Indiana offensive coordinator Kevin Johns spoke to the media following Thursday’s practice on the fields to the north of Memorial Stadium.
The Hoosiers worked out for two and a half hours Thursday as they have almost wrapped up their second week of practice.
With 12 practices in the books in preseason camp, Johns was asked to assess the offense at this point. He didn’t give the offense a ringing endorsement. Johns said the Hoosiers were “OK.”
“We’re not where we need to be or where we want to be,’’ Johns said. “We have extremely high standards for what it means to play offense at this school. We’re gaining on it. We’re coaching it and we’re teaching it every day. We still have a long way to go but we still have two weeks to go before the first game.’’
Johns said the key for Indiana on offense is tempo.
Earlier in the week defensive coordinator Brian Knorr said he was hoping to start beginning to see some separation from his players by the end of the week. Johns said the same thing. Both coaches said that preseason camp can be a grind.
“It’s the hump week,’’ Johns said. “You’re in the middle of two-a-days. We’re still trying to go. But we want to see if these young guys are going to find through some pain. Can we count on them mentally? We continue to push them every day. Right now it has been a good response but right now we’re not where we need to be.’’
Johns had some specific comments about different units on the IU team. One that he spends the most time is the wide receivers. He said the competition is fierce there.
“It’s extremely competitive and the kids know that,’’ Johns said. “I go into every meeting talking about special team value. You can be a two or a three receiver for me but you’re not going to travel to every game unless you’re on the kickoff cover team or the punt team. So they’re really busting their butt on special teams. They’re doing a great job competing for me. Every day they have to bring it and if they don’t then it’s going to be the next guy’s turn.’’
Another area that Johns was asked about was the backup quarterback position. Everyone knows that Nate Sudfeld is the starter but who is emerging behind him? Redshirt sophomore Nate Boudreau, and true freshmen Zander Diamont and Danny Cameron all appear to be in the mix.
Boudreau seems to be getting the most snaps as the No. 2 two weeks into camp.
“They’re doing a really good job,’’ Johns said. “Quite honestly, Zander Diamont is coming on, he has had a good week. Nate Bourdreau continues to be steady and do everything we ask of him. I would say those two stand out for me in the backup role. I’m very pleased. But again at quarterback if you don’t show up ready to play every single day, they’re just going to make you look bad. Those young guys are still learning how to act and prepare and get ready for practice.’’
Johns was asked again about true freshman wide receiver J-Shun Harris. Along with Dominique Booth and Simmie Cobbs, Harris has been one of the young players that has emerged quickly as someone who could see playing time right away this season.
“He’s a phenomenal kid,’’ Johns said about Harris. “He’s very coachable, he works hard and he does all of those little things that you want kids to do. He’s also very, very smart. As a young guy when you come into a new offense, he hasn’t blinked an eye with any play that we’ve put in or any formation, any motion. He has done a really good job there. The last thing is he plays fast. He consistently plays as fast as Shane Wynn does on the field.
“He does a great job filling space and getting open. I’m very pleased with where he is right now.’’
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch