Quarterback competition underway at Indiana

With the graduation of Ben Chappell, Indiana's starting quarterback job is up for grabs, but the top returning candidates for the job say they aren't focusing on that at this point.

With the graduation of Ben Chappell, Indiana's starting quarterback job is up for grabs, but the top returning candidates for the job say they aren't focusing on that at this point.

New coach Kevin Wilson has said that all positions are open for competition, which gives Adam Follett, Dusty Kiel, Teddy Schell and Edward Wright-Baker a shot at replacing Chappell. Kiel and Wright-Baker, were the top backups behind Chappell last season and the only ones to see playing time.

"It's definitely an open competition between all four of us," Kiel said. "(The coaches) haven't seen us before except on film."

As spring football begins, Wright-Baker said his emphasis is on getting better and learning the new system as well as possible. The new offense, he said, is no-huddle and is played at a faster pace than last year's offense.

"The offense is fun to run," Wright-Baker said. "I really love the offense. We're going fast. It's way different."

Conditioning workouts this winter were also quite different under Wilson and his staff, Wright-Baker said.

"It was shocking when Coach Wilson first got here," he said. "When we first started his workouts, it was a shock because We didn't know what to expect. It was pretty hard. It was a rough first week.

"A lot of people didn't make it. A lot of people quit, couldn't take it. But after a while, we got things going. It was like, this is working. We starting getting bigger, better."

The team is embracing Wilson's high expectations, Wright-Baker said.

"We know he's here for us, ready to be better right now," he said. "It's not rebuilding. We're ready to win right now."

Wright-Baker likes the new spring practice format, designed to get more work for more players, by divided the team into two offenses and two defenses that are practicing against each other at the same time in what is almost like two separate practices.

"Last year we'd be sitting around, me and Dusty, wondering who was going to get the next rep," Wright-Baker said.

Kiel said Wright-Baker and he have a good friendship that dates back to their high school days when Kiel was a record-setting quarterback at Columbus East and Wright-Baker a star at Columbus North.

"It's fun," he said. "(Our friendly rivalry) will definitely be a factor during the spring."

While fans tend to focus on which quarterback throws the ball and runs better, those aren't the first factors Wilson mentioned in talking about who he'll be looking for to decide who will be his starter.

"A guy who will take care of the ball," Wilson said. "Last year, we won the turnover ratio two of 12 games, so the guy that throws it to the other team best will not play.

"The quarterback gets all the credit, but a good one just manages the guys around him to make him look good. He's the guy who can screw it up quickest, so we'll just see who can manage and handle the other guys, play within himself, take care of the football."


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