Notes from the start of IU’s fall camp #iufb

Most days, Mitchell Paige cuts an unassuming figure.

He’s stocky but far from imposing as a 5-foot-7, 180-pound slot receiver. But heads turned when Paige walked into Indiana’s Henke Hall of Champions for the program’s local media day on Wednesday morning.

Eager to try something new, Paige dyed his hair bleach blond for the start of fall camp. Although social media reactions were mixed, the feedback inside IU’s locker room has been mostly positive.

Devine Redding, for one, absolutely loves the look, saying Paige resembles rapper Eminem.

Indiana receiver Mitchell Paige discusses fall camp duing IU's local media day on Wednesday. (Mike Miller | Herald-Times)
Indiana receiver Mitchell Paige discusses fall camp duing IU’s local media day on Wednesday. (Mike Miller | Herald-Times)
“I told him that the whole team, we should all go blond,” Redding said. “I was gonna dye the tips of my dreads blond. Tegray (Scales) was thinking about getting a blond Mohawk. Chris (Covington) was thinking about getting a blond Mohawk. I was like, ‘Man, we should all get at least some type of blond in our hair.’ I think it would be cool.”

Paige said he found inspiration for the dye job recently while watching television. He saw soccer star Lionel Messi go for a similar look, too, and made up his mind.

“My mom was the one who wanted me to do it,” Paige said. “My dad thinks it’s really funny. My sister is not a fan. She’s very embarrassed. She’s like, ‘How do you walk around like that in public?’ She’s like a 20-year-old girl. She doesn’t understand it.”

Kevin Wilson might be in that camp, too. Paige said he thinks his coach hates the new look, but Wilson told reporters he wasn’t that harsh.

Wilson joked about Paige’s new ‘do during IU’s pre-camp meetings on Tuesday, introducing him to the team as a new player.

“I just said, ‘Hey, that’s kind of interesting,'” Wilson said. “… I said all the newcomers stand up and say hi, so he actually started the welcome.”

Paige’s new hair was just about the newsiest item to come out of IU’s first day of fall camp.

After covering the quarterback battle, Camion Patrick and a couple small player notes during his appearance at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago last week, Wilson was able to offer insight into one more position switch on Wednesday.

Sophomore Donavan Hale is moving back to receiver.

Hale has already shuttled between quarterback and receiver a couple times in his first year on campus. He began last year’s fall camp at quarterback, but moved to receiver during the year. Hale was back at quarterback in the spring, though he never emerged as a contender at the position.

Wilson said he still likes Hale’s skill set at quarterback, but noted that it was Hale’s call to move back to the outside.

Hale appeared in 10 games last year, catching one pass for 10 yards against Michigan and returning two kicks for 22 yards against Ohio State.

“He missed basically (all of) our summer workouts last year, and so he wasn’t ready to play college quarterback as a freshman,” Wilson said. “He was a good enough athlete and we tried to get him on the field.

“You’ve got the skillset to be a very good receiver, and there’s no guarantees you’re going to start, but odds are, your skill set — he played last year, and would have played more if he had been healthy and would have been here all summer.

“… I don’t want him going back and forth. He does have a redshirt if needed. I think he’s settled in. He’s a solid 6-4. He’s 215, give or take. I think we’ve got four receivers over 215, 225 pounds, counting (Jordan) Fuchs and Ian Thomas who are athletic tight ends.”

Hale, by the way, made a great, athletic catch while running an out route during position drills on Wednesday.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Wilson said junior college transfer Ricahrd Lagow and junior Zander Diamont will get the bulk of the reps at the start of the camp.

From there, Wilson will let the battle for the starting job develop organically.

“I do think looking at it, and based on some things that we’ve seen in our total work, Diamont and Lagow will get the bulk starting, and we’ll see between Danny (Cameron) and Austin (King) and the freshman, Peyton Ramsey, the reps that they deserve and what they get.”

Wilson said he’s not going to bend over backwards to be fair to all five. He alluded to 2013 and 2014 and the past battles between Tre Roberson and Nate Sufeld and said he’s hopeful someone stands out and commands the position — and the reps — before long.

“We’re not going to be equal, not trying to be fair,” Wilson said. “Few years ago, I tried to be equal and fair, and all I did was make everybody mad, and they got equal reps and equal throws and equal opportunity and everybody was getting mad. We were trying to be so fair to everyone that, you know, egos got involved. The comment I just shared to them is the only person they need to worry about is themselves.”

5 comments

  1. Football season is here and we will find out who the QB is. We will start to find out what the defense is like and how they will play. There is enough depth that I don’t think the game in Florida will be about the heat. The only group that might not be so deep is the DL but every other position has enough depth to keep everyone fresh during the game. The first three games should show how well IU season will go in the B1G season. Definitely after the first three B1G games we will know how well the team will do this season; thye will be in good shape if they are 4-2 after six games .

  2. That Big 10 schedule is pretty damn brutal….No Illinois…No Minnesota…The only real cupcake reputation is Rutgers….It’s extremely difficult when so much hinges on singular shots at teams like MSU, Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State. It’s such a different animal than an IU Basketball season Different in so many ways…..It takes a vast amount of quality depth….Without depth across the board to match-up with the powerhouse players in the conference, the endurance factors(not only encompassing an entire season but within each and every singular game) the talent deficiencies get multiplied beyond what would seem obvious.

    It’s godawful difficult to ever make headway with such an unjust schedule and so little room for mistake….You couldn’t fix IU Football with a John Calipari…You couldn’t cheat your way to success…The numbers against are too monumental for even a crooked road. There is no coaching name that could change this sort of outnumbered game in anything less than a decade. God bless Wilson for trying…..I look at the schedule IU Football has continually put in the face of attempts to climb out of a bottomless well and it screams of more a faith in miracles than anything else.

  3. @Harvard

    Ignoring the fact that you, for some reason, left Purdue (one of the worst teams in the country) off of our schedule, Rutgers and Maryland are much worse than Illinois and Minnesota. It’s really hard to take you seriously with stuff like that, and your rambling stand up material.

    We took OSU and Michigan down to the final plays of the game, despite horrific defenses. We blew a 25 point lead to Rutgers…all of this and we still went to a bowl. The woe is me crap gets old. We aren’t getting beat 59-0 and going 1-11 anymore.

  4. Teams that lack the stamina and depth to hold up for 4 quarters(or an entire season), are the exact sort teams that will blow leads(large or otherwise).

    The in-state rival game is where emotion can often overcome the fluctuations in recent success/talent levels.

    Rutgers and Maryland are much worse than Illinois and Minnesota.

    Rankings(Tues 8/2/16, courtesy: ‘Campus Insider’)

    Rutgers 59
    Maryland 56
    Illinois 53
    Minnesota 48

    A variance of 8-10 spots(all hovering around mid-100 teams) is hardly worthy of calling any of these teams “much worse” than each other… or of Indiana(#46).

    Purdue is #76…Florida International is #115. Considering nearly 90 teams get to play in bowl games, there are plenty of bad teams pretending to have success while getting their asses kicked by the true power-players of their respective conferences..

    Having Penn State, MSU, Michigan, and OSU is brutal by any measure. Unlike basketball, there is no room for error against a measured equal or near-equal opponent. I stand by everything I said…..Football is not the same animal as finding one “everything hinges” recruit who can carry you to a Sweet 16. God bless Wilson for trying when so few understand how far more difficult the task than fielding a strong basketball team in a state oozing with basketball talent.

  5. H4H, you are on the money about the difference in football and basketball for IU. Wilson accepts the challenge and drives the team to compete and beat them. It might be a couple of years before the defense is that good but I wouldn’t put it past IU to knock of one or two of them this year. People that rate our team don’t realize the QB we have that will starting that will give IU the teams a run for the money and ignore what kind of RB Patrick will be or how good other RBs are. I am glad they low rate IU and be surprised at how good they will be this year compared to the past. If we get the 2017 recruits that are committed to IUFB we will have the beef and the motor to compete and beat the big boys.

    Good job giving numbers to back up your claim. Jimmy is right that we aren’t getting hammered any more and this year we will find out how close we are to the big boys in the B1G. It is sure thing they don’t overlook IU any more and were thankful for pulling out wins last year. Maybe this year we can make a few sorry they play IUFB.

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