Tuesday, October 2, 2012
IU's Wilson welcomes competition at QB
By Adam Rittenberg
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson doesn't want to have a "revolving door" at quarterback this season.
But with two young quarterbacks -- junior college transfer Cameron Coffman and true freshman Nate Sudfeld -- who boast similar skill sets, Wilson isn't crafting his depth chart in concrete. Coffman and Sudfeld are splitting reps evenly this week in practice, much like they did the week before. No matter if one struggles and the other shines, they'll still go 50-50 in terms of practice snaps.
Although Wilson and his staff eventually will decide who starts Saturday's Big Ten home opener against Michigan State, it's likely both men will log significant field time against the Spartans.
"They're so similar," Wilson said, "and there's not a great deal of separation. ... They both play about the same. Whether Cam goes out first or Nate, the offense isn't going to dramatically change significantly. One's a little bit taller [Sudfeld is 6-foot-5, Coffman is 6-2], but they both throw the same kind of balls and distribute it well."
Here are their numbers so far:
- Coffman: 53-for-80 (66.2 percent), 519 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
- Sudfeld: 25-for-40 (62.5 percent), 357 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT
Coffman has started the past two games for the Hoosiers, but Sudfeld has finished them. Sudfeld relieved the injured Coffman against Ball State and led a furious rally in the fourth quarter. The freshman also stepped in for Coffman in the second half last Saturday against Northwestern and nearly rallied Indiana from a 27-7 third-quarter deficit, although Wilson called him out a bit for some fourth-quarter miscues.
The difference at Northwestern was that Coffman had no injury. And while he struggled in the first half against the Wildcats, he led an impressive drive in the third quarter before Sudfeld replaced him.
"I personally like 'em both, although I need them both to significantly continue to improve," Wilson said. "That's all we're asking them to do, every meeting, every practice, every game. Look at the mural on the way out, make sure you're better than where you started."
Wilson said the similarities between the two signal-callers can be both good and bad. While both have done some good things, neither is doing great things -- yet.
"It is a competition because we need competition at every position," Wilson said. "We're getting some of that now. It's a good thing, not a bad thing."