With left-handed quarterback Michael Penix now entrenched as the starter, Indiana is rearranging its offensive line.
Matthew Bedford, who started eight times at left tackle during his freshman season last fall, is moving to the right side. Caleb Jones, who has played on both ends but logged the bulk of his in-game work at right tackle, is heading to the left.
It’s a switch made with one goal in mind: The Hoosiers want Bedford protecting Penix’s blindside. And for the sophomore, that’s a duty he’s eager to keep.
“I take it very seriously,” Bedford said. “Last year, being able to start at left and being able to protect the quarterback, having that responsibility out of the gate, that kind of prepared me. Now that I’m at right tackle, it’s not so much a difference in the amount of responsibility that I have. ... If I do my job wrong, he gets hurt.”
Bedford has next-level upside, and he began tapping it during his introductory campaign in 2019, which ended with him being named IU’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year. Beyond having the responsibility as Penix’s most trusted bodyguard, Bedford appreciates the move for another reason.
“Right tackle is a lot more natural to me,” he said.
For Jones, the change is nothing new. The left side is where he started his college career, working behind former IU tackle Coy Cronk during his first summer on campus in 2017. He’s seen time at both spots across the past two seasons, and made one of his 13 starts last fall on the left side.
“I think that’s just a result of (offensive line coach Darren Hiller) having a lot of faith in me being able to play both sides,” Jones said. “I started here as a left tackle and he moved me a lot from left to right in practice and put me in a lot of different situations and scenarios that would prepare me to be able to play both sides.”