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IU’s Allen will use instinct to decide QB situation

September 12, 2017

There won’t be a script.

Indiana coach Tom Allen will manage his dual-quarterback approach to offense by trusting his gut.

Allen said Monday that he’ll consider the hot hand when weighing whether to insert senior Richard Lagow or redshirt freshman Peyton Ramsey during Saturday’s game against Florida International.

Lagow remains Indiana’s starter despite getting pulled for the more mobile Ramsey in the second quarter of Saturday’s 34-17 win at Virginia. Both players will share snaps moving forward, and Allen says he’ll juggle the two quarterbacks based on how he sees the game progressing.

“I just feel like we just got to go with our gut, prepare them to play at a high level (and) see how the game plays itself out,” Allen said.

Ramsey caught Virginia off guard last week, giving the Hoosiers at least a semblance of a running attack while rushing for a total of 59 yards and finishing with a net of 32. Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall said Ramsey’s presence changed the tempo of IU’s offense, making it difficult to initally adjust.

In addition to throwing for two scores, Ramsey also scrambled into the end zone on a 26-yard touchdown run.

“They had zero success at running the football, and he came in,” Mendenhall said. “Quarterback runs take a little bit more of involving your secondary. We played a zone one time and then he scrambled for a touchdown ... We just hadn’t seen him much.”

Ramsey won’t be a secret anymore, though having the ability to connect in the passing game will help keep opponents honest. Lagow has the better arm, but his feet are an issue. Ramsey certainly has the better scrambling ability, though he doesn’t have quite the same downfield throwing power. However, Ramsey did do a nice job of simply taking what the defense gave him against Virginia, completing each of his first 11 passes.

When mixing and matching quarterbacks during the upcoming weeks, it’ll be up to Allen and offensive coordinator Mike DeBord to find the proper fits for both Lagow and Ramsey.

“I think every game is different,” DeBord said. “As Coach (Allen) said, we’ll always play both guys. You just see how the game is going and what’s there. I think every game has a different story. I don’t know what the story will be this week, either. We’ll just see how this plays out.”

Harris earns Big Ten honor

J-Shun Harris is back and the Big Ten is taking notice.

The Indiana return specialist was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after totaling 109 punt return yards, including a 44-yard return for a touchdown during Saturday’s 34-17 win at Virginia.

For Harris, it was the first return of his career and a career-long, topping his 43-yard return from earlier in the game. That return helped set up IU’s second touchdown drive of the afternoon.

Harris’ scoring return was Indiana’s first on a punt since Mitchell Paige found the end zone on a 51-yard return against Michigan on Nov. 14, 2015.

Through two games, Harris leads the Big Ten and is fourth nationally with 109 yards on five returns and is sixth nationally with a 21.8 average.

Whtiehead added to watch list

New punter Haydon Whitehead is making an instant impact for Indiana.

The Australia native has been added to the watch list for the Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation’s top punter. Whitehead is averaging 42.1 yards on 16 punts with a long of 56 yards through the first two football games he’s ever played.

Whitehead has placed seven punts inside the 20-yard line and four inside the 10. Opponents have returned merely four of his 16 punts for 27 yards.

Although Whitehead is listed as a redshirt sophomore on the roster, IU coach Tom Allen believes he’ll have four full years of eligibility for the Hoosiers. Allen said on his radio show last week that IU will petition the NCAA to grant Whitehead four full seasons due to the fact that his previous school in Australia, Swinburne University of Technology, did not have American football.

Whitehead trained at Prokick Australia in Melbourne, a program that has produced the past four Ray Guy winners, including all three finalists in 2016.