Bloomington – Indiana’s football roster lists Ray Fisher officially as a cornerback, but down deep the IU senior believes he’s really something else.
“I’m always going to love receiver,” Fisher said. “To me, I’m a receiver at heart.”
Whether he’s a cornerback or a wide receiver or return man, what Fisher has ultimately proven himself to be this spring is a team guy. That’s why he was willing to exchange his white jersey for one of the red ones worn by the defense this spring and make the move in an effort to help the team.
“It’s pretty unselfish of him,” said Fisher’s new position coach, Joe Palcic. “We had the need, and he agreed to do it.”
While plenty of players switch positions in an effort to get on the field, that clearly wasn’t the issue with Fisher. A two-year starter at slot receiver, Fisher ranks eighth on IU’s all-time receptions list with 118. Had he remained at receiver for his senior season he was a cinch to move into the top three on the school’s list behind only James Hardy and Courtney Roby.
But as good as he’s been at receiver, Indiana also has playmakers such as Damarlo Belcher, Tandon Doss, Mitchell Evans and now Kellen Lewis at the position. While Fisher would have clearly played and most likely started on the offensive side of the ball, the need at cornerback was a pressing one.
“I have the ability that a lot of people don’t have, and that’s to play two positions,” Fisher said. “I know (making the move) is going to help the team.”
Fisher had designs on spending four solid weeks of spring ball working out at his new position, but those plans were sidetracked early on by a groin injury that sidelined him for a couple of practices. He’s since returned to the field, and Palcic said he’s once again seeing rapid improvement from him on the practice field.
“Now that he’s back, I’m seeing where he’s improving again,” Palcic said. “The first week (of spring practice) he made good improvement, and then he missed some practice and was a little stagnant. But he’s back now to where I like what he’s doing.”
Technique has been a big point of emphasis for Fisher this spring as he re-learns a position that he hasn’t played since he was a standout two-way player at Cleveland’s Glenville H.S. Once spring practice comes to a close, he’ll spend plenty of time on his own during summer months continuing to polish that up.
But when his technique lets him down, Fisher thinks he has something else that can help him make up for it.
“I’m still kind of rusty with my technique, but I have athletic ability,” Fisher said. “That lets me do stuff where instead of using technique I can use my athletic ability.”
Athleticism isn’t the only thing that the Fisher is expected to bring to the Hoosier secondary. While his 5’9”, 175-pound frame might suggest otherwise, the IU coaching staff thinks Fisher will also bring a toughness to the position as well that will be welcomed.
“He’s a tough guy,” said IU Coach Bill Lynch. “He gives us a physical presence at corner. At first you wouldn’t think that, but he’s a physical kid that likes to get in the mix.”
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