Monday football practice

IU wide receiver James Hardy said Monday that he filed papers last week to ask the NFL where he’ll be drafted if he leaves college early.

“It’s something coach Lynch told me to come into his office and do and I do what coach tells me to do,” Hardy said.

College players can submit forms to an NFL advisory committee that estimates where a player might be taken in the draft, or if that player will be drafted at all. The forms, which are intended to help a player make a well-informed decision, do not bind the player to entering the draft.

Hardy, a junior who is IU’s all-time leader in career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, has said he won’t make a decision until after this season about whether he’ll enter the 2008 draft.

Here’s the rest of my Monday report from practice:

On the Insight track
IU begins preparation for Insight Bowl with two Monday practices

By Doug Wilson 331-4227 |
December 18, 2007

From sunrise to sunset, it was nothing but football Monday for Bill Lynch’s Hoosiers.

With finals week over, Lynch had players report at 7 a.m. for a day filled with morning and afternoon practices and meetings as Indiana began in earnest to get ready to play Oklahoma State on New Year’s Eve in the Insight Bowl.

This will be the Hoosiers’ first intense week of practice in a month, since the win over Purdue Nov. 17.

“The biggest thing is we’ve got to get ready to win a football game,” Lynch said after a three-hour afternoon practice inside Mellencamp Pavilion. “I think sometimes if you haven’t gone to a bowl game in a while, the goal is to get there. They’re going to find out pretty quickly, the goal isn’t to get there, the goal is to be the Insight Bowl champions.

“We’ve got some time to do that, but if they keep practicing like they did today, I think our mindset will be pretty good by the time we get to the game.”

Players were a little sluggish in the morning practice after a couple of weeks with plenty of books and not many blocks, but they rebounded in the afternoon.

“A lot of people still have essay questions in their head,” IU receiver James Hardy said. “Like coach said, it has to pick up every day, but I think for the first day we did great.”

After the late afternoon practice, the team went back to its meeting rooms to study film of the just-completed drills.

During the season, NCAA rules limit practices to 20 hours a week, but with classes out for winter break this week, those limits don’t apply. The team isn’t continuing its work until late at night at the Memorial Stadium football complex like it does during fall camp, but after adjourning in early evening, it will be back early this morning.

“It was spirited today, which is good,” Lynch said. “You could tell they were happy to be back. We’re going to get after it pretty good the rest of this week and then give them off for Christmas.”

The Hoosiers looked healthier at practice than they have for a long time. All of the starters practiced.

The only variation was linebacker Geno Johnson playing with the No. 2 defense while Justin Carrington was with the 1s.

That change is temporary. Carrington has been playing with the 1s the past couple of weeks while Johnson has rested a knee that was gimpy late in the season, but Johnson is running better now, Lynch said, and appears ready to return to the No. 1 unit.