Sorry about the lateness here, as I held the blog on this until after writing stories for the paper.
A couple of things first, because I know I’ll be asked. The increased access we’ve had so far this spring from the still new regime has come with certain conditions. They’ve asked that we not keep stats for the scrimmages before the spring game, provide full lineups from those scrimmages or detail formations or play designs. Obviously, you’ll see plenty of all of that in the spring game and we’ll certainly detail more of that at that point.
But beyond that, some observations.
— Both quarterbacks have had their moments. I’ve seen a lot more zip on sophomore Tre Roberson’s passes this year and he had one particularly impressive rollout pass to rising junior Kofi Hughes that said the offense up for a touchdown run by tailback Stephen Houston early in the scrimmage. He also made an exceptionally well -placed throw to Ted Bolser on a deep slant in the back of the end zone, hitting the 6-6 tight end where only he could catch the pass. The Hoosiers are expecting to pass more, and Roberson seems mostly up to the challenge especially on intermediate routes. He’s much more precise with 10-15 yard outs and other crossing patterns now and the general arm strength is better. His deep ball is still a little bit shaky, though he did take advantage of a fallen-down Lawrence Barnett in pre-scrimmage drills to hit Cody Latimer with a deep bomb. Strangely, Roberson sometimes struggles with short passes and sometimes finds himself having his passes knocked down by oncoming rushers, but there’s evident progress in his overall passing game.
Cameron Coffman has been solid. He doesn’t throw the best deep ball either, but he too was taking advantage of open sideline throws and hit Jamonne Chester on a particularly well thrown fade route for a touchdown. Chester also made a great play on the ball, hauling it in with his left hand only.
— Stephen Houston is running with a lot of speed and toughness. Kevin Wilson never seems to want to give him too much credit, simply because there were too many occasions last year when he was concerned that the running backs in particular were letting success go to their heads, but as much as anyone this squad has had in recent years, Houston continues to run like a thoroughbred tailback.
— Kevin Wilson said last week that he was impressed with Isaiah Roundtree, a Morehead State transfer who redshirted last season, in the fall but has seen some inconsistency in the spring. See where he’s coming from there, but Roundtree has shown some exceptional speed, and even made an impressive block in blitz pickup on Saturday.
— Don’t expect him to find himself in the rotation, but just to give the hometown kid some press, South graduate David Blackwell had a 33-yard touchdown run in the scrimmage. Doesn’t have quite the speed or athleticism to beat out the likes of Houston, D’Angelo Roberts, Roundtree, Matt Perez when he returns from a back injury or Tevin Coleman when he joins the squad, but he’s still a tough kid.
— On defense, Larry Black Jr. and Adam Replogle both look impressive. Black was actually used as a defensive end one play and came off the edge to record a sack. (Which means he tagged the quarterback. No tackling of the guys wearing blue jerseys, especially because there’s only two of them). Replogle mauled a blocker to get to D’Angelo Roberts for a safety at one point as well.
— Several junior college defenders showed signs of talent. Middle linebacker David Cooper, reportedly the most talented of all of them, tweaked a hamstring earlier this week and was held out, but outside linebacker Jaccari Alexander showed a lot of athleticism, and defensive backs Tregg Waters and Ryan Thompson showed some speed in the secondary. Thompson laid a pretty significant hit at one point to breakup a pass to Shane Wynn.
— Mitch Ewald was booming 45-yard field goals but also missed three extra points. Which was somewhat bizarre.