Hoosiers ready to begin game week prep #iufb

Kevin Wilson has maintained the same mantra since the spring, telling all who will listen that this looks like his best team in five seasons at Indiana.

Now, it’s a game week and the IU coach says his group is ready.

Wilson kicked off his season-opening preview of Southern Illinois by saying that the Hoosiers closed preseason camp with their best week of the summer. That, Wilson believes, is a sign that Indiana is prepared, focused and on track for a positive start to the new season.

“I think we are practicing hard but we are not over-practicing,” Wilson said. “I think our time on the field is getting (to be) less because we are going at it pretty hard. Like I said, we had a great week of practice last week.”

Indiana did not release a depth chart Monday, though one could be published as soon as Tuesday. Wilson did not report any new injuries ahead of the first game, and receiver J-Shun Harris (knee) and cornerback Donovan Clark (back) remain the only known key contributors with significant medical setbacks.

A week after the program accepted a transfer from former South Carolina corner Wesley Green, Wilson said Indiana recently brought in a second notable transfer.

Former Cincinnati offensive lineman Ja’Merez Bowen is now at Indiana. Bowen, who redshirted as a freshman last season, must sit out the 2015 season per NCAA transfer rules. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Cleveland native was previously an IU recruiting target before choosing Cincinnati over the Hoosiers, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky and Louisville.

According to the major scouting services, Bowen was a consensus three-star recruit coming out of high school. Rivals considered him the No. 51 offensive tackle in the 2014 recruiting class and the No. 46 ranked prospect in Ohio.

“We thought about taking a (junior college) lineman,” Wilson said. “We are kind of taking this as a J.C. guy we have here every day to train instead of getting a guy midseason or next year. So we’re excited to have Ja’Merez join.”

Wilson also revealed a semi-position change for UAB transfer Marqui Hawkins. Instead of lining up strictly on the outside, Hawkins is shifting into a hybrid role as a receiver out of the backfield.

The IU coach indicated that freshmen like Leon Thornton and Nick Westbrook may be ahead of Hawkins, who has not played a single snap of college football during his first two seasons out of high school. Originally a Florida signee, the Gators moved him to the secondary during his true freshman season in 2013. But Hawkins sought an opportunity to play receiver and sat out last season at UAB after his transfer from Florida.

Indiana seems interested in keeping him involved, and Wilson and offensive coordinator Kevin Johns both said that the dual-threat type of hybrid role can take advantage of his 6-2, 217-pound frame.

“He’s a bigger body, a guy that can do some different things,” Johns said. “Can he be a fly sweep guy, can he be a protector, can he go out and run a fade well? We’re trying to utilize and find the best way for him to fill a role in our offense.”

One comment

  1. This is a great time of year as we head into the first game of the year. There are many good things going on with IU football but now is the time to start winning on the field. I am interested to see what the offense looks like as I think we have the runners to pound the ball and to have break away runs. I also want to see what the receivers look like especially the two freshmen that get talked about so much. I would guess with the depth on offense we will see the high octane hurry up offense of the past since they have quality players to come off the sideline so everyone stays fresh.

    I am really excited to see what this defense is like. There are a lot of better athletes on the field but with the freshmen DBs it will be athletic ability v. experience. I am sure we will see both this year as they will make plays but will also blow some coverages. It will be nice to see a more active and athletic front that shuts down the run but still sacks the QB.

    Hopefully this will be the team that instead of disappointing us fans, will excite Hoosier Nation as they continue to win games and defeat teams others think they can’t defeat.

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