Hoosiers transitioning from tourism to football #iufb

NEW YORK — Nate Sudfeld has a permanent reminder of his first trip to this city.

It’s a small scar on his shin, a remnant from a fall he suffered on an escalator at the Empire State Building when he was only 3 or 4 years old.

His latest trip to New York has been much more enjoyable.

“It’s awesome. It’s incredible,” Sudfeld said Thursday at Yankee Stadium. “I’m glad I was able to experience this with my teammates. It’s been a long journey to get here, but to finally make it to the postseason and be in New York City is incredible. They’ve really taken care of us. We’re really appreciative of the opportunity to be here, but we’re also very focused on the game and actually playing the game.”

The Hoosiers have been in New York since Monday night, and spent equal parts of their week practicing and enjoying the tourist opportunities that this trip affords.

Indiana will visit the September 11 Memorial and Museum on Friday morning in its final team-wide sightseeing opportunity before Saturday’s Pinstripe Bowl showdown with Duke. From that point, it will be all football for the Hoosiers, who have made it clear over the last three weeks that they’re not satisfied with merely getting here.

“We didn’t come here just to see New York and all the sights,” left tackle Jason Spriggs said. “We came here to play a game and leave with a good outcome. I think that’s something everyone’s focused on.”

The game preparation comes with a far different routine than anything Indiana was accustomed to during the regular season. The middle of the week is typically when IU puts in most of its heavy-hitting, pad-on-pad work.

This week, with the busy itinerary and travel stress, the Hoosiers have dialed back their practices a notch or two.

“We banged pretty good before we got here,” IU offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said. “We put the pads on (Wednesday) and banged up pretty good, but today it was more of a (lighter) day for us. Tomorrow will be more of a walk-through day. Physically, we’re trying to back down just a little bit, but still trying to keep the speed and timing that we need.”

Stay tuned Friday afternoon, when we get an opportunity to meet with Kevin Wilson for the first time this week. We’ll have a better understanding of IU’s injury situation — and possibly the status of Jordan Howard — after Wilson’s first and only press availability of the week.