In Part II of Kevin Wilson talking about the Hoosiers, the coach breaks down his team and give a quick assessment at each position.
We'll start with the offense:
"Offensively you've got the 10 starters back, but Collin Rahrig has got 16 starts and he's the one guy you say is not a starter. So he's probably lineman three or four out there. He's a good player. Probably our best backup player on the offensive line, and maybe in our top five is Jake Reed, and they're in a battle to figure out who the center is. That being said, this has got Bernard Taylor playing a little bit better at guard and Dan Feeney coming on at guard because there's some really good competition. Ralston Evans, Pete Bachman, Dimitric Camiel give us tackle bodies, but those guys need to play at a higher level because Peyton Eckert and (Jason) Spriggs are solid, really decent tackles. They are maybe better than decent.
"Our other guys are big, but Bachman, we've moved him from D, Pete Bachman out of Cincinnati and Dimitric Camiel who we redshirted, and then Ralston Evans, who was very impressive in spring. We need somebody there to be the next guy in that's a high level guy, because again, you can get a hiccup along the way and the play needs to not fall off. Inside we're a little bit better with guys like Cody Evers. I think he's got one career start and sometimes right now might be working with our threes. The way that Jacob Bailey and David Kaminski came on, there's some good depth inside.
" Tight end, Ted (Bolser) is a solid player but he has to get so much better at blocking, having a great presence and being complete. Corsaro is a quality player. Short term, Matt Zakrzewski has been an impressive, different player. I'd like to see that continue. He's got four days, only two in shoulder pads, and that's not just as a fullback. It's either he or Danny Friend as a third guy. He's strong, looks good. We need to get him to play well, and we'll see if he can help us at fullback. We're also messing a little bit or experimenting with Mike Replogle, who's played defensive end, played linebacker, played a little fullback to give us some short yardage goal line. Every day we do that Big Ten period, but what we're doing is getting our short yardage and things ready when that happens, so that's a good thing for us.
"The most experienced positions offensively are the running backs and receivers and there's some depth and players. Stephen Houston is a quality player. Tevin Coleman is having as good a preseason four days as he had in spring, and he's very talented. D'Angelo (Roberts) is the third. I'm really intrigued with Laray Smith, who is very, very fast. Just getting him to know which way to go and hang onto the ball, but it goes really fast, and he's hands down the fastest person that walks in this building. He can roll. So we've got some speed there. We'll see if we can channel that into being a good player.
We've got a chance at tailback but we haven't been good at tailback since we've been here. Even though coaches have nothing to do with this as much, this is from 1990 until now I believe this is the first time I've had two straight years without a 1,000 yard back. We're still very average at back, and it's not offensive line, it's backs, too. Now, because sometimes we get what we block and it isn't taking one from (inaudible) but it's taking two and getting three and four, so we need to be a lot better there. It's a competitive situation. Those guys need to step up, as do the tight ends, to help the line so that the run game can get going.
"Receiver wise may be our best because, one, decent players, healthy, but there is strong competition there. Whether it be Duwyce Wilson, who's looking good right now and he's with the twos. He's looking as good as anyone. Isaiah Roundtree, who's backing up Shane Wynn, is looking really good. You've got Nick Stoner out there. We'll be intrigued with either Isaac Griffith or Anthony Young, so there's going to be some players other than just Cody (Latimer) and Kofi (Hughes) and Shane Wynn. We need those because in our deal we're going to play fast enough you need some guys there, so some depth.
"And the last deal, quarterbacks, all look good, not as sharp as I want, but again, it's early. Not bad by any means. We're all doing a lot more moving around, whether it be movement throws, awkward throws, quarterback run game, and we're throwing it a lot. So I like what we've got. We'll see how it plays out, and we don't have a timeline but we're working them hard and they're all doing well. They're not going to talk to you guys until the end of this week because I want those guys to play ball. We're not trying to be nice to them. They all do well. You saw practice today, most of you. They're solid. I'd like to see them be better.
And on to the defense:
"Defensively, we've definitely got to make some strides. We have nine guys back. We lose the two D tackles with (Adam) Replogle, three counting (Nicholas) Sliger, so you've got Sliger, Replogle and Larry Black Jr. gone. Both Ralph Green, Alex Todd, and Adarius Rayner coming back with the guys we've got. We even had Bobby Richardson playing some in there today, who was pushing 280, 275. He's a little bit more active so he doesn't play there all the time, but in certain situations when you're playing stretch teams and you're playing sweeps or passing situations. We're very talented there. We're a little inexperienced, and maybe that's the Achilles heel. But not slighting the guys that left because two of those guys went to pro camps. The guys that came in and the guys that are there, there's more talent than has been there. It's inexperience. We'll see if it plays.
"We've got to get better at end. That's why Bobby has been outside. We even had Darius Latham a little bit playing outside. We've got to make some plays at defensive end. We've got (Ryan) Phillis back, Zack Shaw looks solid, (Nick) Mangieri has looked solid. But we haven't been bad, but we've got to make some plays out there. We need some game changing plays, some pressure, some stops by harassing the quarterback and making people feel uncomfortable, and it's been a little too comfortable whether we can stop the run or get after the quarterback. A lot of competition, a lot of guys playing, and Coach (Jon Fabris) Fabs and Coach (James) Patton are doing a good job there.
"Linebacker wise, we need some step ups there more than D line. We've got (David) Cooper back, we've got Jacarri (Alexander) back, we've got Griffin (Dahlstrom) back, we've got Flo Hardin back, but we need some guys to play significantly better at backer, run and pass. William Inge is a good coach. We're doing a lot defensively to hopefully simplify some communication and where our eyes go to cut it loose and play fast. We've got to play better there, though. The freshmen are really good. T.J. Simmons is really good. You saw him in spring. Clyde Newton and Marcus Oliver are really good. Kris Smith is very good but a little light. Those guys are very, very talented. Will they play? Got a chance to be on teams, got a chance to compete. Need them to be better. There are some things to work with, but we need Cooper and Griff, and we need Jacarri, and we need Flo Hardin to start playing like Big Ten defensive players that play linebacker in this league.
"In the secondary, (Greg) Heban and (Mark) Murphy are solid at safety, and they'll be challenged because Antonio Allen is pretty good. So there will be some things going on there. We did take Tim Bennett and move him to secondary. We were going to do it in the spring, but with Murphy being out, with (Chase) Dutra, and (Antonio) Allen not being here, Tim Bennett plays safety. He's a more physical guy. Timmy Bennett is now at corner. We wanted to do it in spring, just numbers didn't allow it. Hopefully that doesn't hinder him and us, but I think you'll see him starting. It was between Mike Hunter that started or Kenny Mullen that started, but we've got guys that started. It has been too easy to start on defense. We've got Rashard Fant coming in as a young guy, so with Dutra, Allen, Fant on the back end, those young backers with Allen and Latham up front, as the pads go and it gets week two, it would be nice to see some of those guys in the mix to play. We start hitting and thumping, right now everybody is Chuckles the Clown. But about 10, 12 days into two- a-days we'll see if those guys really want to cut it loose and fly around and play.
And special teams
"Last, kickers: Punting situation, (Nick) Campos and (Erich) Toth. Toth is a returner, but Campos is off to a great start. There's some competition. Mitch Ewald definitely our kicker. Got a quality player at snapper (Matt Dooley), and our return guys are back. A lot of guys back, but I'm telling you, this group can be pretty decent, and as we go, we've got to learn how to kick it up in practice and how to study, take care of my body, have the mindset and come in like a high level player and not just come in and go work hard.
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