Richard Lagow


Indiana has a new-look offense entering this season, but its starting quarterback remains.

Richard Lagow is back to lead the Hoosiers on Thursday in the season-opener against an Ohio State team whose offense is now led by former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson.

New Hoosiers coach Tom Allen, elevated from defensive coordinator in December to replace Wilson, brought in Mike DeBord, previously at Tennessee, as offensive coordinator.

One thing Allen did not change was his starting quarterback, and there was a major reason.

“I’m a strong believer everything rises and falls on leadership,” Allen told reporters before preseason camp. “It begins with the coaches. You have to create it, develop it and enhance it with your team, and (Lagow) has bought into that. We’ve challenged him, given him books to read to get different thoughts on how to creatively live that.

“A lot of it is just taking the position, owning it, taking charge and realizing this is your team, this is your offense, and holding your teammates accountable. That takes courage.”

It also has taken a lot of study. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Lagow said the DeBord offense is a departure from the heavy run/pass option plays Wilson preferred in his up-tempo style.

The Hoosiers still plan to operate at a high tempo, but “it’s more traditional drop-back” in the passing game, Lagow told the Big Ten Network this month. “There’s more things that go into my reads, as opposed to last year, there might have been just one key. Now there are multiple things.”

The former junior-college transfer proved last year that he could pass. He was 253 of 438 for 3,362 yards, 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, finishing second in the Big Ten in passing yards per game (258.6 average). He threw for a Big Ten season-high 496 yards in a 33-28 loss to Wake Forest.

He sees the possibility for more in the new system, which puts a premium on his mental side.

“They really pushed me to develop my mind, which has really helped me a lot,” Lagow said. “And it’s looking pretty good.”