Earlier today the Hoosiers held their sixth practice of Fall Camp as they continue to prepare for the 2016 season. After the workout Kevin Wilson met with the media to talk about how his team is looking after the first few days of camp. Peegs.com was there and we have put together a notebook highlighting a few of the topics he discussed.
Wilson talks about the competition at QB
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Indiana football team for 2016 is who will be the starting to quarterback to replace Nate Sudfeld. After six practices Coach Wilson said he has seen some good things from all the quarterbacks vying for the job, and he has been especially pleased with how one of the younger quarterbacks has performed so far.
“They’re doing okay,” Wilson said. “I think Richard (Lagow) is settling in well, which is good to see. I think Austin King is actually…Austin for a young guy has a lot of talent but was very inconsistent in just coming to work. He’s actually been good but he had a period of time of not being good and I want to see if I keep seeing that. I’m encouraged by him.”
Wilson said that one thing he believes the coaches need to do better is to call plays based on who is under center so that certain quarterbacks can work on certain things.
“I made a comment to Coach (Kevin) Johns today that in our practice format we need to make sure that when we’re scripting plays we kind of know who the quarterback is going to be because some of these quarterbacks need to work on different things, and with some of these quarterbacks you would emphasize different things. And a lot of times in practice you’re just calling plays and all of sudden you’re just rotating players and once in a while we might be putting Richard (Lagow) in a position where if I had known he was going to be in I would rather called this play or work on this. If I knew it was going to be Danny Cameron I would rather call this play and work on this. So I think we can do a better job of coaching as far as the type of practice we’re doing for them.”
Wilson said that he wants to take the competition out a little bit longer to get a feel for who the team seems to play the best for.
“I’d kind of like to wait and see who the team kind of rallies with, and who takes care of the ball,” he said. “We’re just six practices in. Of course if they don’t do well we’re going to put that big line up there and just hand it off a bunch. We’ve got a bunch of good backs.”
Defense is coming along
Another big question mark for the IU team in Fall Camp is how much will the defense improve under new coordinator Tom Allen. Wilson said he has seen a lot of good things from the defensive unit for the Hoosiers.
“Our D-line is really playing hard but we’re just a little thin with some numbers where we can wear out,” Wilson said. “We can tackle better on the perimeter and be in better position.”
Wilson said what gives him the most confidence about the defense is the mindset that Coach Allen has instilled on that side of the ball in the short time he has been at IU.
“What I really like is Coach Allen having been a part of going against a no-huddle offense with Coach (Hugh) Freeze is he doesn’t stress or panic,” Wilson said about his defensive coordinator. “He just says here is what we do and here is how we do it so let’s just do it. Where some other times you might see some guys get rattled, he’s just like here is what you do and I want you to do this now and get lined up. I have been very encouraged. Coach (Mark) Hagen has his guys up front playing very well. We’ve got more depth…I’d like to be a little deeper in the D-line. I thought they had a really good day today.”
Freshmen starting to step up
Coach Wilson and his staff have never been afraid to play freshmen in their time at Indiana, and it looks like for 2016 a handful of newcomers have a chance to play early for the Hoosiers. The IU head coach said one of the newcomers on the O-line has a chance to get on the field this fall.
“Coy Cronk is doing well on the offensive line,” Wilson said. “He was playing with the one’s today. If he doesn’t play a lot…not that he’s ready to start and if he does it might be by default. But he is awfully athletic and very strong.”
Wilson singled out some other member s of the 2016 recruiting class that have opened some eyes early on in Fall Camp.
“Ian Thomas having gotten here is 258 pounds,” Wilson said. “Taysir Mack has shown some flashes. Tyler Natee has been impressive as a big back…very, very impressive. Cole Gest is impressive. Defensively Marcelino Ball is very solid.”
Ryan Smith joining program in January
One freshman who will not be a factor for the Hoosiers this fall is offensive lineman Ryan Smith from Cincinnati, Ohio. Coach Wilson said today that because of an injury that Smith suffered back in the winter they are going to wait and bring him in January, which basically means Smith is grey-shirting. This allows him to postpone the start of his eligibility clock until the spring and it still allows him to have five years to play starting in 2017.
“Ryan had a Lisfranc injury last winter and with that he’s not going to be cleared until November,” Wilson said about Smith. “So instead of bringing him here now and it is basically an automatic redshirt year, we’re holding him until January and he’ll start then and he will actually count against next year’s class. It technically gives us one more walk-on scholarship now and he actually goes as one of our numbers next year. But then his clock, he’s got five years starting in January, so if he were to have an injury or a setback, or if we wanted to redshirt him because he wasn’t ready we could.”
Wilson said that Smith is currently in Bloomington and he is taking classes, but he is taking a lighter load and he is not allowed to be around the program until January.
“He is going to take this semester here but he is taking a light load and he is personally paying for school which holds off his clock. He was actually here in the summer but he has to do it on his own. But by doing so we’re getting him like a bonus year. It’s not a redshirt year but we’re just holding him back because he wouldn’t be cleared until November and he was going to be automatically redshirted. He is redshirting and rehabbing but we’re just saying redshirt on your own and then start your clock which gives us more options at the end for him. He’s looking good…he is around 295. He was around but he can’t practice and he can’t be at meetings. He can’t be on the team right now and it gives him more options and it gives us more options.”