MIAMI - Reaping praise for a good preseason camp is one thing but getting it done on the field is another. Wide receiver Nick Westbrook added step number two in his emergence on Thursday night in Miami during Indiana's 34-13 season opening win against Florida International.
With veteran Simmie Cobbs one of several Hoosiers serving one-game suspensions for the opener, Westbrook was inserted into the starting lineup alongside fellow wideouts Ricky Jones and Mitchell Paige.
At the end of the day it was the sophomore Westbrook that had the most productive game, easily outdistancing the two seniors. Playing in his home state in front of family and friends, Westbrook finished with six receptions for a team high 70 yards. The Lake Mary native was clearly new quarterback Richard Lagow's favorite target, finishing with three times as many catches as any other Hoosier.
Westbrook had confidence in the Hoosier quarterback despite the lack of points from the offense through the first three quarters.
"There was no doubt in Richard," Westbrook said. "We were confident, that's all it was. We were just more confident in the fourth quarter."
At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Westbrook is one of the biggest wideout targets for Lagow.
A year ago as a true freshman he played in all 13 games but only caught six passes for 69 yards and one touchdown.
He can't be too disappointed where in one game he finished with more reception yards than he had in all of 2015.
"There were a few I wish I could have had back, that post shot across the middle, I probably should have made the guy miss. Of course I want to get a touchdown.
"But a solid performance. My family is here, they got to see me play and do well, so I'm happy."
Watch our post-game video interview with Westbrook: