Tom Allen is looking forward to the weekend.
On Saturday, his first full season as Indiana’s coach will begin in earnest. That’s when the Hoosiers will open spring practice, beginning to build the bridge from an offseason of change and turnover toward a season of new beginnings.
Allen can’t wait.
“I love spring practice,” Allen said. “I love the process that you go through to develop your team in April and May, and starting here in March. I just feel like our guys have worked extremely hard in the weight room.”
Now, the focus transitions to the field, where Allen wants to improve upon the little things that have kept Indiana from seizing control of close games in recent seasons.
The Hoosiers will begin that process with a roster that features a few additions and subtractions.
After Thursday’s workout, Allen said defensive end Joe Belden is taking a medical hardship waiver, while cornerback Wesley Green, tight end Jordan Fuchs and quarterback Danny Cameron have each been suspended indefinitely.
This is the second indefinite suspension for Green, a South Carolina transfer who was also sidelined by IU’s staff at the beginning of last season. When he transferred from South Carolina prior to the 2015 season, former Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said in a statement that it was mutually decided that Green needed a fresh start elsewhere.
In Bloomington, Green’s career has struggled to get off the ground. The former four-star prospect appeared in two games last season, making his college debut against Maryland and earning scout team honors leading into the Michigan game in November.
Fuchs dislocated his ankle in last year’s season opener at Florida International and missed the remainder of the season. Cameron did not see the field in 2016, though he earned scout team honors leading into the Northwestern game in October.
Aside from moving Camion Patrick from receiver to running back, Allen does not anticipate any further position changes this spring.
“In terms of (where) the guys finished in the fall, that’s where they’re going to start in the spring,” Allen said. “Just trying to get some guys healthy and get guys squared away.”
Receiver Simmie Cobbs, who broke his ankle on his first snap last season, is set to return to action this spring, as are running backs Mike Majette (ankle) and Cole Gest (ankle), and offensive lineman Brandon Knight (leg).
Linebacker T.J. Simmons took a redshirt year in 2016 and will have an opportunity to fill the hole created by Marcus Oliver’s departure for professional football. Chris Covington will also have a shot to earn Oliver’s old job.
“Overall, I like the health of our team (and) the direction we’re going in terms of getting guys back to full speed,” Allen said. “Obviously, the objective is to be full speed by Aug. 31. We have a lot of work until then.”
Indiana’s annual spring game will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 13.