Bloomington – Mitchell Evans stood out with his play Monday on the second string offense, but in a different way from a week ago.
After spending the first week of camp as the team's second-string quarterback, Evans was moved to wide receiver Monday. Working with the slot receivers, Evans showed off reliable hands as well as elusiveness after the catch during both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills on a picture perfect day weather-wise at the IU practice fields.
This marks the second straight season Evans has started camp at quarterback, only to switch positions in week two. A year ago, Evans moved to safety and spent much of the season on the second string unit, recording two interceptions against Western Michigan to go along with 12 tackles on the season.
Coaches and players were unavailable after Monday's practice, but Evans' position switch is likely a result of a couple of factors. First of all, Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell have both been sharp and will undoubtedly hold down the top two spots on the depth chart. In addition, true freshman Adam Follett has done enough good things in camp to warrant consideration as the team's No. 3 when it goes on the road.
More than anything, the switch is likely an attempt by the IU staff to find a position where it can get the ultra-athletic Evans on the field. A switch back to safety didn't make as much sense as it did last season because depth at the position is much improved this year with Nick Polk, Austin Thomas, Joe Kleinsmith and the potential availability of Jerimy Finch.
But there's a chance for playing time at wide receiver. Junior Ray Fisher is clearly the team's No. 1 slot receiver, but Evans could eventually challenge players such as Brandon Walker-Roby and Matt Ernest for playing time in IU's four and five wide receiver sets.
Another different look on Monday was at tight end, where Fabienne Boone was getting some work during full squad red zone running drills. There's the potential that the 6-4, 248-pound Boone could be second tight end in short yardage situations opposite Troy Wagner. Redshirt freshman Max Dedmond, meanwhile, continues to the be the team's top pass catching tight end and will be used in that role.
With the move of Evans, there was a slight modification of how the team rotated Chappell and Lewis during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Chappell remains the first quarterback on the field and starts off by working with the 1s. On Monday, Lewis then took the field to work with the No. 2s, and he then remained on the field when the No. 1s came back out so he could get reps with them as well. Chappell would then return to get his share of reps with the second-stringers as well.
It appears Follett might be slightly ahead of redshirt freshman Teddy Schell for the third string job since he was the first of the two on the field when the third stringers got their reps.
Punter Chris Hagerup continues to make strides, and was encouraged by co-defensive coordinator Joe Palcic before the starting of punting drills to make it "four straight good practices." Hagerup appeared to be up to the task, getting off a handful of consecutive well struck punts with excellent hang time…during 7-on-7, Chappell was 7-of-12 while Lewis was 5-on-7. A couple of Lewis' throws went to Evans, who appeared to have little problem picking up right where the rest of the wide receivers are at this point in camp…Ryan Marando got some reps with the No. 1 unit Monday at defensive end in place of Jammie Kirlew, who worked with the 2s. With defensive line coach Brian George's preference to rotate defensive linemen, the shuffling likely wasn't a signal that there's a change in the two-deep, but rather that he wants to make sure that members of his rotations like Marando are getting a chance to go against the No. 1 offensive line…one of the morning's early drills was some full squad red zone running drills, and the offense had its issues trying to pound the ball into the end zone on the ground. After the No. 1 defense stopped the No. 1 offense inside the 10 and then the No. 2 defense did the same to the No. 2 offense, the offense finally did punch one in when redshirt freshman running back Zach Davis-Walker scored on a nice five-yard run with the 1s, and later Chappell converted on a play-action TD pass to Troy Wagner in the end zone.
Plays of the Day
- safety Nick Polk came up big during 7-on-7 drills, breaking up back-to-back Chappell passes that were intended for Ray Fisher over the middle...
- second string wideout Chris Banks had one of the tougher catches of the day, making a sliding catch along the sidelines after redshirt freshman cornerback Chris Adkins had tipped the Chappell throw...
- junior Andrew Means also came up big during full squad passing drills, making a diving catch on a throw from Chappell while dealing with tight coverage from No. 1 cornerback Chris Phillips. Means and Phillips do their share of talking since they go head-to-head during most passing drills, so Means welcomed the opportunity to bounce the ball off the back of Phillips helmet after the catch…
- Greg Brown thwarted what looked like a developing screen pass during 11-on-11 drills when he managed to tip the ball away and keep the play from developing.
FALL CAMP: Monday Practice Report
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