Tuesday morning practice notes

In a surprising twist, Indiana broke into brief 11-on-11 scrimmaging right after stretching this morning, which provided for some interesting depth chart notes. It didn’t last very long, so there wasn’t that much to analyze, but some interesting points.

Redshirt sophomore Edward Wright-Baker was once again working with the first team, which he was last week when practice was open after the Bloomington Tailgate Tour event. Another indication that he appears to be ahead of the race.

The Hoosiers once again opened up in a two-back set with Matt Perez and D’Angelo Roberts as the first-team running backs. 

Redshirt sophomore Duwyce Wilson was held out of practice. The first-team receivers were Damarlo Belcher, Kofi Hughes and true freshman Shane Wynn.

The offensive line was the same as it has been with Andrew McDonald at left tackle, Marc Damisch at left guard, Will Matte at center, Justin Pagan at right guard and Josh Hager at right tackle.

The defense was essentially the same as it was last week. Darius Johnson and Fred Jones at defensive end, Adam Replogle and Larry Black at defensive tackle. Jeff Thomas and Leon Beckum at linebacker, Donnell Jones at nickel. Chris Adkins and Jarrell Drane at safety, Lawrence Barnett and Greg Heban at corners.

Most of the scrimmaging included uptempo running plays, but Wright-Baker looked fairly sharp when he did have to throw the ball.

Dusty Kiel quarterbacked the second team, and his group was mostly the same as it has been as well. His group used more tight ends than running backs, as I believe Stephen Houston was the only back. Max Dedmond and Charles Love were both used as, as were true freshmen Jay McCants and Cody Latimer.

The second team offensive line was Charlie Chapman at left tackle, Bernard Taylor at left guard, Collin Rahrig at center, Cody Evers at right guard, Peyton Eckert at right tackle.

Second team defense included Javon Cornley and Ryan Phillis at defensive ends, Mick Mentzer and Nicholas Sliger at tackles, Chase Hoobler, Griffen Dahlstrom and Brandon McGhee at linebacker, Lenyatta Kiles and Michael Hunter at cornerback, Mark Murphy and Forisse Hardin at safety.

Ted Bolser didn’t get much action in scrimmaging, but he’s back in practice as is tight end Paul Phillips. Running back Darius Willis was also back.

19 comments

  1. Is Perz playing a fullback like position? He is the biggest running back we have at 230 lbs, and can leg press 700+ lbs.

  2. Looks like the starting defense is close to being set, while a few of the positions on the offense are still somewhat fluid.

    I sure hope the back-ups are getting lots of reps because given IU’s history with injuries in recent years, a lot of players that start the season on the second unit will be starters by the end of the season. IU is leaner, faster, probably stronger, but it’s still under-sized relative to Big Ten competition. Depth will be key this year.

  3. As to Podunker’s comment, yes, IU has been very injury prone in large measure, due to inadequate strength and conditioning. This resulted in early fatigue in competition which always results in more injuries. Coach Wilson and staff’s focus on strength should help decrease the number and severity of injuries despite the size issues.

  4. We have to keep our starters healthy because it looks like a huge drop off in talent, experience or both, especially along the OL.

    I’m curious how our 4-2-5 defensive alignment is going to fare against the power running teams we face? Wisconsin, OSU, MSU, Iowa and to some extent Penn State rely on just wearing down a defense by hammering them with the running game. I think those games are going to be our most difficult to win. We should be able to hold our own against the spread teams.

    Sort of surprised that Perez and Roberts are both ahead of Houston. I hope Houston doesn’t begin to slide deeper on the depth chart now that Willis has returned.

    After this week most of the starting assignments will be settled and preparation for BSU will start with an emphasis on our first team getting a majority of the reps.

  5. Perez could do a little of both, Chicago Hoosier. Redshirt freshman Matt Zakrzewski and Leneil Himes were working as fullbacks and I don’t know that I’ve seen straight I-formation stuff with Perez as the fullback yet. The two-backs stuff I’ve seen has seen the ball go to both backs. Whatever they do with Perez, I’m sure they’ll want him to carry the football some. Still don’t have quite enough info to know for sure.

  6. Waiting for Wins,
    They aren’t married to the 4-2-5. When they play themselves, they tend to do it a lot because they tend to spread it out. Wilson said in run-oriented practice they have used a third true linebacker. That being said, Donnell Jones has put on some pounds and isn’t that much smaller than a linebacker at this point.

  7. “Is Perz playing a fullback like position? He is the biggest running back we have at 230 lbs, and can leg press 700+ lbs.”

    I hear he killed a man just for snoring…

    (yeah, that’s probably not going to make it past moderation…)

  8. Waiting; I understood Wilson’s comments to mean that he was pleased with Houston, not that Houston was behind the other two guys. Did I miss something? A lot of IU’s running backs will see playing time this year. I don’t sense any of them are going to dominate playing time.

    IUfan; clearly strength and conditioning has been improved, and hopefully that will reduce serious injuries. But a big part of IU’s injury problem in seasons past was simply IU players’ lack of size. Watching IU play Wisconsin over the last three years was like watching a good HS team play the Packers. At some point, it boils down to simple physics. IU has been the smallest team in the Big Ten for many years. The good news for the future is that Wilson is recruiting bigger players.

  9. Podunker…it has not been about size for the Hoosiers. We have had size. Our OL has held with the big boys in terms of sheer size for a few years now. Last year our DL was TOO big because they lost their ability to move. I think Wilson’s drive to make our team stronger and more athletic will pay more dividends than sheer size in the long run.

  10. Dustin,

    How does Perez look? Fully recovered from last years injury? It would be nice to have the Chicago Sun Times and Tribune football player of the year healthy and contributing at some capacity. LTO gearing up for the game blogging?

    Best,
    PB

  11. PB,
    He looks pretty strong, and it seems like everyone’s mostly impressed. Tough kid. Looks stronger. Probably lost some speed and Wilson said his conditioning isn’t 100 percent yet, but he’s very much in the race.

  12. Dustin, I wasn’t insinuating that Wilson was displeased with Houston’s performance, it was I who was surprised that Roberts and Perez were able to keep ahead of him. I truly thought that a solid running back that Houston appears to be would be ahead because he has played at the JUCO level, which is typically better than what Perez or Roberts saw in high school.

  13. North; as I’m sure you would agree, fat is different from big. I agree with your comment to a point. I think a lot of players on IU’s defense were carrying useless weight last year. They may have weighed a lot, but they were not “big.” I agree that IU is leaner and in better condition this year and optimisitic that it results in fewer injuries and better performance. But IU FB has been “small,” relative to other big ten teams, for years.

    When recruiting HS players, one of the things good coaches evaluate is the young man’s frame abd his body type. They usually consider the young man’s male relatives, father, uncles, grandfather. Good college coaches are experts at evaluating a young man’s potential for developing overall “size.” Obviously, many other variables go into the equasion.

    There was an article last year, I don’t remember which publication it was in (maybe it was in ‘Inside Indiana’). It documented that IU’s defensive line was giving up an average of 3 inches and 30 lbs per man against Wisconsin. It chronicled the size disparity at other positions. It was not my opinion, it was a fact. My opinion is that the significant discrepency in IU’s size was a contributing factor in IU’s rate of injury. It was not the only factor, but it was a significant one.

    Good big men will usually beat good smaller men.

  14. I predict that at some point in the Big 10 season IU will have 3 very good freshmen on the field together in skill positions on offense: Robinson QB, Roberts RB and Wynn receiver. The reason: speed! I think that 2 DB’s that will play this season will be freshmen as well, for the same reason. Speed and aggression have not been IU staples in the recent past. But Coach Wilson has changed that.

  15. BeatPurdue; are you predicting Roberson (is it Robinson or Roberson, the QB?)will get to play or that he will become the starter? I agree that he will get to play, but unless the other two QBs ahead of him get injurred, I doubt he becomes a starter in 2011. I think Wilson’s offense will get more complex as the season roles on, requiring greater precision and timing. Secondly, I think Roberson’s style is so different from the other two that it would require major adjustments for the other members of the offense. Those are difficult to implement in mid-season.

    I see Roberson going in at QB in certain situations, where his running ability/speed will create major problems for the defense. He could be huge inside the five yard line!

    Nothing against the young man, but I hope he does not become a starter in 2011. If he does, it means the two older QBs are either hurt or they’ve failed to get the job done.

    As for the other two players you referenced, why not play the freshmen receiver if his speed is a factor? He can stretch the field. As for Roberts at RB, looks like IU is pretty deep there. It will be tough for a true freshmen to hold up under the pounding the Big Ten defenses will deliver. Speed is often nuetralized by bruises and lumps. As my HS coach used to teach us, you slow a speedster down by delivering very hard (but clean) hits.

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