Wilson reflects on scrimmage, quarterbacks and other notes #iufb

Kevin Wilson saw the good, then he saw the bad.

Predictably, Indiana’s first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday produced mixed results on both sides of the ball. Wilson told reporters Tuesday that his offense neither showed the rhythm he wants to achieve nor did it finish the day with particularly positive results.

Wilson said he was generally pleased with the way the defense performed — especially the way it started — and would’ve chalked up the day as a victory for Tom Allen’s unit. However, Wilson said his new defensive coordinator didn’t think there was enough attention to takeaways.

“There’s a lot to clean up, but we’re putting in a lot of situations,” Wilson said. “I really like the way the team’s practiced. There’s a lot of confidence that we get as coaches from the way the guys are working. Spring ball, there’s a lot of work to do, but I think there’s a lot of good things that we can keep building on.”

That includes Indiana’s ongoing quarterback competition.

Just as he mentioned last week, Wilson said Tuesday the position is not where he needs it to be for the fall. But progress is apparent.

During Tuesday’s practice — a portion of which was opened to reporters — Richard Lagow made several strong throws of varying distances. Wilson says Lagow tends to look better when he knows where he’s going with his reads and progressions, but that the junior college transfer is still learning how he needs to carry himself in between plays.

After whittling down the battle to Lagow and redshirt sophomore Danny Cameron last week, Wilson said Austin King has showed a greater sense of urgency during the last few days. King also rotated into the mix and threw with the top two units on Tuesday.

“We tried to rotate them all in today,” Wilson said. “They all got reps, they all handled it good and they all have a lot of work to do. If they keep doing like we’re doing, they’ll be fine. I don’t know if anyone is good enough yet, but I like all three of them. I thought Austin was a little lackluster (last week) and didn’t challenge him — (we) just didn’t give him a lot of work one day and since then, he’s had a little bit better sense of urgency, so it’s just getting those guys up to speed.”

Follow along after the jump for more notes from Tuesday’s practice.

— Running back Camion Patrick recently suffered a knee injury and is out for an undetermined amount of time. Wilson didn’t specify the severity of the injury or the amount of downtime Patrick will require.

— Defensive lineman Robert McCray has been limited with turf toe, while linebacker Dameon Willis (shoulder), receiver J-Shun Harris (knee) and cornerback Andre Brown (Shoulder) have not yet been cleared for contact.

— It’s becoming clear that Brandon Knight is making left tackle his own. As Indiana moves forward with replacing possible first-round NFL Draft pick Jason Spriggs, Knight is in position to close the spring as the frontrunner for the job. That, however, doesn’t mean Wilson is shutting down the competition.

“I’d love for someone to beat him out because that means that Timmy (Gardner), DaVondre Love and Delroy Baker are coming along,” Wilson said. “There is a chance, based on the tight end situation, if you needed to you could play (Knight) as a big-body tight end and go with three tackles in a game. That’s kind of what we were doing last year.”

— Speaking of Gardner, he received some good run at left tackle with the second unit.

— At receiver, IU is hoping Nick Westbrook will be ready to make a big impression during fall camp. Westbrook, who appeared in all 13 games as a freshman last fall and caught six passes for 69 yards and a touchdown, is having a good spring for the Hoosiers.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said Westbrook has added approximately 15 to 20 pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame since the end of December.

“For him, I think the game is slowing down,” Johns said. “He’s bigger, he’s stronger and we’re trying to get him to play more physical. I think he’s got a world of potential and now it’s just taking the added strength and applying it to his game.”

— Nile Sykes and Greg Gooch alternated first-team reps at the Bull hybrid position.

13 comments

  1. It will be interesting to see what the team looks like in the Spring Game. I hope the coaches go with 1 v 1 to give fans a look at what both groups are like this year. The offense will have to go against some very good defenses this year and the defense will see some outstanding offenses so it seems 1 v 1 would be the way to best show the team.

    It is good to hear King responded to missing out on some reps as he has the second best arm on the team without question. Watching an earlier practice Lagow and King showed they has special arms that should give IU special QB play over the next few years.

    It is hard to interpret coach speak some times but overall it sounds as if coach Wilson is pleased with the team at this stage of development. I am cautious about the defense as last year in the Spring we were hearing how well they were playing. I do expect the defensive play to be better as long as injuries don’t decimate them this year but they have a lot of improving to do to become a solid defense.

    I hope to make it to the Spring game but if not I will watch it on BTN.

  2. I find the Quarterback that Wilson does not mention to be what’s most interesting about his comments. Lagow, Cameron and King appear to be, at least at this stage, the top three. Does that mean that one or two of the QBs are going to try to redshirt next season?

  3. Podunker, the only one playing in the Spring not mentioned is Donovan Hale who is a sophomore and a candidate to redshirt although I would expect a position change with the incoming freshman QB. The only other QB not discussed is Zander as he is out of Spring practice to an injury. There was talk that Zander may play a slot receiver which would leave the QB spot more balanced and not so overloaded.

  4. Thaks, v13. I did not know that Zander was out of Spring ball due to an injury. Is it a new injury suffered in spring camp or is it leftover from the fall campaign?

  5. I could definitely see Zander in the slot. OSU can confirm he has the speed. His familiarity of the QB position should make the knowledge portion of the transition pretty smooth.

    He was in a unique position as a freshman that surprisingly landed him on the field. That is unlikely to happen again. I just don’t think he has the physical tools to win the quarterback job again. Not unless CKW decides to change his offensive philosophy.

  6. Po, Zanders injury was from the fall season and he decided to have the surgery so he could be healthy this summer.

    Chet, I agree that Zander can be a special slot receiver with the speed he showed against OSU [in 2014 and 2015]. You are right that having a freshman starting at QB will not happen again unless IU gets a top high school QB down the road. I still expect the freshman QBs to sit a year even if they have top talent to play. Not many around the country play but every now and then as OSU showed in 2014 one can step in.

    IUFB is getting good players in each position at each class but they do need to upgrade on defense in the coming years.

  7. davis, actually we agree that the defense as a team needs to be a big upgrade this year. I was talking about getting better players, especially up front, so we have pass rushers that can create a rush on their own. If the defense doesn’t upgrade as a team this year we will have another season of “only if”. Last year’s team had games that they could have won to finish 9-4 or 10-3 [Michigan, Duke, OSU, Rutgers]. An improved defense could give IUFB a chance to have a 9-4 or 10-3 season. Northwestern’s defense doesn’t have better players than IU so it is possible to have a big improvement this year.

  8. v13- I’m no talent scout but I’d have to agree that NU’s players are not that much better than IU’s guys. Yet NU won 10 games last year (even if the Big Ten West div. is wimpy compared to the East, NU still beat Stanford and, yes, Duke).

  9. I like the rest cannot accurately identify where the pass rush will come from in 2016 outside of blitzing. I do think Hagen can teach and motivate, along with Allen’s scheming to maintain last years performance. Improved secondary coverage will help also.

  10. I think it is only natural to expect an adjustment period after a new DC has been hired. I like the new defensive coaches Wilson hired. They look/sound as if they will be an upgrade. But it takes time to get young men to execute a new system, learn new techniques and play as a unit under new coaches. More importantly, it takes time for those new coaches to improve recruiting. Therefore, my expectations of IU’s defensive performance in 2016 are low. Wilson is fortunate to have survived the performance of his defenses in his first five years as a head coach. To some extent, he benefitted from very low expectations. I think he has finally gotten a very good DC. But as good as these new coaches are, they can’t transform a terrible defense into a good defense in one season. That takes the time necessary to recruit and sign a lot of superior talent. For next year, I will be satisfied with modest improvements and a reduction in average points per game allowed. But once again, IU’s offense and special teams will have to perform at a high level if IU is to have a winning season.

  11. Po, to show the true improvement our new defensive coaches bring will take time but don’t be so sure a big change in the defense can’t happen in 2016. I am not predicting a big change and like you would like to see modest improvement this season. Coach Allen has been on teams and was the DC on a team that showed immediate improvement. Coach Hagen also saw the same thing happen at Texas AM so he knows what it takes. I do know players like playing the attacking style of defense better than the previous style.

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