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Eyeing IU

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Notebook: Indiana readies for Indiana State

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson has said he might play one, two or three quarterbacks when the Hoosiers take on Indiana State on Thursday.

That has not changed.

"Might play all three, might play one, and again, there's no hidden agenda," Wilson said on the Big Ten teleconference Tuesday. "I just love the three quarterbacks we got, and I believe they can help us win."

Redshirt sophomore Tre Roberson, junior Cam Coffman and sophomore Nate Sudfeld haven't eliminated themselves or separated from the pack throughout preseason camp.

It will be a tough choice for the IU staff, but not a stressful one, Wilson said. The players all bring plenty to the table.

"The brutal one's when you don't have one who can play and you got to play somebody," Wilson said. "This one's pretty easy. They're all, I think, pretty daggone good.

"We've got phenomenal choices."

All three quarterbacks completed at least 74 percent of their passes during camp, and none of the three threw more than eight interceptions throughout the preseason.

Wilson said he still isn't sure who will jog out first Thursday, although he checked with Sudfeld and Coffman to see if they wanted to employ their redshirt years. Roberson used his last season, when he broke his leg in a Week Two game against Massachusetts.

"If we get in game settings, would one of these three maybe separate?" Wilson said. "As of today, they've all done well. My job is to manage the team the best we can, and I've also got to be fair to the kids."

That means no yanking a player for one bad play or one missed read. Wilson said he won't have his guys looking over their back at the other two signal callers.

"We're not going to play that way," he said. "Their position is not a game of perfect. There's going to be some errors."

And despite the strengths and weaknesses of each player, the Hoosiers will stick to one game plan. Wilson has stuck by that message throughout camp.

"It's not scripted. I don't think you guys believe me, but I tell it the way it is: when we practice, we practice our plays," Wilson said. "This is not Tre's plays, this is not Nate's plays – this is our offense. And if you can't run our offense, you can't play here."

Luckily for IU, all three of these guys can.

Running back battles strengthen rushing attack

Stephen Houston was the Hoosiers' leading rusher last season. But thanks to an outstanding spring and summer from sophomore Tevin Coleman, he enters his senior season as the No. 2 running back.

That isn't a problem for Houston, or Wilson.

"I think Stephen's practicing the best he's ever practiced," the third-year coach said. "Stephen Houston is doing the best he's done, and No. 6 is as good as him or better every day."

Houston had 749 yards and 12 touchdowns last season for IU, while Coleman went for 225 yards and one score. Houston brings more of a bruising style for the Hoosiers, but what sets Coleman apart is his top-end speed and ability to do a bit of everything as a running back.

Like the quarterback battle, the depth chart isn't a slight to any player or a way of saying the sophomore speedster will be IU's main guy. Houston and Coleman will likely split carries, with complimentary players like junior D'Angelo Roberts and freshman Laray Smith chipping in, as well.

"It's a very healthy competition," Wilson said, "and I think what we need to give us a chance to win."

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