Banks, Zachery, Kiel impress at scrimmage

Indiana’s starting skill position players have been a bit knicked up in the spring, but that allowed a few lesser names some time in the spotlight at Saturday’s controlled scrimmage.

Starting tailback Darius Willis has been out of action since injuring his ribs in last week’s scrimmage. Backup tailback Shane Covington was also out with an ankle injury. Senior Trea Burgess and redshirt freshman Nick Turner got most of the reps with the first team, but the injuries allowed true freshman Antonio Banks to get significant work with the second team. Banks, who graduated from Ohio’s Middletown High School early so he could participate in spring drills, showed speed and toughness rushing for 41 yards on nine carries in the main part of the scrimmage. On a 12-yard carry, he took several hits, then dragged the pile for about three yards before anyone could bring him down. In red zone scrimmages at the end, he also rushed for a touchdown.

Starting wide receiver Damarlo Belcher is still out with a hamstring injury, but that also opened some opportunities for others. Redshirt freshman Nick Zachery, who was recently moved from safety to wide receiver, also showed some playmaking ability. The Sheridan graduate caught four passes for 46 yards, turning one quick hitch pass from Ed Wright-Baker into a 19-yard gain.

Quarterback Ben Chappell wasn’t quite as sharp this week as he was last week, but he still completed five of his nine passes for 71 yards. Redshirt freshman Dusty Kiel showed significant improvement from the first scrimmage to a second. He struggled at first, completing just two of his first six passes for seven yards, but then he hooked up with junior receiver Dre Muhammad for a 35-yard completion, then hit Tandon Doss on a quick hitch that Doss turned into an 18-yard touchdown. It was the only touchdown of the scrimmage before red zone drills. Fellow backup Ed Wright-Baker also had a strong performance, completing six of 10 passes for 41 yards.

Along with Belcher, Willis and Covington, cornerback Matt Ernest was held out of practice with a minor elbow injury. The move was made in part to protect the two-sport athlete for baseball, though he didn’t make the trip to Ohio State this weekend. Backup center Jordan Marquette is also out with a lacerated finger. Defensive end Deonte Mack is still out with an elbow injury as well.