Wright-Baker moving up (and other notes)


At today’s Indiana football practice — the first since Saturday’s public scrimmage — a few things had changed.

The team was more clearly divided into depth chart players and scout team players.

And when the second team offense jogged onto the field, true freshman Edward Wright-Baker was the guy in the orange jersey. The lefty from Jeffersonville hasn’t secured the backup spot, but it might be his to lose. Indiana coach Bill Lynch said that Wright-Baker was the clear No. 2 Monday. But the staff will continue to watch tape and could tweak the depth-chart on a practice-to-practice basis.

Lynch said the staff hasn’t decided whether it would burn Wright-Baker’s redshirt year just to use him in spot situations or during mop-up time. His theory, when it comes to playing true freshmen in general, is that it needs to be worth it to both the team and the player. That is, the player should help the team and get enough playing time to continue developing.

While most schools originally recruited Wright-Baker as an “athlete” (a synonym for non-quarterback), Lynch said Indiana always thought he would be a QB in college. He pointed out that you can never tell how a freshman will respond. Obviously Wright-Baker has done well. He seems comfortable in the offense and has the liveliest arm on the team. He throws over the middle as well as any QB on the roster but has trouble with routes requiring more touch. His escapability far exceeds that of any other snap-taker, which could lead to him seeing time should IU’s offensive line struggle due to injuries.

Wright-Baker is currently battling Adam Follett, the tall redshirt freshman from Michigan, for the No. 2 spot. Dusty Kiel, another true freshman QB, was primarily with the scout team Monday.

Other thoughts from today.

  • Four established starters who sat out Saturday’s scrimmage returned to practice. Offensive linemen Rodger Saffold and Justin Pagan were back on the left side of the line, while mike linebacker Matt Mayberry and defensive end Greg Middleton returned to the defense.
  • About the only depth-chart spots that haven’t been set are running back and defensive tackle, and it doesn’t appear they will be. Or need to be. It seems clear that Indiana will use at least three (and possibly four or five) backs this season. Demetrius McCray, Bryan Payton and Darius Willis continue to get most of the carries, but the staff clearly like how steady Trea Burgess is. Zach Davis-Walker would probably be in the mix, too, if he weren’t limited by a shoulder injury. At DT, Mick Mentzer returned Monday and word came down that Jarrod Smith should be cleared soon. True freshman Adam Replogle — who may be good enough to start — recently weighed in a 282 pounds, meaning he’s 12 pounds heavier than he was coming out of high school.
  • Lynch said the team is walking a fine line between trying to get players healthy and trying to improve as a football team. Practices need to be physical, and they have been. “That’s why we’ve gotten better,” Lynch said, adding that you “can’t run scared from injuries.”
  • Two freshmen — wide receiver Jamonne Chester and defensive back Lawrence Barnett — sat out because of an eligibility snag. Tandon Doss had the same thing happen last year. He was cleared in a few days.
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8 comments:

  • J Pat #1


    Monday, August 24, 2009 - 9:25 PM EDT

    Watched practice today after spending some time in the new endzone. Wright-Baker is big, strong, fast, strong lefty arm, and pretty accurate. He drifted every 3rd or 4th pass in series that were repeated several times. He looks so comfortable, ahead of his time. I think he will be on the field some this year for sure. Chap better have it going because there is finally some talent at this position, depth wise, for the first time in forever.

  • J Pat #2


    Monday, August 24, 2009 - 9:27 PM EDT

    by the way, the endzone was amazing. No wonder it is helping with recruiting. Whether sitting there or across the field, it gives such a NEW nice look…it just looks like IU spent some money and thank GOD for that!!!

  • Tsao Tsu Gonzalez #3


    Monday, August 24, 2009 - 10:30 PM EDT

    Good, informative and interesting. This is what HT readers look for. Thank you Tsao Tsu Gonzalez

  • H.B. Donnelly #4


    Monday, August 24, 2009 - 10:57 PM EDT

    At the start of camp, I thought to myself “If Chap goes down, we’re dead”. The #2 two weeks ago was probably pegged on Follett, but I’d have to go with EWB at this point. Lynch needs to consider his own job security when making redshirt decisions right now…

    I like having four RBs as well because, as defenses wear down in the second half, we can keep throwing fresh legs at them and possibly gather some late points.

    Adam Replogle is easily good enough to start, considering how he’s put down the senior O-Liners in practice. We need to plug the hole in the middle of our defense NOW.

  • Mike P. #5


    Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 9:26 AM EDT

    I would rather Lynch worry about what is right for the future of this program and not about his own job security. I was a fan before Lynch, and will be after Lynch is gone.

    That said, EWB was impressive on Saturday, I would have liked to seen what he could do in the open field, but the officials whistled the play dead everytime he started to scramble.

    I have to admit this is a kid I was not big on when he was signed last year, having watched him in high school against inferior competition, I just didn’t feel he was a good QB prospect, athlete yes, QB, no. As of right now, I have to eat a little crow on this one.

  • Dave #6


    Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 10:51 AM EDT

    Anyone seen that commercial with Glass walking across the ‘new’ football stadium? Anyone know why it was Glass showing it off rather than the football coach? Who do you think will show off the ‘new’ BBall facility?

  • Big E #7


    Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 10:54 AM EDT

    What’s with all the IU footballers with hyphenated names the last few years? It’s like a high-school reunion of ‘liberated’ women retaining their maiden names.

  • Jimmy #8


    Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 12:37 PM EDT

    Dave, probably because he wanted to highlight the “gameday” changes for this year, which is his department.

    There is a nice clip of Lynch talking to the team in the other football commerical for this year.

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