This season should probably not be happening, and definitely not before spring if it must occur, but we’re gonna keep pretending that it will until it doesn’t. Yes, this is getting added every day.
When he was recruited out of Florida, it was clear that Mike Penix had the potential to be the Next Great Quarterback. During his “true” freshman campaign, he showed off just enough talent to keep those hopes going, with an unfortunate ACL tear ensuring that he would take a redshirt for that season whether the team wanted him to or not. Last season, his redshirt freshman year, Penix showed that, while he’s still working out a couple of things, he was fairly capable of running the show until yet more injuries cut his season to only 6 games. Both years, Indiana had the safety blanket of Peyton Ramsey to step in when the talented freshman couldn’t go.
Now, Ramsey is a Northwestern Wildcat, and Penix is the guy on top of the depth chart. Whether or not he remains there could very well be the story of this season.
What We Know
Penix came out of high school as a top-15 pro style quarterback, and is very capable of making plays with both his hands and feet. In 2019, he completed 68.8% of the passes he threw, with a 10-4 scores to picks ratio. His stats over his career so far compare well to former IU great Antwaan Randle El, and his play style also evokes ARE. Perhaps in service of that, Penix has added almost 15 pounds since last year, since his style also invites plenty of hits along the way. He’s got mostly the same line as last season, a very similar receiving corps, and Stevie Scott to take attention off him, so things seem to be aligning to give Michael Penix his best chance to show off what he can do. This season is the time for him to let everyone know that this is his job, his time, his spotlight.
Assuming he can stay healthy, of course.
The injury bug is the one opponent that Penix can’t seem to shake. A shortened season could alleviate some of that pressure, but having the offseason and preseason be disrupted as they have been might also affecting conditioning and play in-season. A new S&C coach may also give Penix an edge on keeping his body in the best shape he can, but until teams get on the field, that’s all up in the air.
And while Penix is almost certainly the guy week 1, we can’t forget his backup, Jack Tuttle. Tuttle transferred from Utah last season, and you have to think that potential playing time was a factor in that. If Penix has another injury setback, Tuttle is the next man up, and if that audition goes well, his step up may become permanent. These are the concerns that come with having plenty of talent in the QB room, and only one of them starting each week.
The long and short of it is, Michael Penix Jr. is absolutely Indiana’s Quarterback of Now. And if he can stay healthy, he is still the Quarterback of the Future as well. If he can’t, Jack Tuttle waits in the wings, hoping for the chance to show he is the QB of the future.
One of them certainly will be.
Monday: The Preview
Tuesday: What’s New on the Coaching Tree
Wednesday: A Mike Penix Appreciation Post (see above)
Friday: A Non-Zero Amount of Purdue Hate
All Week: Potlucks