Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Trust IU Coach Kevin Wilson

Head coach Kevin Wilson watches his players during the Cream and Crimson game on Apr. 18, 2015, Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Head coach Kevin Wilson watches his players during the Cream and Crimson game on Apr. 18, 2015, Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

It’s time to trust Kevin Wilson when it comes to quarterbacks.

As the season approaches, the biggest question mark surrounding the Hoosiers is who is going to be under center in Miami when IU takes on Florida International on Sept. 1. Maybe it shouldn’t be.

Whenever Wilson was a head coach or coordinator, his offenses were prolific. In the past 14 years, his offenses averaged less than 30 points per game only three times.

Wilson succeeded with Sam Bradford at Oklahoma and Zak Kustok at Northwestern, quarterbacks with completely different styles.

Bradford won the Heisman in 2008 and finished with 88 career touchdowns and 7,881 career passing yards. Kustok was a dual-threat quarterback who is still Northwestern’s career leader for quarterback rushing yards and touchdowns 15 years later. As a senior in 2001, when he ran for 580 yards and scored 11 times on the ground, he was also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

Whomever Wilson chooses to start has earned his blessing — and that’s why you shouldn’t worry. Junior Richard Lagow, sophomore Danny Cameron or junior Zander Diamont could all start, and the Hoosier offense would be just fine.

“The biggest thing I’ve seen is competition and consistency,” senior right tackle Dimitric Camiel said. “Those guys are competing, but at the same time, they are learning from each other and stepping up and embracing each other.”

The quarterback battle hasn’t caused squabbling 
inside the IU locker room.

Instead, Wilson and others have said the three in competition are actually pushing each other to succeed.

“They’ve all been working hard to learn our strengths at receiver,” sophomore wide receiver Luke Timian said. “They are getting comfortable as fall camp progressed and getting more confident. Confidence is the biggest thing.”

All the quarterbacks are getting more comfortable, but Lagow appears to have risen above the others. He will likely be the game one starter after receiving the bulk of the reps in fall camp.

“He’s playing more confidently right now,” IU offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said. “He’s going to be a bigger, more physical presence. Those other guys are having great camps as well ... Lagow is playing at a different game, just a different level.”

Rolling with Lagow makes perfect sense. At 6-foot-6, he’s got the perfect quarterback frame to be a successful Big Ten quarterback — he just hasn’t proven it at this level yet. He came to IU from Cisco College in Texas and was listed as a top-ranked junior college pocket passing quarterback by ESPN.

“He’s definitely coming into his own,” Timian said. “It’s been great to see Rich develop and he’s a great player.”

While the other options are solid, it makes perfect sense to start Lagow if he fully grasped the offense during the spring and fall.

Diamont and Cameron will be counted on to be ready to play, and they very well might. We’ve seen IU have to use multiple quarterbacks the past few seasons.

The offense should be brilliant no matter who’s quarterback. With Wilson running the show and the bevy of talent at wide receiver and running back, the quarterback won’t have to be a superstar.

The quarterback merely has to be serviceable. If he earns the nod from Wilson, he’s probably going to be a lot more than that.

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