Michael Penix Jr. Looks to Spread the Wealth for Indiana Football

Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. wants to get his playmakers involved, and his unselfish desire to do so is what makes the Indiana offense so dangerous.
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — There is no label on the type of quarterback that Michael Penix Jr. is. He is simply Indiana's quarterback with no tags, and that's all that matters for both the redshirt sophomore quarterback and new offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan.

Both Sheridan and Penix were asked questions Wednesday on whether they consider him a pocket passer or dual threat quarterback.

"I see him as a guy who is difficult to defend," Sheridan said.

As far as what Penix thinks of himself, "I always say I'm a passer that can run."

It's no secret what his ability is. He has a strong arm and can sling balls down the field, but he can also extend plays with his legs whenever he has to.

Just because Penix can escape the pocket doesn't mean he's always looking to run the ball and make plays himself. Penix always appreciates what his teammates can do on the field, so he seeks to reward them any time he can. 

"I just want to get the playmakers the ball," Penix said. "I touch the ball every play, you know, I'm trying to let my guys out there touch the ball, too. I can try my best to extend the plays and get them the ball, and if that's not open, I'll take it into my own hands."

Michael Penix Jr. throws the ball during Indiana's fall camp on Oct. 6.

Michael Penix Jr. throws the ball during Indiana's fall camp on Oct. 6.

That unselfish mentality is just the way Penix is built. After any good game last season, Penix would deflect the credit to the offensive line for giving him time, or the receivers for getting open and catching the ball.

It's a big reason why Indiana's offense was so effective last season. Penix likes to spread the ball around to his weapons, and when so many guys are getting involved, it becomes more challenging for a defense to stop.

"I think he is very well-liked and respected by his teammates. I think that is probably where the biggest growth has come, certainly the ability is there," Sheridan said. "I think his consistency has continued to improve. I have already told you guys several times on what I think about Michael Penix, so it is our job to continue to push him and put him in the best situations to be successful."

Indiana had its first preseason scrimmage last Saturday, and they will have their second one this Saturday.

So far, Indiana coach Tom Allen, Sheridan and Penix have all said they've felt like it went well.

"I feel that we have been executing well with everything that we have going on right now," Penix said. "I feel like everything has been really good. We have to make sure that we are finishing our plays. That is one thing that we are stressing this year. Coach Allen is stressing that we finish everything that we do."

That mantra comes from a few of Indiana's game last season that they failed to close out, such as the loss to Michigan State and the loss to Tennessee in the Gator Bowl.

A major key to Indiana's success this season isn't just finishing games, but keeping Penix healthy. His first two seasons at Indiana have been cut short by injuries, a torn ACL as a freshman and a clavicle injury a year ago.

Right now, the coaching staff feels comfortable with where he is. And no matter how you want to describe him, the Hoosiers they think they have a shot to do some damage in the Big Ten as long as their left-handed gunslinger is on the field.

"There's no physical limitations for Mike at all," Sheridan said. "I don't really label him. He's just our quarterback, and I'm glad he is."

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