Column: Coffman is ready to lead offense
The sight of sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson writhing in unbearable pain and being carted away in an ambulance surely signified the waving of the proverbial white flag for the Hoosiers’ 2012 season, right?
After all, Roberson had been anointed starting quarterback by IU Coach Kevin Wilson, one of the sharpest offensive minds in collegiate football.
Wilson entrusted Roberson to direct his high-octane spread offense in the most efficient manner possible. The Hoosiers surely couldn’t afford to lose a player of such significance.
Well, they did.
Indiana can’t turn back the clock, and it most certainly cannot bank on Roberson magically repairing a broken left leg. The recovery process will reportedly last between five and six months, solidifying the unfortunate truth that backups sophomore Cameron Coffman and freshman Nathan Sudfeld will run the Hoosier offense for the remaining 10 games of the regular season.
Coffman, a transfer from Arizona Western Community College, is listed as the presumptive starting quarterback on this week’s depth chart.
The 6-feet-2-inch, 191-pound sophomore was the least celebrated among the three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster entering fall camp.
Roberson was the returning starter, and Sudfeld was a celebrated recruit out of California.
Playing the role of underdog should light a fire beneath Coffman, a dangerous proposition for opposing defenses who don’t take the Hoosier offense seriously.
Coffman, seemingly the most accurate passer on the roster, possesses the luxury of a surprisingly deep group of skill position players surrounding him. Those running backs and receivers are as important as Coffman in the effort to offset the loss of Roberson.
Offensive Coordinator Seth Littrell stressed that concept following practice Monday morning.
“It comes down to playing with 11 guys on the field and everybody doing their job,” Littrell said. “It takes all 11.”
Running backs freshman Tevin Coleman and sophomore D’Angelo Roberts and sophomore wide receivers Shane Wynn and Cody Latimer are some of those 11 players who will be considered “go-to guys” for Coffman.
Coleman and Roberts have been spectacular running the ball for the Hoosiers through two games. The tandem has combined for 254 net rushing yards on 53 carries, good for an average of roughly 4.8 yards per carry.
Junior Stephen Houston and sophomore Isaiah Roundtree round out the group at running back, effectively creating a four-man rotation at the position.
Expect to see the Hoosiers emphasize the running game in the coming weeks, particularly with an inexperienced quarterback running the show.
When Coffman is forced to throw the ball, Wynn and Latimer will be open and gunning for opportunities to pile on yards after the catch.
Wynn and Latimer have done just that, recording 11 receptions for 135 yards and 10 receptions for 108 yards, respectively.
Clearly, Coffman has a bevy of weapons at his disposal.
All he has to do is fire away. Victories are there for the taking.
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