Indiana’s QB job still a toss-up
By Andy Proffet Post-Tribune correspondent August 9, 2011 11:14PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
BLOOMINGTON — Before Indiana’s most highly touted football recruit in years can take his spot in the Hoosiers’ pantheon, there’s still a season to be played.
But just who will Gunner Kiel be replacing when he arrives in Bloomington in 2012?
That question may not be answered until Sept. 3, when Indiana opens the 2011 football season against Ball State at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
To a man at Tuesday’s media day in Bloomington, Indiana players and coaches said no decision had been made yet as to who will replace the graduated Ben Chappell at quarterback for the Hoosiers.
The depth chart in the Indiana media guide has redshirt sophomores Dusty Kiel (Gunner’s older brother) and Edward Wright-Baker as the top challengers for the job, but fifth-year senior Teddy Schell, junior quarterback Adam Follett and true freshman Tre Roberson all got equal reps during Monday’s first practice.
Quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said Tuesday that all five quarterbacks looked good so far.
“They had a good understanding of what we’re trying to do. You could tell they worked this summer,” Smith said.
Head coach Kevin Wilson said there was no definite timetable for making a decision on the quarterback question, but acknowledged that the coaching staff would have to narrow the field soon — likely once two-a-days start at the end of the week — in order to ensure the passers higher up the depth chart get enough reps.
The four returning players have combined to complete 11-of-36 passes for 167 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. And Roberson, though impressive, is still making the jump from great high school quarterback.
“He’s swimming, most freshmen would be the same way at quarterback because there’s so much on their plate,” Smith said of Roberson, last year’s Indiana Mr. Football. “I think for what we had in and what we asked him to do (in practice), he did a decent job for the most part.”
Center Will Matte has taken practice reps with all five quarterbacks and said they’ve all done a great job.
“Everyone has different strengths and can bring something different to the table,” said Matte, who’s started the last 24 games at center for the Hoosiers.
“Everyone can improve, so it’s really whoever’s going to work hard and develop the best throughout camp.”
Even players one might expect to lobby for a particular quarterback are toeing the company line. Receiver Duwyce Wilson, who played at Columbus East with Kiel, said all five quarterbacks are good and even compared Roberson to NFL star Michael Vick because of his running ability.
“Dusty can run too, all our quarterbacks can run pretty well,” he added.