Ok, so it wasn’t full go. But the Hoosiers had the pads on Saturday morning and it got lively toward the end of the day’s first session.
Head coach Bill Lynch called the team together and declared an impromptu game of 3rd down, in which the offense receives a point for converting and the defense earns a point for a stop. Lynch was the judge and was setting up the scenarios.
Wide receiver James Bailey, who has had a strong camp, made the play that pulled both sides into the competition after a sluggish hour and a half of drills. Ranging over the middle and with Tracy Porter baring down, Bailey reached out with one hand to snare a Kellen Lewis past. This wouldn’t have been an easy catch even if Bailey were running a half-speed drill with no defense. What made it a spectacular catch, though, was that Porter arrived about the same time as the ball and still Bailey pulled it in. You should have seen the way that assistant coaches Billy Lynch, Matt Canada and Gerald Brown charged down the field to congratulate Bailey with hard shoves and slaps to the helmet. It’s good to have football back. (Although it is never good for your personal safety to have a charged-up Billy Lynch heading your way. Dude’s crazy.)
Lewis, by the way, continues to grow into the role of starting quarterback. Though he assumed the job midway through last year he never felt much pressure. This year, he’s got to be the man. And it is weighing on him at times. He appears to be more locked in on receivers and has been, on occasion, hesitant to break from the pocket and run. When he does, though, he is artful and tough. And he’s showing good touch on his passes; his judgment, a vastly underrated aspect of his game last year, will take time to ripen again.
Doug is writing a story for Sunday’s paper about the young linebackers. Tyler Replogle, a freshman from Centerville, Ohio, is already up with the second team and may be poised to earn playing time. He’s a smart player.
Obligatory injury update: Nick Polk was in uniform but once again kept out of drills. Lynch said after practice that they’re being extra cautious with Polk, a sophomore who moved to safety during spring practice and has an injured hamstring. If it were game week, Polk would play. The fact that the coaches are letting him rest now is a good indication of how highly they think of his athletic ability and how confident they are that he’s got the instincts and intelligence to play that position. J.T. Owens, another safety, is out with a foot injury, and second-team offensive lineman Kenny Love appeared wearing some sort of boot-type thing on his injured right foot. He’s got a high ankle sprain.
That should be enough to satiate the IU football crowd on this blistering Saturday. We’ll be back Monday with more. Enjoy Lake Monroe, or where ever you’re off to this weekend.