Spring Practice Position Battle: Back-up Quarterback

 Zander Diamont was thrust into action in 2014. Will he win the back up job?

Zander Diamont was thrust into action in 2014. Will he win the back up job?

Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

Welcome to part four of Hoosier Huddle’s coverage of spring football practice! As we enter the last weekend in February and head into what is hopefully a warmer March, we are going to look at the battle to backup starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld. Sudfeld was lost for the season after taking a hit late in the first half of the Hoosiers’ sixth game at Iowa. The injury was the last thing that IU needed to endure, as they did not have a proven commodity in the backup role. So while it is just the backup quarterback battle it can play a huge part in the success that the Hoosiers will have on the field in 2015 as we saw when head coach Kevin Wilson was forced to play true freshman Zander Diamont.

 

Names To Know

-       Zander Diamont (Sophomore)

-       Chris Covington (Sophomore)

-       Danny Cameron (RS-Freshman)

-       Nate Boudreau (RS-Junior)

New Comers

-       Austin King (Arrives in June)

The Battle

While the starting quarterback job will be Nate Sudfeld’s when the team enters fall camp in August the Hoosiers have major questions as to who will back him up incase he suffers another injury or a setback. Things did not go as planned in 2014 as IU had to resort to burning the redshirt on Zander Diamont in the season’s seventh game after both Sudfeld and backup Chris Covington where knocked out during the Iowa game. 2015 is looking like it may be a crowded race for the number two spot during spring ball.

There are a couple factors that will play into who will win the job. First, is Kevin Wilson going to redshirt Zander Diamont and will he be using a two-quarterback system? The second question is how much growth has their been in Diamont’s game and his physical size during the winter?

Let’s tackle the initial question first because it is a very reasonable and realistic idea to think that the Hoosiers’ may redshirt Diamont in 2015. Last season Diamont was thrust into action that he was clearly not prepared for and that’s nobody’s fault seeing that the plan was for him to redshirt and learn from the sidelines. He did not get the reps he needed in practice, but as the season progressed his skills and comfort at the position went up. Diamont finished the season completing 48.5 percent of his passes totally 515 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions. Diamont was also effective with his feet running for 133 yards on 55 carries and two scores. If Diamont has clearly passed Covington, Boudreau, and Cameron he will likely be the guy who replaces Sudfeld if a long term injury happens, but if the Hoosiers need a quarterback to come in for a drive or a couple of plays it will most likely be Covington. This will be Diamont’s second spring practice in Bloomington and the results should show if he’s ready for the role both mentally and physically.

Diamont’s main competition for the back up role is former linebacker turned quarterback Chris Covington. Covington played in five of the Hoosiers’ games in 2014 in a mostly dual-threat quarterback role before being lost for the season after suffering a knee injury against Iowa.  Covington is an interesting prospect for the back up role. He has a big arm and can run, but is a very raw talent at the position. Wilson and the offensive staff used him as a wildcat quarterback unsuccessfully early in the year. On the season Covington ran the ball 17 times for 107 yards, while throwing for a less than impressive 31 yards on just 3 of 12 passes including two interceptions. If Covington can recover from his knee injury and show improved throwing skills he may be a very important cog on the offense. While he is nowhere close to being Tre Roberson, Wilson could elect to use him like he did the former Hoosier in goal line situations.

Both Nate Boudreau and Danny Cameron have an outside shot at playing time in 2015. Boudreau played in two games in 2014 and threw the ball only once, while Cameron, who is the son of former Hoosier Cam Cameron, redshirted. Since Sudfeld and Covington will be somewhat limited in the spring these two will have a shot to show what they bring to the table.

Predictions

My prediction for the winner of the back up role is that Covington will be the number two guy, running the wildcat and coming in in certain situations while Diamont takes his redshirt year. However, if anything should happen to Nate Sudfeld, I believe that Wilson would once again burn the redshirt on Diamont and have him as the full time starter.