ANN ARBOR, Mich. – For the second straight game, IU freshman quarterback Zander Diamont’s performance didn’t go as well as he hoped.
In his second start of the season, Diamont completed 5-of-8 passes for 24 yards in Indiana’s 34-10 loss to Michigan at Michigan Stadium.
”He didn’t have any critical errors,” IU head coach Kevin Wilson said. “But to me there’s still a lack of timing, lack of trust. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
It was a rough start from the beginning for Diamont. Through the Hoosiers’ first three drives, the Los Angeles native completed 1-of-2 passes and was sacked for a six-yard loss.
The one completion he had was to senior wide receiver Shane Wynn for a gain of nine yards. However, that would be his longest completion of the day as he didn’t complete a single pass longer than 10 yards.
Diamont was made available to the media for the first time this season following Saturday's loss. Despite his struggles, he was confident in his abilities.
”I’ve always believed I can make any throw on the field, and if you look back on my high school career I’ve shown that,” Diamont said. “It’s not about what throws I can make, it’s more about being able to process the game. It’s moving a lot faster, so I’ve got to be able to process that.”
So far, Diamont has had about three weeks of practice with the first-team offense after expecting to redshirt and sit out this season. As a result, the speed of the game is something he’s still adjusting to and trying to process.
Diamont said he’s learned that there’s a difference in speed between practice and the games.
”Practice is a lot slower, a lot more like high school,” Diamont said. “You can’t simulate game speed in practice. As much as we try to, it’s just not possible. I’ve learned to just slow down my feet and myself instead of trying to make the game slow down or try to do too much, just try and slow down and it will come to me.”
At times, Diamont was split out wide while the ball was directly snapped to senior running back D’Angelo Roberts or junior running back Tevin Coleman in the Wildcat formation. Coleman defended his teammate’s performance.
”He’s young, so it’s going to be hard on him,” Coleman said. “But he’s doing a great job. We’re going to keep on practicing, keep on working with him and he’s going to be alright.”
Diamont has been with the program for almost a year. He enrolled at IU at the semester break and took classes and participated in Spring Football. When he arrived at IU, he weighed 175 pounds.
That weight has not changed during his time with the program, and Diamont acknowledged that’s an area that he needs change to get physically ready.
”I’m obviously an undersized guy,” he said. “I’ve got to keep working in the weight room and just get bigger and keep eating.”
It was something Wilson said he and Diamont discussed on the sideline during the game.
”I had a nice conversation with him during the game,” Wilson said. “My question to (him) is, ‘can you look at yourself every day and say you’re getting better?’ Because all we’ve talked about each day is constant and consistent improvement.”
Through two games, Diamont has completed 10-of-23 passes – a 43.5 percent completion rate – for 35 yards. But don’t tell him that, because it's not something he pays attention to and a reason why he’s remaining optimistic about the rest of his season.
Diamont said it’s frustrating but all he can do is improve.
”We have a saying, ‘stats are for losers,’” Diamont said. “I keep trying to not look at the stats and just keep working, keep watching the film. That’s all I can do.”