NOTEBOOK: Mack impresses in non-conference finale

Indiana receivers have their own version of The Golden Rule.

Don’t drop passes. Those that do must accept penalties.

For example, whichever IU receiver drops the most passes in practice has to carry his teammates’ helmets inside after drills are done. On the first day of fall camp this past August, Taysir Mack had a case of the drops.

Ever since that day, the redshirt freshman has been determined to avoid carrying helmets. Mack had nothing to worry about after Saturday’s 27-0 win over Charleston Southern, which doubled as a breakout performance for the young receiver.

Mack recorded his first two career touchdowns and posted 111 yards, becoming the first Indiana freshman to surpass 100 yards since Tandon Doss finished with 107 against Northwestern on Oct. 25, 2008.

“It was definitely a breakthrough moment, just my first time being able to showcase what I was really able to do,” Mack said. “But I wouldn’t be able to do it without the guys who were there to support me: the O-line, Peyton (Ramsey). Phenomenal job.”

Mack has been the dark horse candidate to shine in Indiana’s deep receiving corps, particularly with 1,000-yard receiver Nick Westbrook out for the season.

He’s been on Tom Allen’s radar since his redshirt year last fall, when he repeatedly made plays against Allen’s first-team defense as a scout team standout. Throughout spring practice and fall camp, Mack continued to surface as a downfield option and demonstrated Saturday what his coaches and teammates have witnessed behind the scenes for much of the past year.

“He’s one of our faster players on the whole team and I’m really encouraged by his progress,” Allen said. “He’s a guy I identified through fall camp that I really thought had done some good things in the spring, had a good summer, did some good things in fall camp. Wasn’t consistent once we started playing and then he got a chance to play because of some injuries. He’s a guy that’s got really good speed and made some catches and did some things with the ball after he caught it. Good job on that.”

Mack made athletic plays on each of his two touchdown grabs, including his 45-yard score down the Indiana sideline. On that play, Mack turned and came back to receive the pass from Peyton Ramsey, eluding his defender before sprinting untouched for the score.

Mack credited his rapport with Ramsey and his hunger to atone for a quiet game last week at Penn State for putting him in position to succeed on Saturday.

“We saw how it was to lose last week and it hurt us all inside,” Mack said, “so we all came together and realized we need to do more. So we started doing more. We started staying after practice, getting more catches, getting the tempo and everything right and the outcome was good.”

Leaning on depth

Against a Football Championship Subdivision team, Indiana didn’t need to be at full strength

The Hoosiers rested several starters, while asking its second- and third-team players to take on more responsibilities.

Freshman corner LaDamion Hunt made his collegiate debut, becoming the 10th IU true freshman to see the field this year. In addition to starting Ramsey, IU also gave tight end Ryan Watercutter and defensive tackle Mike Barwick their first career starts.

Although freshman receiver Ty Fryfogle has played already this season, he made the most of Saturday’s opportunity and hauled in his first career catch for 13 yards. Backup linebacker Mike McGinnis also recorded his first career sack in the fourth quarter.

“I think it’s extremely valuable for sure, because once again, practice reps are important, but they’re not the same as game day reps,” Allen said. “Played a whole bunch of guys on both sides of the ball, and I just think that the more they play, the better they’re going to get, and just being able to execute our defense, execute our offense, special teams play (is important). Played a lot of young guys on special teams that we had out there, so pretty clean across the board in all those phases. A lot of positive things to build off of.”

End zone

With 40 career tackles for loss, linebacker Tegray Scales is now in a fourth-place tie on Indiana’s all-time leaderboard. … Ramsey is the first freshman to throw for 300-plus yards since Kellen Lewis (321 yards) did do against Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2006. … Receiver Simmie Cobbs made 10 catches, posting double-digit receptions for the second time this season. … Indiana has won 11 of its last 12 non-conference games and finished 3-0 this fall.

12 comments

  1. I truly do not understand the allotted playing time at wide receivers?? First off why would you burn the redshirt on freshman Ty Fryfogle and Whop Philyor??? I am going to assume the redshirt was burned because of the inuries to J-shun Harris, Nick Westbrook and Donovan Hale..But what has happen to Isaac James ( is he still on the roster, runs a 4.45 – 40 can’t get in the lineup — having trouble in practice), Jonah Morris ( a highly regard recruit – some said the best recruit in the 2016 class) and Phil Benker….Cannot believe these wide receivers are not receiving any playing time??? This was a game where everybody should have seen some playing time. Is Coach Heard partial to his recruits???

  2. Glad to see Mack play well. Ramsey did O.K., but the competition was uber weak. Did CSU complete a pass the entire game? I don’t think so. And what’s with the turnovers?

  3. IU79, I’m guessing the answer to your first question above is that Fryfogle and Philyor have convinced their position coach that they are ready to contribute and help IU win. In addition, the coaching staff may simply not feel the need to redshirt these young men, either because they’ve got more talent coming in behind them, or because they feel they need the benefit of game experience, so they can help through the remainder of the season. Better that their first game experience is going against CSU than Michigan, Michigan State, or Wisconsin. If they have the skills I.e., hands, route running, blocking, etc.) they can contribute this year because IU is running plays every 18 seconds, and we’ll need a lot of receivers to keep up that pace. Obviously, those two need to get stronger, but otherwise they seem to belong on the field.

    Anybody else believe Simms got his toe down in the end zone and that it was a TD? Looked clean to me.

  4. The ruling was his toe hit in bounds but his heel was out of bounds.

    IU79, last time I asked about Morris he was nursing injuries and not in the rotation but that was afew weeks ago. According to the roster James has been moved to DB.

    Mack had a good breakout game and he will need to do as much this week. I was glad to see IU target Cobbs and Mack as they are as good of playmakers as IU has on the team. I hope most of the players sitting out this past week are back for UM.

  5. Since when does the entire foot have to come down in bounds? I thought that if any part of the foot touched in bounds, as long as it touched in bounds first, before the rest of the foot touched, it was a catch in bounds. His heel may have touched out of bounds, but not until his toes touched in bounds.

  6. vesuvius13—thanks for the info on Isaac James. Really thought Isaac would be a great slot receivers esp with his speed and moves. Two years and never seen any playing field…wow!!

    1. My sentiments exactly. Almost as if there is a disconnect between what we perceived of him in HS and the reality of never smelling the depth chart in Bloomington. I point no fingers as obviously his HS game hasn’t immediately translate to college. His commitment was considered as pretty special for IU. But DB may be a good opportunity for him. I always saw him as a weapon as a return man. But lots of talented skilled players are late bloomers and his speed and elusiveness was magic in HS.

  7. Podunker, I thought the same thing as if they drag their toes it counts but the replay official that all B1G teams use said he had to have his whole foot in. I am guessing since it wasn’t a situation of dragging his toes but coming down on his foot that made the difference according to the rules.

  8. So, if his toe touches down in bounds, he’s better off falling so that another part of his body touches down (out of bounds) before his heel touches the ground.

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