Bloomington, Ind. – Does Indiana have its cornerback needs covered?
According to co-defensive coordinator Joe Palcic, the team will head into the fall feeling very good about what it has on the top of the depth chart. In Tracy Porter and Leslie Majors, Palcic has a pair of seniors who he's counting to help lead the defensive charge.
"Maybe the guy that had the best spring of anyone on the whole defense was Leslie Majors," Palcic said. "That was a great thing to see. We were looking for someone to step up. Then with Tracy, if he does what he should do, he'll be a first day draft choice, first three rounds, and he should be All-Big Ten."
But spread formations and its four wide receiver sets have infiltrated the Big Ten, requiring teams to have more than a pair of quality corners. Instead, Indiana will need three or four corners available once the season opener arrives.
Does Indiana have a quantity of quality options to turn to? When the Hoosiers open fall camp next week, junior Chris Phillips will be the back-up to both Porter and Majors. He was a part-time starter a year ago, totaling 24 tackles, one interception and three passes broken up while jockeying for the starting role with Majors. He's slipped into a back-up role thanks to Majors' spring effort, but he still figures to see playing time.
But the Hoosiers will likely need another cornerback or two to surface this fall. While it's unclear who it will be, the one certainty is that it will be someone who's yet to play a college football game.
Among the redshirt freshman, Richard Council and Adrian Burks are possibilities. Palcic said Adrian was the one of the Burks' twins who showed the most during the spring. Council, meanwhile, comes with solid credentials from his prep days in Texas, although he did miss all of spring practice following knee surgery. Bruce Hampton, meanwhile, is a redshirt sophomore who arrived with high expectations, only to have injuries derail those early on in his career.
With plenty of questions about the returning back-up corners, don't be surprised if a true freshman presses for playing time as well. Warren Central grad Chris Adkins didn't garner the recruiting attention that his more decorated prep teammates did, but Palcic said he's heard good things about Adkins, who has been in Bloomington working out with his Hoosier teammates for most of the summer.
"We can't watch them now because of NCAA rules, but the corners that I've talked to say that (Adkins) has a lot of ability," Palcic said.
While the third and fourth corners won't be starters this fall, they'll see plenty of action and will play big roles in the defense's success or failure against spread formations.
"We have two good senior corners, and we feel fortunate about that," said Head Coach Bill Lynch. "But we have to get some depth. Chris (Phillips) has played, but some of the young guys haven't. They have to step up and play…Hampton and Council and the Burks, it's time to step up and play."
IU Camp Preview: Cornerback
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