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Indiana Quarterback Competition: Jack Tuttle's Offseason Development

Indiana coach Tom Allen said he would like to choose a starting quarterback after the team's second scrimmage, but it won't be announced to the public until kickoff against Illinois on Sept. 2. Jack Tuttle spoke to the media for the first time this season on Friday, offering his prospective on the competition.
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – When Indiana failed to reach bowl eligibility during the 2021 season, quarterback Jack Tuttle saw the month of December as an opportunity for reflection.

Alongside linebacker and team captain Cam Jones, Tuttle presented a powerpoint to the entire team centered around accountability and change ahead of the 2022 campaign. 

"That really created that spark we needed," Tuttle said. "That motivation we needed and that hunger we needed to get back and grind and do what we needed to do and improve."

As Tuttle looked back on his first four years at Indiana, he noticed necessary change for himself, too. This started with his diet, specifically identifying what was adding to his body fat and how he could decrease it. 

"I don't think I had a bad diet before, honestly. I ate my vegetables," Tuttle said. "I've got a sweet tooth, but I can't do that anymore."

Working with Aaron Wellman, Indiana's Senior Assistant Athletic Director for Football Performance, Tuttle started eating more ground beef, lean meat and vegetables. He eliminated all desserts, especially anything chocolate – Tuttle's favorite. Since this change, he has decreased his body fat from around 17 percent last season to eight or nine percent, currently. 

Tuttle said his dietary discipline has led to speed improvements, as well. Across three seasons at Indiana, Tuttle became well aware of the high-level pass rushers in the Big Ten. Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson went No. 2 last year, Penn State's Micah Parson was the 13th pick the year before and Chase Young was the second pick in 2020, just to name a few. 

"There's all these guys, and I personally went through it last year," Tuttle said. "So getting my speed up, being able to run around these guys, being able to extend plays is extremely important for a quarterback in the Big Ten."

Following an offseason of reflection and personal development, Tuttle is now two weeks into fall camp, competing against Missouri transfer Connor Bazelak for the starting quarterback job. Indiana coach Tom Allen said three main criteria will be considered in the process of naming the starter: command of the offense, protecting the football and winning the team over. 

Indiana had its first scrimmage of the fall on Friday, and Allen said he would like to choose a starting quarterback after the team's second scrimmage. Ultimately, the decision won't be announced to the public until kickoff against Illinois on Sept. 2. 

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"The bottom line is we will know, he will know and the team will know because game one is Big Ten football right out of the gate," Allen said. "We all know that and understand what’s at stake.”

Tuttle is entering his fourth year at Indiana after taking a redshirt season in 2018 at Utah. He's appeared in at least three games for the Hoosiers each season, but 2022 represents the first real opportunity for Tuttle to win the starting job before week one. 

For Tuttle, embracing the challenge is all part of the process.

"I always encourage competition on a team," Tuttle said. "I think competition is an amazing thing for the team, and it's only going to improve everybody who's in it."

Michael Penix Jr. was locked in as Indiana's starting quarterback heading into the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but he suffered season-ending injuries four consecutive years, which allowed Tuttle to step in.

Tuttle appeared in five games in 2019, attempting 11 total passes, but he made his first start on Dec. 5, 2020 at No. 16 Wisconsin. He was Indiana's Offensive Player of the Week, completing 13-of-22 pass attempts for 130 yards and two touchdowns as the Hoosiers left Madison with a 14-6 win. Tuttle started Indiana's matchup against Ole Miss in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2, 2021, connecting on 26-of-45 passes for 201 yards and an interception in the loss. 

Tuttle's number was called in relief again in 2021 when Penix Jr. was injured at Penn State. Tuttle went on to appear in six games last season, starting two games in losses against Michigan State and Ohio State. In total, he completed 45-of-87 passes for 423 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions. Tuttle dealt with his fair share of injuries in 2021, and was never able to fully secure the starting spot as Indiana gave opportunities to true freshman Donaven McCulley and walk-on Grant Gremel.

Tuttle will now work to learn a new playbook under offensive coordinator Walt Bell, but he's no stranger to this procedure. Bell is Tuttle's third offensive coordinator in four seasons, staring with Kalen DeBoer in 2019 and Nick Sheridan in 2020 and 2021. 

Tuttle said this process has gotten easier and easier with time, and his goal with the offense is simple. 

"Move the ball, score points," Tuttle said. "That's really it, we'd like to score in the red zone, move the ball, make explosive plays, and I think we did a good job of that, just got to keep going."

  • INDIANA QB COMPETITION, CONNOR BAZELAK: Indiana coach Tom Allen said he would like to choose a starting quarterback after the team's second scrimmage, but it won't be announced to the public until kickoff against Illinois on Sept. 2. Connor Bazelak spoke to the media for the first time this season on Friday, offering his prospective on the competition. CLICK HERE
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