FALL CAMP: Monday Practice Report

Bloomington – With fall camp now in its final week, the rigors of camp are continuing to take a toll on Bill Lynch's football team...

Bloomington – With fall camp now in its final week, the rigors of camp are continuing to take a toll on Bill Lynch's football team.

Wideouts Andrew Means and Brandon Walker-Roby returned to the practice field Monday for the first time in several days, several others remained on the sidelines with minor ailments. Projected starters Rodger Saffold (left tackle), Pete Saxon (left guard) and defensive end Jammie Kirlew (ankle) are among those who have been out as of late, while second-string safety Joe Kleinsmith (ankle) was added to the injury list Monday.

The most troublesome absences have been Saffold and Saxon, a pair with two years of starting experience. Saffold has been sidelined with a back injury, while Saxon is nursing a bad ankle. Both continue to be listed as day-to-day, but their absences had a noticeable impact on the offense's ability to move the ball at Saturday's scrimmage.

"The biggest thing is we just don't have the depth in the offensive line right now," Lynch said. "We're still holding Pete, Rodger and we held Dennis (Zeigler) out today. Those are three pretty good bodies that we don't have."

In their absence, offensive line coach Bobby Johnson has had to make one temporary position switch Monday and is also leaning on some freshmen as well. Sophomore James Brewer moved from tackle to guard for practice Monday, a move necessitated by the absence of Saxon, Zeigler and Mike Reiter. True freshmen Justin Pagan and Will Matte, meanwhile, have gotten some work with the No. 2 unit as of late and have impressed Lynch with their pla.

"Matte at center and Pagan and tackle, they're pretty good football players who are just true freshmen," Lynch said. "They're getting some good work."

Lynch doesn't appear to have any concerns about any of their statuses for the Aug. 30 season opener, and said Monday that injuries in fall camp is something that every team is coping with this time of year.

"These (NFL) scouts that come through here, they're some place everyday and they say every place looks the same, the same number of guys on the medical bike," Lynch said.

While just about everyone who has been sidelined in practice is expected to be ready for the season opener, Lynch said he still doesn't have any answers on sophomore safety Jerimy Finch or freshman wide receiver Tandon Doss. The university has filed an appeal with the NCAA to allow Finch to play immediately, while Doss has been held out of practice since last Friday due to an academic issue.

An answer could come on either player any day, but as of Monday morning Lynch said he still didn't have any answers.

"We got here early this morning and went to meetings and came on the practice field before most offices would open up," Lynch said. "We could go in (to the office after practice) and might hear something now or there might be an e-mail.

"I'd think we'd hear something before long. These situations are going on all over the country, and everyone has the same sense of urgency. I've sure they're working pretty hard on it, because we're not the only school with some sort of appeal or something pending."


- the quarterback rotation remained the same on Monday, with Ben Chappell being the first choice during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work, followed by Kellen Lewis. Both continue to get opportunities to work with both the No. 1 and No. 2 offense. During 7-on-7 Chappell was particularly sharp on his opening sequence, completing six straight throws to lead the No. 1 offense to a touchdown. Lewis then went 3-and-out with the No. 2 offense, but remained on the field to lead the No. 3 offense down the field for a score, capped by a touchdown strike to Matt Ernest.

Chappell wound up going 9-of-12 during 7-on-7, while Lewis completed his final five throws to finish 6-of-9. Teddy Schell appears to be the No. 3 quarterback (Adam Follett appears destined the redshirt) and was 3-of-6. During 11-on-11 Lewis also completed his final five throws and was 6-on-8, while Chappell was 3-of-5.

- the cornerback position also remains unsettled, as Richard Council and Adrian Burks split time with the No. 1 unit Monday opposite Chris Phillips, while Chris Adkins and Donnell Jones were with the No. 2s. My own personal hunch is that Council will wind up being the choice to start alongside Phillips, but Adkins and Jones both remain very much in the hunt. In the practices I've seen, Council has been the one who has made more plays.

- Andrew Means made his return noticeable immediately Monday, catching the first two throws from Chappell during 7-on-7, including one where he streaked up the sideline for a touchdown. It doesn't sound as if his foot is back to 100 percent, but he appears to be very close to full speed.

- a lot of people keep waiting to see something to suggest that Darius Willis is going to play as a true freshman, but based on his reps during the last week of camp it seems unlikely right now. There are at least four veteran running backs who work with the No. 1s and No. 2s, and Willis continues to be with the No. 3s.

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