the first two games against Ball State and Eastern Illinois, then look very horrible against Ohio State that a quarterback change is needed or the coaching staff will see the need for a change. An either JT or MP will get the start against Connecticut and Indiana wins the next four games in a row (my prediction). Getting everybody hopes up, then lose the last five games of the year (bowl eligible).

  15. Not only would I not start Ramsey, I’d make him 3rd on the depth chart. If MP or JT is third on the depth chart, they are much more likely to transfer, especially MP since he couldn’t win the starting job last year. And Penix knows he’s not 3rd string material on a mediocre Big Ten team. I also think TA knows fans will revolt if Ramsey is named the starter. A third year of 5 wins and no progress and TA’s job security will be a whole lot more questionable. But 1 win over a matchup or better opponent and TA probably get’s an extension. MP or JT has the talent to pull off the upset. Ramsey just doesn’t. Too many reasons against naming Ramsey #1.

  16. Here’s a other angle.

    Let’s say last year CTA planned to start Penix but he was too young and, let’s face it, frail to do that from the start. Maybe he figured he could get some experience, maybe get a little stronger, and finish up the season as the starter with a couple winnable games and go on to a bowl.

    We don’t know. Most of us are of the opinion that Peyton Ramsey has some sort of ‘in’ and that’s why he started all of last year. It could be that CTA hoped to finish the season with Penix holding the reins from the get go…then he got hurt.

    That is entirely possible. He may be munching at the bit to put one of the new guys in.

  17. IU is beyond new “angles”…It’s time for some new degrees. The new degree should be 180 degrees away from conventional. You just recruited a qb who had interest from Alabama and USC….He practiced plenty last season at Utah.
    Allen doesn’t want to see the early cupcake games slip through his fingers and is, again, falling on experience over the new hot commodity…And that, my Scoop friends, is more of the same old conventional. Probably the same old conventional that pushed Brandon Dawkins to reevaluate his place and his love for football.

    Allen had a qb not too frail in Dawkins in early August of 2018 …He had a strong body with strong legs available last season. A new dynamic qb with versatility was flooding our hopes. But we saw these same articles last year proclaiming Ramsey as the frontrunner while the new “hot commodity” was likely having a 180 degree change of confidence and thoughts creep into the head and diminish hopes and expectations.

    Quarterbacks are a different breed, folks. You don’t play around with their expectations. And you especially don’t play that angle at a school with our football history.

    We fumbled a brilliant offensive coordinator away to OSU. Sure, maybe he was verbally abusive…but isn’t it mental abuse to recruit these promising qb’s with great potential and make them hold a clipboard while watching Ramsey throw wiffle ball passes blown back by the wind?
    Now we remain poised to fumble away oodles of potential in Penix …and all the positive vibe of landing a qb USC …or Alabama considered?

    ARE WE FRIGGIN’ NUTS!!

    1. H4H,
      You just hit the key point against the notion that Tuttle isn’t that good of a recruit. Although USC has been a work in progress in recent years, the folks at Alabama don’t make mistakes when it comes to talent evaluation. If Nick Saban thought Tuttle was worth pursuing, he was worth pursuing. All I know about the Utah situation was turmoil in the coaching situation. Maybe the other two guys in the depth chart were really good and if so, it will show up in the future. If not, the folks at Utah have a big problem if they can’t win on the field. Either way, you can’t blame Tuttle for wanting out of there.

      TA has a major situation if he does start PR and the results are the same. It is not the fans he needs to worry about revolting, it is his team. These guys coming in are looking to win at the collegiate level. They may all like PR, but if they can’t win with him, they will want a change at QB too.

      1. Every program makes mistakes when it comes to evaluating players and how they’ll adjust to the college game. Jalen Hurts was the 12th quarterback to transfer from Alabama since Nick Saban became the head coach. Not all of them were pure talent issues, but not all of them were able to play to the level that he (Saban) thought they would. Some kids develop. Others don’t. And mistakes happen everywhere.

      2. thinkaboutit, Alabama isn’t 100% perfect in their evaluations. It is a known fact that after a year or two in the program if you haven’t broke into the two deep they encourage/urge/apply pressure to a player to transfer to free up the scholarship. That’s why Bama normally has a recruiting class of 25 each year because they have no intention of honoring their scholarship if the player can’t make the two deep. They easily replace a 4 or 5 star bust with another 4 or 5 star player. IU isn’t that cut throat. At Alabama it is a business and a way of life. At IU it’s a game and entertainment.

    2. You have absolutely no idea if CTA is ‘falling on experience over the new hot commodity’.

      None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

      This is an article about running no pads drills and you are assuming you can see the 2019 starting lineup after one day.

      Now, THAT’S nuts.

      1. Given what we saw last year, I’m pretty confident in my assessment.
        We’ll never know how Dawkins felt about the love fest with Ramsey, but this looks like a repeating movie. In early August of 2018 there was more than just Penix vs Ramsey. If you’re bringing in an experienced qb from 1500 miles away, there are expectations. You have to be perceptive enough as a coach to sit down with the wiffle ball arm and tell it like it is.
        Now there is another angle(you like angles?)…Maybe the press prefers Ramsey and is simply plucking more quotes and coach speak favorable to Ramsey (though there could be plenty spun toward Penix or Tuttle being a frontrunner). Somebody always has a slant…I highly doubt anyone at HT wants to put a slant in favor of Ramsey, but you just never know. We all hope the reporting strives to be objective.

        Do you recall “The Chosen One,” Verdell Jones? Coaches get very attached to their early so-called leaders. Fathers and sons….Sons and fathers. The relationships between coach and a particular kid they grow very fond likely get nearly as strong. They want to see talent that simply isn’t there….It’s probably a very common mistake in an immature coach …or inexperienced head coach.

        Sadly, I’m beginning to see many similarities between Crean and Allen. They resist delegation. Control freaks. Loyalty tied to things having nothing to do with what makes the collective better. Displays of over-the-top jubilation rarely befitting of the achievement. Great salesmen. Decent recruiters within their narrow scope/appeal. Slogan builders. Fog.

        Loyalty is often nuts. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes it’s the fog a ship will never forward pass.

        1. Take a poll amongst coaches to see who the biggest control freak in college football. I bet they’ll say Nick Saban.

        2. H4H- “They resist delegation” fo Coach Allen? What planet do you live on? Allen got a very experienced OC for his first 2 years. Allen new nothing about offense. Mediocre but not totally inept. Now a very aggressive younger guy with a lot to prove and the license to do it! Allen knee a lot about defense. He got an assistant who is very well schooled in his concepts and has now given this young aggressive coach the keys to the car. Coach Allen has made all of the right “moves”! Now he needs to win 6+! Breakthrough is right there. Grab it IU!

      2. Allen will want the offending running back to secure the ball, but the inexperienced defense of a year ago seems to be maturing, while the offense — still in search of its quarterback — had some positive moments.

        Redshirt junior Peyton Ramsey, the Hoosiers’ most experienced signal caller, seemed like the more polished of the three quarterbacks pursuing the starting role. His footwork was crisp. His passes were on time. On one play, he connected with junior receiver Ty Fryfogle deep down the field for a sideline catch.

        HT’s favorite list of adjectives/verbs: crisp….more polished…positive movement…connected…deep down field.

        Peyton Ramsey? Tuttle and Penix must be thinkin’ they’re battling it out with Peyton Manning.

        1. H4H,
          That one caught my eye too. “Deep down the field for a sideline catch” What exactly are we defining as, “deep down the field.” For some 30 yards is deep down the field, for others it could mean something totally different. The only thing I can tell you is 30 yards down field will not move B1G defenses out of 8, 9, and 10 men near the line scrimmage strategies. Unless PR can force defenses to spread the field before the ball is snapped, it will be another long season.

          PS I for one will sure be glad when HSR gets all the functions back. Have a great system and I very much appreciate most of the site features, but we need them back. About the only suggestion I could make would be to show a longer history of previous comments. Sometimes there can be many more comments between the times I look at HSR than 5. Tough to have to go through all the posts to figure out where the conversation is going.

  18. Whenever I see CTA, I think of Chicago Transit Authority.
    If Allen effs up this qb situation again, he’ll take this team off a positive track and lose his authority. Goodbye Hoosier Red Line. Hello Blue Line as he sings the blues transiting for a new gig.
    Maybe he could be OSU’s defensive coordinator…?… because these summer bummers are making me think he’s as challenged at managing an offense as Wilson was a defense.

  19. Playing it safe with Ramsey is the CTA. Short game…City to outskirts. Suburbs back to city. Bus stops from bus marker to bus marker. Nothing flashy. Reliable and, hopefully, on-time are the key components. Regular. Once you get to know the route, it’s the same old route.

    Penix or Tuttle? Now that’s the old train Tsao used to dream. ALL ABOARD! We’re going across country. It’s a track through the Plains and beyond the Rockies. It’s winding up to high speeds and traveling to sites never seen. Maybe it goes all the way to the Pacific and slow down for Pasadena…? It’s busting out of our fears and truly breaking free of the perceptions that imprison IU Football to the same degree we imprison our perceptions of each other.
    I dream of a day IU football breaks free of the routine and the daily grind of a workday with no risk. We have forever been an “authority” on short distances.
    Don’t know about you…but I’m ready to get off the ‘L’…I’m ready for the Tsao Express taking me somewhere….just anywhere beyond the back and forth and the monotony that is Hoosier Football.

  20. Found this quote from Jon Blau’s twitter page (the quote didn’t make it into the piece above):

    Jon Blau
    ‏ @Jon_Blau

    As Jack Tuttle put it, “You can practice and lift, but at a certain point, everyone just wants to do the thing and play football.”

    Dissect that as you may…Some guys live to shine in practice(nothing wrong with that and there are certainly things that need to be repeated and honed). But some guys live for the curtain going up ….more than rehearsal. They bring the “crisp” and the “flash” when it’s all or nothing.

    Is it me, or does Jon Blau look a bit like Peyton Ramsey?

  21. IU needs to blow Ball State out of the water during the first half so that whoever the back-ups are can get some playing time. Same for Eastern Illinois. You have to feed the pigeons to keep them in the park.

    As for Tuttle being a risk to transfer, I doubt it. He’s already transferred once. If we’re going to lose any of the three quarterbacks to transfer, it would probably be Penix, who like someone above said, probably isn’t going to take riding the pine for a mediocre team very well. And if Ramsey loses his job to either Tuttle or Penix this season, I could see him being a graduate transfer next year. He have value for a bunch of mid-major programs. Having said that, nothing would please me more than to have PR prove all of us skeptics wrong by leading IU to a winning season.

  22. 123, thanks for the link to the Punt John Punt article. Great stuff, and It made a great point about intermediate passes requiring a stronger arm.

  23. Obviously IU should blow out Ball State. Recent years series Record = Ball State 3 wins vs IU 2 wins. Other games have been close in series with a couple IU solid wins.
    IU 38
    Ball State 10
    Doubt it being a first half blow out IU 17 Ball State 7

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