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Tuesday, April 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

COLUMN: Stop the over scrutiny of Sudfeld

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Going into this game I was reminding myself not to over hype any success the Hoosiers had because the game was against a relatively weak opponent.

After the 28-10 IU victory, I am trying hard not to let myself overreact to any struggles.

Nate Sudfeld did not look particularly convincing against Indiana State. He held on to the ball for a long time and even scrambled around quite a bit, which is by no means what was expected from the junior quarterback.

Thoughts were running through my head like, “Sudfeld is regressing without Tre Roberson over his shoulder,” and, “Sudfeld does not have a good report with the less experienced receivers.”

Then, I slowed down and thought about the game. I listened to what Coach Wilson and the players had to say. Most of the focus was on the incredible running performance by the Hoosiers and very little worry about Sudfeld only completing one of four in the first half and holding on to the ball for so long.

The Sycamores often had eight players back in coverage with only three rushing the passer. Players were simply not open for him. ISU had a very conservative defensive approach that was based around containing Sudfeld.

From ISU’s perspective, they were going into the season against a feared pass attack with a quarterback that tossed more than 2,500 yards last season, had a 142 quarterback rating and previously threw four touchdowns against ISU.

They did not want to get embarrassed by Nate Sudfeld this year, and they let no such thing happen. Instead, Tevin Coleman did the shaming.

Wilson even said about Sudfeld, “I don’t think we did a good job of game planning for him.”

Sudfeld didn’t hold on to the ball and run around because he did not have the confidence or because he suddenly wanted to make up for losing Roberson’s scrambling abilities (which would be so funny to watch, right?).

He held on to the ball because he has matured enough as a passer to know not to telegraph passes that are not there. When the run game is going off for 455 yards, he knew not to give the ball away when the offense was moving.

A year ago, maybe he would have tried launching a few more balls down field even when Simmie Cobbs and Nick Stoner were covered tightly.

Before anyone brings up his costly interception that resulted in a touchdown, let me tell you that Cobbs immediately admitted that he ran that route too slowly and took some of the blame for that interception. This was not simply a bad decision by Sudfeld, even though it will still be reflected on his stat sheet.

Can anyone tell me another pass he made that was actually a bad decision?

To be clear, I am still slapping a “Caution” sticker on the passing game until we see if it turns back on against Bowling Green. I am skeptical until proven otherwise.

“Sometimes I should have just thrown it away instead of taking a sack,” Sudfeld said.

He knows what he did wrong, but my point is that the woes may not be permanent.

ISU never changed its scheme even after Coleman and Roberts continued to thrash their defense. Normally when that kind of ground assault is happening, that would open things up for the pass attack, but no such thing occurred.

Let’s not overreact from one game in which Sudfeld was not the aerial stud we’ve come to expect. Let’s look at the actual facts and remember that he was put in a very difficult situation to do much and that hopefully he will learn from the mistakes he made.

The jury is still out on whether or not he can be an elite, full-time quarterback. The verdict just is not in after one game in August.

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