Bloomington Ind. – The biggest man on the Hoosiers' 2007 roster knows about the big challenge that is in front of him.
Like the rest of the freshman class, 6'7", 375-pound Dennis Ziegler will report to IU football camp on Saturday. The newcomers will be joined by the veterans on Sunday, and the squad will have its first practice on Monday from 5-7:30 p.m.
Monday's session will be the first of the five one-a-day "acclimation" practices which serve as a prelude to two-a-days, which open on Saturday, Aug. 11, with 2 ½-hour practices beginning at both 9:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
After spending the last two weeks in Bloomington working out with teammates, the Indianapolis Pike H.S. product has returned home for the next several days to try to get himself ready for what the coaches have in store for camp.
"They say it's more mental than anything," said Ziegler. "One of the guys (on the team) said I might just tired of football altogether, but I'm up to the challenge."
Fall camp is considered a necessary evil by just about everyone, but it's a particular challenge for the newcomers. New faces, new plays, and new surroundings are all part of the experience, along with some grueling practices that occasionally take place in the midst of summer brutal late summer heat.
It will Ziegler's first taste of what IU and college football is all about, and he knows it will be an adjustment.
"It's a whole new level of football now – you're not in high school anymore," Ziegler said.
While Ziegler might no longer be the big man on campus like he was at Pike H.S., he'll still be the biggest man in the Hoosiers' huddle. With the departure of huge defensive tackle William Kegler from the program this summer, the 18-year-old Ziegler is easily the largest player on IU's roster.
That could be concern with the rigors of fall camp. But Ziegler said he plans to take this week to work hard at his Indianapolis home to get himself physically ready for camp, and he said the IU staff hasn't talked about him needing to drop a certain amount of weight once he arrives in town.
"(Offensive Line) Coach (Bobby) Johnson said whatever I can play at, he's fine with," Ziegler said. "He said as long as I can get the job done, he's got no problem with my weight."
To start off, Ziegler will be trying to get the job done at offensive guard. There might come a time when he takes his huge frame to a tackle spot, but for the time being he'll be on the interior.
"Once I'm able to manage the space at guard, then he'll move me out," Ziegler said. "But for now I'll be at guard."
Big Man Set for Big Challenge
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