BLOOMINGTON – Indiana sophomore linebacker Cam Jones will be a game-time decision for Saturday’s home opener against Eastern Illinois, IU football coach Tom Allen said Thursday.
Jones suffered a lower leg injury on the final defensive series during IU’s 34-24 win over Ball State on Saturday. He had six tackles and one pass breakup before going down.
“He’s working hard, and so we’ll see,” Allen said. “We have to make a decision on him game time for that. But, obviously, the objective is to get him back 100%, and if he’s not 100% he’s not going to play.”
Allen said sophomore defensive back Reese Taylor will be back after sitting out the Ball State game with a hand injury.
BACKUP QBs READY
Allen said both of IU’s backup quarterbacks, redshirt junior Peyton Ramsey and redshirt freshman Jack Tuttle, have kept a positive attitude in practice.
Allen had a one-on-one meeting with Tuttle this week after having a one-on-one with Ramsey last week before the decision to go with redshirt freshman Michael Penix Jr. was made.
“Jack is a guy who knows his best football is ahead of him,” Allen said. “I just feel like he’s got so much potential to be a great, great quarterback for us.”
Allen said Ramsey has done a good job running the second-team offense and is confident he’ll be ready if called upon to play.
“In this era of quarterback mindsets, it’s different,” Allen said. “You look at it across the country and it’s a unique situation we find ourselves in, but these are two pretty special guys that have really bought in and care about this team.”
There’s a chance both Ramsey and Tuttle could see action if IU builds a big enough lead against Eastern Illinois, an FCS school. But Allen is not taking anything for granted as far as planning to use either quarterback. Allen noted Eastern Illinois scored 20 points in a 55-20 loss at Arkansas last season and has produced several NFL players, including San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garappolo and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill.
“I’ve been on the other end of it,” Allen said. “I’ve been at an FCS school going to a place like this, and they’ve got nothing to lose and a world to gain. So they’re going to let it rip, and they are going play really hard.”
Allen said on his weekly radio show Wednesday he could envision up to five true freshmen playing a full season without redshirting based on their performances against Ball State and named them. The list includes long snapper Sean Wracher, wide receiver/kick returner David Ellis, running back Sampson James, cornerback Tiawan Mullen and linebacker D.K. Bonhomme.
On Thursday, Allen mentioned freshman offensive lineman Matthew Bedford as a potential season-long contributor as well.
“Those guys are really a big part of what we want do,” Allen said. “There’s going to be more guys pop up, and it’s never an exact science of how you figure it out. It’s a week-to-week thing.”
Allen said Bonhomme will be an interesting decision based on the value of his special teams contributions. Ellis proved his value on special teams with four kickoff returns for 104 yards, including a 33-yard return. Allen said Ellis will continue to be used at times as a slot receiver on offense as well.
“He’s a better player here than I thought he might be early on,” Allen said of Ellis. “I knew he was going to be a good player for us eventually. But to say he was going to be a guy that was going to come in and play as a true freshman, you don’t know that right away.”