Last year's broken leg in week two against Massachusetts ended what looked like a promising season for the starting quarterback. The offense sputtered with Roberson starting under center the first two games of 2013. He was demoted in favor of Nate Sudfeld.
If his performance against Penn State Saturday was any indication, Roberson has carved out his niche in the offense. His first three touches resulted in a three-yard run for a two-point conversion, a two-yard touchdown run and a nine-yard touchdown run.
"I think it says a lot for Tre because when he came in it was scoring plays," said Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson. "It was critical plays. There was not one play he was in that was, ‘This one doesn't count.'"
Early in the season, Wilson would insert Roberson near the goal line with little success. In the last three games, Roberson has four rushing touchdowns."That's what we need," said junior wide receiver Cody Latimer. "That's huge momentum changes, three-for-three in the scoring zone. It was great."
As Sudfeld took control of the offense and got more snaps, Roberson's role became less certain. Wilson maintains that he has three quality quarterbacks in Sudfeld, Roberson and Cameron Coffman. For now, using Roberson in relief and special goal line packages seems to be working.
"You know I've got Cam, three of them I like and respect, and we'd like to get to the point of trying to take advantage all of them," Wilson said. "And not that we're going to play all three but like Tre has a knack with some feet and Nate and Cam have played well in the throw game.
"We're still trying to juggle."
If anything, Wilson said, he wants to use Roberson more.
"He as a runner just makes us a little more difficult that way but the other guy throws really well," Wilson said. "There's no issue; there's no controversy. We as coaches need to just keep figuring it out."
Wilson cited Northwestern, which uses a two-quarterback system with dynamic runner Kain Colter and pocket passer Trevor Siemian. He noted that Colter also has success as a passer, and thinks IU can do the same with Roberson.
That has the redshirt sophomore excited.
"Yes, it's really exciting," Roberson said. "I'm just going to keep on working every week and just trying to gain their trust and letting them know that I can make plays with my arm also."
The biggest challenge for Roberson is staying ready. He often stands on the sidelines for long periods of time before his number is called. When it is, as Wilson said, it's usually for critical plays.
"It's tough but we practice it," Roberson said. "I'm just always ready and just always ready to play for the team. Nate's playing real, real good and everybody's behind him.
"I just approach my role like I'm the starting quarterback, watching film, getting ready to play like I'm going to play every snap."