Ben Malcomson: Brandon Dawkins Leaves the Program and Why That Might Not Be Such a Bad Thing
The chips continue to fall for the 2018 Indiana Hoosier football program. Brandon Dawkins, the transfer quarterback formerly of Arizona, makes the decision to leave the program less than a week after Tom Allen and the staff announced Peyton Ramsey earned the starting job versus Florida International.
The game itself is also less than a week away. Football season is finally here! Fall camp brought plenty of excitement. I could sense it from both the fans and the media members I have had the privilege to speak with. Despite the news breaking past several days, I do not feel that the excitement has wavered one bit.
Let us do a quick recap. Morgan Ellison suspended indefinitely (no timetable for a return announced if at all), Mo Burnham suspended for the FIU game, and then today’s news of Dawkins choosing to walk away from the program.
The words disappointing, shocking come to mind. In the case of Ellison and Dawkins, you have two players no longer playing with the team, both with different reasons leading to their suspension/departure. Two players chalk full of talent. Both with realistic opportunities to play significant minutes if they were both still on the roster.
Unfortunately, they are not. In saying that, is it really such a bad thing?
In Ellison’s case, it hasn’t been announced what exactly he did to warrant the indefinite suspension. Whatever it was, it cannot possibly be a minor offense. In Dawkins position, I feel his decision is based on not earning the starting QB position. Could this be debatable? Sure. I would bet there are many out there who feel he should get to start. But, isn’t the point to play who the coaching staff feels gives them the best chance to win? They are the ones training, prepping, and evaluating these players on an even higher level than we do covering them as writers, as fans, etc. Come decision day, Ramsey was picked because he had the confidence of the leaders of the team that he gives them the best opportunity to win. Let us give him a chance to succeed or fail.
Personally, I think it is a beautiful story to start off. In comes Brandon Dawkins, who most fans thought he would get the start handed to him on a silver platter. Ramsey and the true freshman Mike Penix had other plans. They made this a battle. When the dust settled, it was Ramsey who EARNED the job. But, it was clear to me that Dawkins and Penix would both see the field and still have legit shots to take over the lead job if Ramsey under-performed. Dawkins thought his performance spoke for itself. In the end, he displayed a lack of patience. Some may even call it selfishness.
Either way, it feels toxic to me. Team chemistry is too important. The keyword being TEAM. In the end, I think Brandon Dawkins departing is for the best for both him and the program itself. He gets to find a home and maybe something more suitable for him. Indiana gets to digest and move forward with two scholarship quarterbacks and Reese Taylor, who is switching back to QB after training as a CB. Do not forget that he is a skilled athlete who was Mr. Football of the state of Indiana last year.
Do not lose your minds thinking this is the end of the world, Hoosier football fans. It has been a disappointing and frustrating last several days. Now, we have 5 days left until the start of the season. The fans are ready. The coaching staff is ready. The players are ready. Do not lose sight that the ones suiting up to take the field EARNED this moment. A couple of days shall pass and the focus will shift towards the game itself. Let us see what kind of noise this Hoosier football program can make.