CHICAGO, Ill. -- The question hovers over Indiana’s football program -- who will be the starting quarterback in Year One of the Kevin Wilson era?
Will it be Dusty Kiel, the likely favorite and older brother of superstar recruit Gunner Kiel, who just committed to the Hoosiers? Dusty Kiel played little last season behind starter Ben Chappell. He was 4-for-17 for 71 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Will it be fellow redshirt-sophomore Ed Wright-Baker, who was 5-for-12 for 80 yards, one touchdown and one interception? And don’t forget Teddy Schell and Adam Follett, long shots but still in the running.
Wilson said during the Big Ten football media gathering that he will see what happens in preseason camp. He isn’t close to picking a starter based on 15 spring practices.
“You don’t anoint a quarterback,” he said.
In other words, somebody will have to earn the position and the respect of his teammates.
Wilson said when future Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford arrived at Oklahoma as a freshman, he wasn’t handed the starting role. Bradford didn’t win the job until 10 days before the season opener.
“I want our players to battle it out,” Wilson said. “I slept very comfortably when I watched what our kids did this spring. I think our offense, with (co-offensive coordinators) Rod Smith and Kevin Johns, myself, all our coaches having coached the (quarterback) position, I think we know how to develop it. I think we know how to put them in good positions.”
That position will not include a quarterback rotation.
“I don’t plan on playing two,” Wilson said. “I don’t want a quarterback looking over his shoulder.”
* Paterno not convinced scandals are new
Scandals have rocked college football in recent years. Ohio State, Oregon, USC are among the programs dealing with violations and alleged transgressions. A reporter asked Penn State coach Joe Paterno if this is one of the worst stretches ever for the sport.
“We’ve always had problems,” he said. “You’re going to have problems when you have the type of competition that’s going on.
“The old days when I first started to coach, I lived about four blocks off campus. I used to get a call from one of the campus cops. He’d say, ‘Hey Coach, you better come up here and get a hold of Mike. Too much to drink, making a lot of noise.’
“I’d get up at 2 in the morning, grab Mike, put him in bed, get him up at 5 in the morning, run his (backside) off for a week. You (media) guys never heard about it.”
Paterno said he hears coaches today (guys he knew when they were 19 and 20 years old) complaining about how the kids today are different.
“They ought to go back and read Socrates. Socrates, in 400 BC, said ‘The kids today are terrible tyrants. They don’t pay attention.’ That’s 2,500 years ago, OK.”
* Hope likes title game setting
The first Big Ten football championship game is set for December at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis will continue being the host city for the annual event, which is great news for Purdue coach Danny Hope.
“From a recruiting standpoint, it makes a lot of sense,” he said. “Playing indoors in a comfortable climate, you can put two teams on the field and see what they really have.
“I like it being in Indianapolis and I like that it’s indoors. If they want to play in the snow or in the desert, we’re all for it. If we can go inside in a good climate, that’s a good idea, too.”
* Paterno feels his program is 'lucky'
Penn State and Brigham Young are the only schools to win a national football champion and not get hit with major NCAA violations.
What are the Nittany Lions doing that other schools aren’t?
“Maybe we’re lucky,” Paterno said.
“What the good Lord said, ‘Don’t be the first one to cast the rock,’ I preach all the time. I tell our alumni all the time. Stay out of it. We try to keep them informed what they can do legally, what they can’t do legally.”
Paterno said he tells his coaches to only recruit players who are good people as much as good athletes, and that they must fit the schools academic and athletic missions.
“If a player wants to horse around with something or he suggests that maybe he wants something, walk away, walk away. That doesn’t mean we’ve always walked away. I try to keep track of it.”