Doss, Willis still out for practice

With 16 days in between their first and second games, the Indiana football team has been taking it somewhat easy in the preseason, which to say they’re largely avoiding leg pads and therefore full tackling. On Friday, in a practice that was open to the media, but after which players were not available, the Hoosiers again practice in shorts and shoulder pads, calling plays in full-scrimmages down on contact.

Still, several important Hoosiers continue to miss practice. Tandon Doss was out for the second straight practice with a minor groin injury. Running backs Darius Willis and Antonio Banks are still out with hamstring injuries. Tight end Charles Love III was also out Friday, but new injuries will not be disclosed until Saturday morning’s practice.

Some Obervations:

  • The defensive backs and the defense in general may have had their most impressive practice of the season on Thursday. The Hoosier cornerbacks continue to improve as they battle for starting spots, and the defensive line got to Ben Chapell several times. The more experienced offense was mostly back in control on Friday, however. Chappell seems locked in with Damarlo Belcher, Terrance Turner and Duwyce Wilson on crossing routes, and Dre Muhammad made a few nice plays on the outside. Turner made one impressive leaping grab for a touchdown, just keeping his feet in bounds.
  • Freshman wide receiver Logan Young made the play of the day, though. an over the shoulder grab in the end zone on a throw from Dusty Kiel. The only reason Young will probably take a redshirt this year is there is still too much depth at wide receiver for him to get enough time once the season starts to justify burning the year of eligibility. The Hoosiers are six-deep at the position. Doss, Belcher and Turner are obviously the starters, but Duwyce Wilson, Dre Muhammad and Jammone Chester have all been impressive in preseason camp. It’s hard to imagine someone else breaking into that rotation. Still, Young has proven himself to be an excellent route runner, he has great hands, good speed, and a solid, 6-3, 190-pound frame that allows him to leap over defensive backs.
  • Dusty Kiel appears to be well out ahead of Edward Wright-Baker in the race for the backup quarterback position, and Kiel might not be Wright-Baker’s only competition. Kiel has been taking the overwhelming majority of the snaps with the second team, and redshirt sophomore Adam Follett has actually taken more snaps with the third team the past two days than Wright-Baker has. Kiel has been exceptionally accurate for most of practice, has made smart decisions, and has even shown good speed when he’s left the pocket. The 6-foot-5, 236-pound Follett looks significantly stronger this year, and has been crisp and accurate with his throws. Wright-Baker is still showing the arm strength and speed to prove that he has a high upside, but his accuracy just hasn’t been there, and he’s been overthrowing his deep balls.
  • The injuries to Wills and Banks have opened up opportunities for Zach Davis-Walker, who spent almost all of last season on the sidelines with a foot injury. It’s tough to get a read on any of the running backs right now because plays are being called dead on contact, but Davis-Walker has been rotating in on the first team with Trea Burgess and Nick Turner and has shown good quickness and ability to get to the hole.