Last season, the Indiana Hoosiers had one of the most explosive offenses in the Big Ten despite never truly settling on a starting quarterback. This season, the team won’t have that problem again as quarterback Tre Roberson has announced his decision to transfer, leaving Nate Sudfeld as the quarterback by default in Bloomington this fall. While Roberson’s departure clears up the quarterback picture, the Hoosiers will miss the junior’s playmaking ability in 2014.
Roberson first burst onto the scene in 2011 when he became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Indiana. His future seemed secure under center until suffering a season-ending leg injury in the second game of the 2012 season. When he came back in 2013, he was platooning under center with Sudfeld and threw for 1,128 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing for 423 yards and five touchdowns.
While he didn’t have the arm of Sudfeld, Roberson was a key part of the team’s offensive success. His ability to extend plays led to fewer sacks when he was under center and added an athletic element to the offense with his ability to take off and run. He was efficient with the football and found ways to make plays.
His departure puts pressure on Indiana in a lot of different areas. Most notably, it completely decimates the depth at quarterback. Without Roberson in the mix, Sudfeld not only becomes the man at quarterback, he might just be the only man at quarterback. If he suffers an injury, the Hoosiers will be hard-pressed to find a reliable signal caller.
Additionally, an experienced offensive line that battled through injuries in 2013 will have to shore up their protection for the stationary Sudfeld as they won’t have the benefit of Roberson’s scrambling ability to avoid pressure. In the running game, the pressure is now squarely on the explosive Tevin Coleman to lead the way as Roberson was the second-leading returning rusher for the Hoosiers in 2014.
At the end of the day, Tre Roberson is a starting-caliber quarterback who wasn’t getting the starting quarterback reps he thought he deserved. Whichever program he ends up on will get a talented, competitive, athletic leader who will make a major impact. For the Hoosiers, the loss of Roberson will be a major hurdle to overcome in 2014.