The Indiana Hoosiers have to take care of a pretty big problem this spring.
But unlike their defensive front issues, this is a good problem to have: Coach Kevin Wilson must decide between three quarterbacks to choose as the outright starter moving forward – and all three are viable options.
Upcoming junior Tre Roberson, senior Cameron Coffman and junior Nate Sudfeld all possess different skill sets, but all have the assets and ability to lead Indiana’s offense to success.
Roberson was the Week 1 starter last season before breaking his leg against the Massachusetts Minutemen in just the second game of the year. There was a lot of raw potential from him as a freshman, as he showcased his ability to keep defenses off balance with his running capabilities.
We got a small glance of his development in 2012, albeit a short-lived appearance. If Roberson shows that he is much further with his progress as a decision-maker in the pocket, it’s going to be hard for Wilson to give someone else the nod.
However, Coffman showed Bloomington that he may have what it takes to get the Hoosiers bowl-bound. When Roberson went down with his leg injury, he came in with a bang and led the offense to nearly 30 points per game – including a 52-49 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
But as the schedule continued its stretch of tough opponents, Coffman’s numbers suffered. During the final three games of the season, he threw seven interceptions – a stat that is not acceptable for a starting quarterback, whose job is to take care of the ball and make plays.
Coffman still has a lot to prove this offseason before he can be trusted again under center. He has the gunslinger mentality that the Indiana offense requires, but has a lot to work on with his control and accuracy. Maybe time off has helped him recompose.
Next up is Sudfeld, who is a dark horse to win the job this spring. He received sporadic playing time throughout last season, in which he completed 62 percent of his passes for 632 yards, seven touchdowns and just one pick.
At 6-foot-5, he certainly has the ideal size to lead an air raid offensive attack – and he has the arm to go with it. Sudfeld gets the ball out quickly and has a real nice spin to his throws, making it easy for his receivers to catch his passes.
But what I like most is his composure – despite his inexperience, Sudfeld was much more productive on the road last season, posting a 161.2 passer rating. Definitely an under-the-radar kind of guy, I can see him being a top quarterback in the Big Ten at some point in his career.
That said, I still think it’s Tre Roberson’s job to lose. There aren’t too many quarterbacks in this league that can find the end zone on any given play, whether it be through the air or on the ground.
Quarterbacks handle the ball more than any other player on the field, so it’s only common sense to put your best athlete there. There’s no question that Roberson is that guy.
Sudfeld will give him a run for his money – and possibly take the job sometime throughout the regular season – but Wilson will probably feel most comfortable using him as insurance for Roberson right now, while utilizing Coffman’s senior leadership on the sidelines.