Hoosiers short-handed at first spring practice

UPDATES AFTER PRACTICE: The only new information we learned about the status of Kellen Lewis is that Lewis will miss the entire spring. Coach Bill Lynch said he’s hopeful that Lewis will be back with IU’s team for voluntary workouts this summer.

The big news today is that IU is going to a no-huddle offense. The Hoosiers will still use the same plays, but plan to play at a faster pace, such as we’ve often seen the Colts employ. The coaching staff studied the no-huddle by talking with coaches at Oregon and with the Colts, and they say the use of that offense went better than expected in today’s first practice.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada said it was the best first day of spring practice for the offense that he’s experienced at IU.

In other personnel news, Lynch said that James Bailey will be occupied for a couple of days to attend to a personal matter so he’s being excused from practice.

—————-

With Indiana’s first spring practice underway in Mellencamp Pavilion, the Hoosiers have more injuries and players not practicing than I remember in the previous six years I’ve covered spring practice.

Besides Kellen Lewis not being here because of disciplinary reason, receiver James Bailey is also not here. We’re supposed to hear more about Lewis and Bailey after practice from coach Bill Lynch. We’ll be back with a further report right after practice, by 7 p.m. or so.

The position hardest hit by injuries is the offensive line, which is bad news given that IU has to replace last year’s senior starters at center, right tackle and right guard with younger players.

Here’s the list of players unable to play in today’s practice: OL Pete Saxon (shoulder, out for the whole spring), OL Mike Stark (back, out for the spring), OL James Brewer (foot, out for the spring), OL Josh Hager (ankle, out for the spring), OL Rodger Saffold (leg, availibility is day to day), OL Dan Rutigliano (knee, out for the spring), DL Greg Brown (shoulder, out for the spring), QB Teddy Schell (elbow, out for the spring), RB Demetrius McCray (foot, questionable), DL Deonte Mack (shoulder, out for the spring), DB Rayshun Calhoun (out for the spring).

There are enough offensive linemen out that it will surely impact the extent to which the Hoosiers can hold a true scrimmage this spring.

As we previously mentioned, WR Andrew Means is out for the spring to concentrate on baseball.

We’ll be talking with coaches and players after practice and will provide updates as soon as we can.

17 comments

  1. The ENTIRE spring??! Any ideas why?! Good Lord, that’s a serious offense he must have committed.

  2. Cate, I’ve heard some things about what Lewis may have done to get suspended, but I don’t have the kind of solid information I’d need to report it. Sorry I can’t help you there. Because of federal medical and educational records privacy laws, it’s very difficult to get firm information about why a player has been suspended unless the player or his family tells us.

  3. I have also heard some stuff. Not solid enough to say, but I would find it lucky if he is back in the summer or back for next season period.

  4. Ok, now I’m really curious. Can anyone please help me out? Doug and Chris, I know you guys can’t, and I understand why. But I really would like to know.

  5. What is the foot injury for McCray? Is it the same foot that he was out all last season over? Fill me in here.

    Cate – email me through my blog….

  6. Mike – It turned out that McCray did practice, but he will be limited in how much he does in practice this spring. Bill Lynch said that they’re being careful with the foot that McCray had injured almost all of last season, but that McCray is doing the most in practice that he’s done since he first injured that foot.

  7. I hope the no huddle goes well. We can’t be having too many 3 and outs with our D. What do you guys think? Personally, I think we will surrender 30 points a game with it.

  8. Doug – Thanks for that info.

    Can you try and find out what that injury was?

    If McCray will ever be 100% healthy again?

    Right now it feels like he is taking up a scholarship spot for someone who actually wants to play the game.

  9. Mike, I talked with McCray before the Insight Bowl. He said it was a sprained foot that forced him to miss the final eight games.

    Here’s what he had to say about it:

    “When I first got injured, I didn’t think I’d be out that long,” McCray said. “The doctor told me three to five weeks, but I was thinking two and a half.”

    At the time of the injury, McCray’s whole foot was swollen. He wore a protective boot for three weeks and when it came off he still had some swelling and couldn’t jog for a couple of more weeks.

    “The main problem was in my midfoot,” he said. “I couldn’t press down on my heel so that’s why I couldn’t run or do anything. Until I got that fixed, I wasn’t going to be able to play.

    “The next thing you know, it’s five or six weeks and I still couldn’t play. The last game against Purdue I probably could have played, but it was probably best to let the other running backs play because I couldn’t play to my abilities.”

    McCray, who’s known for having a constant smile and happy demeanor, never had a significant injury in high school. He said it’s been a long, rough year for him personally, so he’s excited to be back at practice doing everything his teammates are.

    “I’m excited to be running,” he said. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a hundred percent. But I feel right now I’m good enough to play.”

  10. Doug – Thanks for that. Amazing how better information can change your outlook on a situation.

    It sounds like the Lisfranc injury that ended Dwight Freeny’s season last year. Some players are lucky and can rehab, though the rehab takes many months, others like Freeny have to have surgery to fix the damage.

  11. Juan – I do think the impact on the defense of going no huddle is a concern. Bill Lynch acknowledged that yesterday in saying that they need to vary the pace of the no huddle, slowing it down at times, to run some clock, and keeping the defense guessing about when the offense will be fast and slow between plays. Lynch also said the defense and its coaches believe that practicing everyday against the no huddle will help the Hoosier defense, which struggled last year against opponents like Illinois and Oklahoma State that used the no huddle.

  12. Tracey Porter got a 4 out of 23 on his Wonderlick test?

    That has to be the worst score of all time. Did he graduate?

    If so, we need to re-evaluate the advantages we are giving to athletes.

  13. Thanks Doug. The OK St. game was what came to mind when I read Lynch was going to the no huddle. When we went 3 and out against them our D was forced to try to do way too much. Once the offense got rolling it was too late.
    Kellen could be even more dangerous with his legs in a no huddle offense though..
    I’m anxious to see how it goes.

  14. Wouldn’t moving to a no huddle offense leave our defense on the field for more than normal?

    That was the problem with the Colts for years. There defense was on the field more because the offense moved much quicker than a normal offense.

  15. Scott – In a sense you are right, but if you look at the Colts, they have stream lined the no huddle, and that is who IU coaches worked with (according to reports). I am not a fan of the Colts, but you can’t deny the success.

    Remember the no huddle is not a hurry up offense. If you run a no huddle, you limit the adjustments a defense can make, even if you are waiting till inside the 15 second mark to snap the ball, a defense can’t sub a guy out for fear of the ball being snapped with a guy out of position or with too many men on the field.

    It also gives another advantage to the offense, instead of calling the play in the huddle, coming to the line with 12-15 seconds on the clock and trying to read and adjust there (something they had trouble with last year), they are now at the line, reading the defense with 20-22 seconds left and adjusting at that point.

    It should allow the QB more time to see the safety or linebacker creeping up for a blitz, or see when he has a secondary receiver 1 on 1 at the line, when the primary receiver is covered with safety help. Area’s where Lewis suffered last season.

    If used right, it can effectively eat up as much clock as a normal offense, but have considerable advantages to the players.

  16. Good point Mike. Sometimes Manning will make the front four of the opposition stay in their stance for 5-10 seconds before he snaps the ball.

Comments are closed.