The normal protocol for the annual Cream & Crimson Spring game at Indiana is for one final practice to wrap up everything the program has done to that point.
In 2015, however, Kevin Wilson and his staff are introducing the new normal.
Saturday’s Spring game at 2 p.m. ET at Memorial Stadium is actually practice No. 12 of the spring. There will be three more practices the following week, culminating with an event around Little 500 weekend in Bloomington.
Admission for Saturday’s game is free and the Memorial Stadium gates will open at noon. The game will air live on BTN2Go. Fans are asked to enter the East side of Memorial Stadium and to sit in the East stands. Concessions will be open on the East side. Gates 4, 5, 6 & 8 will be open and parking is free.
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said on a conference call this week that he has been encouraged by the level of enthusiasm across the board with his team this winter and spring.
“Not just spring but through the winter, this has been our best time in terms of chemistry and unity and that has started with some of our fourth and fifth year guys,’’ Wilson said. “Guys like Jason Spriggs, Nate Sudfeld, (Dan) Feeney and (Nick) Mangieri. The old guys have done an awesome job and have had a great buy in the work, great chemistry, a lot of juice, just a positive vibe. The kids are working hard. It has been a work environment but a fun environment, too.
“We’re making the best progress that we’ve made to date.’’
IU offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said this week that the IU team as a whole is really looking forward to the Spring game.
"Anytime that we can put our kids into real-life, real-game situations, we need to do that,’’ Johns said. “Saturday is going to be another chance for us to do that, for coaches to get off the field, and really to find out if kids can fix problems, solve problems, change momentum when you don't have it and keep it when you do have it. It should be a fun day."
Wilson said Thursday that the bulk of IU’s players should participate in the spring game. He mentioned three that would not play because of injuries: transfer running back Jordan Howard, veteran defensive back Kenny Mullen and linebacker T.J. Simmons. Wilson said Simmons had his knee scoped and would be out of action.
There has been a lot of talk this spring about the quarterback position. And rightly so. Last season the QB position was the focus after both Nate Sudfeld and Chris Covington went down in week 6 against Iowa. True freshman Zander Diamont played the final six games and led the Hoosiers to win in the Old Oaken Bucket game against Purdue.
Even freshman Danny Cameron, son of former IU coach Cam Cameron, who was brought in just before the start of the school year, found himself in the two-deep at the end of the season.
Johns said that both Diamont and Cameron have had good springs.
"I think they're both doing really well,’’ Johns said. “I think that they're both developing confidence in what we're asking them to do as far as reads and progressions. They're still not perfect, but we're a lot better off than we were a year ago just because those guys have a lot more reps. They have had a whole winter of lifting weights, a whole winter of watching film. I just think they have a better feel for what we're trying to do."
Following Saturday’s spring game, IU will practice Sunday and Tuesday and then have what is being billed as the Little 500 Pre-Bash with the final practice of the spring on Thursday, April 23.p>