Bigger, Stronger, Faster...

When talented prep wide receiver Isaac Price came to Indiana last season as a true freshman he was told he would sit out the 2004 season to get big enough to play safety in the Big Ten. However, during the year off he was unable to do just that – because he got too big to play safety.

When talented prep wide receiver Isaac Price came to Indiana last season as a true freshman he was told he would sit out the 2004 season to get big enough to play safety in the Big Ten. However, during the year off he was unable to do just that – because he got too big to play safety.

Now Price will battle for playing time at outside linebacker.

"In high school I was mainly a safety and a receiver," said Price. "So playing linebacker is completely new to me. I wasn't surprised when they moved me, though, because for some reason I just started growing, getting bigger and faster, so I'm more of a linebacker build now. I was 183 pounds when I got here, now I'm 226."

The added weight is an indication of the hard work Price has been putting in since he first arrived in Bloomington.

"The year off helped me to get bigger, faster and stronger," said Price. "I was able to put on a lot of weight and this summer I was able to workout with the conditioning coaches and get into condition. I'm a lot more ready to play this season."

Price is one of a handful of players battling for playing time at linebacker this season. He'll have his work cut out for him, though, with the return of veterans Kyle Killion, Josh Moore and Jake Powers, along with Adam McClurg as well. Price has been working out with the No. 3 unit and has on occasion played with the No. 2s this fall as well.

The move to linebacker was made by new head coach Terry Hoeppner and his staff after they saw Price's potential at the outside linebacker position. That's forced Price to learn a new position and new techniques, but it's a challenge he's willingly accepted.

"Last season I was still at safety and when this new staff came in I was able to move to linebacker," said Price. "It has been quite a challenge for me because while everyone else is learning the new playbook, I'm learning a new position and the playbook.

"It's going alright so far. Every practice you need to get better and I feel like I'm doing that. The older guys have been showing me the ropes and what keys I should be reading as a linebacker.

"I'm a team player so I'm going to play anywhere they need me to play. If I need to compete at linebacker, I'm going to compete at linebacker. There's not one huge difference between the positions. I think there are a lot of little differences like reading the keys differently, but it's defense and it's football. Those are two things I know."

Price's hard work is not being overlooked by the coaching staff. Linebacker coach George Ricumstrict has watched the move from day one and has seen the improvement.

"Isaac, I think, is finally comfortable at the linebacker position," said Ricumstrict, who came to Bloomington with Hoeppner from Miami (Ohio). "He has come a long way since that first day in the spring to the first day of fall camp. He's a different player out there. He still has a way to go but from where he started to where he is today he has come a long way. Right now it's all about making sure he gets enough reps to catch up and compete with the older guys."

Price's maturation level has Ricumstrict excited for this season because he knows his young linebackers can use Price as a model of what hard work can do.

"I think this season is going to be exciting," said Ricumstrict. "I think with the older guys we have it's going to be their responsibility to help the young guys get adjusted and teach them our way and our system.

"I think all the guys have picked it up relatively quickly, not just Isaac. We try to make it as easy as possible for our guys, but at the same time make it look complicated to opposing defenses."

Price shares that excitement and is ready to win at Indiana.

"I'm real excited about the future, but the future starts today for us," said Price. "We're focusing on right now. I'm real excited about the class I'm in and the one under us, but we want to win today."

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