The Indiana University football team had its fourth practice of training camp Thursday.
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said he was pleased with the progress being made.
Wilson said the younger players stayed on the field for some extra repetitions Thursday so that he could see different players and more closely chart their progress.
“We’ve got a lot of young, first year players that we like so sometimes if you get them a lot of work during practice it prolongs practice,’’ Wilson said. “So we try to get through a normal practice with reps we need for the ones and twos and then we do a lot of extra young guy work so these guys can get in the mix.’’
Wilson said consistency is the key moving forward.
“We’ve made a lot of progress but I think the key is going to be how consistent can we be?’’ Wilson said. “Last year we had some really strong defensive performances and some very, very poor offensive performances. Yet most people will say ‘Your offense has been good and your defense has been bad.’ We haven’t been very consistent. We want to start that with practice. We’re looking for some consistency and we’re looking for some competitiveness.’’
Wilson said there hasn’t been any hitting yet in the first four days but then added that the initial contact session will be Friday. He said players have had shoulder pads on but haven’t done any tackling to the ground.
“We’ll have our first live contact on Friday and then have a two-a-day on Saturday,’’ Wilson said. “Sunday is an off day and a video day and then we’ll really get going next week.’’
Wilson said it’s still too early to tell how many of his young freshman players can make an impact right away. He said until you’ve seen them in the contact drills consistently it’s difficult to make that judgment.
“Some of those guys look awful good in the run around but now all of a sudden when it comes time to hit you don’t see them as confident physically,’’ Wilson said. “Some guys are more comfortable with the physical aspect of the game than others. That’s why we kept the young guys out at practice Thursday. They got about eight minutes of individual one-on-one hitting, they did some 7-on-7 plays and some teams plays just so you could collectively look at the offensive and defensive guys without wearing out our old guys.’’
Wilson said it may be a week to 10 days before he has a good feel for which of his younger players can compete.
“You have a two-a-day Saturday and I think you get about the middle of the week on Wednesday and by that Saturday the 16th, it will be two weeks until game day,’’ Wilson said. “You still won’t be able to guarantee if a guy is playing or red-shirting but you’ll be able to tell if he’s in the mix or maybe not ready yet.’’
One thing new that Wilson and his staff put in during Spring Ball was a daily competition between the offense and the defense. There is a complete point system that is in effect in practice and the side of the ball that comes out victorious gets to wear the red shirts in practice the next day. The losing side wears white.
Over the first three days of practice, the defense has worn red every day.
“The defense is three-for-three in wearing red, which goes to the group that practiced the best the day before,’’ Wilson said. “They’ve been significantly better to this point. The offense needs to pick it up. They need to compete and do it consistently.’’
Everyday AllHoosiers.com will have a report from Indiana football practice. Stop by on Friday for the latest report.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch