Saturday football report

Indiana began two-a-days today, with practices nine and 10 (of 29 total before the season opener against Eastern Kentucky on Thursday, Sept. 3).

We were at the morning practice. The afternoon practice, a controlled scrimmage, was not open to the media.

A few tidbits from the morning:

  • Though head coach Bill Lynch said no player has suffered a serious injury during camp, several rested both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Offensive linemen Justin Pagan and James Brewer were inactive for both sessions, as were freshman kicker Mitch Ewald and punter Chris Hagerup. Lynch said Brewer, the 6-foot-8, 339-pound right tackle, has had shin problems but should not miss much time. The Hoosiers absolutely need him healthy.
  • Ben Chappell continued to look sharp passing the ball. He has terrific touch, which he showed off by hitting Dre Muhammad on a deep pass through the seam for a  touchdown. Muhammad, a Purdue transfer who is originally from Fort Wayne, has been one of this camp’s standouts. Though Indiana will use fewer receivers this season, Muhammad could earn his way onto the field as a Ray Fisher-type player who excels on screens. Lynch loves his competitiveness.
  • Lynch said he would use the scrimmage to see how the young players adapt to near-game speed. With three other two-a-day sessions next week, the staff is entering the period during which they must begin making decisions about which players will practice to play and which ones will join the scout team. So the freshmen were on the spot Saturday. “The more opportunities you give them early, the more you learn about them,” Lynch said.
  • Earlier this fall I wrote in the paper about how Indiana’s offense stayed late after practice to run through a few plays in rapid fashion. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada explained the drill today. During the spring, he decided to punish mistakes (penalties, fumbles) with up-downs. He thought that worked, but wanted something more corrective than punitive for the fall. So what happens after each practice is that the offense runs any play it messed up three times in quick succession. “That way they have a good memory of that play and don’t have to go into the locker room thinking about the mistake,” Canada said.
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  • H.B. Donnelly #1

    Saturday, August 15, 2009 - 7:38 PM EST

    Dre Muhammad is pretty solid as far as catching, but he’s a “dancer”. When there’s a DB in front of him, he stops as jumps around a bunch; if the DB’s gonna tackle you anyway, put your shoulder into him and make sure he remembers it!

    Scrimmage was pretty sharp, in my opinion. Darius Willis won’t be the major runner to start this season, but the two seasons afterward will be all about him…and I like that.

  • Zach #2

    Saturday, August 15, 2009 - 9:08 PM EST

    H.B. when you said he was a dancer I thought you meant that he was a DANCER. Because as well all know, it’s how (we) do it in Fort Wayne. We got dancers in Fort Wayne. Right?:

    None the less, if he can help us score points and win games, he is okay in my mind.

  • wisco #3

    Sunday, August 16, 2009 - 1:12 PM EST

    Willis probably won’t start the first game, but are people thinking he will be the main guy a few games into the season?

  • KevinK #4

    Sunday, August 16, 2009 - 1:19 PM EST

    I would hope to be wrong, but the way our backs (all players for that matter) seem to get hurt, I would expect him to get plenty of carries this season as a starter or backup either one.

  • JeremyK #5

    Monday, August 17, 2009 - 11:28 AM EST

    UP-DOWNS!?!?!?! I’m sure they had the players begging for mercy with those. If you’re going make sure a player doesn’t re-make a mistake, you’re going to need to remind him with more than an updown or two…

  • Jimmy #6

    Monday, August 17, 2009 - 2:35 PM EST

    What do you suggest, Coach?

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