CHICAGO — Indiana’s first preseason practice isn’t far away, but Kevin Wilson said his quarterbacks need more time.
Junior Zander Diamont; redshirt sophomore Danny Cameron; and redshirt junior Richard Lagow, a junior college transfer from Cisco Community College in Texas, are all fighting to show why they should fill Nate Sudfeld’s shoes.
Diamont boasts the only Division One starts out of the trio, with seven for IU, while Cameron has just one appearance and Lagow none, but all three were listed equally in the latest IU depth chart.
“I don’t think it’s right to anoint someone until they’ve earned it,” Wilson said. “You have to earn the respect of the guys.”
Each one has impressed Wilson with the progress they’ve made over the summer, but Cameron hasn’t separated himself, Diamont needs more time after a procedure to correct an injury which nagged him in 2015 and caused him to miss spring ball and Lagow only has 15 practices to his name.
Still, the lack of a clear starter at this point and the competition that will spill into preseason practices doesn’t worry Wilson, he said. He’s has had success playing multiple quarterbacks in the past and sees the competition as evidence of depth, the latter of which will prove vital if injuries continue to hamper IU at the quarterback position as it has in recent years.
All three options provide IU with something a little different, but redshirt junior linebacker Marcus Oliver said he believes any of them would find success in 2016.
“Talent-wise, I think this might be one of the best teams I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here,” Oliver said. “We have veteran guys everywhere. People want to keep asking about the quarterbacks, we got quarterbacks, they’re all good, but what’s going to help all of them are the guys we have on the outside and the running backs and the o-line we have.”
Redshirt senior guard Dan Feeney, who leads IU’s offensive line as a returning All-American, said he sees IU’s wealth of veteran options on the line and at the skill positions as something that will make the quarterbacks more at ease and comfortable under center.
Feeney said he also thinks the veterans will help the future starter in leadership situations.
“I think that’s a good thing for us and I think that’ll help younger quarterbacks come in, like Rich,” Feeney said. “He doesn’t have to be the tip of the spear. He can kind of relax, understand the defense, make the calls he needs to make and make the play.”
Wilson echoed that sentiment and said Feeney, IU’s other redshirt seniors and veterans can take on roles as team leaders in place of the quarterbacks. His final decision, whether it’s Lagow, Diamont, Cameron or a combination of two of them, will be made based on whether or not his guys can take care of the ball and get the Hoosiers into the end zone.
“It’s the ability to manage the offense and distribute the ball, the ability to have the command presence to talk with confidence because the way he calls the play makes the guys feel good or not,” Wilson said.