Indiana fans saw on Saturday what the IU staff has seen since the spring.
There’s not a lot that separates redshirt freshmen quarterbacks Brendan Sorsby and Tayven Jackson.
And so while the drama surrounding who would start week one had everyone in the fan base guessing, the staff has known for weeks.
With neither Sorsby or Jackson standing out in fall camp, and since neither had a proven track record, the competition had to be extended into the season.
“When I said we made our decision (two weeks ago), the decision was to play them both for the first two games,” Allen said after the 23-3 loss to Ohio State on Saturday.
“Here’s the reality. You have spring ball, you have summer, and you have fall camp, and they never get hit, and it’s not full bore live football playing in the game. And you need to play in the game for us to truly be able to (evaluate them). One guy would have a good practice, and then the other guy, and it was back-and-forth.”
While the week one starter was a mystery, Allen isn’t hiding the plan for Friday night when IU hosts Indiana State.
“Sorsby started this week, Tayven starts next week,” he said. “They know that. They knew that ahead of time.”
Allen said he wants to be able to lock in on one quarterback by week three when the Hoosiers face Louisville in Indianapolis, but it isn’t clear Saturday’s contest against the Buckeyes did much to provide clarity.
Sorsby threw the ball more effectively, completing 8-of-16 passes for 58 yards, compared to Jackson’s 1-of-5 for 24 yards. Jackson ran three times for 11 yards, while Sorsby ran six times for -2.
Both quarterbacks acknowledged after the game they found it challenging to come in and out of the game from a rhythm standpoint.
Sorsby says he wants to improve on his pocket presence and not take sacks like he did against the Buckeyes. Jackson says he wants to be better in the passing game.
It was basically what Allen said during fall camp — Sorsby appears to have a slightly better arm, while Jackson may have slightly better legs. But both are capable in both aspects, and neither is a standout.
“I thought both guys did some good things, and I thought both guys made some mistakes,” Allen said of their performances against Ohio State.
Allen said the gameplan doesn’t change much when Sorsby or Jackson are in the game because of their similar skillsets beyond some subtle tweaks to accommodate their respective strengths.
But he does know the offense needs to be more dynamic going forward.
And a week two game against FCS foe Indiana State should provide a good opportunity to open things up.
“They’re two young guys, definitely more conservative than we will be moving forward,” Allen said.
“We’ve got talented receivers on the perimeter, and we’ve got to do a better job getting those guys the football.”
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