BLOOMINGTON — With 13 days left in Indiana fall football camp, the quarterback competition remains unresolved.
Some separation may be emerging, as incumbent starter Peyton Ramsey and redshirt freshman Michael Penix Jr. are getting more reps with the first and second team, while redshirt freshman Jack Tuttle has worked mostly with the third team.
But IU offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer said all three performed well enough in Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage to merit consideration to lead the offense.
“You see them all growing,” DeBoer said. “I am putting them in spots right now. … I’m pushing them to see how far and what they are capable of doing, whether it’s checking into something or checking out of something that looks really bad.”
IU football coach Tom Allen has demanded both leadership and production from all three quarterbacks during camp. So far, all three quarterbacks feel like they have delivered.
“Continuing to progress every single day,” said Ramsey, who passed for 2,875 yards with 19 TDs and 13 interceptions last season. “I think I’ve been consistent stacking good days on top of good days and having a 1-0 mindset, like Coach DeBoer talks about, whether it be a new play or a new practice.”
Ramsey feels he needs to maintain that consistency to win his job back.
“I’ve proven I’m capable, I’m able,” Ramsey said. “But at the same time, it’s just you’ve got to do it every day — that’s what Big Ten quarterbacks do — and continue to lead, continue to bring teammates along and just rise our offense to a level that we know we can play at.”
Penix has shown the ability to connect on throws downfield through the first 11 practices. He spent the offseason working on his leadership.
“Doing a lot better leading, vocally,” Penix said. “I became a more vocal leader, pushing the team, every single day to come out, compete and do their best and just give it all out for the team.”
Penix passed for 291 yards with one touchdown in three games last season before his season ended when he tore his ACL on Oct. 20 against Penn State. He was able to rehabilitate in time for full contact at the start of fall camp and said the knee hasn’t bothered him.
“I play without even worrying about it,” Penix said. “I’m 100 percent ready to go, full go.”
Tuttle, a transfer from Utah, feels like his football IQ has grown since the spring but is still looking to improve in all areas of his game.
“We’re all just busting our tails and trying to help this team win,” Tuttle said of the quarterback race. “It’s competition. It’s all it is. It makes everyone better.”
Ideally, Allen would like to have a starter in place before the Aug. 31 opener against Ball State at Lucas Oil Stadium. At this point, DeBoer isn’t close to making a decision.
“The guys are really doing a good job, and I’ve told them that,” DeBoer said. “The guys are doing a great job of competing, and their attitude has been awesome about the whole thing.”
EXTRA POINTS: Allen congratulated the defense for “dominating” the offense following Tuesday’s practice. But DeBoer said there was a reason for that, as IU was installing plays that didn’t always match up well with how the defense was aligned. “We’ve got to continue to expand the playbook so there doesn’t come a point midway through the season where people have seen everything, and that’s where we’re at right now,” DeBoer said. “We’re expanding the playbook and doing a few more things, and some of the stuff doesn’t even match up well against what our defense does, but we’ve got to put it in so our guys can recall those schemes, those concepts.” Said Ramsey: “The defense kind of had our number. We were just working on certain things, trying to get better at certain things that maybe doesn’t stack up well against our defense but are definitely things we need to practice.” … DeBoer mentioned wide receivers Jordan Jakes and David Ellis as two freshmen who have stood out offensively and earned reps with the second team.