Bloomington – Another beautiful day in Bloomington didn't produce a similarly idyllic day on the IU practice fields.
In the final day before the Hoosiers' first scrimmage of fall camp, IU Coach Bill Lynch was noticeably unhappy with his team's approach for the majority of the morning's two-hour practice. Lynch has always been a coach who preaches about the importance of "getting better everyday," and it didn't appear as if he felt that was accomplished during the first of two Friday practices.
As part of the predetermined weekly schedule, players and coaches weren't available following the practice, but it appeared as if Lynch wanted to get a little more hustle, some better concentration and more of a sense of urgency from his team during the various 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 sessions. He voiced some displeasure during the various practice sessions, and then delivered that message to the entire team at the close of practice, with the goal of coming out Friday afternoon and having a much sharper session.
Friday is the next-to-last two-a-day for the team, which will have its final one on Monday. In between those two days, Lynch's team will hold a public scrimmage at Memorial Stadium on Saturday at 3 p.m. as part of Hoosier Football Fan Fest, and they'll then have the day off Sunday.
Injuries continue to mount for the Hoosiers, who added four more to the injury list Friday. Offensive guard Mike Reiter (knee) is out indefinitely, as is freshman running back Alex Hunt due to a thumb injury. First-string inside receiver Brandon Walker-Roby and starting left guard Pete Saxon both missed practice and are both listed as day-to-day with ankle injuries.
Among the other big names who are still sidelined are wide receiver Andrew Means (foot), left tackle Rodger Saffold (back), defensive tackle Kevin Burrus (shoulder), wide receiver Aaron Burks (leg), defensive end Jammie Kirlew (ankle), offensive lineman Marc Damisch (ankle), defensive end Isaac Price (knee) and tight end Brian Zematis (illness).
None of the injuries to the projected starters are expected to keep them out much longer, and a couple of players did return to the practice field. Freshman offensive tackle Justin Pagan was back in a limited capacity after a hip injury, and cornerback Adrian Burks was back as well after dealing with a groin injury.
As Bill Lynch suggested Thursday, punter Chris Hagerup rested his leg to recoup from the first 11 days of camp. Hagerup has clearly established himself as the team's punter with his performance throughout fall camp, while second-string safety Joe Kleinsmith will back him up on the depth chart. Instead of having Hagerup or Kleinsmith punt during special teams coverage drills Friday, the staff instead had some of the younger quarterbacks such as Adam Follett and Brandon Kiel field the snaps and then throw the ball downfield while the coverage teams pursued the would-be return man.
A couple of big plays were turned in by the defense this morning. During the team's red zone offense work, back-up middle linebacker Tyler Replogle read a pass over the middle and picked off Teddy Schell, who was working with the No. 2s. Starting safety Austin Thomas, meanwhile, picked off Kellen Lewis during 7-on-7 passing drills. Starting cornerback Chris Phillips had a nice play of his own, breaking up a goal line pass from Lewis to Terrance Turner at the last second to thwart what appeared to be a touchdown.
While the defense came up with those plays, the most impressive play of the day was probably turned in by freshman wide receiver Demarlo Belcher. During the red zone offense work, Belcher made a one-handed catch on a nice throw from Adam Follett for a touchdown. The 6‘5" Belcher is a likely redshirt candidate this season, but he's had as many highlight reel plays as anyone among the receivers this fall.
FALL CAMP: Friday Practice Report
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