Indiana’s offense had a familiar timing and tempo to it thanks to the return of its starting quarterback from the beginning of the 2014 season.
In what was likely the closest he’s been to game action, senior Nate Sudfeld completed 17-of-24 passes for 187 yards with a touchdown and an interception as the starting quarterback for Cream team in a 13-10 loss in the Cream & Crimson game.
”Today was a blast,” Sudfeld said. “It was so good to be back out there and be with my guys, play a little full-speed with a little bit of the crowd. It was a lot of fun.”
Sudfeld was injured at Iowa on Oct. 11 when he sustained a shoulder injury on his left (non-throwing) arm.
He’s recovered and been able to go through every spring football practice for the Hoosiers so far. Though Saturday was technically IU’s 12th spring practice, it was as close to a game atmosphere as he’s experienced since the injury.
Sudfeld completed passes to nine different receivers and played through the third quarter. Eventually, he was replaced by sophomore Zander Diamont for a series and later redshirt sophomore Danny Cameron.
The playing time Sudfeld received in the spring game allowed him to continue to develop a rhythm with his receivers like sophomore Simmie Cobbs, who said having Sudfeld back is a lot of fun.
”Nate is always a hard worker and definitely brings leadership to the team,” Cobbs said. “Just having him back and connecting with him is a great feeling.”
The offense was playing more up-tempo with Sudfeld, who said it’s something the offense has been working on in the offseason.
”Coach Wilson’s been kind of the position coach for us quarterbacks,” Sudfeld said. “He’s been talking more than X’s and O’s, just about how to manage the offense, how bring guys and get energy going… I thought that showed out today but we still need to be a lot better in that aspect.”
Senior offensive lineman Jason Spriggs, who started in 10 of 11 games he played in last season, said having Sudfeld back helps the offense a lot.
”Having Nate back really brings back your passing game, which opens up our running game,” Spriggs said. “Not only does Nate open up our passing game, but he keeps our offense moving and keeps our offense rolling. He’s not just a quarterback role, he’s more of an offensive player. He’s got our whole offense on his back.”
With the timing and tempo back to normal, as well as Sudfeld, players are excited the potential of Indiana’s offense.
”I think we can be extremely good,” Sudfeld said. “We have guys who are very hungry. No particular guys who are going to be the superstar as of now, just young guys developing. Our receivers, tightends, runningbacks, (we’ve) got a committee of guys who can play. And then obviously our offensive line is doing extremely well.
”I’m excited about the potential, but we have just got to keep working.”