Thompson Able to Lead ISU Offenses | Indiana State Sports activities
Indiana State quarterback Anthony Thompson was named a starter on Aug. 13 and won a three-way contest with Kurtis Wilderman and Gunnar See that turned into a two-man contest late in the game when See was on his wrist injured.
The idea in naming Thompson two weeks before ISU’s first game was that he would have time to do consistent reps with the rest of the offensive starters and that there wouldn’t be any ambiguity for the Sycamores going into their first week of play .
Now is the first week of the game – the ISU receives Eastern Illinois on Saturday at 6 p.m. – so how is Thompson’s acclimatization going?
“It helped a lot to be able to represent myself with the guys I play with on match day, but it also helps to know that I’ll be the type of person who will go out there. The respect and what they think of me expect and what I expect from myself. ” They are known as starters [on Aug. 13] really helped, “said Thompson.
Thompson has been waiting patiently for his turn. The Chicago native decided to join ISU in the spring of 2020 after moving from FBS Northern Illinois. Thompson played five games in four years with the Huskies.
Like everyone else on the roster, Thompson had to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic. He went through the fall practice period, a sort of fall version of the normal spring ball in preparation for the planned spring 2021 season. Ultimately, the ISU decided not to play, so Thompson went through the traditional spring exercises and attended pre-season camp in August.
Lots of practice and lots of time for the coaching staff to analyze Thompson’s advantages over reigning quarterback Kurtis Wilderman. Although it took time, ISU coach Curt Mallory didn’t want the question to linger too long.
“He needed this. The best thing for the team was to have a good time getting used to it,” said Mallory. “You can do that with a lot more repetitions on number one. He’s more comfortable with the middle, the wide receiver, the cadence, all of those things made it important to make a decision.”
That doesn’t mean the site is targeted to Wilderman or anyone else.
“I have a feeling both quarterbacks are going to play. How much? We’ll see,” Mallory said. The ISU will likely also use Michael Hauptert as quarterback from a Wildcat set, as it did in 2019.
However, it is Thompson who, as the starter, is responsible for the preparation. Thompson never started a game at NIU despite leading his high school, Mount Carmel, to an IHSA 7A championship.
“The good thing about playing quarterback is that you don’t have to change a lot of what you do, you have to prepare in the same way whether you’re a backup or the starter. Your teammates expect the same from both of them. ” I’ve improved my preparation in terms of snapping and prep, but I still have the same mindset, “Thompson said.
• Preparation for the EIU – The ISU has not played a game in the state of Missouri since the end of the 2019 season. Of course, all Sycamores are eager to experience real football action again.
Mallory likes it, but also wants to dampen the emotions a bit – at least if he wants the Sycamores to concentrate on the preparation.
“They’re scared. The message all week is that it has to be a slow burn. They won’t play a game today, but they will be reinforced. There is still a lot to be done.” We have to prepare before the game, “said Mallory.
Thompson noted the same thing, emphasizing that the mental part of preparation was yet to come and just as important as physical readiness.
“Our game plan is designed to be successful and we’ve done a good job with the extra time we had to master this game plan. I don’t know that we have to do something better, we just have to do more. The preparation is not over yet. We still have two mental days until Saturday’s matchday, “said Thompson.
• Heatwave – Heat and moisture stifle the sycamores all week. The team trains at Memorial Stadium in the late morning. That was before the worst of the heat, but it was still in the upper 80s when practice ended on Wednesday.
The forecast high for the contest on Saturday is in the lower 90s with a humidity of around 65%. Although the 6pm game is sometimes played at night, it still feels muggy and miserable.
Football is long gone from the days when it tried to ignore external factors like heat. Mallory and the ISU staff worked all week to get this through.
“Ladles [Norris, Director of Sports Medicine & Performance] keeps an eye on the humidity and we take water breaks. We didn’t get a normal number of reps for Wednesday, but we have good reps. I value quality over quantity, “said Mallory, who also noted that some players had to spend time in the cold tubs on Tuesday to address overheating concerns.
So far, the ISU has had to do something right. There were no obvious injuries to any of the players during Wednesday’s training session.
Players also take pride in preparing for battle in adverse circumstances beyond their own control. Nobody wants to be the type of guy in the field cared for for cramps. To avoid this, the preparation begins long before the match day.
“The other team has to play along too. It comes from preparing, eating, and knowing that you are not going to catch up [physically] the day before the game. Throughout the week the coaches, coaches, and strength teams have been preaching that we need to start hydrating now. We don’t want to be the team on Saturday that tense up and let the heat sink in, “said Thompson.