BLOOMINGTON – Edward Wright-Baker rolled to his right and fired a short pass to running back Matt Perez near Memorial Stadium’s south end zone.
Moments later, Dusty Kiel took a shotgun snap, rolled to his left and completed a pass to running back David Blackwell.
Each quarterback got plenty of reps on the first day of spring camp on March 8 at Memorial Stadium. Last spring, Wright-Baker and Kiel were vying for Indiana’s backup spot behind senior Ben Chappell. This spring, they are leading candidates to replace Chappell.
The two have embraced the competition.
I love it, Kiel said last week. Ever since I’ve come in here, it’s been a competition between me and Ed. Both of us really thrive on that and play on that. Having that competition pushes us and will make us better in the long run.
IU has four quarterbacks listed on its spring roster. Wright-Baker and Kiel are joined by Adam Follett and Teddy Schell (who is the team’s holder on extra points and field goals).
Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson said the first characteristic he looks for in a starting quarterback will be someone who can take care of the ball.
Last year, we won the turnover ratio two of 12 games, Wilson said. The guy that throws it the best to the other team will not play. So, can he take care of the ball?
The next deal is can he just manage and let the players around him win? The quarterback gets all the credit, but a good one just manages and the other guys make him look good. So, he’s the guy who can screw it up the quickest. We’ll see who can handle, manage, play within themselves and take care of the ball.
Wright-Baker and Kiel remained even throughout most of last season as redshirt freshmen.
Most of the year, the two were listed together as the No. 2 quarterback on pregame depth charts.
Wright-Baker, a 6-foot-1 lefty, appeared in five games last year (four Big Ten contests). He completed 5 of 12 passes for 80 yards. He had one touchdown, which came at Wisconsin, and one interception in his freshman season.
I’m working on just getting better, improving every day (and) learning the offense better, Wright-Baker said. I just want to be the best quarterback that I can be every single day.
Kiel, a 6-foot-2 right-hander, also appeared in five games (three Big Ten). He completed 4 of 17 passes for 71 yards. He threw two interceptions.
Neither has emerged as a favorite, making quarterback one of the most intriguing position battles of the camp.
I’ve been involved in competition my whole life. It’s nothing new, Wright-Baker said.
I’m really not worried about competition right now. I’m worried about improving myself.