At quarterback the Hoosiers return 13 game starter Richard Lagow, but they also have a couple talented young players that could make things interesting in Austin King and Peyton Ramsey. Peegs.com spoke with Indiana QB Coach Nick Sheridan about his players and the progress they have made in the first few practices of spring ball.
Q - Talk about how the first few practices of spring ball have gone for your players.
NICK SHERIDAN: We’ve thrown a lot at them mentally, just schematically, tempo-wise, and fundamentally. They’re doing a good job. They’re trying to get better every day and they’re soaking it all in and just trying to put days on top days of just improvement. I’ve been pleased so far with their attitudes and their effort. We’re not where we want to be and that’s why you have practice. That’s what is cool about playing football, you get a chance every day to go out there and get better and that’s what those guys have tried to do.
Q - Coach (Tom) Allen mentioned that he felt like Richard Lagow was really taking ownership of the team and stepping up as a leader. Have you seen that from him as his position coach?
NICK SHERIDAN: I don’t know anything different because this is my first time out there with Richard and seeing him around his teammates. In my conversations with him I think that is something he has pointed to as wanting to do a better job of, and I am certainly going to be there to assist and help him and point out opportunities where he can lead. And that is the same for all the guys. That is kind of a prerequisite for playing that position, and that is to have good leadership, so we point that out to the guys and show them opportunities where they can lead, where they did a good job, and where they could be better. All of those guys are taking it all in.
Q - How are the quarterbacks adjusting to the new offense? Do they seem to be picking things up pretty well?
NICK SHERIDAN: I think the guys know where to go, but we’re still ironing out the how to do it if that makes sense. There are only so many schemes in football and there are only so many plays, so there is certainly carry over with different offenses, but there are also intricacies to each offense and each system. It can also be a little different depending on how you’re coaching and teaching the route, or the technique, or the read, or what have you. So those guys are picking it up, but we still have a long way to go and a lot of things to put in to where we feel that in situational football we’d have enough to execute and be competitive in those situations. There’s a lot of room to grow and a lot of things to teach and a lot of things to correct which is exciting.
Q - When it comes to your players has anyone kind of caught your eye early on or it is still a little too early for that?
NICK SHERIDAN: I’m learning the guys and I am kind of feeling my way through the things that they do well, and things they need to improve on. I’ve been pleased with the attitude and pleased with the effort. They’re trying, they’re working hard and they’re being attentive in meetings. We’re just trying to establish a set of standards of how we want to operate on the field, off the field, and in the meeting room, and so far, I’ve been pleased with that.
Q - At the end of spring practice how important is it to have your starter and your back-up firmly established? Or is this a competition that you see going into Fall Camp before it is decided?
NICK SHERIDAN: I think there is always a competition. If you’re the starter you are battling and fighting to keep your job, and if you’re a back-up you want to try and get a starting job. Throughout my experience there have been tremendous strides made over the summer. Certainly after spring practice you’ll have an order of how you see it if you had to play a game the day after, but that is what summer time is for. It is an opportunity for guys to digest what just happened in spring practice, to create a plan to improve, and to get better over the summer months which I think is imperative for successful teams and championship teams. So we’re just looking for improvement, and we’re going to allow those guys the opportunity over summer to improve as well, and it doesn’t matter if you are first team, second team, or third team. The expectation is for you to get better.
Q - Talk about how the transition has been for you and the other new offensive coaches early on in spring ball.
NICK SHERIDAN: It has been outstanding. The knowledge in the room is outstanding. Every person in the room has had success offensively on different staffs and with different schemes. We’re trying every day to put the ideas together and what fits us. And every position coach is learning their players because of the nature of the timing of this. We’re trying to evaluate the players and learn what they do best and try to cater to those strengths.
Q - When you go out on the road recruiting and you are looking at quarterbacks, besides the obvious characteristics, what are you looking for in a QB prospect? What do you want to see from them that tells you he could play for you and be successful?
NICK SHERIDAN: I think the biggest thing is we’re looking for a winner, and that encompasses a lot of things. I think there is something to guys that constantly win and they just have a knack of doing it. They know what it requires and they have the type of attitude, mindset and competitive character that you need to be a winner, and they know the leadership component of it. So we are looking for guys that have had success in not only football, but in multiple sports. Typically if guys are winners and leaders they do it in different sports. There are a lot of things that go into playing the quarterback position, and no one has got the market cornered on the evaluation of quarterbacks, otherwise there would be no mistakes in the (NFL) Draft.