Bloomington – Billy Lynch got two pieces of good news last summer when he was recruiting Ben Davis H.S. standout Tandon Doss.
The first was from Doss, when he announced before the start of his senior season that he planned to sign with the Hoosiers in February. Lynch had watched Doss at IU’s summer camps in each of the previous two seasons and was sure IU was going to be bringing in a playmaking wide receiver - so long as the staff could keep others from being wooed by others.
And that’s when Lynch got his second piece of good news. The Ben Davis staff let Lynch know that they planned to play Doss at tailback during his senior season. It was a move designed to the get the ball in Doss’ hands more often, but Lynch knew IU would benefit from the position switch as well.
“When they told me they were going to play him at tailback this year, I said ‘thank you - that’s the greatest news I’ve heard,’” Lynch said. “Some of the people from around that don’t know Ben Davis didn’t get a chance to see him line up and do some of the things out at wideout that I got to see right here on this field.”
Now that he’s in an IU uniform, Doss is back at wide receiver and challenging for a spot in IU’s wide receiver rotation as a true freshman. He’s already getting some reps with the No. 2 unit, and he admits playing right away is first and foremost on his mind.
“That’s why I came here,” Doss said. “I wanted to play early, and they said I’d have an opportunity to do that.”
While most freshmen don’t talk openly about playing right away, Lynch likes his players to have that approach when they first show up on campus.
“I love that,” Lynch said. “I hope every kid we recruit plans on coming in and competing and feels they can match up with the older guys.”
The 6’3”, 185-pound Doss gives the Hoosiers a long, lean, athletic split end who can go up and over smaller corners, or he can use deceptive speed to get behind the secondary as well.
“He’s what I thought,” Lynch said. “I thought he’d be a guy that would be very smooth, would be faster than people think with great ball skills and a great understanding of the game. That’s what he’s shown so far.”
Indiana has as many able quarterbacks as its had in some time. Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell are competing for the No. 1 job, and both have been sharp at practice this week. Sophomore Mitchell Evans continues to run the No. 2 unit, redshirt freshman Teddy Schell and true freshman Adam Follett have been sharing time with the No. 3s, and IU has also added Connor Creevey and Brandon Kiel as walk-ons this summer. But there was another quarterback at practice Thursday, lofting passes to the safeties during position drills – Athletic Director Rick Greenspan.
Speaking of the quarterbacks, they continue to be sharp in 7-on-7 and full squad drills. In the team’s final 11-on-11 passing period, Chappell was 5-of-7, while Lewis was 2-of-3. Evans also had some nice throws with the No. 2s, going 5-of-7 including a nice over the middle completion to Matt Ernest.
“I think (Kellen’s) getting back in the groove a little bit everyday,” Lynch said. “What we’re doing is similar. With the offense he had to learn the signals and the terminology but that’s come pretty quick. The other guys have helped out. He looks like he’s back the groove, as I think Ben has. I think you can tell Ben worked hard over the summer and has played well.”
Lynch on the no huddle: “I like it. There really isn’t anything magical to it. You still have to execute. The game is about blocking and throwing and catching and the execution and minimizing the penalties and all that.
“But I do think it gives you a chance to control the tempo a little bit. With the new 40-second clock, that will be important. And it’s not always playing fast. You can play it slow. You can play whatever tempo you want.
I think our players like it. We haven’t had trouble with the communication and that’s something you’re always concerned with. For four practices and having a bunch of freshmen out there, we’re able to run it pretty good. I like it. I think it can help us.
Friday’s practice will mark the first day in full pads, while Saturday will be the first two-a-day following the NCAA mandated five-day “acclimation period.” Finch won’t be able go to full pads until Saturday since he missed IU’s first practice. Finch will also have to sit out one of Saturday’s practices, since a player can’t participate in a two-a-day until he’s had five days of practice.
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