Indiana Daily Student

Indiana football seeks fresh start on offense after bye week

<p>Indiana offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan during Media Day on Aug. 5, 2021. Sheridan said Indiana&#x27;s offense will cater to the strengths of whoever is starting at quarterback in future games.</p>

Indiana offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan during Media Day on Aug. 5, 2021. Sheridan said Indiana's offense will cater to the strengths of whoever is starting at quarterback in future games.

Indiana football’s season has not gone like coaches planned. The Hoosiers are 2-3, with all three losses coming against teams currently ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll.

On top of its slow start, Indiana’s running back room has thinned after sophomore running back Tim Baldwin Jr. entered the transfer portal last week and junior running back David Ellis underwent season-ending ankle surgery over the bye week.

Junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr., the team’s starter, is week-to-week with an acromioclavicular joint separation in his left shoulder after an injury suffered against Penn State on Oct. 2.

Indiana’s coaching staff used the bye week to evaluate the team’s performance after posting its first shutout loss since 2000 against Penn State, and now the Hoosiers will seek a fresh start ahead of their matchup with Michigan State on Saturday,

Related: COLUMN: What Indiana football can do to win every week the rest of the season

“It’s a great opportunity for this football team to get better,” head coach Tom Allen said in a press conference Monday. “To face adversity in the eye, to not back down from it and to grow together.”

Offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan took the blame for the offense’s performance on Monday, saying the offense will adjust moving forward without completely reinventing itself.

Sheridan said Indiana’s offensive scheme may have been too predictable during its first five games, which could have contributed to a lack of proper execution. When asked about the offense’s creativity, Sheridan said part of his job is making sure the offensive scheme is easy for his own players for the sake of good execution.

“You can run different styles of plays, different misdirections, but if it confuses your own players then that’s not beneficial either,” Sheridan said.

Allen declined to elaborate on Penix’s status, and said the team will name its starting quarterback at kickoff against Michigan State.

Related: ANALYSIS: How Indiana football’s offense could change with Jack Tuttle

Sheridan said the offensive staff will cater to its starting quarterback’s strengths by running plays that quarterback is more comfortable with. Each quarterback likes certain concepts and plays better than others, he said. 

Tuttle will be ready to start if called upon, Allen said. Tuttle played in relief of Penix after his injury against Penn State, and practiced with the first team in the spring while Penix was recovering from injury.

Related: The Other Sideline: Meet Indiana football’s homecoming opponent, No. 10 Michigan State

“One of his strengths is his ability to be locked in and focused and prepared at a high level no matter what role he’s been asked to perform,” Allen said.

Tuttle’s preparation, attention to detail and physical ability all stand out, Allen said. He can get the ball out quickly and make plays with his legs when needed.

“There’s not a guy who works harder in our program than Jack Tuttle,” Sheridan said.

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