So Nate Sudfeld’s 363-yard, four-touchdown performance has to signify the end of the quarterback battle, right? Redshirt sophomore Tre Roberson failed to lead the Hoosiers to a first down in two drives against Navy, Sudfeld stepped in and took the Hoosiers to the red zone on all six of his possessions and touchdowns on five, so he has to be the guy, doesn’t he?
Not according to IU coach Kevin Wilson.
Wilson appeared to finally concede that the quarterback battle is no longer a three-man race. Junior Cameron Coffman was listed as the third string quarterback on the depth chart, separated from the dual starter listing of Roberson and Sudfeld. However, he said that Sudfeld still hasn’t been given the job and Roberson will continue to play. He defended Roberson’s performance in the Navy game adamantly.
“His first drive, we got two play calls, he’s gotta scramble because protection breaks down because of his line,” Wilson said. “Quarterbacks look good when everyone around them looks good. Play calls, dynamics, he misses a bubble throw, then we run it twice. Had a chance maybe to pitch another one out, he didn’t. Nate came in, first play was 12-play drive with a pick, and then we score. As it keeps going, shoot, for what it’s worth, last night was Cam’s best night. But it’s really been Tre and Nate going through it. We’re not gonna be a Wildcat team. Tre can make all the shots. He’s going to, and you can see we’re gonna run Nate. We’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing. I don’t know if one of those guys is independently dynamic. I think we collectively we can be better. We’ll just see how the week goes.”
Wilson was asked when he would name a starter for Saturday’s game against Bowling Green.
“Somebody will go out there,” Wilson said. “I don’t know. Again, we’ve scored 15 touchdowns. Tre’s passing efficiency is higher than Sudfeld’s. The offense has to play better too. We need to block better. … The guy that you guys think is pretty good, he had a pick that he should’ve been throwing to the other side for a touchdown, because he made the wrong read and he threw a ball he shouldn’t have threw. Tried to get greedy and fit one in there. He throws to the other side and there’s seven points. They’re human. They’re kids. They’re pretty good, too. … Nate’s gotten in games, he’s played well, but he’s got some nice parts. The other day with play-calling and the other parts, Tre, the cards didn’t come his way. It wasn’t his fault. It’s just play-calling and execution of a lineman breaking down or miss a shot a little bit. We just didn’t get in rhythm early. That wasn’t his fault.”
Wilson was playing a little bit coy with the situation, but IU offensive coordinator Seth Littrell put the situation in more sharp relief.
“Tre’s going to have opportunities to make plays,” Littrell said. “I fully expect him this season when he does have those opportunities, he will make them. He’ll be a big part of what we’re doing. … We’re gonna play both of those guys. We’ve said that all along. We are going to play both of those guys. They both bring different things.”
NOTE: Wilson said offensive tackle Peyton Eckert returned to practice Sunday night and that cornerback Ryan Thompson is also back. He didn’t mention Chris Cormier, but said defensive tackle Alex Todd is close to a return.