So what do we make of IU’s long-term quarterback plans now that Tre Roberson is out for the season, but will return, thanks to a medical redshirt, with three years of eligibility remaining?
Well, it creates intrigue, and as you know, we at Hoosier Hoopla love intrigue.
The original plan was to play Roberson, use junior college transfer Cam Coffman (pictured) as the backup and redshirt freshman Nate Sudfeld. That would have meant that Roberson and Coffman would move on after two more seasons, and Sudfeld would have his final two years as the undisputed No. 1 quarterback.
All that changed when Roberson broke his leg last Saturday against Massachusetts. IU was forced to burn Sudfeld’s redshirt status. That means, he and Roberson will have three years of eligibility remaining after this season.
What makes this significant is that Hoosier coaches are VERY high on Sudfeld. At 6-5 and 218 pounds, he might have pro potential. The 6-foot, 190-pound Roberson also might have pro potential, although perhaps not as quarterback.
Does all this create playing problems for the future?
Not really. Coach Kevin Wilson said he could still redshirt Sudfeld in the future to create separation between Sudfeld and Roberson. Besides, Wilson added, the competition will make everybody better.
“It is what it is,” Wilson said. “To me, I think long-term, it will be a great opportunity to develop Tre even further. You might have considered redshirting Nate Sudfeld, but this happened at Oklahoma one year. We had an injury. We had to pull a redshirt off of a guy. We played him and then the following year we redshirted him and got his year back to balance it out.
“Now, you’ll have Nate, might have been redshirted, might not have. Potentially, you’ve got Sudfeld and Tre in the same class. There’s a redshirt year still coming for Cam Coffman if you want it. Now that Nate’s played, there’s redshirt years for him as well.
“There are certain schools that like to play more than one quarterback. I typically don’t like to, but I think you have to have two or three ready. My thought the other day too, when Tre got hurt, and you knew his season was over, well, we’re gonna need more than Cameron to get through the year, so let’s go ahead and play Nate. To me what that does for Nate, the more he plays this year, the more excited he’ll be, the better he’ll prepare. Now he’s going to be a sophomore. It is what it is.
“They’ll space it out. It won’t affect recruiting. We have those three guys. We need one more (quarterback). We need a fourth. We’ll keep building and go from there. The negative is we don’t have Tre for this week and this season. The positive, we’ve got all of those guys now for the remainder of this year, and for three or four more years, and we’ve got Tre Roberson for (three) more years.”
For Saturday night’s home game against Ball State, Indiana has Coffman and Sudfeld and, to be blunt, a bunch of other guys you don’t want to see playing quarterback for the Hoosiers. They might be wonderful people, might go on to be great fathers and husbands and workers. They might contribute greatly to society, perhaps by marrying Kim Kardashian and getting her out of the tabloids once and for all.
But you don’t want to see them in a game.
For some, it seems a no-brainer. Put receiver Kofi Hughes into the quarterback mix as the No. 3 guy. He was a very good high school quarterback at Indianapolis Cathedral who brings the kind of athleticism to the position IU lost when Roberson went down.
Hughes played a little bit of quarterback out of the Wildcat formation last year, but all he did was run.
Wilson didn’t sound enthused about the idea when asked.
“As a Wildcat guy, but then (defenses) would just put 10 guys up there with butcher knives and you run it three plays and punt.”
Yes, that seems a little extreme, but then Wilson had more to say. He talked about how IU has allowed just one sack in two games, that quarterbacks haven’t taken many hits, and that Roberson’s injury was “a freak deal.”
“We’re going to protect the quarterback. That’s why Ball State will come after us. There will be some great Big Ten teams that will come after us, but we’re not just going to put (the quarterback) on an island, either.
“Injuries are part of the game. You’ve got to move on. We always need a third center; we need a third punt returner; we need a third quarterback. But you don’t want to get to the third quarterback. We’ll talk more positive and look forward to how well Cam and Nate are going to play.”
By now you’ve seen the college football landscape got rocked again with Notre Dame’s decision to bolt the Big East and join the ACC. It will cost the Irish $5 million as Big East severance. For some schools, say everybody’s favorite football patsy, Savannah State, that would be serious cash. For Notre Dame, it’s barely an inconvenience.
The Irish will remain independent in football. However, they have agreed to play five ACC games a year. This is an absolutely great compromise. Both sides get what they want, and are better for it.
While the Big Ten downplayed it, this was a big blow. The Big Ten has long sought to add the Irish, who would have joined the conference as long as they remained a football independent. Big Ten officials said, in essence, no way. It’s all or nothing.
So it was nothing.
A cynic would say, hey, that’s the same deal IU got with Kentucky in basketball. It got Central Connecticut State in Assembly Hall rather than the Wildcats in an epic showdown at Indy’s Lucas Oil Stadium that would have generated much needed more millions of dollars.
See, we told you we liked intrigue.