More observations from spring practice

Today was the first day Indiana has been allowed to wear full pads for practice this spring, and the Hoosiers definitely seemed excited to be able to hit each other again. The highlight of practice was an Oklahoma-style drill early on that pitted four offensive players (three blockers and a back) against four defensive players. The back had the ball in his hand when the whistle blew and simply had to try to move it as far down the field as possible. The quarters were tight with the ball moving across the field instead of up and down it and the uninvolved players lined up on either side. Every time a player was tackled, it essentially turned into a moshpit with players hooting and hollering, diving in from the sidelines and mixing it up with whoever they ran into.

So yeah, these guys were ready to get back to real football.

Some combined impressions from the first three days. Quarterback Ben Chappell looks very sharp. He still has the same limits you know Chappell to have. He’s not the swiftest or most athletic signal-caller to ever take a snap, but he’s been making really good throws and doing a fine job of picking apart defenses.

Wide receiver Tandon Doss is still as good as you remember. In the one-on-one drills the receivers run against the defensive backs, he leaped over top of a corner and hauled down a pass with a one-handed grab. Then just to show off, when reserve quarterback Teddy Schell misfired and threw a ball out of bounds, Doss nonchalantly grabbed that one with one hand.  The man has good hands.

Doss was the only starting receiver who practiced in 11-on-11 scrimmages, as junior Damarlo Belcher tweaked a hamstring. The backup wideouts have had a great showing so far, though. Freshman Duwyce Wilson is clearly the star of the group with his 6-3 frame and leaping ability, but Dre Muhammad has had a very impressive spring so far. The 5-foot-10 185-pounder has impressive speed and hands and can find creases in the defense.

Edward Wright-Baker has had more reps with the first team than any other backup quarterback. He’s been impressive in some aspects, but his arm is probably stronger than even he understands. He’s thrown several interceptions on deep balls by overshooting his receivers.

For the time being (and obviously, this is absurdly premature) there haven’t been a lot of moves in the depth chart. Most of the players who were working on the first team on Day 1 are still there, and there hasn’t been a lot of mixing up.

Also, if we didn’t write this somewhere, Justin Pagan got a haircut. It’s going to be crazy shaggy again in no time though.

By the way, I’m writing this blog from the press box at the IU baseball game. In the bottom of the fifth, Indiana is down 4-1. If you want to listen to it, check out WIUX. Dan Karrell and Sean Rosales are calling the game. (The kids asked for a plug. It was shameless but gutsy networking. Gotta give them credit, and they do a solid job.) Also, IU assistant sports information director Matt Brady is calling it somewhere (equal time). I have no idea what station or if it’s even on the radio.


  1. Thanks for the football updates. Anything new or exciting on the O-line now that Moriarity is the coach? By that I mean any new practice drills, techniques, etc. I realize it is still soon into spring football…. any observations?

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