Polk Returns to Field at Wednesday Practice

Nick Polk was back on the field Wednesday morning for practice and came up with a couple of big plays during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Read about that, a position switch for one of the true freshmen, an update on the injury timetable for Greg Brown, and more...

Bloomington, Ind. – Nick Polk's return to the field Wednesday didn't go unnoticed.

The Hoosiers' 6-0, 205-pound safety was back to work Wednesday morning after a week-long absence due to a lingering hamstring injury. He was back with the No. 1 unit at free safety and came up with a couple of big plays Wednesday morning.

On the second play of 7-on-7 drills, Polk stepped in front of a Teddy Schell pass and nearly came up with an interception. Then, during the practice-ending red zone work, he came flying up from his secondary spot to hammer Ray Fisher for a loss on a screen pass, and then later picked off a pass in the corner of the end zone intended for Andrew Means. While he's still relatively new to the safety position, he's been showing off the instincts that made the staff comfortable enough to move him from his starting slot receiver spot to defense in the spring.

Other notes of interest from practice Wednesday:

- the IU staff is taking a look at Mitchell Evans at safety. The West Milton, Ohio, native spent the first week and a half at quarterback, but was working out at strong safety Wednesday. He got plenty of reps during both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work and figures to stay at safety for the time being as the staff tries to figure out which position suits him best.

With Evans' move to defense, Dustin Haas is once again working out with the quarterbacks so that Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada has four quarterbacks to work rotate.

- As first reported Monday, James Hardy is out for two weeks with a broken left ring finger. Hardy did participate in at least one drill Wednesday, as IU wide receivers coach Billy Lynch put his wideouts through a one-handed catch drill.

While coaches would always prefer to avoid injuries, the miscue to Hardy could wind up being a blessing in disguise. Not only will it give the staff an opportunity to look at Terrance Turner with the No. 1 unit, but it also ensures Hardy won't be at risk for a more significant injury later in camp and he will be ready to go once the season gets underway in a couple of weeks. Hardy had one of his most rigorous off-seasons of his college career after going through a speed and agility camp last month, and his conditioning isn't in question.

- With Polk once again back to practice, the next safety who is hoping to get back on the field is J.T. Owens. Owens has been out with a foot injury, and was in full pads Wednesday. He was working off on the side on his back pedal, apparently testing his foot. He is still considered day-to-day.

Greg Brown (left shoulder) is now expected to be out 1-2 weeks and Donnell Jones missed practice Monday but is expected back Monday afternoon. Nick Sexton (migraines) is still out, and fellow tight end Troy Wagner is now out for an undetermined amount of time as well with a foot injury. Center Ben Wyss didn't participate in 11-on-11 drills Monday morning but was expected to be back on the field Monday afternoon.

- arguably the most impressive player of fall camp has been senior cornerback Tracy Porter. Porter had another very good day of practice Monday, picking off Kellen Lewis' first pass of 11-on-11, and then coming up with a pass broken up on the next throw to tailback Marcus Thigpen. He did give up a touchdown to James Bailey during 7-on-7 drills, but Bailey appeared to pull Porter on the play a case could be made that he would have been flagged for offensive pass interference.

- while Bailey might have been whistled on that play, he's been one of the most impressive offensive performers in camp. He led the team with four receptions during 7-on-7 drills. Ray Fisher, meanwhile, had perhaps the day's most acrobatic catch, hauling in a Ben Chappell pass with one hand over the middle for a first down.

- Michael Hines continues to be the team's No. 1 punter, with Chris Hagerup being the No. 2. Hagerup had a better day Monday during punt drills, averaging 39 yards on his three kicks. Hines, meanwhile, had a 53-yarder to start off and followed that up with a 45-yarder and then a 42-yarder.

- freshman Chris Adkins was getting some looks at free safety Wednesday morning and worked in with the No. 2 unit at times. Fellow frosh Jarrell Drane also got some time with the No. 2s and had a huge hit on Eddie Miller during 7-on-7s that drew some oohs and ahhs from his teammates.

- 7-on-7 passing stats: Kellen Lewis 5-of-8; Ben Chappell 5-of-7; Teddy Schell 4-of-8; Dustin Haas 5-of-7.

- the team finished the day with red zone work, and Terrance Turner and Chris Banks both caught touchdown passes. Austin Starr, meanwhile, was 3-of-4 on field goals during red zone work, going 1-of-1 from 30 yards out and 2-of-3 from 35.

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