Powers, Hardy Expected To Be Ready

In the cases of Blake Powers and James Hardy, sitting them down proved to be the best way to make sure they were ready to suit up for Friday night's season opener.

In the cases of Blake Powers and James Hardy, sitting them down proved to be the best way to make sure they were ready to suit up for Friday night's season opener.

When Coach Terry Hoeppner's Hoosiers take the field Friday night for their season opener against Central Michigan (7:30 p.m. EST, ESPNU), Hoeppner expects to have Powers ready to make his first start at quarterback and Hardy prepared to see his first action for the football team.

The 6-4, 235-pound Powers has been nursing a sore elbow, which eventually developed into tendonitis in his right bicep. Initially the coaching staff limited the number of throws Powers was making in practice, sidelining him late in each session so that he could ice and rest his arm.

Eventually, Hoeppner and the IU medical staff decided to sit Powers for a couple of days to see if it would expedite Powers' recovery, and indications are that it did just that.

Powers missed a couple of practices last week before returning on Friday, and Hoeppner said Powers' arm has been fine since.

"I think it was good decision on our part," Hoeppner said. "It's tough as a coach to make yourself do that… as coaches, you want your guys practicing, and you want your quarterback, who needs all the reps he can get, practicing. But discretion was the better part of valor there.

"It turned out to be a good move. When he came back on Friday he felt good and he's felt good ever since."

While Powers is expected to start, Hardy likely won't. The 6-7, 215-pound wide receiver has missed the better part of two weeks due to a nagging Achilles injury, but his time away from the field has allowed it to heal to the point that Hoeppner expects the two-sport standout to see the field.

"I saw James (Monday) and he said he felt good," said Hoeppner. "So hopefully he'll be able to practice today and play a limited amount (Friday night). I'm not expecting him to go out snap one and play the entire game, but for a guy who hasn't played in a game…even if it's 10-12 snaps, that will be a bonus for James for sure and for us."

Hardy was one of the offensive stars early in camp, and quickly established himself as a likely starter for the fall. He's in the wide receiver mix along with six or seven wideouts, including Jahkeen Gilmore, Marcus Thigpen, Lance Bennett, Ryan Skelton, Brandon Walker-Roby and James Bailey.

While indications are that Hardy will be ready to go Friday in a limited role, Hoeppner said that if he gets a sense that he can't go full speed, then he won't play against the Chippewas.

"He won't play if he can't go full speed – I'm not going to put him out there if he can't and (IU trainer) Dean (Kleinschmidt) wouldn't allow it."

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