Indiana held a closed scrimmage on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, and it coincided with the Big Ten Network’s annual stop at fall camp in Bloomington.
The BTN crew of Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith aired a lengthy segment on Saturday and shared several thoughts from watching the scrimmage.
The scrimmage was IU’s first truly live contact this month, with a lot of competition between the presumptive first and second team units.
Here are some of the highlights noted by the BTN crew.
NO ONE STANDING OUT AT QB
As you likely know, IU has an ongoing quarterback competition involving inexperienced redshirt freshmen Tayven Jackson and Brendan Sorsby.
The pair shared the quarterback snaps equally during the scrimmage, and it doesn’t sound like much was solved on Saturday.
“Both did some good things, and both had some plays that they’d probably like to have back,” Griffith said. “I don’t think either one at this particular point, at least not today from my opinion, has separated themselves. So this is something that is going to continue to play out for a little while longer.”
Former IU coach DiNardo also said that neither quarterback appeared to have the edge at this point.
Griffith suggested if no one pulls ahead it could be a scenario where it would make sense to play two quarterbacks. Allen was asked a year ago if he would consider playing multiple quarterbacks in a game, and he said that was something he’d like to avoid.
In an interview on the BTN feature, offensive coordinator Walt Bell listed the top three factors that will decide the starting quarterback:
- Managing the line of scrimmage (shifts, motion, snap counts, etc.) and minimizing errors there.
- Taking care of the football
- “Spot-hitting” — which we’ll assume means making accurate throws
RUNNING BACKS MAKE AN IMPRESSION
The BTN crew did like what they saw from the running backs.
Josh Henderson and Jaylin Lucas were involved, while Wake Forest transfer Christian Turner was out with what coach Tom Allen described as a minor injury.
Trent Howland looks like another back who could have a role, perhaps primarily in short yardage.
“It feels like they’re going to have the answers there (at running back) if the offensive line comes together,” Revsine said.
“Yeah, so much of it is about what they’re doing up front, and it’s really about being able to get a hat on a hat,” Griffith added. “This is a group that really wants to put their foot in the ground and get north and south. Not a lot of wiggle.”
“I thought that (the run game) was a real positive today (Saturday),” DiNardo said. “I thought those guys ran really hard, they were decisive.”
DEFENSIVE LINE LOOKS DIFFERENT
Indiana has completely overhauled its defensive line during the offseason. DiNardo said IU is a program that can benefit during the transfer portal era by upgrading their roster with backups at the top teams around the country, and the Hoosiers appear to have done that.
“Those guys don’t want to watch someone else, they want to rush the passer,” DiNardo said of the opportunity to transfer to IU.
The transfer generating the most buzz is edge rusher Andre Carter, but several in the group look like upgrades.
“I was talking to Tom Allen after practice and said to him it feels like the group they have changed the way that they look the most is up front on defense, Andre Carter is clearly going to make a major contribution coming over from Western Michigan. There’s some good body types and physical players up front.”
Indiana hopes it now has the size and athleticism up front to generate pressure, something that has played a determinative role when it comes to how impactful Allen’s defense has been over his tenure.
Philip Blidi (6-foot-3, 295, Texas Tech), Marcus Burris (6-foot-4, 290, Texas A&M) are a couple other defensive line transfer names you hear about often, along with returning sophomore Nick James (6-foot-2, 285), and DE/LB hybrid edge Lanell Carr (6-foot-1, 240, West Virginia).
Griffith remarked Indiana needs to be very good on special teams against a very difficult schedule, and the crew didn’t like what they saw from the field goal kickers on Saturday. IU is looking to replace Charles Campbell, a three-year starter who transferred to Tennessee.
“Special teams were an issue today (Saturday’s scrimmage),” Revsine said. “The field goal kicking left a little bit to be desired.”
“All makeable field goals today (Saturday’s scrimmage) they struggled with,” DiNardo added.
What the BTN crew observed was likely not IU’s starting kicker, however. While Indiana does have a competition for the field goal kicking role, true freshman Nicolas Radicic is on scholarship and was rated the No. 3 kicker nationally by 247Sports and the No. 4 kicking prospect by ESPN in the class of 2023.
Allen said before the scrimmage Radicic was out “nursing something.”
Radicic is widely expected to step in and start if he’s healthy, and Saturday seems to have increased those odds.
You can watch the full 45 minute BTN profile on Indiana here:
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