Bloomington, Ind. – The IU coaching staff knows where they're going to travel this fall, but they're still trying to determine who they'll be taking on the road.
As fall camp winds down, the staff is looking to finalize who will be on the team's 70-man travel roster when the season opens. While the first road game isn't until week two, it's something the staff will try to settle by the weekend so that they can fill out the special teams units with players that they know will be traveling.
Saturday's 100-play scrimmage was an important measuring stick in determining the travel team, and it's believed the staff has settled on nearly 60 of the spots. The final 10-12 travel roster slots will be finalized based on the remainder of this week of practice, which will likely include one more scrimmage.
While many of the travel roster spots are obvious choices, some of the most challenging decisions revolve around freshmen. At this point, a handful of true freshmen appear to be the most likely to play. First on the list is linebacker Tyler Replogle, who has all but locked up a spot on the travel team. He's the team's second-string strongside linebacker and will play on special teams as well. After Replogle, players that appear to have the best chance of traveling are Mitchell Evans and Jarrell Drane.
Evans started off fall camp at quarterback, but the staff has looked at him at safety for the past week. He's impressed while playing with the No. 2 unit. Minor injuries this fall to Austin Thomas, J.T. Owens and Joe Kleinschmidt have provided Evans with an opportunity to show what he can do, and he's taken advantage of the opportunity.
"He did pretty well at safety," said Coach Bill Lynch. "When we came out of the scrimmage…some of those young guys got a lot of reps because Kleinschmidt and Thomas didn't go in the scrimmage, and Mitchell played pretty darned good. He's a good football player. He's a big strong guy that can do a lot of things. When he's over there it puts him with special teams."
Another freshman who has impressed this fall is Jeff Boyd, who has earned some reps with the No. 2s at defensive tackle. Co-Defensive Coordinator Brian George said the staff would like to redshirt Boyd so that he can get stronger, but he's done enough good things in camp that he could wind up seeing the field this fall as well.
"Jeff Boyd got a chance because we've got a few guys dinged up," Lynch said.
- the Hoosiers welcomed back a couple of players from injuries. Safeties Austin Thomas and Joe Kleinschmidt were both back in pads and on the field Monday and worked with the No. 1 and No. 2 units, respectively. Greg Brown and James Hardy, meanwhile, were both running Monday and are expected to return next week.
The lone new injury was to offensive lineman Dennis Ziegler, who is out for 2-4 weeks with a knee injury. Keith Burrus, meanwhile, missed Monday morning's practice with a thumb injury but was expected back Monday afternoon.
- generating a more consistent pass rush is a must for the Hoosier defenders, and on-lookers got a glimpse of what the IU coaches might have in store to accomplish that feat. During some late 11-on-11 drills, IU used a front four that featured four defensive ends during obvious passing downs – Ryan Marando and Greg Middleton at end and Brian Faires and Jammie Kirlew at tackle.
- NFL scouts from the Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks and the New York Jets were in attendance Monday morning.
FB CAMP: Travel Roster Rounding Into Shape
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