Much of the focus on Monday’s Kevin Wilson press conference focused on the quarterback position.
It’s a long way from where anyone expected Indiana to be with five games to play in the season. But season-ending injuries to starter Nate Sudfeld (shoulder) and Chris Covington (knee) have put the Hoosiers in this spot.
Wilson didn’t rule out the possibility that Diamont could lose the starting job this week in practice but he sounded as if he expected the true freshman from Venice, Calif. to start in the Big House Saturday against Michigan.
"I guess he may be goes up there first unless we have a poor week, but I don't know, again, if there's ever a point where anyone's got anything ironed up,’’ Wilson said. “So I wouldn't say it's like he's -- you know -- he needs to play well.
Wilson repeated his message from the off week regarding Diamont. Despite his poor total – 11 yards passing against Michigan State – Wilson didn’t believe his QB played poorly.
“The last game we had some guys open, and he didn't play poorly,’’ Wilson said. “I didn't like -- the ball got loose a little bit a couple of times, didn't haunt him, but moving forward good. He just got, to me, just a little out of rhythm, hyper missing things that were there. So we've worked, even though the team didn't do a lot, we actually did some extra stuff with our quarterbacks to just try and increase their time on task, their rhythm, their meeting time, et cetera, without falling (outside) the Guidelines.“But for example the kids had Friday off and Saturday off, but I know the young quarterbacks actually got a little bit of work, just kind of keep them moving along just with some fundamental stuff. So we'll see. Right now, it's not (Diamont’s) job to lose, but it's his job to play better and help us win."
Wilson said it’s a lot more than the Hoosiers just needing their quarterback to play better this week. IU is 3-4 and 0-3 overall in conference play.
"Each game we've had one or two drops that have been big-play drops,’’ Wilson said. “We've had scoring opportunities. We've had defensive opportunities with some picks and turnovers we've let them off the board. So the team's gotta play better for the quarterback, too. It's not just about Zander playing better. Those quarterbacks always look good when the team plays well, and we're going to need the team to pick it up. That being said, they'll do better. So I think it's not pressure. It's just down the stretch good teams play better, winning teams play better. We've talked about that early in the year. If we're a good program, we continue to improve, and that's our challenge, to make sure we improve and play our best this week and the weeks to come."
Wilson was asked about if it was more of a challenge for Diamont because he likely expected to be redshirted this year and now he’s the starting quarterback. The IU coach said he hoped that Diamont had been mentally in the game all the way since the start of camp.
"Well, I would trust if a guy's playing here, that if he's thinking he's not playing, then he's not helping us win, because if that's your thought process, then you've got ground you can't make up,’’ Wilson said. “ So you need to ask him if three weeks ago he thought he was never playing, because if that's the case, we'd have had him on the scout team and told him he was with us, he was traveling. The reps are limited because you got ones and twos, but the thought process all along, that's why he graduated and came here early. I don't think he graduated in January to come here and sit out. So that would be a question I guess you might want to address to him because I don't know what his thought process was, other than ours is everyone's gotta answer the call when ready.
"In the first game I think he got a little bit hyper. Had a great week of practice. You can talk about that till you're blue in the face. You gotta go play. Now he's played. We'll see how we go to week two. It's going to be on the road. That's a different challenge, another very, very good defense.
The comment about asking Diamont got an obvious response from the media assembled at the press conference. To this point, Diamont has not been made available to the media. Will that change?
Wilson just smiled.
"Yeah. I mean, I don't know,’’ Wilson said. “The story on Zander is he threw for 11 yards. He needs to work instead of talk. Let his play talk, so I'll talk for him."Football Recruiting Update: October 24, 2014
Video: Wilson talks Diamont, bye week
Wilson confident in freshman QB Diamont