Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Injuries and quarterback drama have Indiana football experiencing déjà vu

<p>Redshirt junior quarterback Connor Bazelak waits to run onto the field Sept. 17, 2022, at Memorial Stadium. </p>

Redshirt junior quarterback Connor Bazelak waits to run onto the field Sept. 17, 2022, at Memorial Stadium.

As Indiana football got out to a 3-0 start this season, Hoosier fans let out a sigh of relief. Having already surpassed its 2021win total, the rest of Indiana’s season had no way of reaching last season’s lows – mathematically, at least.  

Well – here we are. With the injury bug passing through several of Indiana’s top players, history seems to be repeating itself.  

Monday’s announcement about junior receiver Cam Camper’s season-ending ACL tear is another problem to throw in the pile. Both sides of the ball are now without their most productive player – as senior linebacker Cam Jones remains sidelined with a foot injury. 

Considering the injuries, the current losing streak and the schedule ahead, Indiana is experiencing a feeling it knows all too well. With head coach Tom Allen’s recent comments about the team’s starting quarterback status, a potential change would be yet another repeated misfortune.

“I’m just saying that you’ll have to wait until Saturday to see who our starting quarterback is going to be,” Allen said at Monday’s press conference.

Although a released depth chart lists junior Connor Bazelak in his usual starting position, even the consideration of benching him is telling of the Hoosiers’ current state.

If the idea is being entertained, my suggestion would be to start redshirt sophomore Dexter Williams II over Bazelak – as opposed to starting senior Jack Tuttle instead.

The reasoning to opt for Williams II seems simple to me. Williams II is a different kind of quarterback – more mobile than his counterparts – and while Tuttle displayed his abilities last season, Williams II never had the chance.

No matter what decision is made, the likelihood of this season replicating 2021 continues to look truer every day. The loss of Camper can’t be understated – he’s been the most productive player in Indiana’s only effective area on offense.

Defensively, the absence of Jones each passing week continues to prove meaningful. The possibility of him not playing again this season is becoming a concern.

It’s not as if things are getting any easier for the Hoosiers either. Although the much-needed bye week should give Indiana fresh legs, it came right ahead of consecutive top-15 matchups.

However, anything is possible. When Indiana opened its shortened 2020 season against then-No. 7 Penn State, it was a touchdown underdog. I think you remember what ensued.

Though bad news continues to hamper Indiana, the Hoosiers still have four more opportunities to make something of this season. In its recent losses Indiana has been a play or two away from securing a win.

Some small adjustments and a few moments of luck are all the Hoosiers need. Even if it’s just one more win, the difference between that and a nine-game losing streak are stark.
Follow reporters Garrett Newman (@GarrettNewman20) and Jacob Spudich (@spudichjacob) and columnist Will Foley (@foles24) for updates throughout the Indiana football season.
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