- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here's the second half of my interview with Indiana head coach Bill Lynch, who opens spring practice Tuesday.
For Part I, click here.
It sounds like you have high expectations for Mitchell Evans. He's been moved around to a lot of places, but transitioning back to safety, how do you feel about him there?
Bill Lynch: He's just a good football player, and he can play a lot of places. But we have a need there, and he's certainly a guy who will have an opportunity to play every snap. Where on offense, we've got some depth at wideout and we aren't in three and four wideouts all the time. He had a limited number of snaps as the Wildcat guy, so this will get him an opportunity to be on the field all the time, and that will help our football team.
Are there other guys you're moving over to defense that might be able to play?
BL: Matt Ernest. Matt is an interesting guy. Matt played some wideout for us last year, and we had pretty good wide receivers with some depth. And he played special teams. But we're going to move him over and have him compete at cornerback. We think he's got a lot of skills, he played [cornerback] in high school. But he's playing baseball now. He had been a good high school baseball player but didn't play his first two years here, and he walked on and now he's pitching for them and pitching pretty well. He'll be a little limited as far as what he does in the spring, but he'll be going through drills so we'll have a chance to look at him over at corner.
So will he keep playing baseball while spring ball goes on?
BL: Yeah, we won't get him beat up, because he's becoming pretty important for the baseball team, so we don't want to take that opportunity away from him. It's very similar to Andrew Means a few years ago.
And then on offense, do you look to build off of some of the good performances last year?
BL: I think so. I like what we're doing scheme-wise offensively, and now it's just getting better at it. We've got to replace Rodger Saffold at left tackle, and we've got two juniors who have played and have been in the program a long time in Andrew McDonald and Josh Hager. Those are the first two guys who will get a crack at it, and I know they're anxious to go. And then it'd be nice to get a good spring out of [running back] Darius Willis. He seems to be healthy. He was banged-up a lot last spring, and then he was in and out last fall. He had a little shoulder surgery right after the season, and I know that helped. He seems to be ready to go now. And then we've got a freshman that we redshirted [in 2009], Nick Turner, who I'm anxious to watch compete at tailback this spring as well.
Will anyone be out or limited this spring?
BL: Evans isn't going to practice a whole lot, even though he's going to play safety. He had some surgery after the season. And Justin Pagan, one of our offensive linemen, had some surgery, so he's not going to do too much. Zach Davis-Walker, a backup tailback, is going to be pretty limited. Terrance Turner's not going to practice at all. He's going to have a little surgery. All should be in good shape and ready to go in August.
For Ben [Chappell], having a full offseason as the starter, is he clearly the leader on the offense now?
BL: I think so. He's a great leader, and he played very well in the fall. He's got a whole year of experience as the starter. Now we've got a couple of young guys who are going to compete for the second spot, and you're able to give them some shots [with the first-team offense] in the spring, but certainly going into it, they've got to beat Ben out.