Bloomington – For the first time during fall camp, the rains came Thursday afternoon. With the indoor practice field just a stone's throw away, the Hoosiers did the logical thing when the skies opened midway through Thursday's practice.
They stayed right where they were.
Instead of retreating to the Mellencamp Indoor Facility, Coach Bill Lynch's team weathered the 15-minute cloud burst and completed an 11-on-11 team run session before the rain ended and the sunshine returned. Lynch joked that he considered taking the team inside when the rain started, but instead opted to keep quiet and "suck it up" and stay on schedule.
Lynch said there was some value in the team having to go through some drills during the first rain since fall camp opened.
"I think when you change the atmosphere this time of year it's not bad," Lynch said. "That's what it's going to be like on game day. It's going to be different than what it is on the practice field or going on the road."
Since practice started last Monday the Hoosiers have avoided not only the rain, but also any doses brutal heat. Other than a day in the low 90s early last week, the temperatures have been generally in the low 80s for the entire camp. Many coaches like to have a couple of days during the fall where the temperatures sore, but Lynch doesn't necessarily think there's a tremendous amount to be gained when that happens.
"Everyone says you need a few (hot days) so you get accustomed to it, but I'm not sure you ever get accustomed to heat and humidity," Lynch said. "I know our guys have been here all summer and worked really hard and so many are from the Midwest or down South where it's hot and humid. If it's hot and humid on Aug. 30, our guys will be ready for it."
A couple of more players were added to the Hoosiers' injury list Thursday. Freshman offensive tackle Justin Pagan (hip), tailback Alex Hunt (thumb) are out, and wide receiver Shane Covington (thumb) was out as well and is listed as day-to-day. Andrew Means (foot), Rodger Saffold (back), Kevin Burrus (shoulder), Adrian Burks (groin), Aaron Burks (leg), Jammie Kirlew (ankle), Marc Damisch (ankle), Isaac Price (knee) and Brian Zematis (illness) are among the others who have been sidelined as of late.
Cornerback Bruce Hampton did return to the field Thursday, and tight end Brad Martin was also back as well.
Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell continue to work with both the No. 1s and No. 2s during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. During 7-on-7 Chappell was the first quarterback on the field to work with the No. 1s, while Lewis was the first to get the nod during 11-on-11.
Chappell marched the No. 1 offense down the field during 7-on-7, completing 6-of-7 throws during the session. Lewis answered with a deep march of his own, completing 8-of-13 throws during a sequence with both the No. 1s and No. 2s during 7-on-7.
Lewis, though, appeared to get the best of Chappell during 11-on-11 work late in practice. Lewis was a perfect 4-on-4 throwing when he was with the No. 1s, while Chappell was 1-of-4 with the No. 2s, and then 3-of-4 with the No. 1s.
It's been about a week and a half since IU Athletics Director Rick Greenspan said that the university should hear back from the NCAA in 10 days on its appeal concerning Jerimy Finch. But Lynch said Thursday he hasn't heard anything on Finch's case.
"I haven't heard anything," Lynch said. "I don't know. I'm sure this time of year they have a bunch of those things across the country. He's practicing and learning what we do as he goes."
Mitchell Evans has only played wide receiver for about five days, but he's already looking like someone who has a chance to be a factor at the position this fall. Due to a couple of players being sidelined with injuries he got some work with the No. 1 unit Thursday afternoon as an inside receiver, and the IU staff has marveled at how easily he's made the transition from quarterback.
"He's pretty good," Lynch said. "He's a football player. To be able make that switch that fast and that effortless, he's pretty good."
Lynch has liked what he's seen from just about every position this fall, but if he had to pick one that's stood out to him?
"I still think the linebackers are really good," Lynch said. "Just about every drill they jump out at you. A lot of times we're not tackling, and a lot of the passing drills they could have been huge factors but they've pulled off, which they're supposed to do."
Lynch has liked what he's seen from not only starters Geno Johnson, Will Patterson and Matt Mayberry, but the second string as well. The No. 2 unit of middle linebacker Tyler Replogle and outside linebackers Justin Carrington and Darius Johnson is also expected to play a significant role this season.
The staff is getting to the point that it's seen just about enough from punter Chris Hagerup.
There were some doubts heading into camp about how ready Hagerup was to replace Adam Hines as the team's punter, but he's erased those concerns with the improvements he made during the summer followed by a very steady fall camp.
"I think Hagerup has punted well," Lynch said. "He's gotten to the point that we'll probably back off him a little bit the next few days because they get sore legs."
The Hoosiers will host a free public scrimmage Saturday at Memorial Stadium at 3 p.m. It is expected to be approximately 100 plays and game officials will be brought in for the event. Gates to the stadium will open at 2 p.m., and players and coaches will be available for autographs afterwards as a part of Hoosier Football Fan Day.
FALL CAMP: Thursday Practice Notebook
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