Hoosiers feeling healthy heading into camp

As injuries took their toll on Indiana late last fall, chopping away at the Hoosiers’ active roster, Tom Allen seemed incredulous.

In a career spanning more than 25 years, the IU coach had never seen a football team so decimated by health concerns. Some of them season ending, many of them a nuisance.

“I have not seen anything like it,” Allen said last October, mere days after losing return man J-Shun Harris and quarterback Peyton Ramsey to what amounted to season-ending injuries.

Now, with the benefit of a full offseason, Allen is pleased to report his Hoosiers are back to full strength — or at least as close to it as he’s seen them during his first two seasons in the program.

When IU opens fall camp on Friday, it will do so with a fully stocked roster.

“We’re as healthy as we’ve been since I’ve been here,” Allen said.

Only Harris, who suffered his third career ACL injury on Oct. 28 at Maryland, will be limited during the first few weeks. The senior has looked good running during workout sessions this summer, but IU will take it slow with Harris as he attempts his latest comeback.

“I don’t think he’ll be getting hit for the first few weeks,” Allen said.

Otherwise, the rest of IU’s roster is expected to be active.

Receiver Donavan Hale, who didn’t play after Sept. 30 last fall after undergoing knee surgery, will be a full participant at the start of camp, though Allen indicated that the team will also be careful not to overwork the 6-foot-4 junior.

“We might give him a pitch count to not overload Donavan throughout fall camp,” Allen said. “But when he’s in there, he’s gonna be full bore.”

Fellow receiver Nick Westbrook, who missed all of last year after suffering an ACL injury on the season-opening kickoff, is 100 percent cleared for contact.

“I’m just so happy to see him run, cut and plant,” Allen said. “Obviously, you have to get out there and trust it in fall camp. He was in there in the spring with the blue jersey on so he wasn’t being touched. But he was planting and cutting during the spring.”

Graduate transfer center Nick Linder, who underwent surgery this spring on an unspecified injury, will also be ready to go. Linder was only fully released by the medical staff within the past month, but will be a full participant at the start of camp.

“He’ll be there in full contact when we start camp,” Allen said. “He’s another guy that we brought in here as a senior from Miami to come in and contribute right away. I fully expect him to do that, whether that’s at center or guard or wherever we need him.”

4 comments

  1. This is a good report heading into Fall camp. I hope to hear the same report after week 1, week 2, and week 3 heading into the first game. To have a winning season IU needs to have very few if any injuries and certainly not season ending injuries.

  2. Probably contributed to T.A. replacing his S&C staff. But it makes you wonder, “why did IU suffer so many injuries last year?” Was IU’s injury rate more than other schools? If so, why? It’s one thing to recognize the problem, it’s another thing to determine why the problem developed in the first place?

    1. I hate to put it down to an IUFB curse but when you lose your top receiver on the first play of the season two years in a row, you have to wonder. I am sure coach Allen tackled to the training staff and coaches about the injuries what they saw as the cause. The change in S&C staff was the result of recognizing the problem. If that wasn’t his approach then coach Allen needs to rethink how he solves problems. Speaking of which, I heard him say they were going to alter the speed of the offensive play calling instead of going fast all the time. That should reduce some of the # of snaps players are taking in a game. S&C changes along with offensive rate seem to both be attacking the fatigue and injury problem.

  3. I always thought it was a flaw of Wilson’s strategy to run hurry-up offenses when his IU defenses were so under-sized and their depth was thin. It indicated a lack of situational awareness on Wilson’s part. If he had a reasonable defense, O.K. run the hurry-up. But in his first three years, if his offense went 3-and-out in about 45 seconds, his defense was toast and frequently gave up points, especially in the second half. Clock management was often terrible. As a defensive minded coach, T.A. knows that his defense needs rest after stopping the opposing team, and if he has the lead, his offense should burn the clock to apply time-pressure to the opposing team.

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