Saturday, August 21, 2010
Looking Good -- IU Scrimmage Shows Young Talent
So here we are, 12 days before Indiana’s football season opener against Towson, and what do we know about the Hoosiers?
For one thing, there is a lot of talent here. It might be as talented an overall group as IU has had since the Bill Mallory glory days. Is it good enough to win in a Big Ten that features a pair of top-10 teams, plus two other ranked teams?
The season will determine that. But here’s what Saturday’s scrimmage showed:
Much of that talent is young. Take redshirt freshman quarterback Dusty Kiel (pictured on left courtesy of IU athletics), who completed 14-of-16 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. Or redshirt freshman Ted Bolser (pictured right thanks to IU athletics), who caught five passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Yes, an IU tight end actually caught some passes. Defenses, it seems, just might have more than Hoosier wide receivers to worry about.
Anyway, another redshirt freshman quarterback, Edward Wright-Baker, was 5-for-7 for 26 yards and a touchdown.
The starting quarterback, fifth-year senior Ben Chappell, played just one series and went 6-for-7 for 42 yards.
Oh, yes. True freshman Kofi Hughes, a standout dual-threat quarterback at Indianapolis Cathedral, is a receiver now and caught three passes. He also picked up a fumble and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown.
A cynic could say, what’s the big deal because IU’s defense can’t stop anybody. But this isn’t the time for cynicism. Traditionally that comes in November, when the Hoosiers are reeling against Big Ten competition and people are screaming for change.
Now optimism is everywhere and the only screams are for Indiana big plays.
About that supposedly shaky defense.
Junior linebacker Leon Beckum and freshman defensive tackle Marlandez Harris each had six tackles. Cornerbacks Richard Council and Matt Ernest, linebacker Damon Sims and safety Aaron Burks each had five tackles.
Again, there is talent here. The Hoosiers are faster and more athletic. They have a new 3-4 defensive scheme designed to maximize those attributes. We’ll see if it does.
The players get a mini-break without practice on Sunday. They’ll have camp Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before moving onto campus and getting ready for the start of school.
In the meantime, coaches will evaluate all the film and get close to deciding who will start, who will backup and who will be on the scout team.
“They need a break,” coach Bill Lynch said. “They’ve been going long and hard.
“We made a real emphasis of giving kids a lot of reps. Maybe in the past we haven’t found out enough about them in camp. Some showed themselves on both sides of the ball (during the scrimmage).
“I saw a bunch of young kids flying around and playing hard. That’s the biggest thing. Once we get through Wednesday, a lot of these young kids become scout team players. We have to make some decisions about who is on the travel squad. That’s why we played a lot of young kids. It was good to give them reps.”
It will be better, of course, to win. At least for now, the signs point in that direction.