Belcher and Thomas practicing, Matte not, and Roberson is having fun

Tre Roberson has maintained an upward arc since his impressive starting debut Saturday at Iowa, when he became the first true freshman in Indiana history to open a game at quarterback for the Hoosiers. IU coach Kevin Wilson said that Roberson continues to respond well.

“Yeah. I mean, shoot, he’s having a lot of fun out there,” Wilson said of Roberson following Wednesday’s practice. “And I think he’s speaking up more. He likes to play. He’s very competitive. He’d got a little competition going on among himself and some other guys — making plays, making shots. And I think it’s kind of sparking some guys.”

Wilson said that senior wideout Damarlo Belcher, who has dealt with a knee bruise, and senior linebacker Jeff Thomas, who sustained a slightly separated shoulder in the late going against Iowa, were both practicing this week and would likely be available for Saturday’s homecoming game against Northwestern. Junior center Will Matte “is doing some things, but is still limited” and is not practicing. Matte, Wilson said, is “probably out” for Satuday, Wilson said. Wilson added that none of the three veterans mentioned were sure to start Saturday, in any case, because he’s pleased with the performance of some of the younger players who had to step into those spots.

We’ll have more comments from the coach, culled from tonight’s media availability, available below the fold soon.


On the injury status of Damarlo Belcher and Will Matte:

“Will is doing some things, but is still limited. He could be available, maybe, but he’s not full speed, so I’d count him out (for Saturday’s homecoming game with Northwestern). Damarlo looks like he’s doing good, and we’ll kind of see how it is as we move forward. We’ll know a lot more (later). But Some of the other guys are playing pretty good. It’s kind of like when Ed (Wright-Baker) was coming off his injury and was getting healthy, but Tre was playing pretty good. When you miss work, you know — and it’s not a mind-game, but it’s just that some of those young guys are playing well. It’s like Collin (Rahrig) shifting over to center for Will, when Will was unavailable, and doing a good job . . . no disrespect to Will, who has started a ton of games for us and has done a good job, but we’re fortunate to have a quality backup there in Collin.”

“I don’t think Will is full-speed. I don’t think either one of them, Will or Damarlo, are true full-speed. A lot of guys this time of year aren’t. You’ve got to fight through it. I wouldn’t say it’s a game-time decision (for those guys) but, right now, with the way guys are playing, with right now Will being limited and same deal with Demarlo, I don’t know how much time they’d get (Saturday). You’ll probably keep seeing a lot of those young cats outside (at wide receiver).”

On Jeff Thomas’s readiness with a separated shoulder:

“Same deal. He’s pretty limited and we’re working some of the young cats inside (at linebacker). Again, whether it’s a game-time decision or not, you’re looking at the need for production, productivity, (and he’s limited). But he’s practicing, and we’re trying to protect him a bit. But we’ve given a lot of work to the young guys, anticipating that they’ll need to be ready.”

Guys such as Mike Replogle and Griffen Dahlstrom in the middle?

“Yep, and Chase Hoobler in the mix. But as much spread as Northwestern shows, it does give you more opportunity to play more of your nickel and dime sets (with more defensive backs and fewer linebackers).”  … That might mean Jeff’s injury isn’t as ‘impactful’ (as it would otherwise be). He’s a good player.  He’s an experienced guy. But is he going to be productive out there, in terms of what he can do (with the injury), than the young guys? Chase Hoobler has come on. Same with Dahlstrom and Mike Replogle. The more the young guys have played, the better they’ve gotten.”

On practice this week:

“The kids are practicing in a good way. Now we have to transfer that to Saturday. We have to get some (defensive) stops. We have to score when we get the opportunity. And winning — we talk about being the sort of team that is going to win games at home, but we’re 1-4 (here). We stayed close against Virginia, hung in there a bit against Penn State and in the first half against Illinois, but couldn’t get over the hump . . . to be good, you have to win at home.

“I see Tre . .  . and a lot of our young DBs coming in to watch a lot of tape this week, which they need to, given all the things Northwestern can show you . . . The key thing is execution, and the key to that is a good week of practice,  and I credit our kids, because I think we’ve had one of our best weeks. ”

Has the playbook really opened up a bit for Tre now?

“Going into the Ball State game, Tre’s plays were a separate sheet of paper where, you know, a lot of stuff was ‘white-out’ or, well, we used to white it out and now it’s ‘deleted’ because it’s on a computer. Now it’s just hit the box and delete the box . . . the Excel sheets. The first week, he had a lot of deleted boxes. As it’s gone on, and now for about the past three weeks, he didn’t need a separate sheet. He’s got the (full game)plan.”

On Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa, who has now been cleared to play Saturday while battling injury:

“He’s a tough guy, one of those “winners” guys. He throws the ball really well. He can sling it around pretty good. At the same time, when he was healthy and moving around real good, it was a unique combination. He’s one of those unique guys who combines real mobility with a truly legitimate arm. (Kain) Colter, their other guy, is maybe a better athlete because he’s healthy, or more healthy, but is definitely a real threat in the running game. But he also does all the throws. I don’t think the game changes a whole lot when Colter is in.”


  1. Randle El never started as a freshman. or was he redshirted? I have a good feeling about this weekend against Northwestern. That doesn’t always go so well, though.

  2. I love the way the young guys are playing right now. They are getting better every week and it shows. Tre is out there running the offense with poise and a clear mind. He seems to actually read his keys when running the ball and know where the open man is in the passing game. Cody is out there doing great things and will be a wide receiver to watch in the future. Taylor and Rahrig are two of the more consistent on the line and both undersized. I’m sure coaches will be putting the weight on those boys and they will be up with the rest of offensive linemen in the big ten.

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