Bloomington – The off week gave a handful of IU football players a chance to heal some lingering…
Kleinsmith Will Start If Thomas Can't Go
IU Coach Bill Lynch referred to Thomas' availability as a "game time decision" Wednesday night, but was definitive that Kleinsmith would start if Thomas is unable to go. Kleinsmith has been the team's No. 2 free safety throughout the fall behind Nick Polk, but slid over to strong safety at the start of the week after Thomas' injury.
"Joe has done a little bit of everything while he's been here, so we have a lot of confidence in him," Lynch said.
Some had thought that Thomas' injury would present an opportunity for sophomore Jerimy Finch to crack the starting line-up, since he's been listed as the No. 2 strong safety. Lynch said Finch would be on the field Saturday and could very well be the team's nickel back, but Kleinsmith's experience and knowledge of the IU defense made him the logical choice to replace Thomas on the No. 1 unit.
Kleinsmith said he's looking forward to the chance to play a bigger role this weekend.
"I'm excited to finally get my chance," Kleinsmith said. "It's unfortunate this is the way it had to happen with Austin going down, but I'm excited."
While Kleinsmith has only one start to his credit, he has seen plenty of action during the last two seasons in the secondary. He was a second-string safety in each of the past two seasons and saw action in nickel situations, recording 19 tackles in 2007 and 12 in 2006.
He will be playing the strong safety instead of the free safety spot, but both he and Lynch said that move is inconsequential.
"For a senior (making the move from free safety to strong safety) doesn't take a lot," Lynch said. "It's a little like on the offensive line if the right guard goes and flips and plays left guard or the right tackle goes and plays left tackle. When you have seniors who have played as much football as Joe, we're not concerned about that."
The IU staff also doesn't seem overly concerned about what Thomas' absence will mean for the defense. While they'd love to have their leading tackler from last year ready to go, they also have developed the sort of depth at safety and other spots on the field that enable the team to be able to withstand an injury or two.
"Having depth helps a lot," Kleinsmith said. "People know what they're doing, especially with Finch coming in. He's learning everything and it's going to help us in the long run. The more depth you have the easier it's going to be on everyone if someone goes down."
Keep up with the Hoosiers for less than $10 per month!! Sign up for a 7-day Free Trial to HoosierNation.com to what you've been missing. You'll get recruiting updates, recruit videos, expert commentary, breaking news - everything you need from HoosierNation.com!! Try it for seven days...FOR FREE!!
AllHoosiers.com Recommended Stories
Michigan: Brandon Resigns, Hackett Interim AD
Michigan President Mark Schlissel officially announced the resignation of athletic director Dave Brandon Friday. Schlissel appointed Jim Hackett as the interim AD with the plan moving forward to hire…Read More
Hoops: Where are the Top Recruits Going?
The initial basketball signing period begins in less than two weeks and there are currently 22 players in Scout.com's 2015 top 100 still uncommitted. Who are those 22 players considering and who will…Read More
Catch Big Fall Bass on Natural Lakes and Rivers
Check out some great tips for bass fishing up north as the water cools on its way into winter. There is some great fishing to be had right now before it gets too cold.Read More
10 Creepy Trail Cam Pics For Halloween
Most of us would prefer to be sitting in our treestand on Halloween, waiting for a rutting buck to wonder past, than following our kids from house to house scrambling for treats. Here are a 10 spooky…Read More
2015 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
We're at the halfway mark of the NFL season, so here's our first crack at a mock draft. Hey, Oakland Raiders, you're on the clock!Read More