The Latest Word on Lewis' Return

Bloomington – Coach Bill Lynch has a word to summarize his thoughts about Kellen Lewis' future with the IU football program.

Bloomington – Coach Bill Lynch has a word to summarize his thoughts about Kellen Lewis' future with the IU football program.

"Hopeful is a good word," Lynch said Friday.

The Hoosiers' Aug. 30 season opener against Western Kentucky is 11 weeks away, and it's still unclear whether or not Lewis will be back with the team and under center for the 2008 season. The Hoosiers' all-Big Ten quarterback was suspended indefinitely March 6 for an unspecified violation of team rules and missed spring practice, and his return has been in doubt ever since.

Lewis' status with the team hasn't changed, but Lynch said the 6-1, 177-pound sophomore is on campus and enrolled in summer school and working toward reinstatement. There have also been unconfirmed reports that he's once again working out with his IU teammates.

"If we weren't hopeful (he'd return), then it wouldn't have gone on this long," Lynch said. "The door is still open and he's working toward that."

Lewis shattered a slew of school records last fall while leading the Hoosiers to a 7-6 record and to a berth in the Insight Bowl. The Jacksonville, Fla., native completed 265-of-442 passes for a school-record 3,043 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also rushed for a team-high 736 yards and nine more touchdowns, and his 3,779 yards of total offense was also a new Big Ten mark.

His absence thrust last year's back-up, Ben Chappell, into the spotlight. Chappell led the No. 1 offense throughout the spring, running the Hoosiers' new no-huddle offense. Lynch said Friday he fully expects to stick with the no-huddle attack this fall.

While Chappell gained some valuable experience and confidence from his work with the No. 1 offense during the spring, Lewis' return would give the Hoosiers arguably the Big Ten's most dynamic offensive weapon and an excellent chance of making a second consecutive bowl trip.

There's still no resolution for Lewis, but one will have to come in the not-too-distant future.

"We don't have an exact timetable when a determination will be made," Lynch said. "But as we get on into the summer, we will."

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