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IU's Penix, Jr. Hopeful To Start Season-Opener Despite Knee Injury

Indiana quarterback Michael Penix at practice

Penix has suffered a season-ending injury in each of his three seasons for the Hoosiers. (Scott Burns / Indiana Athletics)

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. sat down with the media Monday afternoon to talk about his off-season recovery and progress after suffering a serious knee injury in late November.

READ MORE: Indiana Quarterback Penix To Miss Remainder Of Season 

"Right now I'm on schedule, if not, maybe a little bit ahead of schedule," Penix said. 

Penix tore the ACL in his right knee in the third quarter of the Hoosier's 27-11 victory over Maryland on Nov. 30. It’s the same injury Penix suffered as a freshman in 2018.

"I’ve been working extremely hard to get back. I’m doing everything I can to go out and just continue to help motivate the team," Penix said. 

Under Penix’s leadership last year, the Hoosiers were able to defeat three ranked teams in the same season for the first time in program history.

READ MORE: Indiana's Gamble Pays Off In OT Upset Over No. 8 Penn State

Also joining Penix back on the field this fall will be the 2020 Big Ten Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year, Ty Fryfogle.

Fryfogle decided he would not declare for the 2021 NFL Draft this spring and return to the team for his senior season.

"We talked about it for awhile and he [Fryfogle] was real honest with me. He said he wanted to comeback. He wanted to be part of the program and continue to help build the program up," Penix said. 

Fryfogle led the team with 112 receptions for 1,719 yards last season, earning him first-team All-Big Ten honors.

"He made a lot of explosive plays in big time moments, so it's really great to have Fry back this year," Penix said. 

Head coach Tom Allen made an addition to the coaching staff this offseason as well with the hiring of Deland McCullough as the team's new running backs coach.

McCullough spent the last few seasons as the Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach, winning Super Bowl LIV during that stint. 

"Everybody loves him [McCollough] already. We know that he has a lot of knowledge to bring in and the offense he was with was the most explosive in the NFL," Penix said. 

The Hoosiers will look to take their success from last season and carry it into 2021-22.  

Last year the team tied a program record for Big Ten wins in a season with six, were ranked in the top 25 nine weeks, tying the 1945 team’s record, and their No. 7 national ranking was the highest since 1967.

And when asked if he'll be ready for the season-opener, Penix exuded nothing but total confidence.

"I know for sure that I'll be ready come gameday," Penix said.  

IU's first game is scheduled for Sept. 4 on the road against Iowa. 

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