BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Indiana’s starting quarterback, Richard
Lagow, is emerging as one of the Big Ten’s top pocket passers.
His backup, Zander Diamont, is a more dynamic runner.
After watching Diamont provide a second-half spark in Saturday’s
loss to Nebraska, coach Kevin Wilson wants the best of both worlds.
”He’s actually been our scout team quarterback the last two
weeks,” Wilson said, referring to Diamont. ”He was Tommy
Armstrong, he was J.T. Barrett, so he’s getting 80, 90 percent of
his reps going against the first defense. That being said, some of
that carries over to what we’re doing.”
It showed up on the field Saturday when the California kid ran
eight times for 31 yards while completing 5 of 7 passes for 49
Lagow’s has not done anything terribly wrong.
After six FBS starts, the junior college transfer has the
second-highest yards per game (276.0) in the Big Ten, the
second-most touchdown passes (12), the fourth-highest passer
efficiency rating (145.8) and a respectable completion percentage
of 59.9. The only glaring glitch: Nine interceptions, five of which
came in one game and two that went off the hands of receivers.
Wilson’s only real public criticism of Lagow came after he drew an
unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in a loss to Wake Forest.
Besides, the Hoosiers (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) are playing solid
football. They’ve already upset one ranked team and seriously
challenged two top 10 teams over the past three weeks , leaving
them three wins short of a second straight bowl bid – something
that last happened in 1990 and 1991.
After visiting Northwestern (3-3, 2-1) this weekend, Indiana’s more
manageable second half of the schedule still includes home games
against Maryland, Penn State and Purdue, and a road trip to Rutgers.
Using Diamont as a complement to Lagow makes the Hoosiers tougher
to defend, gets another good player on the field and it worked in
its first trial run.
”He (Diamont) is a big spark,” receiver Mitchell Paige said after
catching nine passes for 101 yards in the 27-22 loss to the
Huskers. ”We kind of knew that was coming, but he always does –
he’s a little spark plug.”
Diamont also has developed into something more than a runner.
Two years ago, when the true freshman was pressed into the
starter’s role because of injuries, he threw 132 passes in six
starts. In limited work Saturday, Diamont used designed rollouts
and zone reads to effectively keep Nebraska’s defense off-balance.
That combination is forcing Wilson to consider all his options,
making defensive coordinators around the league cringe at the
thought of having to prepare for both Indiana quarterbacks.
”We weren’t playing wildcat. He (Diamont) is just a quarterback
that can run a little bit more,” Wilson said. ”I just appreciate
in this day and age you see quarterbacks check out, it’s all about
me getting the ball, receivers getting touches, running backs
getting carries. I appreciate the way that he’s battled.”
Notes: Wilson said All-American guard Dan Feeney (concussion) is
doing more each day, though he would not say whether he’ll be back
on the field this week. Feeney has missed three consecutive games.
… Wilson also said kicker Griffin Oakes has a leg injury, which
limited his range last weekend.