For most of Fall Camp it was pretty apparent that the starting quarterback for the Hoosiers was going to be junior college transfer Richard Lagow. Head coach Kevin Wilson made it official when the depth chart was released yesterday for the season opener against FIU and Lagow was listed as the starter. Both Coach Wilson and offensive coordinator Kevin Johns spoke yesterday to the media about Lagow winning the job.
Coach Wilson said that the team has known for a little while that Lagow was the guy because of how things were progressing in practice.
“Richard Lagow has gotten the bulk of the work for several weeks,” Wilson said. “He's been the one. He's gotten every one (team) rep except when we rotate Zander Diamont or Danny Cameron in there. So he's kind of been the one. It wasn't a formal announcement needed to be made. The team has been practicing, knows it, the timing has been there. So we actually evolved to that about after the seventh practice. So he's kind of been the guy. He's handled it well. Looking forward to seeing him.”
Coach Wilson said Lagow has good physical size and he has the kind of arm that can make any throw they need their quarterback to make, and he also has done a good job with the mental side of playing the position.
“He's 240 pounds, he's 6'5" plus,” Wilson said. “He's got a good arm and he can make all the throws. Whether it be the long throws to the field or deep throws. I think he does pass the ball so he can touch it. He's not going to just rear back and rip it. He reads it well. I think we've got a nice package, and he's picked up the offense well. I think communication is always hard in what we do. Being able to verbalize and talk and have command presence. So as a young guy, it was getting up to speed there.”
Coach Johns said Lagow stood out because he has the physical tools and because of what he did to prepare every day to be the starting QB.
“The physical tools are really there,” Johns said about Lagow. “He has the arm strength, the physical stature, things you want in a quarterback. Since he’s been here he has really taken that leadership role, just the execution of the offense when we’re on the field, he has done a lot of things really well. More important to me is he worked to get better. So we’re excited for him and excited to see what we can do and for him to lead our offense.”
The biggest thing that the coaches have had to work with Lagow on is getting his feet in the proper position to throw the ball.
“We've had to work on because he's a big guy, had to work a lot on his feet,” Wilson said. “He can move around and such that he can get in bad positions where his accuracy can go down. So when he gets his feet set, he's really, really accurate. So as a bigger guy, taking long steps, you can over-stride, you're pointing left, you're throwing right, you can get off. So we've worked a lot of preseason drills of all those guys to get their feet underneath them, to play with base.”
Johns said that Lagow has significant progress with his footwork, but the IU assistant believes he can still improve in that area.
“It’s almost like with tall receivers, they become long striders,” Johns said about Lagow. “As a quarterback, like Nate Sudfeld, Rich is a big, tall long guy, and if you’re not careful you can over-stride. You can play with your feet too wide apart. That is something that we have talked about with Rich since the day he walked in the door, just trying to improve his footwork, his drops, and his base when he delivers the football. He has worked extremely hard on it. I still think he has lots of work to do in that area, and he is only going to get better. But it has come a long way since he’s been here.”
Coach Wilson said they know Lagow is going to make mistakes, and when he does they are going to roll with it and move on to the next play just like they do in practice.
“There have been picks in practices and we just went to the next play,” Wilson said. “I'm expecting the other team to play well and him to play well, and I have more positive visions than negative. We'll deal with it. To me, he's playing the best. The guy that's going first has really had a very, very good preseason. He's made it like he's playing the best, and everybody knows that. I think the team has confidence, and I think he has confidence. I'm sure he's going to have some bad plays, but we'll live with it.”