News and notes from IU’s first fall practice

Kevin Wilson has reached the point in his Indiana tenure where he wants his defense to become a reflection of himself.

As an aggressive, attacking offensive coach, Wilson is trying to end the disconnect between a potentially prolific offense and a defense that could, at times, be faulted for stagnancy.

So on the first day of IU’s fall practice, Wilson gave a direct message to his defensive staff.

“What I want to see — and I’ve hit this with our coaches tremendously — is the body language and the demeanor of an attacking (defense),” Wilson said.

Thursday was the first of back-to-back days of helmet-only workouts. The Hoosiers will first don shoulder pads over the weekend, before beginning their first full-padded practice on Monday. Tuesday will mark the program’s first two-a-day of the month.

So as the practice period ramps up, Wilson wants to see his players — defenders, especially — move through these workouts with a purpose. To Wilson, who’s entering his fifth season in Bloomington, all the good defenses he’s encountered in his career are coached and taught in a way that includes aggression as its back bone.

Last season, especially over the final half of the year, Indiana began to play with that in mind as it transitioned to defensive coordinator Brian Knorr’s 3-4 scheme. Entering a crucial 2015 season, Wilson wants to see more of that philosophy rooted on the practice field and carry over into game days.

“I think there’s just a body language and a swag, you name it with any type of fancy buzz word,” he said. “We can give them T-shirts and breakdowns and all that stuff ’til we’re blue in the face, but there’s a way you go on the field that says, ‘I’m getting after you.'”

The evolution of the college game has produced high-flying, no-huddle offenses, like Wilson’s, that have begun to turn games into shootouts. Offense rules today’s brand of college football, but Wilson believes the nation’s top defenses are the ones that have found ways to use aggression to flip the script.

Wilson is not demanding that Indiana’s total defense ranking jump from No. 93 to the top 20, but he believes that a more assertive and confident defensive disposition can allow the Hoosiers to continue making the type of steady progress that’s needed.

“I don’t care if they blitz and play a three-man or four-man front,” Wilson said. I don’t care who’s out there. I just want to see the energy and effort that matches, to me, the way we want this program to run from the top.”

No update on Patrick

Indiana continues to wait for a ruling on junior college transfer Camion Patrick, who needs an academic clearance before he can play this season.

The 6-foot-2 receiver was in uniform and participated in drills during Thursday’s practice, but his long-term status remains in question. Wilson indicated that Patrick’s current limbo doesn’t mean the team is moving on without him.

“In our world, he’s here and he’s gonna be here,” Wilson said. “What we do the first two weeks doesn’t change the way we practice, as far as the amount of reps and who gets what. When we get into that week of school starting, which is two weeks before the (first) game, we get a little bit more game heavy. There are just some things to process. It’s not official.”

Green to begin as a corner

Indiana has long lacked a large, athletic cornerback to compete with Big Ten receivers, but incoming freshman Tyler Green may soon solve that problem.

Wilson confirmed that the 6-foot-3, 190-pound high school safety and former Ohio State commit will begin his college career at corner to give IU another cover option on the outside. As newcomers find their positions, Wilson said he’s told his staffers to make sure they get these kinds of assignments correct so that these repetitions in August don’t go to waste.

“I think his skill set is a little more rangy and cover-oriented even though he’s a taller guy,” Wilson said. “I just think his body type translates into coverage a little bit more. If not, I guess he could be a (free safety), which is a little more of (playing) center field.”

O-line updates

As a transitioning left guard, Dimitric Camiel teamed with left tackle Jason Spriggs this spring to form a massive left side of the offensive line. Now, Camiel will at least start the fall competing for the open spot at right tackle.

Camiel, a 6-foot-7, 319-pound junior, played in all 12 games last season, making four starts at right tackle and one at left tackle. He’ll compete on the right side with former Ohio State transfer Tim Gardner and incoming freshman Brandon Knight. That position was vacated by Ralston Evans, who decided to end his career after nagging injuries.

Wes Martin, a highly-regarded 6-foot-3, 310-pound redshirt freshman, will compete for the top job at left guard, while Jake Reed is expected to be the frontrunner at center. Wilson said Dan Feeney could slide over to right tackle, but the staff feels he’s best suited at right guard.

“The best five get on the field,” Wilson said. “… Dimitric gives us some flexibility and Timmy’s got some talent, but you’re talking ability vs. dependability and sometimes a guy you can count on is maybe not as flashy. That’ll be an interesting compettion there.”

2 comments

  1. Mike thanks for a well written description of the first practices this year. I sure hope they get Patrick’s clearance to play soon. He could be a dominate WR we need this year.

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