More notes from yesterday’s start to spring football practice

See video of the Hoosiers spring practice here (free):

http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/stories/2007/03/21/iusports.nw-508817.sto

The esteemed members of the fourth estate (OK, lowly sports reporters) are not invited back to another Indiana spring football practice until next Tuesday, so I’m going to try to give you as much information as I can from yesterday’s practice and interviews. If you have any questions, please leave them as a comment. Here goes:

LINEUPS: No big surprises that I noticed. The first-string offense had Kellen Lewis at quarterback, James Hardy, James Bailey and Nick Polk at receiver, Marcus Thigpen at running back, Nick Sexton at tight end, Rodger Saffold at left tackle, Pete Saxon at left guard, Ben Wyss at center, John Sandberg at right guard and Charlie Emerson at right tackle.

The defense had Jammie Kirlew at left end, Joe Kremer and Greg Brown at tackle and Brian Faires at right end, Will Patterson and Geno Johnson at outside linebacker, Adam McClurg at middle linebacker, Austin Thomas and Brandon Mosley at safety, and Tracy Porter and Leslie Majors at cornerback.

FIRST TIME: Sexton, a Bloomington North grad, said the start of spring football is an exciting time, despite the absence of coach Terry Hoeppner at practice.

“We were so close to getting to a bowl,” Sexton said. “It’s our last chance as seniors. It’s real exciting.

“It’s my chance to come out as a starter for the first time since I’ve been here. I think I’m the probably the strongest I’ve been here.”

OLDER AND STRONGER: Interim coach Bill Lynch said that during a good winter for the Hoosiers in working out, it was young players on the offensive and defensive lines, and at linebacker who stood out to him in the size and maturity they gained. In talking about the individuals who’ve made the most progress, Lynch mentioned defensive linemen Greg Middleton, Emile Bass, Deonte Mack, and Keith and Kevin Burris; and linebackers Will Patterson, Matt Mayberry and Mandela Roberts.

Lynch said star wide receiver James Hardy has also had an excellent winter. Lynch didn’t say it, but Hardy – although immensely talented – hasn’t always been a hard worker in practice.

“That guy has really worked hard this off-season,” Lynch said. “He has a real determined look to him.”

A NEW SCHEME? Lynch said that one of the interesting challenges for the spring will be to find the defensive set that best fits the Hoosiers’ personnel. Last year, Indiana used sets with both three and four linebackers.

OPPONENTS CHANGE, TOO: Kellen Lewis said he expects opponents to try to stop slow his running from the quarterback position by using more Cover 2 on defense. That will take away much of his and Marcus Thigpen’s outside running, Lewis said, and force the Hoosiers to use more of a tradtional running game with their backs.

LESS REPORTING THIS YEAR: IU officials say that the plan to allow less media access for spring practice was hatched before they knew Hoeppner would miss spring practice. In past years, almost all of the spring practices have been open to media. This year, only five of the 15 practices are open to media.

24 comments

  1. Excellent converage!! Much appreciated. Have any idea why they are limiting press access. Seems like they would want to draw as much attention to the team this spring as possible.

  2. Two starting left defensive ends? A record-holding quarterback playing tight-end? A premier wideout actually working hard in the off-season? Almost no media access for spring practice? Wow, the Hoosiers are really developing into a blue-chip, prime time Big Ten program. What a crock….

  3. Townie, I really didn’t get much of a feeling from players about Hoeppner not being there. I think they’ve gotten used to dealing with the idea of him having health problems over a long period of time, so what’s happening now with his absence isn’t as dramatic as it might be. Practice seemed very normal for a first practice. The players are definitely concerned about their head coach, but they’re also ready to go about their business.

    Flipdip, I think the main reason IU is cutting back media availability is because the coaches don’t like reporters writing about who is injured or even very basic information about what the team is working on. They want to be able to control the information being reported about the team.

  4. Doug,

    How does Ben Wyss look at center? That is a key position to any offensive group, the ancor of the line, and he has a job of replacing a proven veteran.

    Having a new center, is Lewis under center more, or do they still have him operating out of the shotgun? If he is in the shotgun, is Wyss have a good release, and getting the ball up in the numbers for Lewis?

  5. Great film, but I’m not sure who some of the players are. Kellen is 15, but who are QBs 4, 8, and 12? I assume Chappell, Hagerup, and Haas, but no maybe not in that order? 12 looks like the biggest and he throws the best, so I assume that’s Chapell. Thanks for the coverage.

  6. I know Kellen Lewis is 15, Ben Chappell is number 4, Chris Hagerup is number 12, not sure about Haas. Last year Nick Polk (sophomore, now junior WR) wore number 8. Maybe he changed numbers for this year.

  7. Also, Hagerup is 6’5-6’6 area which would make him 2-3 inches taller than Chappell @ 6′-3″.

    I thought Hagerup was the new punter?

    Is he also going to try and play QB?

    Also, I think Polk might only be a Sophomore (I said Junior in previous post), didn’t he have a Red Shirt year?

  8. Hey, Mike P:

    You think Hagerup is number 12? Hagerup should be a HS senior right now. Number 12 looks a lot bigger and more polished than that. I’m pretty sure it’s Chappell.

  9. Bob,

    I have watched Ben since Middle School, as he did last year as a redshirt, Ben has always wore number 4, and that is his number this year.

    Here is a copy of the 2007 Spring Roster

    http://iuhoosiers.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/ind-m-footbl-mtt.html

    Go to that website address, they list them alphabetical on the first list, by number on the second list, you can check my accuracy there.

    No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt.
    4 Chappell, Ben QB 6-3 215
    6 Hass, Dustin QB 6-1 210
    8 Polk, Nick WR 6-0 200
    12 Hagerup, Chris P 6-5 205
    15 Lewis, Kellen QB 6-1 177

    Your Welcome,

    Mike P.

  10. Bob,

    I had another post with a link, but it says “pending moderation, so this is the informatiuon it contained minus the web link,

    I have watched Ben since Middle School, as he did last year as a redshirt, Ben has always wore number 4, and that is his number this year.

    This is from a copy of the 2007 Spring Roster

    No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt.
    4 Chappell, Ben QB 6-3 215
    6 Hass, Dustin QB 6-1 210
    8 Polk, Nick WR 6-0 200
    12 Hagerup, Chris P 6-5 205
    15 Lewis, Kellen QB 6-1 177

    Your Welcome,

    Mike P.

  11. Bob,

    Hagerup graduated early from High School. Him and JUCO transfer Kevin Burris are the only two recruits on campus. I know because I asked Chris and Doug in the on-line chat yesterday if any new recruits had shown up yet.

  12. Thanks, Mike. I knew they were there early, just surprised that Hagerup looks that polished. Also nice to see IU has finally updated the spring roster. Do you know if they’ve updated measurements, too, or just the names?

  13. I havn’t checked anything against last years roster. Some look updated, but others don’t. I seen Kellen Lewis right before Spring Break, and he looked about 15lbs heavier than last year, though the spring roster still has him at 177. Of course, it could have been clothing that gave the extra bulk appearance.

  14. I actually have not watched the video yet. I won’t be able to access it till I get home tonight.

  15. Hey guys, Mike P. has this right. No. 12 is Hagerup, who was recruited first as a punter but will also be given a chance at quarterback. He definitely is a big guy for a freshman and I was surprised by how well he threw at the first practice.

    No. 4 is Chappell, No. 8 is Haas (Hass and Nick Polk both wear that number) and No. 15 is Lewis.

    And Mike, with no contact at all Tuesday, I couldn’t tell much about how Wyss or any of the linemen looked. I didn’t notice any problems in exchanges from center to quarterback, but I don’t think this first practice showed us much of anything. There was only one short period where the offense even used linemen. Much of the day was drills where players were divided by position.

    Doug

  16. Doug,

    I usually am pretty good when it comes to the Football team. Even rumors during recruiting season.

    When will they hold he open scrimmage games for the public to see? I seem to have missed this info somehow. I am interested in how the O-Line will do this year, now that we have guys with experience under their belt. If they can’t protect Lewis, and give him time to throw, it will be a long year again.

  17. Mike, there are two opportunities for the public to watch the Hoosiers this spring according to the schedule I was given: April 7 – Pigskins and Pancakes, April 14 – Spring Game.

    And please don’t be shy about sharing your knowledge and thoughts about IU football recruiting here. With the numbers of prospects they have to chase in football to wind up with 20 or so recruits each year, I’m truly impressed with anybody who can stay on top of all of it.

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