Position Battles Settled?

Demetrius McCreay

Bloomington - Two of the most high-profile position battles of IU's fall camp were settled...at least on paper. IU released its first two-deep of the fall, and Bill Lynch offered future explanation on the back-up quarterback and starting tailback jobs...

Bloomington – The most interesting depth chart of the season is often the first one.

That's the case for the Hoosiers, who released their first two-deep this fall. Of particular interest is the fact that redshirt freshman Adam Follett is listed as the No. 2 quarterback behind Ben Chappell, while senior Demetrius McCray is the No. 1 tailback and Darius Willis is the No. 2.

That's how the Hoosiers' depth chart shaped up Friday, but it's obvious it's also not set in stone. That's particularly the case at quarterback, where IU Coach Bill Lynch's Friday press conference suggested that true freshman Edward Wright-Baker is at worst even with Follett to be Chappell's back-up.

"That is the biggest thing we have to get solved between now and next week," Lynch said. "The reason we have to get it solved is because of the redshirt ramifications."

While Lynch said Wright-Baker has been particularly impressive as of late, the staff is clearly questioning the wisdom in potentially burning a year of his eligibility to serve as Chappell's back-up. They've yet to make a decision on what is the correct course to take, which is why Follett remains No. 2 on the depth chart for now.

"I think over the course of the last few practices, we've probably run Ed at No. 2 more than Adam," Lynch said. "We're listing Adam at No. 2 right now because I know Adam can go into a game.

"By the time we get to Monday we'll have made a decision what we're going to do."

The running back situation, meanwhile, appears to have more clarity to it than it's had throughout fall camp. Lynch said he anticipates that McCray, Willis, Trea Burgess and Bryan Payton will all play, but McCray and Willis appear poised to get the majority of the work.

McCray is an elusive tailback who can make the first man miss. Now a fifth-year senior, McCray has put together his first injury-free camp which is also a big reason why he's likely to get the starting nod next week.

"He's teased us at times with great play, he just hasn't been able to stay healthy long enough, whether it's been through spring practices, fall camp or the season. But he did this fall," Lynch said.

While McCray's ability to remain healthy has been one of the camp's most pleasant surprises, his track record suggests that making him a 20-25 carry per game type of tailback would be a recipe for disaster, or at least injury. So it's a safe bet that Eastern Kentucky will get a heavy dose of Willis and some sprinkles of Burgess and Payton as well.

"Burgess and Willis are the bangers, and if we're going to have success running the football we've got to be able to get the tough yards when we need to. And Bryan Payton, he's pretty darned good and gives you something too. It's still six days away, and I'd think they're all going to play."

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