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Tuesday, June 25
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Column: The option of the option

I’ve never been a big fan of the option offense.

It just seems too boring, especially in an age in which the spread has become the norm.

But I’m starting to think running the option wouldn’t be such a bad idea for the current Hoosiers — at least for the final three games of the season, just to see how it works.
The personnel on the IU offense almost screams option now that field-stretching wide receivers Damarlo Belcher and Duwyce Wilson are done for the season.

True freshman quarterback Tre Roberson is fast and usually makes good decisions with the ball.

Running back Stephen Houston could run over even more people with the head of steam he’d gain from rolling out with the quarterback.

Multi-purpose guys like Kofi Hughes and Shane Wynn were practically made for the option.

And the offensive line — given how small and fast it is — could probably benefit from running the option more often.

“Right now, we’re trying to create and find as much offense as we need to help us win games,” Co-Offensive Coordinator Kevin Johns said. “Where (the option) goes as we progress, we’re going to do whatever it takes to win. If that means option, that’s what we’ll do. If that means throw it 70 times, then that’s what we’ll do.

“It’s hard to see where it will continue to grow, but right now we’re just trying to win games.”

Yes, winning is the most important thing.

And to some extent, the Hoosiers’ failure to win games recently can’t be blamed on the offense. The Roberson-led group has looked pretty good.

But until IU Coach Kevin Wilson can get better defensive players into the program, the offense is going to have to help the defense.

Points matter, but with such a porous defense, time of possession might be even more
important.

By running the option, IU would more than likely keep the ball for a longer period of time each game.

A difference between two-minute  and seven-minute touchdown drives could be the difference between giving up 35 points instead of 59.

Will an option offense be the best choice for IU going forward?
I’m not sure. It certainly isn’t foolproof.

All the extra rollouts and rushing attempts mean Roberson will take even more hits, increasing the possibility of injury.

“If you do it too much, Tre is 175 pounds, and he won’t be able to take that beating,” Johns said. “We’ve got to be careful.”

Plus, IU has a good recent track record of recruiting high-quality wide receivers. If Wilson and the Hoosiers start running the option, they might lose some of their best recruits.

Is that worth it? Probably not.

But with this season all but over, it’s time to start looking at different options — pun intended — for the future.

Given the Hoosiers’ ineptitude on defense, the option offense might not be a bad one to try.

Prediction:
The Buckeyes got off to a slow start after suspensions to some of their top players, but they are looking more like the Buckeyes of old with each passing week.

In a hostile environment against the best defense he’s seen to date, Roberson will likely struggle to find a rhythm.

Even if he finds one in the second half, the defense will have already given up too many points to come back from.
Ohio State 41, IU 17

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