He isn’t going to be sneaking up on anyone in 2019.
In fact, Stevie Scott doesn’t want to catch you off guard this year. Rather, he wants you to know he’s coming.
Go ahead and stop him if you can.
The second year Hoosier running back said this on Friday night in response to a question on BTN regarding his impressions of new offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer’s system —
“I’m loving it so far,” Scott said. I can’t wait for the season to start. I’m very excited, and I just want everybody to watch out because we are definitely coming.”
That statement might have been in reference to the Hoosiers as a whole in 2019, but it personifies who Scott is. And so far, it is only his head coach that has been able to stop him.
After a record breaking freshman season, one might have been concerned that Scott would come into year two a bit complacent.
After all, Scott surpassed program legend Anthony Thompson and others in the Hoosier record books.
The Syracuse, New York native set IU freshman records for rushing yards in a season with 1,137, touchdowns with 10, and 100-yard games with six.
That’s not bad for a guy that wasn’t in the top five on the IU running back depth chart at this time last year. In fact, it wasn’t even clear that Scott would be a running back at Indiana. But that same perseverance that led him to the starting job and ultimately into the record books appears to be fueling the fire for an even bigger sophomore season.
Scott said this on BTN when asked about what year-over-year improvements he has made since his impressive freshman campaign —
“I think I improved on my speed and being a better leader to my teammates, just helping the younger guys out, helping them improve so we can be on the same page as a team and move forward,” Scott said.
“Just keep improving and striving for greatness, keep getting better every day, every practice, every game and just help my teammates get better.”
A faster Scott is a scary proposition for opposing defenses in 2019. At 6-foot-2 and 233 pounds, he is a load to bring down at any speed. Scott showed enough acceleration to consistently get behind the defense in 2018. If he is faster in 2019, with a year of experience under his belt? Well, it’s like he said — watch out.
Head coach Tom Allen doesn’t appear to be at all concerned about Scott’s motivation going into his sophomore season. Allen’s biggest concern with his bruising back might just be that he is coming in too enthusiastic.
The Hoosier head coach has been so impressed with Scott during the spring that he didn’t even want to see him play in live action on Friday night.
“I told Coach Hart that I’d seen enough,” Allen said after the spring game. “I know exactly what Stevie can do. So I did not want him to get tackled today.”
Moreover, Allen has had to have discussions with Scott regarding how to channel his energy and prepare to be a featured back in the Big Ten.
“I had to sit him down — he’s young still — to understand how do you prepare yourself to be an elite player in this conference and still not take 30 snaps in a scrimmage and take all those hits,” Allen said.
It wasn’t as if Allen was taking the year two development and focus on faith. Scott had already checked all of the boxes that his head coach was looking for during the previous 14 spring practices.
“A lot goes on in the spring,” Allen said. “But once I felt good about that he had gotten enough attempts and carries and got hit enough and carried, protected the ball enough, and he’s bigger. He’s stronger. He’s a step faster than he was last year. He’s more confident. He runs with more decisiveness. And you see that growth. So, like I said, I had seen enough. So the plan was definitely not have him get hit.”
Last year the motivation for Scott stemmed from overcoming doubters. His senior year of high school ended abruptly after three games when he suffered a foot injury.
Then a Rutgers commit, Scott wasn’t able to produce a senior season that might have opened more eyes nationally. But he did enough to convince Allen and running backs coach Mike Hart, who were able to flip Scott to Indiana in December of 2017.
Allen had an eye towards converting Scott to linebacker, especially in light of that running back depth chart that was full of young talent that would be difficult for anyone to overcome.
Scott got his chance at running back, and as the 2018 fall camp got going, he quickly rewarded that coaching decision. The unknown commodity immediately caught the attention of his coaches and teammates alike, and generated a minor buzz in Bloomington for his energy and work ethic.
By week one, Scott was number two on the depth chart, and an injury in the first game to Cole Gest saw him plugged into the starter’s role.
Scott never blinked with the opportunity that he earned, and the rest was history. And a lot of old IU records became footnotes in history as well.
Now in year two, Scott is on top of that depth chart. But Gest will be back. Ronnie Walker, a more highly decorated 2018 recruit, will be back. And one of the highest ranked Indiana recruits ever — true freshman Sampson James — is now in the mix.
With all of that talent now pushing him from behind, Scott seems to have found a new way to generate motivation for the 2019 season.
His head coach might have seen enough this spring, but Scott appears to be just warming up, with no intention of giving up his starting job.
He’s coming. And it appears that Scott is coming the only way he knows how — downhill with a full head of steam.
It just might be opposing defenses that have seen enough this fall.
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