IU football Head Coach Tom Allen said there is a lot at stake in the 2019 spring game.
What’s on the line? Steaks.
The 2019 spring game will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium. The winning team will earn the prize of a steak dinner. With just one healthy quarterback on the roster, it won’t be a game of cream versus crimson, but instead, offense versus defense.
When Peyton Ramsey, IU’s lone healthy quarterback, is on the field, the game will be complete 11-on-11 with full contact. The game will change to a seven-on-seven with Michael Penix taking the snaps as he continues to rehab from his torn ACL during the 2018 season.
For the offense, scoring will be standard as if it was a typical game. Though the defense will be able to score as well.
The defense can get two points for a stop, three for a three-and-out as well as fourth down stop. A missed field goal by the offense means three points for the defense.
A takeaway will count for five points and so will a safety. A defensive touchdown is worth seven points, meaning a fumble recovery or interception returned for a touchdown will be worth 12.
“Try to make it as equitable as we can,” Allen said. “I’ve used this system in the past at the places I’ve been and when we go offense versus defense its been very effective.”
Allen said that the game will feature 15 minute quarters with a running clock.
With keeping the team healthy of utmost importance to Allen, offensive lineman Coy Cronk and Simon Stepaniak will be held out of the game. Running back Stevie Scott will be limited to just the seven-on-seven play.
“We’ve seen what we need to see from those guys,” Allen said. “And we’ve got a lot of young guys we need to get a lot of good reps.”
Right tackle Caleb Jones has stepped into a starting role this spring, and has impressed Allen and the coaching staff throughout spring practice. Jones brings size to the right side of IU’s offensive line, looming over opposing pass rushers with a 6-8, 360 pound frame.
“Caleb Jones is really starting to come on,” Allen said. “I’m really pleased with his maturity and the way he has gone about his business this spring.”
With a deep offensive line group, Allen mentioned getting younger players snaps that they haven’t gotten in a game-like situation before. Aidan Rafferty has been one of the younger lineman Allen has consistently praised for his growth both from a physical standpoint, having gained 50 pounds in the weight room, and a football one showing improvement through spring practice.
The quarterback competition won’t see much, if any, changes during the game with just Ramsey healthy. Instead the game may provide a better look at both the potential of the offensive line that Allen mentioned, but also what the defense can be.
IU’s defense brings many of its key pieces from last season as part of what was already a young group. With a of game action and spring ball now under their belts, Allen is expecting his defense to take the next step from where it was last season.
It may not be a true game setting to which judgements can be made about the defense, or most positions on the field for that matter. But it does give coaches as well as fans to get even a glimpse of what steps this team has taken since it season ended with a loss to Purdue in Bloomington.
Though no matter what happens, Allen is eating steaks with the winner.
“That’s what comes with the position,” Allen said.