Hoosiers trying to earn jobs in NFL training camps #iufb

The start of NFL training camp means a wardrobe update for former Indiana players.

“We send them a big gear package so they can walk around camp and wear a little Hoosier swag,” Kevin Wilson said.

It’s a nice sentiment from the Indiana coach, but IU shirts aren’t the only clothing items those former Hoosiers are looking for.

They want to earn an NFL jersey, too.

This summer, Wilson has 13 former Hoosiers trying to secure jobs at football’s highest level. That list includes 2016 draft picks Jason Spriggs in Green Bay, Jordan Howard in Chicago and Nate Sudfeld in Washington.

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden talks with quarterback Nate Sudfeld during Tuesday's practice. (Steve Helber | Associated Press)
Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden talks with quarterback Nate Sudfeld during Tuesday’s practice. (Steve Helber | Associated Press)
Receiver Cody Latimer is still hanging on in Denver, running back Tevin Coleman is starting his second year in Atlanta, defensive end Bobby Richardson is looking to once again earn a role with the New Orleans Saints, receiver Shane Wynn is looking to latch on with the Jacksonville Jaguars, long snapper Matt Dooley is in camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens just brought in running back Stephen Houston this week and the Oakland Raiders are taking a look at defensive tackle Darius Latham.

Offensive tackle Andrew McDonald is in Houston’s camp, while Collin Rahrig and Jake Reed are both looking to showcase themselves as versatile centers/guards in Atlanta’s camp.

“They’re with the same team and fighting for the same position. That’s kind of neat,” Wilson said. “Matter of fact, I asked Collin who he was rooming with and he didn’t say Jake. I said, ‘Why not?’ and he just kind of looked at me. I don’t know if they’re blood brothers right now as they’re fighting to have a pro career.”

After eight seasons with Matt Forte in their backfield, the Bears are moving on. Chicago’s brass liked Howard enough to take him in the fifth round of this year’s draft, and the former Hoosier is looking to carve a role around fellow backs Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey.

Howard spent only the 2015 season at IU after UAB’s program folded in 2014, rushing for 1,213 yards despite missing 18 quarters due to injury. He’ll likely need to prove this month that he can become a more reliable pass-catching threat out of the backfield.

Wilson also says Howard would be served well to continue adding to his 6-foot-1, 222-pound frame to handle the beating of the NFL level.

“He’s a big body, plays very physical,” Wilson said. “I think he needs to continue to get his body hard, because he’s a pounding player, to take the pounding of the position.

“… But I appreciate him being with us for one year and encouraged him to realize although they dropped football at UAB and only had one year with us, to realize you’re a Hoosier for life and continue to use our school and our people to help him for life. I think he’ll be a tremendous pro.”

Wilson visited recently with Sudfeld, who stopped into Bloomington before training camp, and offered advice for IU’s career passing leader.

Wilson challenged his former quarterback to follow the lead of Washington starter Kirk Cousins, himself a former standout at Michigan State, and learn the steps that Cousin took to go from the fringes of the league to the position where he is now.

“I thought Kirk was a great college player, but didn’t know if he’d do as well as a pro as he’s done,” Wilson said. “I (told Sudfeld), ‘Man, you got a great visual in that guy. I’d live in that guy’s back pocket. (Ask him), ‘What did you do?’ … I think Nate’s got some seasoning to do. I’m not a professional guy, but I believe that. I think he has a good visual to learn from if he’ll embrace that right now.”

11 comments

  1. It is good to see so many Hoosiers in NFL camps and I hope they all can find a spot on their teams. We know some of them will make it and it is possible all will make it with some team in the league. With more players from IU in the NFL camps it should help bring in more higher rated players in HS to decide IU is the place for them to get into the ‘league’.

  2. In Athelon web site, a B1G coach called Nate an accurate passer while the NFL scouts that evaluate QBs said Nate was inconsistent. He was inconsistent which helped lead to IU leaving too many points on the field. I liked Nate as an IU QB, but with drops by receivers and Nate’s inconsistency led to too many points left on the field. The coach also said we would be hurt by losing Howard but he doesn’t know that Patrick will be one of the starting RBs that rotate in. The players and coaches say Patrick is better and runs over defensive players like Howard but Patrick is faster than Howard.

    With Lagow as a starter, I think he will win the job, the inconsistency should be over. With improvement in the receivers and RBs that can catch the ball IU’s offense should be better and scoring more points. Add up all the players that are very good and rotating in to go with our OL the points should roll in like a slot machine that someone hit the jackpot with. Go Hoosiers and win 10 or more games this year.

  3. Mobility and toughness….Mobility and toughness. Fearlessness to take those blindside hits from behemoth freight trains blitzing with speed that defies logic for the forces soon to be employed on your spine and kidneys. Nate can’t tiptoe through the tulips in the NFL. Simply being confident in your arm is never going to get it done in the NFL.

    Nate always seemed to be moving on a set of fragile stilts….Does he have the foot speed to break out of the pocket when under duress? Can he take the punishment of those blindside hits. Does the inconsistency arise from what would otherwise be a true marksman passer because the athleticism(and confidence to withstand the punishment) may be the true Achilles heal?

    Mobility…toughness…fearlessness….foot speed….durability….leadership….gumption.
    Jim McMahon took mediocre athleticism and a cannon arm into an NFL starting job with a near crazy level of fearlessness that bonded him to the men in the trenches with job to protect his ass. Nate has to find some sort of niche….It ain’t gonna be simply his arm.

  4. “Wild child”….”The little general”….”He’s like a Broadway actor….He’s lovin’ this.”

    Gotta find your niche…..Gotta seize the day(or the Monday night)….Gotta butt heads with your lineman…

    Nate never gonna be “The Wild Child.”

    Cutler is “Mild Child.” Cutler is the Tom Crean of the NFL…The most grotesque amount of pay for minuscule pouty-face results. Grossman was no “little general.’ He was just generally bad…and worse than bad under pressure.

    Find your niche, Sudfeld….Study Joe “Willie White Shoes” Namath….Put one blond on one shoulder and a brunette on the other…while you strut in a full-length fur coat in the middle of summer. Don’t play the humble, somebody will notice my great arm, boring game.

  5. And a note to Jordan Howard…..Don’t study Walter Payton’s(or any other Hall of Fame back) running style…
    .Jim McMahon never makes that marvelous Monday Night TD debut and connection with Willie Gault if Sweetness doesn’t give himself up and deliver a focused nasty block to a blitzing Viking who had a bead on McMahon(watch the clip again). Do the little sh___ that, in reality, is always the big sh__t rarely noticed.

  6. Sorta bored with typing “sh__.” From now on, “schnitzel” will replace “sh__.”….Not that anyone gives a schnitzel(that was not a Jay Cutlet joke)..

  7. That was a fun clip to watch there, Harvard. How about that Metrodome crowd, compared to today’s scene at NFL games? No jerseys, painted faces, cameras on strings dangling from the ceiling to capture every possible angle of a given play. Just a sea of grandmother hairdos, combovers, mustaches, golf shirts…pure untainted Scandinavian-American Minnesota pigskin passion.

  8. Nothing better than a surprise morning of waking up to Seahawk’s verbal art in motion.

    Where are Jim McMahon’s in today’s stuffy games? Where are the fun dudes, the free spirits, of sports who make us refreshingly grounded in the realization it is “just a game..?” So much of facades of political correctness and choir boy strut from the fields and courts in this era of fake…It makes me want to vomit. As the salaries balloon to dwarf the bank accounts of sheiks, the big put-on act of flawless “image” grows alongside our collegiate and professional athletes(and coaches). Next thing you know, these models of :choir boy perfection are found with maids in motel rooms, corks in their broken bats, hookers at recruiting events, strippers at off-campus parties, the wife of an equipment manager in the backrooms of a pasta restaurant, heroic stature soiled upon by the admissions of needles poked into their steroid-juiced butts…

    I miss the days of honest jerks like “wild child” McMahon who loved to taunt the camera and his coach…..and then proceed to butt heads with his favorite lineman.
    The hypocrisy of today chokes the life and fun out of sports…There are no more “characters” to attach a love for the eccentric or different…Only perfect and clean-cut guys like Kobe Bryant and Tom Brady…… all enjoying jello pudding pops with Bill Cosby on Sunday afternoon.

    Damn……the Bears were not just dominant..They were fun, eccentric, and a mishmash of wonderfully different personalities. I think football died with the “The Fridge,” “Iron Mike,” Steve McMichael, “Sweetness,” McMahon’s sunglasses, and the ’85 Bears. Only politically correct Carrolls…. alongside Christmas caroling wimps of trickery at press conferences and lying tweeting tongues remain.

  9. H4H, the characters have been pushed out of sports over the years as society pushed the idea that offending others is wrong. I don’t know where the idea gained weight, I have always thought our 1st Amendment is all about being able to offend others without fear of gov’t agents pounding on our doors to take us away. Can you imagine the characters of Bears fitting in today’s campus setting. Now students keep speakers they disagree with from speaking at their schools so we end up with institutions of indoctrination where only approved speech is heard. Even coaches today are encouraged to toe the line and not upset the apple cart. Where are today’s free spirits that reject the ‘appropriate’ speech to say things that instead make others think?

  10. …and protests of anything are mere shotgun approaches and
    30-minute twitter uprisings with no real conviction of movements founded in sincere and deeply rooted purpose.

    And forcing coaches into such constrained and politically correct worlds opens the door for hollow pretenders/frauds/beauty pageant judges of the profession who come and go(often not fast enough); more the masters of careful podiums and soundbites in rewind of a particular sport’s boring lingo than true masters at teaching and developing the character on the field/court for the guiding principles crafted in teamwork.

    Watching water polo….Spain vs USA….That must be the most physically demanding sport on the planet. And even with such a claim, I know I have no idea just how demanding and draining.

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