Alexander Diamont's collegiate debut was one to forget.
But to be fair, it was never supposed to happen this way. When Diamont committed to Indiana, the Hoosiers planned to redshirt him for a year. With guys like Nate Sudfeld, Tre Roberson and Cam Coffman on the roster, Diamont would have been the fourth-string quarterback, at best.
Even after Coffman and Roberson left the program, Kevin Wilson still planned to redshirt Diamont. He moved freshman linebacker Chris Covington to quarterback as Sudfeld's backup. Diamont's debut wasn't supposed to come for a couple of years.
But after Sudfeld separated his shoulder against Iowa and Covington tore his ACL, Diamont was suddenly the next man up. In less that a week's time, Diamont went from a redshirt candidate to a starting quarterback against the Big Ten's best team. It wasn't ideal.
To say Diamont struggled against No. 8 Michigan State would be an understatement. The true freshman completed only 5-of-15 passes for 11 yards. No, that is not a typo.
There's no time to dwell on the rough debut, though. The job belongs to Diamont now, and he must get as comfortable as he can before Indiana's next game at Michigan. The Hoosiers have a bye this week, which couldn't have come at a better time. Diamont had only a few days to prepare for Michigan State. He gets two full weeks to prepare for Michigan.
Unfortunately for Wilson, this isn't the first time he's faced this situation at Indiana.
“We’ve played freshmen every year, and that’s tough," Wilson said Wednesday. "When you’re the third [stringer], you don’t get a lot of reps. The one gets 60, 65, 70 percent of the reps. The two gets 30, 35, 40. And then the third guy gets some individual. Sometimes we have that third guy go to scout team just because it’s better to go over there and get throws.
“He had a great week of practice Tuesday, Wednesday, but the stress level is different. And now that he’s stressed, you fall back on some old habits. When you haven’t had as much work, those habits can look a little flawed.”
Despite what happened last Saturday, Wilson believes Diamont is capable of leading his talented offense. His first start against the Spartans was just too much for the young kid to handle.
“He just was a little rushed, just a little out of sync, just playing a little quick," Wilson said. "The timing was off. We actually had some guys open, some guys coming open, some opportunities. He was just a little quick and out in front of it. He was just a little bit off."
While many of the regular guys will get time off this week to rest and recover from a tough stretch of games, Diamont and sophomore quarterback Nate Boudreau will get in extra work to prepare for Michigan.
“We’ve done a lot with those guys because we thought they needed it," Wilson said. "Their arms aren’t as tired. aren’t as beat up.”With only five games remaining, Indiana needs three wins to become bowl eligible. Every game becomes a must-win, and there's no time to waste.
Diamont is behind, and he must catch up in a hurry.
“The offense is what it is. We thought he fit our offense," Wilson said. "You just kinda do what you do. Each week, it’ll be what you can protect first because if he’s running for his life, that’s not good. ... We're not going to limit the playbook because he's in there. We're gonna do what we do."Tough day for Diamont in IU loss
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