Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said Wednesday that after looking back at the video of Saturday’s 28-10 victory over Indiana State, he wasn’t all that unhappy with the way his starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld performed.
By Sudfeld’s own standards Saturday’s statistics were well below part. He completed 11-of-18 passes for 111 yards with no touchdowns. He didn’t attempt his first pass until 1:04 remained in the first quarter. At that point, IU had ran the ball the first 12 plays of the game, stretching over three offensive possessions.
His first completion came with 11:34 to play in the first half when he hit Ricky Jones on a 13-yard completion.
But throughout the game, Sudfeld appeared out of sync. He went through his progression very quickly and seemed content to take off running a little too early. He ended up with 10 carries for 32 net yards including a long gain of 11 yards.
Still, Wilson when asked about it Wednesday during this week’s availability with the media, said he thought his junior quarterback did just fine.
“If you look at some of the things that we did, when our timing was off, we put Nate in some situations where the concepts weren’t as ideal,’’ Wilson said. “I actually thought he kind of played pretty good. ‘’
Wilson said with the rhythm of the game, the coaching staff wasn’t able to do a good enough job getting Sudfeld started.
“(Indiana State) tweaked some things in coverage with a couple of concepts that we didn’t have a complete enough plan,’’ Wilson said. “One time a guy just doesn’t run the right route. We don’t have the check down that we need and so he takes a sack and the protection was actually good.
“So I thought he needs to play better. And I’ve said that throughout camp. We need that group to practice at the level where there starts to be the timing and trust that we need.’’
Wilson pointed to one throw by Sudfeld that pointed to the timing issue. IU was down inside the Indiana State 10 and Sudfeld threw on ball awkwardly on the run and missed a wide open receiver.
“Nate missed a wide open, awkward throw (Saturday),’’ Wilson said. “When he came out, I said to him, ‘In practice, have you ran that hard in practice when the scout team is chasing you? Because you’re running at a different speed because here’s a defense coming at you and because you’re running so hard your timing is off.’ He missed a chip shot but it was an awkward throw.’’
IU offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said that Sudfeld did a great job of managing what the staff asked him to do.
“We’re looking at our bye week this week to see how can we get better, how can we polish and clean up our passing game and compliment with our runs,’’ Johns said. “But I was very pleased with how he handled himself Saturday.’’
Johns was asked if 10 runs for Sudfeld is more than he would like to see as the offensive coordinator.
“We don’t want that to happen but if he gets a chance to take off on a called pass and he can scramble and get a first down that’s a bonus for us,’’ Johns said.
What about Sudfeld’s quick decisions to take off running instead of staying in the pocket longer?
Again, Johns supported his quarterback’s decision making process.
“I think as a quarterback when you go back and watch the film he did a great job of going his progression and a lot of times his check downs weren’t there and he took off and ran which is what he is supposed to do,’’ Johns said.