Fall football camp, Day 2

Today’s practice was one of the ones where the media was allowed to attend, but the players and coaches weren’t available to answer questions afterward so this report is just what I saw and heard at practice today.

In general, though, media access for fall camp is good so far, a complete reversal of the media lockout we experienced during spring football.

One of the players who’s looked really good the first couple of practice has been junior receiver James Bailey. The 7-on-7 drills Tuesday started with Tracy Porter diving in front of receiver Terrance Turner to make an interception.

Moments later, Bailey turned the tables. On a simulated 3rd and five play, he dove to catch the ball for a first down in the middle of the field with Porter right on top of him. As 7-on-7 play continued, Bailey made three catches over the middle.

“That’s a great job, James Bailey,” coach Matt Canada yelled as Bailey gained another first down. Canada, having been promoted to offensive coordinator, is emerging as perhaps the most vocal of IU’s coaches at practice, bursting with encouragement some plays and rushing over to instruct a player on what went wrong on other plays.

With James Hardy expected to be Indiana’s star receiver again this season, IU’s coaches are hopeful that Bailey will become a second major threat on the outside that makes it hard for opponents to double team Hardy. Coaches have said they believe that Bailey isn’t that far behind Hardy in talent. But last year, Bailey didn’t have the kind of big year that coaches think he’s capable of, even though he was second on the team with 40 receptions.

After practice Monday, Bailey was the first player that Bill Lynch mentioned when asked about players that caught his eye in the initial practice.

Another receiver who looks poised to make a bigger impact this season is sophomore Andrew Means who is currently the starter in the slot position.

During drills Tuesday, the powerful 6-0, 213-pound Means drew applause from teammates after unexpectedly knocking down a coach he was supposed to block in a receiver blocking drill.

In 11-on-11 play, Means made two of the biggest plays, catching a 15-yard Kellen Lewis pass while diving along the sideline and later grabbing a 30-yarder from Lewis.

With receiver being one of the deepest positions on the team, there is at least one newcomer who appears to have made an impression already. Matt Ernest, a 6-2 freshman from Crown Point, is seeing some time with the No. 2 offense and made a catch over the middle in 7-on-7 play Tuesday.

DIGGING IN: At the south end of IU’s football practice fields, Memorial Stadium’s north end zone project is making fast progress.

Trucks were busy throughout practice Monday and Tuesday hauling away dirt as the tunnel that will link the stadium and the practice fields is being formed and the ground is readied for the foundation to be built.

TV cameras were at the stadium at 11 p.m. Monday night to offer a live report after the first practice and construction workers were still busy. IU’s associate athletic director Jack Garrett said that Crider and Crider, the construction company handling the work, has been making extra efforts to ensure the project stays on schedule.

POLK DAY TO DAY: The only injured player so far is safety Nick Polk who is considered “day to day” with a hamstring injury. Polk has been at the first two practices, but hasn’t been able to participate in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11.

Normally, Polk’s injury wouldn’t be a concern, but it might be one now because he is one of the
starters who most needs practice time after having just moved from wide receiver to safety this spring.

About 10 other players missed Tuesday’s practice because of their summer class schedules, including second-string quarterback Ben Chappell. That gave true freshman quarterback Mitchell Evans a chance to guide the No. 2 offense.

Evans, who is also listed as a safety, did a pretty good job for it being only his second practice, throwing a number of completions, but also a couple of interceptions.

“For your first day, that’s a great job,” Canada told Evans, throwing an arm around his shoulders as they walked from 11-on-11 play to watch the extra-point teams practice.

At the end of practice, Lynch gathered the team in a circle and told them they’d had another good day and had continued to give the kind of effort he’s looking for.

A GOOD START: One veteran observer of IU’s football team said several freshmen had caught his eye over the first two days of practice. His list included tight end Max Dedmond, offensive lineman Andrew McDonald, defensive end Fred Jones and cornerback Donnell Jones.

A SHAKY START: IU looked shaky in the spring at punter and still does in the first couple of fall practices. Freshman Chris Hagerup (which I’ve been informed is pronounced Hog-er-up, not Hey-ger-up) was very inconsistent Tuesday, with good punts followed by shanks, and senior Michael Hines also lacked consistency.

4 comments

  1. Good update.

    By the way, does anyone know when construction will start on the baseball/softball fields and the basketball center? Just curious. Thanks.

Comments are closed.