Every Tuesday at 9 a.m., AllHoosiers.com will have its ‘On The Mend’ feature that looks at Indiana injuries and how they could potentially affect the upcoming game of the week.
Obviously the only injury Indiana fans were focused on Monday was the announcement that junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld would be lost for the season.
Sudfeld injured his left (non-throwing) shoulder Saturday at Iowa when he was sacked and driven into the ground. He came out of the game and didn’t return. He will have surgery on the shoulder and is done for the season.
The biggest first question is who will take Sudfeld’s place. Saturday, by necessity, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson believed that the best option was true freshman Chris Covington. Covington had been listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart and had played a handful of plays on the season leading up to that point.
The other obvious choice would have been true freshman Zander Diamont, a player that the IU staff is high on but until Wilson and his staff was sure of the severity of Sudfeld’s injury they didn’t want to take the redshirt off of Diamont. With Sudfeld now out for the season, that will likely occur.
In announcing that Sudfeld was done for the season, Wilson said that IU would likely begin with Covington but that the Hoosiers had some options, too.
“So moving forward, whether it be with he being out, Chris Covington, Zander Diamont, Nate Boudreau, we don't have necessarily an open competition but those will be the guys we play with and we'll move forward there,’’ Wilson said.
Wilson said that a big part of Covington’s challenges Saturday against Iowa was that he had very limited repetitions to that point. A knee injury had slowed him down and he wasn’t cleared to play until the Bowling Green week.
"And you know, Diamont and Boudreau got the bulk of work,’’ Wilson said. “As you watch (Covington), I still think he gives you the best chance to play and to win with, and that's why we went with him. But we'll see. He's a young guy and he's going to make some young guy mistakes but he's a calm dude. He's very talented.
"Again it's going to be difficult this week because you're playing a good team but we have to put them in about situations and play to our strength. Got a pretty good offensive line and we'll do some things. They are good defensively. They come at you and cause turnovers and sacks. It was going to be a tough challenge no matter if you had Peyton Manning, it's a good defense you're playing this week but we have to do everything we can to put them in a good position. We'll clean it up this week and see what we've got."
Wilson talked a little bit about his quarterbacks overall at Monday’s press conference.
"(Zander Diamont is) slight, 160-some pounds and -- Big Ten's big. Covington is 220, and so, you know, he was a great quarterback in high school. We recruited him as an athlete and thought we needed him on defense. But with their depth spaces and watching him play, we thought he would be a viable option and as he got in and got comfortable, we think he's the next best one.
"But Zander is a good player, throws well, runs well. He's a smaller guy. You've got two freshmen, so you've just got to be careful of what you ask those guys. When you have freshmen, you have some mistakes and they are going to be challenged but the defense is going to do everything they can to make his role uncomfortable -- and in your quote for starts, we see just Chris. (And then you ask) where does Nate Boudreau fit into the mix?
"The other two guys are a little bit more athletic and can run around a bit more where Nate Boudreau is a version of Nate Sudfeld: Good arm, good mobility, but not as much of a runner. Again we are not going to be an option attack. We just run the zone plays and once in a while you can read it and pull it out, and so the offense doesn't change anything, the play calls don't change.’’
Wilson said any changes will be minor ones.
"Just some of the slight schematics do because the quarterback now is a bit more of a runner than a thrower but we'll keep throwing it -- run the zone plays -- and once in a while you can read it and pull it out, so the offense doesn't change anything, the play calls don't change, just some of the slight schematics do because the quarterback now is a little bit more of a runner than a thrower but we'll keep throwing. We're not going to throw five passes."
The Sudfeld injury came on the heels of another significant injury suffered Wednesday of last week in practice. Wide receiver Isaiah Roundtree is also out for the season after an ACL injury.
Beyond the major injury to Sudfeld, Indiana came out of the game without any injuries of significance according to Wilson.
“There was no one else, really, out of the game,’’ Wilson said at Monday’s weekly press conference. “There were a couple of guys, we lost a couple guys, but everyone does. It's a little bit of college ball. You have to overcome that and I believe we will. That's where we are health-wise and the rest of the guys, I think we're in pretty good shape.’’
Stay tuned next Tuesday for a new segment of ‘On the Mend.’ Tomorrow, AllHoosiers.com’s Ben Faunce will have our weekly ‘How They Fared’ feature that looks back at how Indiana recruits did in their games last week.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/FoxsportshutchSudfeld out for the season
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