BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) -- If it seems like an annual question, that's because it often has become just that: another Indiana camp beginning with uncertainty about the starting quarterback.
That could be looked at as a positive. There's good competition and several possibilities.
Or perhaps it's a negative that there's an incumbent who hasn't elicited enough confidence to name him the starter going into the fall, the kind of guy that has people in the WDRB Sports office betting a sandwich on whether or not he'll start the opener against Ball State.
"I's just another opportunity this year," head coach Tom Allen said. "We had a conversation a year ago about this position coming in, and here we are again with an opportunity to do that, and I think competition makes everybody better. And it's human nature for that to be the case."
Peyton Ramsey is that incumbent. The redshirt junior from Cincinnati started eight games as a freshman and all twelve last season. He's completed more than 65% of his passes and thrown for more than 4,000 yards in those two seasons with 29 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. They're decent numbers, but Indiana has also gone 5-7 overall and 2-7 in the Big Ten in both seasons.
Allen said Ramsey will be the guy going with the starters at first, but like all positions, he'll have to beat the others out to stay there.
"He's a returning starter, and I think there's a lot of merit in that, and he's earned it," the third-year head coach said. "But at the same time ... I've mentioned it with other positions, and I've told (IU running back) Stevie Scott the same thing, and the same thing with our linebackers and safeties and corners and receivers and offensive line. It's not just quarterback. That's the one that usually gets talked about, but those other guys have the opportunity, and we'll have the opportunity to compete for the position and beat him out."
The others in the mix are both redshirt freshmen. Michael Penix, Jr. is healthy again after tearing an ACL last October. Jack Tuttle is a transfer from Utah.
"It has to be, when it's a 1:20 to go in the game, and we've got the ball, who do our guys believe is going to take us down the field and go score and go win the game?" Allen said. "To me, that's called winning your team, winning your teammates, who they believe in. It's not just liking the guy. It's not a popularity contest, because they're all three awesome guys, and it's who do they believe and who do we believe and who believes in themselves enough to take this team down the field and go win the game.
"At the end of the day, you're judged on the scoreboard as a coach and as a player. That's how we get judged professionally, and it's how we get judged in performance. That's a big part of it."
Allen admits it gets a little difficult if you're trying to play two or three guys at a time at that position. So he hopes to settle on one guy, to an extent.
"To me, it's a matter of going through this process right now, and we'll take these next couple weeks and figure it out, and then once we make that decision, that guy will be the person," he said. "But I will say, we've all seen things happen, seasons are long. A lot of things go through this. So guys got to be ready to go. No matter how it plays out for week one, you know you've got to be able to be ready when called upon."
That opener with Ball State is Aug. 31 at noon in Bloomington.
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