Hoobler Out Indefinitely with Stress Fracture

Kevin Wilson announced after Friday's first preseason practice that Chase Hoobler is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his foot. It's unclear if surgery will be required. Still, Wilson said it's more "than just a preseason thing.'' So where will the Hoosiers look now for the redshirt junior's replacement?

The news of the day from Kevin Wilson's post practice interview Friday was that redshirt junior linebacker Chase Hoobler would be out indefinitely with a stress fracture of his foot.

It's still unclear how long he'll be out. A decision hasn't been made at this point whether the injury will require surgery. Wilson said the timeline for it would go well into the season.

"It's not just a preseason deal,'' Wilson said.

Hoobler started eight games as a freshman at IU and four times in six games last year before breaking his ankle and missing six games. Wilson said Hoobler is one of the most liked players on the team and one of the team leaders.

The bigger question is what does it mean for Indiana football? Hoobler had been listed as a starter at one of the linebacker positions on the preseason depth chart. The other two starters are Griffen Dahlstrom and David Cooper. Is it just a matter of promoting his backup, redshirt junior Steven Funderburk or is one of the other backups moved over. Some say Cooper's backup, true freshman T.J. Simmons, could be a candidate.

Assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator Doug Mallory gave his take on what Hoobler's loss means to the Hoosiers. He had said earlier in the interview that he thought Cooper potentially was athletic and versatile enough to be able to move from middle linebacker to the outside.

So basically the Hoosiers could see a starting linebacker corps of Dalhstrom and Cooper on the outside and Simmons on the inside.

"I think it probably puts some of those younger guys into more of a position where we've got to get them ready,'' Mallory said. "The important thing is you've got to get your three best linebackers on the field. Whether that's with T.J. and Coop as two of the three best linebackers I don't know. I know I don't want one backing another one up in that situation.

"I'd rather have some flexibility to let them play one position and let them get really good there.''

Mallory said one shift in IU's defensive philosophy this year has to do with how linebackers will be used.

"One thing we're doing differently than we did a year ago is we're trying to play linebackers a lot more on early downs,'' Mallory said. "Where in years past we had played so much nickel. We've gotten to the point now where we feel like we've upgraded some of the athleticism at the linebacker spot. We feel like those kids can go out there and play in space or play over the top of a receiver out there.

"We're not matching each other as much there as we did the first few years.''

Wilson did say that Hoobler is the only player on the team that is injured. He did say that redshirt freshman defensive end Shawn Heffern has had mono like symptons.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/foxsportshutch

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