FB CAMP: Day 2 Practice Report

Bloomington - Coach Bill Lynch's team practice for 2 1/2 hours Saturday on a 90-plus degree afternoon at the IU practice field.s With only two practices under their belt, there are still no changes on the two-deep, but there is something that will have a new twist this season...

Bloomington – With only two practices down and 27 more to go before the Hoosiers' Sept. 3 season-opener, IU Coach Bill Lynch sees no reason to make any rushes to judgment.

So for those who are waiting to find out if redshirt freshman Darius Willis can supplant a couple of veterans at running back or if freshman quarterbacks Edward Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel can challenge for a spot on the two-deep, they'll have to wait a while longer for an answer.

"We have to hit a few days (first)," Lynch said Saturday. "The last thing I want to do is run out here in just shorts and jerseys and make decisions on who can play and who can't."

That means there's still at least a week to go before any meaningful changes can be expected on the post-spring depth chart. Indiana is still in the midst of the NCAA-mandated acclimation period, and they won't go to full pads for the first time until Tuesday.

In the meantime, the staff continues to watch players go through 7-on-7 drills and hit the blocking sleds and work in position groups on the opening weekend of fall camp.

"What we tell them is they get judged on everything they do from the time they start stretching to the time they leave the field," Lynch said. "But realistically, changing the depth chart, you have to play football a little bit."

While Lynch isn't ready to do any shuffling of the two-deep, he did admit to at least one change from a year ago. At the conclusion of a 2 ½ hour practice on a warm, muggy, 90-plus degree afternoon at the IU practice fields, the Hoosier coach said the team will likely go about selecting its team captains differently this year as compared to last.

A year ago, all of the team's non-freshmen voted for team captains near the conclusion of fall camp. Instead of necessarily doing it that way again this season, Lynch said the staff will consult with the team's Leadership Council for their input.

The 14-player Leadership Council consists of nine seniors and five juniors and was a new addition to the football program in the spring. Lynch said the staff will talk to the Council in the next couple of days to see how they'd like to handle the selection of captains.

"Through the years, we've done it a lot of different ways from game captains to captains at the end of the year to captains the winter before," Lynch said. "I want their input."

No matter how the team ultimately goes about picking its captains, Lynch has talked openly about the importance of getting better leadership this year. He's witnessed a marked improvement in that area throughout the spring and summer and wants to see that continue during the fall.

"To be a captain, everything from January on, there's carry over," Lynch said. "It's not just who the best players are, who had a couple of good weeks of camp."

The ultimate decision about who will serve as team captain could wind up being a difficult choice for whoever is given that responsibility. Veterans such as Will Patterson, Jammie Kirlew, Bryan Payton, Ben Chappell, Austin Thomas, Nick Polk and Pete Saxon are among the players who could be looked at to fill that role this fall.

All of those players – and plenty of others – have been instrumental in making this past off-season a very productive and well-attended one for the program, and they're reasons why Lynch is optimistic that this year's team won't have the same struggles as last year's team did.

"I can't remember a football team I've looked more forward to coaching," Lynch said.

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