Spring football practice had been over for 20 minutes or so earlier this week, and the offensive line was still out there doing drill after drill.
Linemen were sprinting up to the ball, getting set, and then exploding from their positions when the ball was snapped.
The pace was quick and co-offensive coordinator and Indiana offensive line coach Greg Frey was pushing his linemen pretty hard.
“We were slow getting set today,’’ Frey said. “And so that slows down the quarterback, it slows down the running back and it slows down the receivers. So we’ve got to do our job which is to get up to the line of scrimmage, get set, make our calls, do our things so that everyone else can do their jobs, too.
“The drill we did today was where we were running to the ball and getting ready to snap it.’’
Seven spring practices are in the books and two more are scheduled for this weekend, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. There are two more practices next week on Tuesday and Thursday leading up to the Spring Game on April 18 at 2 p.m.
Frey has a good mix of players to work with this spring. Left tackle Jason Spriggs has started 34 games the last three years and anchors the line from his left tackle spot. Redshirt junior Dan Feeney started all 12 games at right guard as a freshman, suffered a foot injury that cost him his second season, and then came back started all 12 games last season at the right guard spot.
Fifth year senior Ralston Evans started eight games at right tackle last year. Redshirt junior Dimitric Camiel made five starts last year including four at right tackle. Redshirt junior Wes Rogers also made a couple of starts at center last season.
“We’ve got some guys that are going to be three or four year starters and we’ve got some guys that have never played so it’s kind of a unique mix,’’ Frey said. “It’s like it was when Will Matte was here. He was a four-year starter and Jason Spriggs had never played in a game. Well now Jason is the guy and Dan is the guy and Wes Martin and Timmy Gardner and those guys are coming up and have ‘t played. So it’s really one of those things where you’ve got a nice mix of some guys with experience with some guys that are young.’’
Feeney said the spring has gone well to this point.
“It’s going pretty good,’’ he said. “We have a lot of things to improve on. We just have to keep coming, keep working. It’s a pay it forward game. What we do now is really going to help us in the fall. So we just have to really ingrain it in our head this spring.’’
Feeney said there’s a lot of things he working on this spring.
“Just recognizing defenses and that kind of thing,’’ Feeney said. “There’s always something to work on. Hands, feet, you can always get better.’’
Jake Reed is another fifth year senior with experience. He started four games at center last season and made five starts the year before at guard.
He said his primary focus this spring has been consistency.
“I just want to be dependable,’’ Reed said. “I want to be able to make the reach block, make the cut off block. I just want to be the guy to always get it done, always work on my steps. That’s what I’m really focused on.’’
Frey said overall he has been pleased with the group.
“We’ve done good and we’ve done bad but that’s pretty much any team and any practice,’’ Frey said. “I like the way they compete. I think we have a good culture in the room. They guys are working hard. They’re correcting their mistakes and they just seem a lot more of a coachable group. We’ve got some strength gains that we need to do but the guys you can just see that they really care and they’re all working.’’
Frey said the primary focus at this point is developing the proper rhythm on offense.“Right now we’ll have four guys making a block and one guy not,’’ Frey said. “We’ll have three guys who are really doing good and two that are late off the ball. So it’s about being in rhythm and being in sync. And that’s our goal for September. This is like our first 15 practices for next season. This is like the preseason for the preseason. So it’s getting them in sync, getting them in rhythm, getting the ball snapped, getting guys lined up right and being assignment correct.’’