IU Football Update: Tuesday, August 12

IU coach Kevin Wilson

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson talked following practice Tuesday about how he hopes his team will start playing faster and be more physical as the days countdown to the season opener with Indiana State.

Indiana had one of its longest practices of the preseason camp on Tuesday when Kevin Wilson and his staff worked the team for more than 3 hours.

The key word Tuesday was ‘violent’. The IU staff wanted its players to hit a little bit harder than they have been hitting.

Things were active and lively throughout the individual drills and scrimmage.

Following practice, Wilson said he tried to take advantage of the cooler conditions and the fact that IU had referees on hand for the workout.

“I like to see us playing a little faster and a little more physical at every position across the board,’’ Wilson said. “This was our fourth day in full pads and it’s just a matter of getting used to wearing them again and getting used to hitting again. As we go through this week and into next week it’s about getting the right physical frame of mind.

“I’d like to see it be better but I’m not disappointed with where it is.’’

After practice, the team did probably 10 side-to-side over and back wind sprints from one side of the field to the other. Wilson said it wasn’t as much conditioning because he feels after the summer workouts the team is in pretty good shape. Instead, he said the extra running was because he didn’t feel like the hitting in practice Tuesday was at as high a level that he would have hoped.

“I didn’t think we hit hard enough which is why we did a bunch of running,’’ Wilson said. “They ran and made all their times and looked pretty good running. That’s why if we practiced a little faster and were a little more physical, well, this was the first time we have ran all camp.

“I would just like to see the hard work we have done in the weight room translate to the football field and when I didn’t see it I decided to make a little point there. We can be a well-conditioned team or we can be a well-conditioned good hitting team and I would prefer that we hit and run well. I’d like to see us hit a little better and not run as much moving forward.’’

Wilson talked about the receiving corps after practice and again used the word ‘inconsistency.’

“Shane (Wynn) is getting a little more comfortable as we’ve been moving him around and Nick Stoner had a better day to day but we need him to be more consistent,’’ Wilson said. “(Isaiah) Roundtree is the third guy of the old crowd.

“The freshman group with Booth, Cobbs and J-Shun Harris has been pretty good. They’re talented. Booth has a spring under his belt so he may be a little bit more mentally farther. But Simmie and J-Shun are equally as talented making plays.’’

Wilson singled out Harris, the true freshman from Fishers, Ind., as being someone who could be in the mix. Harris 5-foot-8, 160 pounds. Wynn is 5-foot-7, 167 pounds.

“ J-Shun looks very natural for a small kid,’’ Wilson said. “He’s a lot like Shane. He’s strong for a small kid and he has a nice feel. He’s very mature and he’s very gifted and savvy. I’d like to think he’s going to be in the mix.’’

Wilson said the other group that is playing well at the receiver spot includes Damon Graham, Caleb Cornett, Isaac Griffith and Ricky Jones.

“I think as we go through and play some of those true freshmen will push some of those second group players because their skill set might be as good,’’ Wilson said. “The other guys are a little more veteran and know the assignments so they may have an edge. But when those freshmen know what they’re doing, and they’ve made plays and they look good, they’ll be right there.

“Outside of those freshmen and the seniors, the guys that have really been doing well are Damon Graham and Ricky Jones. We’ll get a group of seven, eight or nine that we’ll go with.’’

Wilson said the goal for this week is to increase the physical play.

“We’re trying to set a standard of really how we want to play,’’ Wilson said. “As we get into next week we’ll start to polish it and get ready for game week.’’

KICKING GAME CONCERNS?

One of the challenges in this camp is to find a kicker to take the place of Mitch Ewald, who graduated in the spring.

The favorite for the placekicking chores is redshirt freshman Aaron Del Grosso from Hobart, Ind. Greenwood redshirt freshman Griffin Oakes also got some attempts Tuesday.

Wilson said the key in the kicking game is consistency. When Del Grosso and punter Erich Toth are at the top of their games it’s not an issue. But inconsistency has reared its ugly head on more than one occasion.

“Toth is our best punter and Del Grosso is our best kicker,’’ Wilson said, “and when they stroke it, they have legitimate legs, as good as anyone in this league. But it needs to be not 60 percent of the time or 70 percent of the time. We need to extend it up and it needs to be 80 or 90 percent of the time.

“I like their talent and I liked their look today. I think they need to get more kicks in. The first week I wasn’t impressed but we’re going to work them hard and we’ll see how it goes.’’

INJURY UPDATE

Wilson said Indiana has three players who are out with sprains, but none are injuries that would require surgery.

He said offensive lineman Wes Rogers has a sprained ankle that could keep him out up to three weeks.

The other two players with sprained ankles or knees are tight end Danny Friend and safety Dawson Fletcher. Wilson said those players could be out up to two weeks.

“Going into today we went a long time (without an injury),’’ Wilson said. “I wanted to see us flying around a little bit harder, and I started thinking it was nice and cool today and the referees are here.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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