Indiana football head coach Tom Allen expressed his encouragement and enthusiasm with the growth of Michael Penix this offseason.
After the national signing day festivities wrapped up for the Indiana football program this week, Tom Allen touched on his 2020 class, the 2020 season, and the key players surrounding the success of the program moving forward.
One player in particular that everyone is placing a lot of pressure and expectations on is returning quarterback Michael Penix. The redshirt freshman won the starting job over Peyton Ramsey prior to the 2019 season and looked all of a top-tier Big Ten QB, but injuries kept Penix from reaching his full potential last season. Now, after the departure of Peyton Ramsey, Penix’s health becomes the main question mark and concern for fans and staff moving forward.
Penix, who tore his ACL early in his true freshman season, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last year, so both offseasons have been wrapped up in rehab and building his strength back up.
On Wednesday, Allen said he is extremely ‘encouraged’ and proud of what Penix is doing this offseason to build up his body, something he needs to do to be productive for a full season in the Big Ten.
“I am really encouraged by Michael Penix,” Allen said. “We set out a plan for him and his weight has increased quite a bit since the end of the season. I am really encouraged by that and have a specific plan for him. He’s close to 220…217, 218 right now…really changing himself there which is really important… He’s been fully cleared for that [spring ball], and he is doing a great, great job.”
As already touched on, with the injuries that Penix has suffered in his young college career, bulking up was a major point of emphasis for not only the staff heading into the spring but for many fans as well. With every hit Penix took last year, it seemed as though everyone was holding their breath to make sure he would get back up and be okay for the rest of the game.
If Ramsey was returning to Bloomington, Penix’s weight may not have been as big of a talking point this spring. With no proven backup on the roster, however, if he were to go down with an injury and miss any significant time, Indiana’s season trajectory would be greatly influenced and impacted.
In six starts in 2019, Penix threw for 1,394 yards with a 68.8 completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. With all of the talent returning on the offensive side of the ball for the Hoosiers, there is a great chance Penix has a breakout year and becomes a household name come the end of the 2020 season if healthy.