Following Day 5 of Indiana’s first week of football camp, offensive coordinator Kevin Johns talked about some of the specific challenges he faces in the wide receiver department this fall.
Johns said he’s excited to have a group of 14 players at that position, but in the same breath said it’s not a real experienced group.
“I have 14 guys in preseason camp this year and only three of them have actually played in a game,’’ Johns said. “So all those that are left they’re bringing number one some competition, because they realize that every job is open. Isaiah Roundtree is bringing some leadership because he has been on the field and so is Nick Stoner. Nick is one of our best route runners and he’s one of our fastest guys on the team. He has just been overshadowed by Cody Latimer, Kofi Hughes and Shane Wynn that last couple of years. But I certainly expect him to step up and have a great year this year.’’
Johns was asked about the attributes he’s looking for in his receivers. The first words out of his mouth were from the first page of Wide Receiver 101.
“Right now they need to be able to catch the football,’’ Johns said. “That sounds silly but even if they know what they’re doing if you don’t catch it you can’t play. They need to be able to catch it in a high pressure situation. The other thing is we’re throwing a lot of new plays and schemes and formations at them so mentally they have to be able to process that information. On offense we move pretty fast so they have to do it in a timely manner.
“Next you combine the physical grind of camp. Even today, I thought some of the freshmen hit a wall. Just fives and they’re tired. But I’m proud of them. They have good character, they’re good kids and we have a long way to go.’’
One reporter asked Johns if he sees some Shane Wynn in Harris in the early going.
“He’s a little bit further ahead of where Shane was as a freshman,’’ Johns said. “But that’s because J-Shun played that same position in high school where Shane Wynn came in almost being a slot running back in high school. So he had a ton of things to learn at wide receiver where J-Shun is a little more polished in that area.’’
Johns also talked briefly about the quarterback position. A year ago, Nate Sudfeld was spitting the repetitions in camp with Tre Roberson and to an extent Cameron Coffman. Now, Sudfeld is getting the bulk of them.
“It’s different because he’s taking more reps, we’re taking splitting as much time,’’ Johns said. “But quite honestly he’s at a point in five days where he’s not at an all Big Ten level right now today.’’
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch