After a pair of ACL injuries and a move from the quarterback position, Chris Covington has finally found his stride in a linebacker group already blessed with great depth.
The 6-foot-2, 237-pounder is one of the bigger linebackers and in the 24-21 win over Michigan State he saw 19 snaps backing up senior starter Marcus Oliver. The junior was also named Special Teams Player of the Game in the huge upset victory by the Hoosiers.
"Chris Covington, showed up very, very well in the kick cover. He's on three of our teams, played his best game at linebacker as well, really growing into the defensive mindset, really healthy now off his knee, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said on Monday. "He had back-to-back high school and freshman year knee injuries. I think he's just physically and mentally just stronger and more confident, and again, proud of him."
The physical Michigan State approach called for someone of Covington's size on Saturday according to linebacker coach William Inge.
"Against that particular team, that fit his mold and what we want to do in the Big Ten," Inge said. "He's deserving of those reps and has probably been deserving of more reps because he's been showing up more and more at the point of attacking, making plays. Some of it may be being around (starters) Tegray (Scales) and Marcus (Oliver)"
Covington told us he's tried to follow Oliver's lead and has been better prepared this year for each game. But the main thing is he's his old self physically.
"Coming off two ACL injuries is a big deal, takes awhile and there's a mindset coming off of those," Covington said. "I took my time and now the results are starting to pay off."
Scales had some good things to say about his fellow junior this week.
"This past week we needed him (because) Michigan State wants to power run and having him in allowed us to do different things," Scales said. "He's actually getting a hold of this defense. This defense s more simple for him to just play fast and he's out there running around and making plays.
"We put him at the wolf position and he's able to disengage with the lineman and use his speed to get around them and make his plays."
Catch more of what Scales, Inge, Wilson, Covington and defensive coordinator Tom Allen had to say this week in this video montage.