BLOOMINGTON – Ben Chappell took another step toward easing some people's concerns about the IU quarterback position Saturday.
Chappell completed 18-of-21 throws for 137 yards and a touchdown in IU's first live scrimmage of the spring. All three of Chappell's incompletions were drops, making it a nearly perfect day for the man who's replaced Kellen Lewis as the team's No. 1 quarterback this spring.
"It was a good day," Chappell said. "The offensive line did great, and I think we really did good with the tempo. I think that was the best part of the day."
Saturday's scrimmage wasn't your typical live scrimmage due to a shortage of offensive linemen. Due to injuries and off-season surgeries Coach Bill Lynch only has seven healthy offensive linemen, with forced some modifications during the scrimmage.
Indiana ran five sets of 12 plays, giving the team 60 11-on-11, live tackling snaps. Those sets of 12 plays were broken up by 7-on-7 passing work as well as special teams drills.
Colin Taylor was Chappell's top target, catching six passes for 79 yards. That included the day's only touchdown, a 35-yard strike in the corner of the end zone on a throw from Chappell.
The emphasis was clearly on the passing game, as Trea Burgess was the day's leading rusher with four carries for 23 yards.
Chappell has impressed the IU coaching staff throughout the spring with not only his work with the No. 1 offense, but also his ability to pick up the no huddle offense that IU has been using all spring.
"I like the way he's playing," IU Coach Bill Lynch said. "He organizes the offense, he gets the ball where we want it, he's very smart. He's throwing the ball well, and he has great poise. He doesn't get too high when he a good play happens and doesn't get too down with a bad play."
While the staff was keeping a close eye on Chappell, it was also an important day for No. 2 quarterback Mitchell Evans. Moved from safety this spring, Evans finished 5-of-12 for 52 yards Saturday.
"I think it's probably more important for Mitchell (than Chappell), to get to go out there and play in a somewhat fast paced tempo," Lynch said. "It's important he keeps coming on."
Chappell and Taylor might have been the stars of the day, but Lynch was also pleased with some of the things he saw from the defense. Bruce Hampton had an interception during 7-on-7 work on an Evans pass, and Ryan Marando had a sack as well as a pass broken up. Other than the touchdown throw to Taylor the defense also limited the offense to primarily underneath routes.
"I liked what I saw," Lynch said. "I think our defense is playing really well, and they should That's where our experience is, particularly at linebacker and safeties. We've got some defensive linemen that have played."
Saturday's scrimmage was also welcomed by the players not only for the sunny 60 degree weather, but also because it gave them a chance to do some live tackling after seven practices of everyone staying on their feet.
"It's different because it's live," Chappell said. "Everyone is flying around. It's better because it gives the defense a chance to cut it loose, and it gives our guys a chance to break tackles."
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Chappell Stars in Spring's First Scrimmage
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