With less than three weeks until the 2019 season opens, the installation of the new IU football offense is ahead of where head coach Tom Allen and offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer thought it would be at this point.
Allen spoke about that at the conclusion of practice number 11 at Indiana’s fall camp on Monday.
“I would say in some ways, in terms of the knowledge of a new offensive system and the way they execute it — maybe a little bit ahead of what I thought we might be,” Allen said. “Coach DeBoer and I have talked and we both agree with that.”
As for who will be running that offense from the quarterback position on August 31 against Ball State in Indianapolis?
That’s a different question — with an answer that seems to be moving in the opposite direction.
In 2018 Peyton Ramsey differentiated himself at fall camp scrimmages by leading drives down the field and not turning the ball over.
Ramsey’s competition for the job is better than it was last year. He, a more experienced Michael Penix and Jack Tuttle all appear to have the tools to play quarterback in the Big Ten.
But according to Allen, with all three playing well at Saturday’s scrimmage, no one has stood out above the rest to this point.
“I don’t know that Saturday made it any easier or clarified things at all,” Allen said. “It’s almost harder than ever because I think all three of them played pretty well (at the scrimmage).”
“It’s still open. They’ve got to keep doing what they’re doing. They gotta find a way to separate themselves a little bit.”
Beyond just the quarterbacks, Allen is reaching a point in the fall camp where he would like to start better allocating the repetitions to those players that are expected to see the field.
“As a staff we had a conversation yesterday after the scrimmage about getting more specific into the ones and the twos, less emphasis on the threes because of just reps,” Allen said.
“We’re still not in game prep mode yet but this next week leading up to preseason game number two is a going to be a big emphasis on getting the guys ready that we think are going to be playing for us on Saturdays.”
With still no indication of who the first and second quarterbacks are, that whole process will be adversely impacted.
Even if the first and second receivers and other offensive position groups are claiming most of the repetitions, they will be doing so in part with an eventual third string quarterback.
Both Allen and DeBoer have acknowledged that this is a less than optimal situation, especially in light of the new offensive system.
“We have to do a really good job with those (reps), and that’s why the sooner the better to make a decision,” Allen said.
One way or another, the decision should be made by the end of next week to allow the eventual starter to have a full week of preparation in that role for Ball State.
And the longer this thing goes, it would seem more and more likely to be advantage Ramsey.
Allen has proclaimed that he is the “returning starter,” and with that label it would seem that any tie would default to the redshirt junior from Ohio.
Moreover, with 20 games of experience, and three years of involvement in a Big Ten program, there is a certain degree of comfort with Ramsey.
With Ramsey, you know what you are getting when game day arrives.
On the other hand, Penix is returning from a major knee injury and Tuttle has never taken a college snap.
They are both question marks right now. One of Penix or Tuttle would have to stand out enough to allay any fears of what might happen when things get real.
And right now, no one, including Ramsey, is standing out.
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