Hoosiers open practice with heated battle at quarterback
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Richard Lagow has the size and the pedigree to be Indiana's next starting quarterback.
Zander Diamont has more experience working within the offense.
Now Lagow, the highly-touted junior college transfer, and Diamont, the former backup turned replacement starter, will spend the next few month trying to impress coach Kevin Wilson and offensive coordinator Kevin Johns.
''I'm not going to be equal and I'm not trying to be fair (with snaps),'' Wilson said Wednesday at Indiana's annual media day. ''A few years ago, I tried to be equal and fair and all I did was make everyone mad and egos got involved.
''Maybe we'll play more than one,'' Wilson added. ''But I do think, looking at it, Diamont and Lagow will get the bulk starting out.''
None of the five quarterbacks was available to reporters.
Lagow appears to be the early favorite.
He has prototypical size at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds and has Division I experience, too. He signed with UConn in 2013 recruiting class but left before the season began, partly because of a coaching change and partly because of a crowded depth chart.
Eventually, Lagow walked on at Oklahoma State before landing at Cisco Community College in his home state of Texas in 2014. There, he threw for 4,506 yards and 38 touchdowns as a two-year starter.
Indiana liked the fact Lagow was dubbed one of the best pocket passers in junior college and signed him last winter, in time to get him on campus for spring football. That's all Wilson has seen so far.
''Rich has a big arm, he can really make throws,'' receiver Mitchell Paige said. ''He's athletic and he has all the tools.''
Diamont is a dynamic runner who started the last six games of 2014 after Indiana's top two quarterbacks went down with season-ending injuries. He made one start last season when Nate Sudfeld got hurt. In two seasons, Diamont is just 79 of 163 for 681 yards with one TD and four interceptions.
But after spending all that time learning Indiana's offense and fine-tuning his skills in it, the 6-1, 174-pound former Los Angeles City player of the year missed the entire spring after having ankle surgery.
Even if he loses out to Lagow, though, the Hoosiers still plan to use Diamont in other ways.
If a third quarterback enters the picture, it will probably be Danny Cameron, the son of former Indiana head coach and current LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The younger Cameron made his college debut in relief of Diamont against Penn State last season and went 6 of 16 with 65 yards and one interception.
But nobody is dropping hints about who took the lead into Wednesday's first practice or when a final decision might be made.
Indiana opens its season Sept. 1 at Florida International.
''Each one brings a little different niche to the table,'' All-American guard Dan Feeney said. ''I think Rich is a taller guy who can see everything. He's pretty athletic and he's got a nice competitive edge. Zander is athletic and has a competitive edge and experience.''
It's the only significant question on an offense that led Indiana to its first bowl game in eight years.
Devine Redding is expected to take over as the starting halfback after rushing for 1,012 yards as Jordan Howard's backup last season, and sophomore Brandon Knight is expected to start at left tackle following the graduation of All-American Jason Spriggs. Knight played in 11 games last season and earned honorable mention all-freshman honors.
Everybody else returns - except the quarterback.
''It's a competition in everything they do,'' Johns said. ''We'll watch warm-ups, we'll watch them in meetings. It's not just how they play on the field, it's everything. At the end of the day, we feel like we'll probably have to play all of them anyway.''