Chappell impresses at first scrimmage

The battle for Indiana’s backup quarterback job is one of the most intriguing. The battle for the starting job, though, already appears to be decided.

Though the athleticism and big arms of redshirt freshman signal callers Edward Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel bode well for the future of the offense, senior Ben Chappell proved again at Saturday’s controlled 100-play scrimmage that it’s very much his job to lose.

Chappell unofficially completed 10 of the 13 passes he threw for 190 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown strike to redshirt freshman wide receiver Duwyce Wilson. He made sharp throws on all sorts of routes, from deep throws over the middle to sideline routes. It was a continuation of what has been a very impressive spring for Chappell.

“He’s playing like a fifth-year senior that really understands the offense,” Indiana coach Bill Lynch said. “He’s in control. It’s probably cliche, but it seems like the game is slowing down to him.”

Chappell was playing with a depleted wide receiver corps. Senior Terrance Turner is out for the spring after neck surgery and junior Damarlo Belcher missed Saturday’s scrimmage with a hamstring injury. Junior receiver Tandon Doss was outstanding as usual, though, hauling in six passes for 114 yards. Wilson continued to make his pitch to be the Hoosiers’ fourth wide receiver this season, catching three passes for 74 yards including the touchdown.

The scrimmage went 100 plays with sets of 33 split up by special teams work and eventually 7-on-7 work. Quarterbacks mostly rotated every 10 plays, and in 3-and-out situations, typically started a drive over. There was no score, and the scrimmage wasn’t meant to be like the spring game, so statistics obviously only mean so much in such cases.

The backup quarterbacks got significantly less time than Chappell and were significantly less successful. Ed Wright-Baker completed two of his four passes for 17 yards. Dusty Kiel completed three of his eight throws for 62 yards and also had a 14-yard run.

The Hoosiers didn’t run the ball much, and when they did, they weren’t very successful against their defense. Sophomore tailback Darius Willis only carried the ball twice for three yards.

Among the defensive stars for the Hoosiers were middle linebackers Leon Beckum and Jeff Thomas, both of whom piled up tackles, though a final tally wasn’t immediately available.

Along with Belcher, Turner and the rest of the players who are out for the spring, the Hoosiers had four other players out due to minor injuries. Defensive lineman Deonte Mack missed the game with an elbow injury as did tight end Brad Martin. Right guard Cody Faulker was out with an ankle injury. He was replaced by Bloomington South graduate Aaron Price. Cornerback Adrian Burks missed the scrimmage to take an exam.

7 comments

  1. Chappell was one of the few consistent positives throughout the entire last season. It wouldn’t surprise me if he leads the Big 10 in passing and wills his team to 5 wins, with the receivers he has (in spite of the coaching). My only worry is, if the team couldn’t hold a 25 point lead last year, he is going to have to throw for 8 touchdowns a game to give his team a big enough cushion.

  2. CHap looked really good today, as did Doss. There were also some big hits on the defensive side of the ball.

    I thought Kiel looked average today and EWB didn’t get a chance to do a lot, but didn’t make the mistakes that Kiel did. Just one day though.

    Willis had his abdomen wrapped in ice the 2nd part of the scrimmage. I saw Lawrence Barnett make a few plays on balls.

  3. Husky, I don’t know that I see the individual coaching as such an issue — Matt Canada made Kellen Lewis almost resemble a quarterback a couple years back. Overall scheme-wise…well, it helps to have quick, athletic receivers and a bowling-ball running back to make the coaches look good.

  4. oh, and yes: this is a 45-point-per-game offense playing with a 50-point-per-game defense…oh well.

  5. More talent and better talent in conjunction with two redshirt classes now playing makes the possibility for better performance something to be looked for on both sides of the ball.

  6. Come on guys, it is spring ball, time to be optimistic about the upcoming football season. Let us wait until at least 9/3/10 to rip on the coaching staff. 🙂

  7. Mike P,
    Usually I agree with you here, and I do want the young men on the team to have a great year. A big thank you to them for coming to Bloomington to try to turn the program around. The staff though, is getting paid, and results have been slim so far.

    “The Hoosiers didn’t run the ball much, and when they did, they weren’t very successful against their defense. Sophomore tailback Darius Willis only carried the ball twice for three yards.”

    Is this still the “power-running Pistol” we were told about last year?

    Optimism? What expectations do you think we should have for the team this year?”

    See you on 4/17 at the Rock!

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