Big Ten: Richard Council
- RB Darius Willis, knee (out for season)
- OL Josh Hager, knee (out for season)
- S Chris Adkins, ankle
- OT James Brewer, ankle
- CB Richard Council, knee
- K Nick Freeland, hip
- S Lenyatta Kiles, groin
- RB Nick Turner, concussion
The two areas of concern are the secondary and the offensive line. Indiana's injuries in the secondary aren't new, but the Hoosiers have to find ways to limit big pass plays without Adkins, Council and Kiles on the field. An arguably bigger issue is offensive line depth, as protecting star quarterback Ben Chappell will be paramount in the final six games. Brewer's continued absence hurts, and Hager's season-ending injury means sophomore Marc Damisch gets the nod as the starting right tackle against a good Illinois defensive line. Turner's absence places a bigger burden on Trea Burgess as Indiana's featured running back.
- Senior quarterback Ben Chappell is really, really good
- So are his wide receivers, namely Damarlo Belcher and Tandon Doss
- The defense still has a long way to go and a lot of holes
- The schedule has been favorable
That's about it. Indiana has won the games it was supposed to (Towson, Western Kentucky, Akron and Arkansas State) and lost the games it entered as an underdog (Michigan, Ohio State).
We might know less about Indiana than any Big Ten team to this point in the season. But the waiting game ends Saturday at Illinois' Memorial Stadium.
At the start of the fourth quarter, to be exact.
The Hoosiers showed last fall that they could compete in Big Ten games. They simply couldn't finish them off.
Indiana was outscored 88-45 in the fourth quarters of its seven Big Ten losses last year. The Hoosiers were blanked by a combined count of 38-0 in losses to Iowa and Northwestern, games in which they built big leads but collapsed late.
The trend continued this fall in the Big Ten opener against Michigan, which outscored Indiana 21-14 in the second half. The Wolverines scored the winning touchdown with 17 seconds left.
"They finished better than we did," IU coach Bill Lynch said. "There's not any magic to it, and it's not, 'If we do this, this will happen.' We have to play good, sound football."
Lynch knows what to expect from Chappell and the offense, but Indiana's Big Ten fortunes likely rest with the nation's 89th-rated defense (400.7 ypg).
The Hoosiers have been a bit banged up in the secondary -- Chris Adkins and Richard Council remain out with injuries -- and the pass rush has yet to emerge (Indiana ranks 102nd in sacks and 104th in tackles for loss). Lynch's primary focus is cutting down the big plays, which really hurt Indiana down the stretch in 2009 and showed up against Denard Robinson and Michigan on Oct. 2.
"We gave up way too many big plays against Michigan and Ohio State," Lynch said. "We did a better job last week of that, but we have to carry that over once we get back in conference play."
- Wisconsin starting linebacker Mike Taylor is expected to play Saturday at No. 15 Iowa after injuring his ankle and knee against Ohio State. Badgers coach Bret Bielema said Taylor underwent X-rays that showed no structural damage after he rolled his ankle and hyperextended his knee. Defensive tackle Jordan Kohout (foot) and tight end Lance Kendricks also should be fine for the trip to Iowa.
- Indiana expects running backs Trea Burgess, Nick Turner and Antonio Banks to be ready for this week's trip to Illinois, but the news along the offensive line isn't so good. Coach Bill Lynch said starting right tackle James Brewer (ankle) likely will miss another week, and reserve Josh Hager also likely is out, putting sophomore Marc Damisch in the starting role. Depth also could be an issue up front, as Dustin Dopirak writes. Defensive backs Richard Council and Chris Adkins remain out.
- Northwestern defensive end Vince Browne participated in Monday's practice and will play Saturday against No. 7 Michigan State, coach Pat Fitzgerald said.
- Michigan's bye week comes at a good time, as quarterback Denard Robinson (shoulder) and others have time to heal. Coach Rich Rodriguez said Robinson, who dealt with shoulder soreness last week in practice, "should be fine" for the Penn State game on Oct. 30. Center David Molk, defensive tackle Mike Martin and running back Michael Shaw also should be fine for Penn State.
- Middle linebacker Jeff Tarpinian (stinger) once again isn't listed on Iowa's depth chart. Troy Johnson is pegged to start against Wisconsin with James Morris backing him up.
- S Chris Adkins, ankle
- OL James Brewer, ankle
- CB Richard Council, knee
- K Nick Freeland, hip
- LB Brandon McGhee, neck
- RB Darius Willis, groin
- DE Kevin Bush, shin
- TE Brad Martin, concussion
The three significant names here are Brewer, Council and Willis, all starters. Indiana needs to fill the hole at right tackle with Brewer's absence, and hope the oft-injured Willis is OK to go in Columbus. As good as Indiana's pass game has been this season, the Hoosiers will need to run the ball to have a chance against Ohio State. Willis clearly provides the best option at running back. Adrian Burks likely will get the first shot at cornerback in place of Council, who is out for a significant period, coach Bill Lynch said earlier this week.
Dantonio, released from the hospital Monday after being treated for a blood clot in his leg, is back in the office and started his news conference today by saying, "Can't keep me down Michigan week." The 54-year-old had planned to coach from the press box last week against Wisconsin but was readmitted to the hospital Thursday after doctors found the clot.
"As long as I don't have a setback, that’s where I'll be," Dantonio said of the Michigan Stadium press box.
Dantonio feels "outstanding" and is back at the football complex after spending Sunday and Monday watching film. He watched the Wisconsin game from the hospital, where he communicated with his assistants at Spartan Stadium.
"I'll take it easy, I won’t overdo things, I’ll listen to what people are telling me, I’ll listen to my body," Dantonio said. "But at the same time, I feel very good."
It's encouraging to hear Dantonio is doing well again, and while I'm not a doctor, allowing him to spend three-plus hours on his feet Saturday following a blood clot probably isn't a wise move. Hopefully, he'll spend the game in Michigan's spacious and luxurious new press box.
Other Big Ten health nuggets:
- Ohio State coach Jim Tressel confirmed that safety-linebacker Tyler Moeller is out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle that will require surgery later this week. Moeller is a big loss after leading Ohio State in both tackles for loss (4.5) and forced fumbles (2). I'll be stunned if he doesn't receive a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, so we should see him back in 2011. Freshman Christian Bryant will step in for Moeller, although Tressel said Jermale Hines also can play the "star" position in Ohio State's nickel package. Nate Oliver also is getting healthy and should be able to help.
- Buckeyes starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor should be fine for Saturday's game against Indiana. Pryor, who missed two series with a strained quad against Illinois, might be limited in practice early this week but will "get as close to 100 percent as one can be" for the Hoosiers.
- Speaking of Indiana, starting cornerback Richard Council will miss "an extended period of time" with a knee injury, coach Bill Lynch said. Council's injury isn't season ending at this point, but Indiana will turn to others, namely Adrian Burks, as well as Greg Heben and juco transfer Andre Kates, to fill the void.
- Not a health note, but a personnel nugget regarding Brandon Wegher. There had been some buzz about the running back returning to Iowa, but it's not happening. "If he comes back, we'll let you know," coach Kirk Ferentz said. "As far as I know, he's gone for at least this season and maybe forever."
- Wisconsin quarterback Curt Phillips has completed his speedy recovery from a torn ACL in spring practice and has been cleared to play this week. Phillips moves into the No. 3 spot on the depth chart and likely would be used only in an emergency. Tight end Brian Wozniak also has been cleared after battling a shoulder injury.
- The hits keep coming for Purdue, as coach Danny Hope said receiver Justin Siller will miss three to six weeks with a sprained foot. The good news is the Boilers are getting healthier at running back as players like Al-Terek McBurse and Keith Carlos improved during the bye week. Purdue can move Antavian Edison and O.J. Ross back to receiver.
- Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges and receiver Curtis Drake are improving from their injuries but likely won't be back for a little longer. Tight end Andrew Szczerba (back) started to do some light jogging but won't be back as Penn State turns to true freshman Kevin Haplea as its starter against Illinois. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill (ankle) is expected to play Saturday.
- Finally, some good news about Minnesota receiver Connor Cosgrove, who last month was diagnosed with leukemia. He's doing well and was in the locker room before last week's game against Northwestern. "The leukemia counts in his body are way down," Gophers coach Tim Brewster said. "His body is reacting positively to the chemotherapy. The outlook for Connor is really positive." Great to hear.
- He's baaack ... Mark Dantonio, that is, Joe Rexrode writes in the Lansing State Journal.
- Check out how the Big Ten looks in the latest Sporting News conference call.
- The pressure is on Michigan and coach Rich Rodriguez heading into the Michigan State game, Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel writes. Michigan has been like two separate teams on offense and defense this year, Michael Rosenberg writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- A look back at "Clockgate" from The Detroit News' Lynn Henning.
- Michigan and Michigan State are contenders among FBS unbeatens, while Northwestern is a pretender, colleague Mark Schlabach writes.
- Despite looking rusty in East Lansing, Wisconsin wide receiver Nick Toon wants the ball thrown his way more, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Penn State has its problems, but changing quarterbacks isn't going to solve things, David Jones writes in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News.
- Northwestern players don't seem to care much about their new national ranking, Teddy Greenstein writes in the Chicago Tribune. Wildcats superback Drake Dunsmore (knee) should be fine for the Purdue game, Lindsey Willhite writes in the Daily Herald.
- Bad news for Indiana's secondary, which won't have cornerback Richard Council (knee) for some time, Dustin Dopirak writes in The (Bloomington) Herald-Times (subscription required). Hoosiers receiver Tandon Doss can do it all, LaMond Pope writes in The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
- Illinois needs to get away from its conservative ways, Loren Tate writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette.
- There could be a walkout among concessions staff at Ohio Stadium this weekend, Bill Bush writes in The Columbus Dispatch. Missed this from last week, but the Wall Street Journal has an interesting look at Jim Tressel, The Professor.
- Minnesota has been challenged this season both on and off the field, Potrykus writes.
- Iowa is looking for running backs for its 2011 recruiting class, Andy Hamilton writes in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
- I'll have a full post on this in an hour, but check out the Omaha World-Herald's extensive look at Nebraska's path to the Big Ten.
- Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa all have shots at reaching the BCS title game, according to ESPN's experts.
- Michigan and Ohio State belong in the same division, Lynn Henning writes in The Detroit News.
- Leadership might be an issue for Penn State this season, Cory Giger writes in The Altoona Mirror. The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News' Bob Flounders projects the offensive starters and defensive starters for the Nittany Lions.
- Jim Tressel has more immediate concerns than what happens to the Ohio State-Michigan game in the future, Bob Hunter writes in The Columbus Dispatch. Ohio State's coaches expect a smooth performance from Terrelle Pryor and the passing game Thursday against Marshall, Doug Lesmerises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Michigan State's ability to stabilize the right side of its offensive line tops Joe Rexrode's list of preseason storylines.
- Given his past history against Connecticut, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez might be pleased to see the Huskies on Saturday, annarbor.com's Michael Rothstein writes. Michigan has no time to waste and will throw freshmen into the fire in the opener, Bob Wojnowski writes in The Detroit News.
- Minnesota fullback Jon Hoese could miss the trip to Middle Tennessee after his father suffered a stroke, Roman Augustoviz writes in the Star Tribune. The Gophers plan to turn up the heat on Middle Tennessee's new starting quarterback, Marcus Fuller writes in The (St. Paul) Pioneer Press.
- After a poor junior year, Indiana cornerback Richard Council turned things around this offseason, Dustin Dopirak writes in The (Bloomington) Herald-Times.
- Missouri will take to the air a lot against Illinois' depleted secondary Saturday, Loren Tate writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette. The Illinois-Northwestern rivalry likely will be protected in the Big Ten's division alignment, Teddy Greenstein writes in the Chicago Tribune.
- Big Ten Network analyst Howard Griffith has some high praise for Iowa running back Jewel Hampton, Andrew Logue writes in the Des Moines Register. Iowa plans to play at least three freshmen right away, including tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, Marc Morehouse writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Hawkeyes center Josh Koeppel appears to be OK after a motorcycle accident.
- Right guard and cornerback are two spots not quite settled on Wisconsin's Week 1 depth chart, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Northwestern made the run game its top offseason priority and expects better results, Lindsey Willhite writes in the Daily Herald.
- The Big Ten should leave the Michigan-Ohio State game alone when determining divisions, The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises and annarbor.com's Michael Rothstein write.
- Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett is asking a judge if he can try out for a UFL team.
- Running back Austin White is no longer part of Michigan's team, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News. Michigan's senior class wants to go out as winners, John Niyo writes in The Detroit News. A very cool story, as Brock Mealer (Elliott's brother) will lead Michigan onto the field Sept. 4, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- Despite the buzz around Robert Bolden, it seems unlikely that Penn State will start a freshman quarterback, Neil Rudel writes in the Altoona Mirror. Penn State president Graham Spanier took time away from his daughter's wedding to work on Big Ten expansion, Lee Barfknecht writes in the Omaha World-Herald.
- The outside expectations are low, but don't be surprised if Minnesota is mediocre or better, Tom Powers writes in the (St. Paul) Pioneer Press.
"Even though their schedule is tougher than it has been, I don't think anyone would be -- or should be -- shocked if the Gophers won six games. At 6-6 their record would be, well, mediocre again. The difference this time around is that the bar has been lowered so much by all these gloomy predictions, that 6-6 will feel like an amazing accomplishment."
- Kirk Herbstreit says Ohio State's national title hopes hinge on these three games, Tim May and Ken Gordon write in The Columbus Dispatch. Academic issues force Buckeyes offensive lineman Marcus Hall to redshirt this fall.
- If you believe a video game simulation, Purdue could be in trouble this season, Mike Carmin writes in The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier.
- Indiana cornerback Richard Council lets you know exactly where he is on the field, Terry Hutchens writes in The Indianapolis star. Here's a unique look at a full day of Indiana training camp from The (Bloomington) Herald-Times' Dustin Dopirak (subscription required).
- After his involvement in the residence hall fight, Michigan State offensive lineman J'Michael Deane seeks redemption, Mike Brudenell writes in the Detroit Free Press. Sparty the Spartan makes the list of the 12 coolest mascots in college football.
- For the second straight year, Wisconsin's defensive line is a mystery, Tom Oates writes in the Wisconsin State Journal. Badgers linebacker Mike Taylor is making good progress with his knee, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Expectations are high for Iowa entering the fall, and the Des Moines Register's Andrew Logue has a comprehensive look at the Hawkeyes in 2010. After waiting in the wings, Iowa offensive linemen Adam Gettis and Markus Zusevics are ready to roll, Ryan Suchomel writes in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
- The (Champaign) News-Gazette's Bob Asmussen passes out his training camp awards for Illinois.
When the Hoosiers' strength and conditioning staff demands one more rep in the weight room, Kates willingly obliges.
And when Kates' new teammates whine about the size of their uniforms, the cornerback just shakes his head and smiles.
"They're like, 'Man, it's too tight,'" Kates said. "In junior college, we had to put tape around our uniforms to try to make it tight."
Kates has no complaints about the rigors of preseason camp at a Big Ten school. After what he has been through the last few years, this is the easy part.
Kates' road to Indiana started near Washington D.C., made a U-turn in Gainesville, Fla., nearly stretched to California and eventually reached junior colleges in upstate New York and Brooklyn. He faced academic hurdles and, for a time, questioned whether he still wanted to play, but he's finally ready for the spotlight.
"I have big plans," Kates said.
Kates also had big plans at Surrattsville High School outside Washington D.C., where he thrived in a number of positions, including quarterback, wide receiver, return specialist and even long snapper. Recruited as an athlete, Kates verbally committed to play for national powerhouse Florida.
But he failed to qualify academically, putting his plans on hold.
"I thought I was going to get away with it," he said. "Since I was a big-time football player in high school, I thought, ‘Aw, man, I’m alright. They’ll let me through, they’ll let me through.’ But it didn’t happen. It was real tough, thinking you’re about to go in and play at a big-time program like that, and then you turn around and realize you’re not eligible.
"After the Florida thing, I was done. I didn’t want to play any more."
Kates considered "life as a regular teenager" but was steered back by several people, including his uncle, Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis, and his best friend, Joe Haden, who went on to star for Florida at cornerback.
"They were saying, ‘Dre, you’ve got to stick in there. Go to a junior college, get your mind right," Kates said.
The original plan called for Kates to attend Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, Calif., but financial issues forced him to stay home and help support his family. He eventually enrolled at Erie Community College, which has campuses both in and near Buffalo, N.Y.
Kates recorded three interceptions in his first season as a defensive player, earning all-conference honors. He also became Indiana's first commit for the 2010 class, pledging in May 2009, but his academics remained an issue.
"When he first committed to us, I traveled to Erie and his first transcript wasn't great," Hoosiers co-defensive coordinator Joe Palcic recalled. "I told him, 'Hey, you need to get this many hours and a C or better in all your classes to transfer. He told me, 'Coach, I can do it.'"
Kates needed 61 transferable credits to enroll at Indiana and no grades below a C. After a year at Erie, he transferred to ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y., which could offer him scholarship money. The problem: ASA only accepted six of the 24 credits Kates had earned at Erie.
Kates began taking a full course load at ASA and also enrolled in online courses elsewhere to make up ground. He finished junior college with a 3.4 GPA and earned his associate's degree.
"I was taking 18 credits during the school year and six credits on the side, just to get here," he said. "So I had the will to want to do it."
On the field, Kates continued to excel, earning junior college All-America honors for ASA with 64 tackles, two interceptions, nine pass breakups, four blocked field goals and two blocked punts. Named Junior College Player of the Year by Triumphant Sports, he received 18 offers from FBS programs, including Miami and Clemson, but stuck with Indiana.
Having the chance to face the Hoosiers' talented wide receivers in practice lured Kates, but Palcic was the biggest reason why he came to Bloomington.
"He was one coach I always respected," Kates said. "Every contact period he had, he gave me a call and let me know they really need me, and now I’m here."
Although Kates was Indiana's first verbal, he took visits elsewhere and raised anxiety among Hoosiers fans, not to mention Palcic.
"I wasn’t 100 percent confident," Palcic said. "He kept telling me, ‘Indiana's it, Indiana's it,’ but until that final week, I wasn’t sure."
Kates now finds himself in a six-man cluster for two starting cornerback spots that Palcic calls the most competitive position race on the team. Indiana returns two veterans in Richard Council and Adrian Burks, and brought in another juco corner, Lenyatta Kiles, who went through spring drills.
Kiles and Kates have bonded, reviewing video of every practice together after the regular review with the team. Both players should see plenty of field time this fall.
"He came in surprisingly polished," Palcic said of Kates. "He has great backpedal, quick feet, he's explosive coming out of his breaks. I'm impressed with his ability to pick up the defense."
Kates credits his support system for helping him to this point: Portis, Haden, his parents and his sister. He also continues to play football as a tribute to his brother, Cameron, who died of a brain tumor in 1996.
"He's been a big-time motivation," Kates said.
It has been a long road, but Kates has no regrets.
"I've started a new chapter," he said.
The Hoosiers begin spring practice stocked at the offensive skill positions, as quarterback Ben Chappell, All-Big Ten wide receiver Tandon Doss and others are back. Indiana's major concerns once again rest with a defense that loses seven starters.
Strongest position: Wide receiver/tight end
- Key returnees: Tandon Doss (77 receptions, 962 yards, 5 TDs); Damarlo Belcher (61 receptions, 770 yards, 5 TDs); Terrance Turner (46 receptions, 443 yards, 1 TD); Max Dedmond (18 receptions 141 yards, 1 TD).
- Key losses: Wideout Mitchell Evans (33 receptions, 366 yards, 3 TDs) moves to safety.
- The skinny: How loaded are the Hoosiers at receiver? Head coach Bill Lynch is moving two players, Evans and Matt Ernest, to the defensive side to help a beleaguered secondary. Doss earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media (second-team from the coaches) as a sophomore and has great potential to play at the next level. Belcher boasts great size and the ability to stretch the field, while Turner brings good experience to the group. Quarterback Ben Chappell will have no shortage of targets in 2010.
- Key returnees: Cornerback Donnell Jones (30 tackles, 1 interception, 3 pass breakups); cornerback Richard Council (22 tackles, 2 pass breakups); safety Chris Adkins (14 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception).
- Key losses: Austin Thomas (67 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 pass breakups); Nick Polk (53 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 tackles for loss, 4 pass breakups); Ray Fisher (40 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 635 kickoff return yards and 2 TDs).
- The skinny: Indiana has concerns at other positions, namely linebacker and defensive end, but the secondary will be the coaches' top priority this spring. The Hoosiers lose three starters, including both safeties, and are rushing to fill the gaps. Bill Lynch signed two junior college cornerbacks (Andre Kates and Lenyatta Kiles) and moved both Evans and Ernest over from the offense. Evans, who played safety as a freshman in 2007, is expected to step into a leadership role in the secondary. I saw a decimated Indiana secondary face Iowa last year, and the Hawkeyes hit on several huge pass plays in the fourth quarter. IU must build depth in the back four to be able to survive injuries in 2010.
Indiana has issued its official injury report for Saturday's home game against No. 21 Wisconsin (Big Ten Network, noon ET).
- DE Darius Johnson, shoulder
- CB Chris Adkins, elbow
- DT Jarrod Smith, back
- CB Ray Fisher, knee
- S Jarrell Drane, thigh
- OL Cody Faulkner, shoulder
- DE Terrance Thomas, shoulder
- S Jerimy Finch, hamstring
- RB Zach Davis-Walker, foot
- S Nick Polk, ankle
- RB Darius Willis, ankle
- DE Fred Jones, foot
Fisher is a big loss for Indiana. He's the team's top cover corner and a very dangerous kick return man, leading the Big Ten and ranking fourth nationally in return average (37.4 yards per return). Wide receiver Tandon Doss and running back Demetrius McCray will handle return duties Saturday. The Hoosiers are thin at cornerback with Adkins out and Donnell Jones also battling an elbow injury. Adrian Burks will get the start in Fisher's spot, with Richard Council serving as his backup. The news is more promising on both Polk and Willis, two starters whom the Hoosiers will need to upset the Badgers. Polk sat out last week's game against Iowa and Indiana endured several critical breakdowns in the secondary down the stretch.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The depth charts continue to roll in, as Indiana unveils its two-deep. One caveat: Head coach Bill Lynch still plans to release another depth chart before Thursday's season opener against Eastern Kentucky, so this is hardly set in stone.
A few notes:
- Fifth-year senior Demetrius McCray is listed as the starter at running back, ahead of talented redshirt freshman Darius Willis. Junior Trea Burgess is third, and senior Bryan Payton surprisingly comes in fourth. Lynch expects all four backs to play against Eastern Kentucky, but he acknowledged that McCray turned in a solid camp. I think Willis will be the starter before long, though McCray can be effective if he stays healthy.
- Lynch is weighing whether or not to redshirt quarterback Edward Wright-Baker, who has performed well in camp. Redshirt freshman Adam Follett is listed as Ben Chappell's backup at quarterback, but Wright-Baker might end up filling that role.
"If Ed is going to jump to being No. 2, which we've run him at two quite a bit the past couple of days, then you've got to decide at which point you're going to play him," Lynch said today. "Over the course of the last two or three practices, we've run Edward at No. 2 more than Adam. We listed Adam at number two now because I know Adam can go in a game. We've got to decide if that is what we're willing to do."
- Sophomore Justin Pagan is listed as the starter at left guard, though he's questionable for the game with an ankle injury. Redshirt freshman Marc Damisch would step in if Pagan can't play. Cornerback Donnell Jones is also questionable with a hamstring injury, opening the door for Adrian Burks or Richard Council.
- Defensive tackle Adam Replogle is one of several true freshmen who should see the field this fall. Lynch also said wideout Duwyce Wilson, linebacker Damon Sims and offensive lineman Aaron Price could play. "We know right now that Adam is going to be running out onto the field early," he said.
- Indiana will select captains for each game this year. The team's official captains for 2009 will be voted on at the end of the season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
While Michigan held its annual spring game, other teams around the Big Ten conducted scrimmages this weekend.
Here are some highlights from around the league.
- The Illini held their third annual Chicago area scrimmage at Oak Park-River Forest High School, where former Illinois coach Robert Zuppke served before coming to Champaign.
- Illinois' offense scored three touchdowns on five drives, including a 27-yard scoring pass from Juice Williams to Jarred Fayson and a 4-yard run by Mikel LeShoure. LeShoure continued his stellar spring with 14 carries for 123 yards, while Fayson is closing in on a starting wideout spot.
- After struggling in Wednesday's practice, Williams completed 13 of 20 passes for 167 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
- Defensive end Doug Pilcher and linebacker Russell Ellington each recorded two sacks. Linebacker Nate Bussey, a converted safety, tallied a team-high nine tackles.
- For more on the scrimmage, including linebacker Martez Wilson's first comments this spring, click here and here.
- The Hoosiers' ground game surged for the second consecutive scrimmage, racking up 169 yards on 30 carries (5.6 ypc), and the defense bounced back from a slow start to record three sacks, two interceptions and a fumble.
- Quarterback Ben Chappell completed his first eight pass attempts and hit Damarlo Belcher for a 22-yard touchdown. Chappell and the passing attack continued to progress, as 10 different receivers hauled in receptions.
- Trea Burgess is making a strong push for Indiana's top running back spot and racked up 69 rush yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Redshirt freshman running back Darius Willis, a heralded recruit, participated in his first scrimmage after battling a groin problem and had 20 rush yards.
- Cornerbacks Chris Adkins and Richard Council recorded interceptions, and linebacker Jamie Lukaszewski forced a fumble.
- For more on the scrimmage, click here (subscription required).
- The good news for projected starting quarterback Mike Kafka is he gets to work against one of the Big Ten's top defenses this spring. But that's the bad news, too. Kafka struggled in Saturday's 82-play scrimmage, failing to lead the first-team offense to the end zone on 11 drives. On the second play of the scrimmage, he threw an interception that cornerback Jordan Mabin returned for a touchdown.
- Northwestern's defense forced three turnovers, as Mabin and safety Brian Peters recorded interceptions and safety Jared Carpenter forced a fumble.
- Quarterback Dan Persa and the second-team offense fared better, scoring two touchdowns, including a 45-yard pass from Persa to Zeke Markshausen. Persa completed his first eight pass attempts and finished 10-for-14 for 104 yards and a touchdown.
- Keep an eye on sophomore running back Jeravin Matthews, who continued a strong spring with 113 rush yards, including a 49-yarder, on 15 carries for the second-team offense. Matthews, a converted wide receiver and one of only two true freshmen to play last season, might be the team's fastest player and will push Stephen Simmons for the starting job.
- For more on the scrimmage, click here.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Indiana won't spend spring practice going through the motions, not with what's at stake this fall for head coach Bill Lynch and a program entering a pivotal season. Despite a momentum-killing 3-9 campaign last fall, Lynch is still in Bloomington and so are all of his assistants. But there will be plenty of changes when the Hoosiers open spring drills March 24.
|Sandra Dukes/Icon SMI|
|Indiana coach Bill Lynch is looking forward to a lot of change this spring.|
But Lynch vows that the Hoosiers will be better in 2009. For his sake, they better be.
I caught up with Lynch on Monday to discuss his outlook for spring ball.
What's the mood around there heading into spring ball after a season where things didn't go as planned?
Bill Lynch: We've had a great offseason. When you come off a season where you don't meet the expectations and don't go to a bowl game -- and you miss out on all those extra practice opportunities -- the offseason becomes so critical. I really like the leadership of our senior class. That's really what drives an offseason program, the leadership that you get from within. I just sense an attitude around here of guys that have worked very hard and they're anxious to get out there.
The message all along is we need to get better. We all do things in the offseason where maybe you switch positions and add some wrinkles to your offensive and defensive schemes, maybe change up a little bit how you practice. All those things are great to experiment with in the spring.
Do you sense any dramatic changes? I know you didn't make any staff changes. Will it look very different for the fans when they see you in the summer?
BL: We're going to be a lot better football team. That's the No. 1 thing. We moved some guys around on our staff. We didn't make any changes because we've got a really good staff. Philosophically, I wanted to have two defensive line coaches. We're a four-down-linemen scheme and we function with four coaches on defense, so we moved George Ricumstrict, who was our linebackers coach, to defensive end coach to work with [co-defensive coordinator/defensive tackles coach] Brian George. Mike Yeager, who had the safeties and is moving to linebackers, played linebacker in this defense and has coached in it in the past. Joe Palcic will take over the secondary by himself. So we made some adjustments there.
And then on offense, same thing. Kyle Conner will continue with the tight ends but also be an assistant offensive line coach. So he'll spend most of his time with the offensive line, particularly when we get into passing drills. We did a little restructuring there that I think will make us better.
You mentioned the line play on both sides. Was that a priority for you coming out of last season?
BL: It's a philosophical thing. That's where you win. You win up front. I had kept the structure of the staff the same as [former head coach] Terry Hoeppner had it -- one D-line coach, one O-line coach. I wanted to have two guys up front on both sides. We've got the guys on the staff. It's not a case of, 'Oh, boy, we've got to do this if we're going to win.' It's just a philosophical thing, particularly on defense if you're going to play with four down linemen.
Have you done this before at Ball State and other stops?
BL: Yes. Through my different places, I've done different things. Based on the staff you have and the team you have, you always tweak things. But I feel that's going to give us the best chance to win.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Halftime Tulane 14 Louisiana-Lafayette 21 Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49
6:00 PM ET Pittsburgh Bowling Green 9:30 PM ET Utah State 23 Northern Illinois
2:30 PM ET Marshall Maryland 6:00 PM ET Syracuse Minnesota 9:30 PM ET Brigham Young Washington
12:00 PM ET Rutgers Notre Dame 3:20 PM ET Cincinnati North Carolina 6:45 PM ET Miami (FL) 18 Louisville 10:15 PM ET Michigan Kansas State
11:45 AM ET Middle Tennessee Navy 3:15 PM ET Ole Miss Georgia Tech 6:45 PM ET 10 Oregon Texas 10:15 PM ET 14 Arizona State Texas Tech
12:30 PM ET Arizona Boston College 2:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 17 UCLA 4:00 PM ET Rice Mississippi State 8:00 PM ET 24 Duke 21 Texas A&M
12:00 PM ET Nebraska 22 Georgia 12:00 PM ET UNLV North Texas 1:00 PM ET Iowa 16 LSU 1:00 PM ET 19 Wisconsin 9 South Carolina 5:00 PM ET 5 Stanford 4 Michigan State 8:30 PM ET 15 UCF 6 Baylor
7:30 PM ET 13 Oklahoma State 8 Missouri 8:30 PM ET 12 Clemson 7 Ohio State