Back-Up Will Be Going Back In

Bloomington - Ben Chappell might not have beaten out Kellen Lewis for the starting quarterback job this fall, but he performed well enough to give the IU staff confidence to come up with a formation that puts both on the field. Chappell talks about his new role with the offense...

Bloomington – Ben Chappell is happy to know his days on the sidelines appear to be over.

There was a time when the Hoosiers' sophomore quarterback appeared destined to lead the offense full-time, thanks in large part to the four-month suspension of Kellen Lewis. But once Lewis was reinstated in July and subsequently bested Chappell for the No. 1 job during fall camp, it appeared Chappell was in for another season on the headset.

That all changed on the Hoosiers' second offensive series Saturday against Michigan State. Chappell entered, Lewis slid over to wide receiver, and Indiana officially unveiled a new formation that it has been working on dating back to fall camp.

"I think it's something that puts the defense on its heels a little bit," Chappell said.

It did just that against the Spartans, and was successful enough for IU Coach Bill Lynch to say afterwards that he expects it be a regular part of IU's package. Exactly how much it will be used depends on the opponent and the flow of the game, but Chappell knows he can now plan on being a part of the gameplan on a weekly basis.

Chappell completed 11-of-23 passes for 107 yards, numbers that would have been even better had a 97-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Turner not been negated by a holding call.

"It was fun," Chappell said. "I was anxious, ready to play. I've been preparing every week the same as if I was starting. When they called for it, we went and executed it pretty well."

The new offensive set frees up a slew of options for the offensive and IU offensive coordinator Matt Canada. He's able to line up Lewis at wide receiver, where he can be on the receiving end of a screen or lateral from Chappell and then look to make something happen. Lewis also lined up next to Chappell in the shot gun, where he can take a handoff and look to either run with it or throw it.

"I think having two guys on the field that can throw it the way we can, having Kellen on the outside, as fast as he is and being able to throw the ball, that's something defense isn't used to," Chappell said. "He's as fast as all our guys out there. We don't lose a beat with him out there. It's a real challenge for defenses to cover him."

The formation also frees up some opportunities for the Hoosier tailbacks, who almost become an afterthought for opposing defenses thanks to the preoccupation with Lewis' presence.

"(The formation) can only help (the running game)," Chappell said. "Kellen's speed, his ability to make plays, they're going to be aware of him, maybe we can gash them a few times."

While it's Lewis' multitude of skills that makes the formation so dangerous, what makes it all possible is the confidence that the IU staff has developed in Chappell. The Bloomington native legitimately challenged Lewis for the starting role during fall camp, and he performed well enough that the staff decided the two-quarterback formation could be effective.

"We have a lot of confidence in Ben being the quarterback," Lynch said. Top Stories