NCF Nation: Duwyce Wilson

It's time for the second half of our Big Ten personnel roundup entering season-opening weekend. In case you missed Part I, which featured most of the Week 1 depth charts, be sure and check it out.

Michigan State released its depth chart, so we'll start there. Minnesota and Nebraska will release theirs later this week.

MICHIGAN STATE

Depth chart
  • There are two unsettled positions on defense as Michigan State lists co-starters at defensive tackle (Micajah Reynolds and Tyler Hoover) and at free safety (Jairus Jones and Kurtis Drummond). Head coach Mark Dantonio called the Reynolds-Hoover competition "a flip of the coin" and praised Reynolds' progress during fall camp. Reynolds has a 33-inch vertical leap and bench-presses more than 400 pounds. Hoover, a converted defensive end, missed all but one game last season with a fractured rib.
  • Linebacker Darien Harris and defensive end Lawrence Thomas both don't appear on the depth chart because of injuries but will be contributors this season. Harris could see the field early Friday night against Boise State. Sophomore Skyler Burkland is listed as the backup left tackle but likely won't play because of a hand injury.
  • Junior Bennie Fowler and sophomores Keith Mumphery and Tony Lippett are listed as Michigan State's top receivers. Tennessee transfer DeAnthony Arnett, who had 24 receptions last season for the Vols, appears as Fowler's backup.

Here are some other personnel notes from around the league ...

IOWA

Running back is the big question mark for the Hawkeyes after another summer of attrition. Iowa enters Saturday's opener with three primary backs -- Damon Bullock, Greg Garmon and Michael Malloy -- as well as two fullbacks in Brad Rogers and Mark Weisman.

Bullock, who had 10 carries for 20 yards, likely will get the start against Northern Illinois, although Garmon, a heralded true freshman, should get plenty of work as well. Rogers is a familiar name, and coach Kirk Ferentz praised Weisman's progress during camp.

"You play the cards that are dealt," Ferentz said. "The running back position is one where we’ve had a lot of players playing. The good news is they've performed pretty well."

Sophomore Jordan Canzeri, who suffered a torn ACL in spring practice, has returned to practice, but Ferentz said it's "weeks or months before we talk about him entering contact or anything live at all." Iowa has been cautious about live tackling involving its running backs in practice, particularly those who have game experience.

PURDUE

Boilers coach Danny Hope didn't sound too concerned about playing without top middle linebacker Dwayne Beckford, indefinitely suspended Monday following his latest arrest. Purdue practiced without Beckford during spring ball -- he was working his way back from another legal issue -- and rotated several players at middle linebacker. Senior Antwon Higgs appears to be the next man in, and converted quarterback Sean Robinson is behind him.

Sophomore Joe Gilliam, who recorded seven tackles last year and made one start, should be a bigger part of the plan as well.

"I thought in the recruiting process he was one of the top players in our state," Hope said of Gilliam. "I thought Joe was probably the next guy in line [behind the starters]."

INDIANA
  • Not surprisingly, Tre Roberson has emerged as Indiana's starting quarterback after taking over the top spot as a true freshman in 2011. Roberson beat out junior college arrival Cam Coffman and freshman Nate Sudfeld for the job. Coffman will serve as Roberson's backup. Although Roberson struggled in Tuesday's morning workout, coach Kevin Wilson has been pleased with the sophomore. "He's embraced the challenge," Wilson said. "He definitely can make some plays as a bit of a dual-threat guy. He's embraced the competition. He has been by far our most consistent quarterback."
  • Roberson will be passing the ball more in 2012, and he'll have a deeper group of wide receivers at his disposal. How deep? Wilson said that veterans Kofi Hughes and Duwyce Wilson enter the season as the team's No. 5 and No. 6 receivers (Hughes is suspended for the opener against Indiana State). Kevin Wilson had high praise for sophomore Cody Latimer, limited by a sports hernia injury last season. Speedster Nick Stoner also should be a bigger part of the mix at receiver. "It's not because they've [Hughes and Duwyce Wilson] fallen off but because we've got some good players," the coach said. "We've got some competition, we've got some depth, we've got some young speed and I just think we're close to having a more complete unit there. We're not great at receiver, but we do have more playmakers."
ILLINOIS
  • Illinois' secondary isn't anywhere near full strength as it prepares to face Western Michigan and talented quarterback Alex Carder. The team's top two safeties, Steve Hull and Supo Sanni, both are nursing injuries and didn't appear on Monday's depth chart. Also, top cornerback Terry Hawthorne has a sprained ankle that will limit him only to defense for the first few games. Illinois wanted to use the athletic Hawthorne as another option at receiver, a position with little proven depth. The bigger question is how much the ankle will limit the senior with his primary cornerback responsibilities.
  • Although the Illini will rotate plenty at running back, receiver and tight end on Saturday, they won't employ a two-quarterback system, which had been rumored during camp. Co-offensive coordinator Chris Beatty said Tuesday that he's not a big believer in rotating quarterbacks, so junior Nathan Scheelhaase will take most or all of the snaps.
OHIO STATE
  • Urban Meyer expects "six seconds of great effort" from Ohio State's freshmen in Saturday's opener against Miami (Ohio). Asked which freshman he was most curious to see, Meyer identified defensive back Devan Bogard as well as freshman linebacker David Perkins, who "really exploded the last couple of days."
  • Meyer said freshman Bri'onte Dunn and sophomore Rod Smith are "very close" for the No. 2 running back spot behind Carlos Hyde. Dunn has been a bit more consistent in camp and has a slight edge.
  • Meyer said Storm Klein's role going forward is yet to be determined and that recently reinstated linebacker is still "making up a bunch of stuff" after missing almost all of fall camp. Meyer based his decision to reinstate Klein on a domestic violence charge being dismissed against the senior, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
NORTHWESTERN

Coach Pat Fitzgerald acknowledged that it has been easier to go through the preseason this year as opposed to 2011, when talk of quarterback Dan Persa's health dominated fall camp. Although Northwestern knew all along that Persa wouldn't play in the first few games and Kain Colter would start, it has been easier for Colter this time around.

"Unfortunately, Danny had to go through that tough offseason," Fitzgerald said. "That was not fun. Kain handled the opportunity really well a year ago. ... You could definitely tell it was his first start in college football Now he's settled down, he's settled into the role."
Dusty Kiel will start his second consecutive game at quarterback for Indiana today against Illinois.

Ed Wright-Baker, who started Indiana's first four games, is dressed and available after missing last week's loss to Penn State with an ankle injury. Receiver Duwyce Wilson (back) has returned to the starting lineup, and RB D'Angelo Roberts (concussion) is dressed for the game.

Indiana's offense is closer to full strength as it tries to upset the 19th-ranked Illini.

IU's Duwyce Wilson talks with his play

September, 22, 2011
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Though only a sophomore, Duwyce Wilson came into this season looking to play the mentor role to a young group of Indiana receivers. That meant not only leading by example but also by talking more, something that does not come naturally to him.

Wilson grew up in a household where words were hardly ever spoken. Both his parents, Duwyce Sr. and Celestine Wilson, and two of his sisters are deaf. Only Duwyce Jr. and his oldest sister were born with the ability to hear.

"Our house was a lot more quiet than most," Duwyce said. "When my parents needed me, they'd bang on the floor or something like that, and you had to know it was for you. So it was a little something different."

He and his oldest sister often had to communicate for the family whenever they went out in public, whether that was needing help at a store or ordering at a restaurant.

"She's a lot better at sign language than me, so she'd do a lot of the interpreting," he said. "I can hold a conversation and understand it well enough to know what they're saying, but I can definitely get better."

[+] EnlargeDuwyce Wilson
Michael Hickey/US PresswireIndiana's Duwyce Wilson had a breakout game aganst South Carolina State, collecting six passes for 101 yards and a score.
Wilson is using his time at Indiana to improve his sign language skills. He is majoring in speech and hearing sciences and hopes to become an interpreter after he's done with football. He's looking forward to doing some work in that field in the near future, but he's already learned a lot from his classes.

"My mom says she definitely could tell that my signing has improved, so she's happy with me," he said. "But I'm trying to keep on improving."

He's also doing a good job of improving on the football field.

Wilson turned in a solid redshirt freshman campaign in 2010, catching 32 balls for 488 yards and three touchdowns. We named him to the ESPN.com All-Big Ten Freshman team.

He stood out during spring camp while adjusting to new coach Kevin Wilson's offense but was slowed in fall practice by a muscle strain. The 6-foot-3, 196-pounder got going in the second game of this season, and last week against South Carolina State, he had six receptions for a career-high 101 yards and a touchdown.

"He's a guy who was a little bit under the radar coming into the season," Kevin Wilson said. "He can bring some things that are very comparable to Damarlo [Belcher], so he's a nice complement to him on the outside. He's still not getting a lot of touches, but he has made a couple of big plays."

Duwyce Wilson came to IU from nearby Columbus, Ind., playing for the same high school team as current Hoosiers quarterback Dusty Kiel and his younger brother Gunner Kiel, a star quarterback recruit who has committed to Indiana. Wilson's family may not hear the roar of the crowd, but they come to every home game. Last week, they got to see the Hoosiers record their first victory of the season. The team will try to follow that up this week with its first true road game of the year at North Texas.

"People are happy we got the win," Duwyce Wilson said. "But we're hungry for more. We're still developing as a team."

With standout receivers Terrance Turner and Tandon Doss moving on from last year's team, Wilson knew he had to develop more as a player and a leader this season along with Belcher. He's doing that on the field, but he admits the talking part is still a work in progress.

"I'm trying to be more vocal," he said. "It's something I'm working on as the days go on."
Kevin Wilson has his first win as a Big Ten head coach, and Indiana finally is in the victory column.

Let's take a quick look.

Indiana 38, South Carolina State 21: After Indiana surged to a comfortable halftime lead, things got a bit interesting in the second half. But Ed Wright-Baker wasn’t going to let this one slip away. The Hoosiers' sophomore quarterback tossed a 40-yard scoring pass to Kofi Hughes in the fourth quarter to seal the team’s first win of the season. Wright-Baker, whose late fumble led to last week’s heart-breaking loss to Virginia, responded today with 273 pass yards and two touchdowns on 21 of 27 passing. Duwyce Wilson (6 catches, 101 yards, TD) had a very nice performance on the perimeter. Perhaps more encouraging, Indiana's run attack showed some signs of life as D'Angelo Roberts racked up 102 rush yards and a touchdown. The defense still needs work, but the offense has to feel a bit more confident coming out of this one.
Kofi Hughes doesn't hesitate when asked what element he brings to Indiana's receiving corps.

"My breakaway speed," the sophomore recently told ESPN.com. "When I get the ball, I'm not running for the first down or the extra yard. I'm running to score every time."

Hughes' speed could come in handy for the Hoosiers, who once again look well stocked at the receiver position but need more touchdowns from the group. Indiana lost top touchdown scorer Tandon Doss (7 TDs in 2010) to the NFL draft, and while No. 1 returnee Damarlo Belcher led the Big Ten with 78 receptions in 2010, only four went for touchdowns.

[+] EnlargeKofi Hughes
Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesKofi Hughes wants to be next in the line of All-Big Ten wideouts from Indiana.
Belcher is expected to anchor IU's passing attack this year along with Duwyce Wilson, who started four games as a redshirt freshman last fall and recorded 32 receptions for 488 yards. Hughes, one of two true freshmen to play in 2010, provides another exciting option.

"My role’s just as important as Damarlo's or Duwyce's or anybody else who's out there on the field," said Hughes, who recorded seven catches last fall and blossomed during spring practice. "When it's my time to get the ball, I need to be a playmaker. I've always seen myself as a playmaker."

Hughes made plenty of plays as a quarterback for Cathedral High School in Indianapolis. As a senior in 2009, he accounted for 42 touchdowns -- 19 passing, 22 rushing, 1 receiving -- and was named Gatorade Player of the Year in the state.

While he loved calling signals, Hughes knew his future would be at receiver. He credits Doss for working with him on route running and other areas last year.

"I was his little project," Hughes said.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Hughes thinks he still must improve the way he practices and polish his game at what is still a relatively new position. With an unproven quarterback moving into a starting role -- Dusty Kiel, Edward Wright-Baker and Tre Roberson continue to compete -- Indiana needs its receivers to once again be a strength.

The Hoosiers have produced first-team All-Big Ten wideouts in three of the past four seasons with Doss (2009, 2010) and James Hardy (2007).

"We get down to business," Hughes said. "The receivers at Indiana have spoken for themselves in the past five years or so. Being a receiver at IU, there's a lot that comes with that."

Hughes is ready to embrace it and continue the tradition this season.
Here's the second part of my conversation with Indiana coach Kevin Wilson. You can read Part I here.

What is your plan for the the quarterback situation? Do you expect to name a starter early in camp, or closer to the opener?


[+] EnlargeKevin Wilson
AP Photo/Darron CummingsNew Indiana coach Kevin Wilson is excited about some of the players his staff inherits.
Kevin Wilson: Performance will dictate that. We don't need a revolving door where we just keep trying guys, or guys feel like as soon they make a bad play they're out. If we do make a decision and go with one guy, you want that guy to have self-confidence and know if he does go out and is a little off one day, he won't be looking over his shoulder the whole time. We've got to wait and see how they perform. We did go through spring with four guys getting a bunch of reps. We will add freshman Tre Roberson into the mix and see where he is. He was Mr. Football in Indiana, though it's a tough position to walk in as a freshman.

We've got to be careful in not trying to be so fair in our evaluation that we don't develop the right guys. So there has to be a point in time where, whether we name a starter or not, that we do pare it down and get a direction, so the guys who are going to be playing get the bulk of the practice reps and keep honing in and improving their game.

The position that really seems to stand out on your roster is receiver. Damarlo Belcher was just named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, for example. How good do you feel about that group?


KW: I really like them. They were learning in the spring to go hard every day and play up to their potential. I actually think they're more talented than maybe they've played. They're comparable to a lot of the kids I had at Oklahoma. And the tight ends group complements them very well. So the quarterbacks will have some good skill kids around them. If we take care of the ball and get some consistent line play, we should be a team that has a chance offensively to score some points.

The receiver position, it's solid. It needs to be a strength of our team. I think we can go about five or six deep, and we'll throw a couple of freshmen in the mix that we're intrigued by. I thought in the spring, Kofi Hughes was really good in some scrimmages. He needs to be a better and more consistent practice player every day, but in the scrimmages he stuck out. Damarlo led the Big Ten in receptions last year. I really like Duwyce Wilson, a sophomore who's coming on strong. Jamonne Chester came on strong. Dre Muhammad is a slot kid who had a nice spring.

Then we have some freshmen we'll get in the mix. Shane Wynn is a small kid, but he's quick and fast. Cody Latimer is a big kid out of Dayton who might be the best athlete of the whole class. I think that group walks out there and is maybe one of the best groups on the team.

Obviously, the defense has been a sore spot for some time. What did you see from that side of the ball this spring, and how can it get better this summer?


KW: I didn't go back and study the past, but stats-wise and numbers-wise, it didn't look like we played great defense last year. I thought from where we started this spring to where we finished was good. I liked that there was some give and take between the offense and the defense -- there were some days in practice where the defense definitely had the edge. I'd actually like to see the defense pick it up and be a little bit more in control and steady every day.

I think we're going to be decent inside at defensive tackle, where we'll play four or five guys and maybe even a couple of freshmen. The defensive ends, I'd like to see those guys pick up their presence. Jeff Thomas and Leon Beckum are captain-type players for us at linebacker. We need a third 'backer to come through and some depth at 'backer. We might have to play some young guys there because we've got some second- and third-year guys who need to pick things up.

And in the back end, we need more consistent play. We need to start playing better. We made some changes in the scheme and structure of how we do things, so maybe that will hep. The bottom line is, you've got to be able to run, you've got to be able to tackle, you've got to be able to to cover, you've got to be able to make adjustments with checks. And you've got to mentally be a smart player.

We've got to play faster in the secondary. That doesn't mean just putting in a new player because his 40 time is faster. There are a lot of really good DBs who don't have great speed, but they're great technicians. Their knowledge is unbelievable, they've got great anticipation and they're great students.

Have you decided whether you will call plays this year?


KW: We'll go through the preseason and figure it out. I'm leery sometimes, because there's so much going on on the field, of what you can and can't do. We've got enough going on now with getting up to speed in recruiting and getting some families relocated and some things around here with our facilities and dressing up our building. We'll have to sit down and iron some things out.

But I was very comfortable in the spring. I did some of those things, and I had [assistant coaches] Kevin [Johns] and Rod [Smith] do some of those things. I think we'll collectively do it as a group, then in time determine maybe who makes the final call, whether it's myself or one of those guys, as the season approaches.

Lastly, you're opening at Lucas Oil Stadium this year, site of course of the Big Ten championship game. How does that help the program, and do you foresee more games there in the future?


KW: Well, it's Ball State's home game. For us, I'm not big on taking home games away from our place, just because of the fans and students and what it means economically. I am excited for our fan base that does travel from Iowa or Indianapolis or from the Northwest or Northeast corners of our state. And I do think it's kind of neat playing a game in a pro stadium. But I don't know if I would want to take a home game away from our campus.
We've been ranking each position group in the Big Ten, and so far we've looked at running backs and quarterbacks. Today, let's finish off the offensive skill positions with receivers and tight ends.

The Big Ten is blessed with plenty of standout wide receivers, but remember these rankings heavily account for overall depth at the position, not just isolated star power. We're also including the tight ends in this group while acknowledging that the best ones aren't necessarily big-time pass-catchers.

Here's how we rank them:

[+] EnlargeB.J. Cunningham
Andrew Weber/US PresswireB.J. Cunningham had the best numbers last season among a deep group of receivers and tight ends.
1. Michigan State: The Spartans may lack a true superstar, though senior B.J. Cunningham (50 catches for 611 yards and nine touchdowns in 2010) is pretty darn good. What Mark Dantonio can really count on is depth. Cunningham has good size at 6-foot-2, while Keshawn Martin is a speed-burner. Keith Nichol and Bennie Fowler fill out a solid cast of receivers, and when you throw in Brian Linthicum and Dion Sims at tight end, this group deserves the top spot.

2. Michigan: If Darryl Stonum weren't suspended indefinitely, this group might be No. 1. It's still pretty good as things stand now. Roy Roundtree leads the way after catching 72 passes for 935 yards and seven touchdowns last year, and Junior Hemingway is a strong secondary option for Denard Robinson. Tight end Kevin Koger is a third-year starter who can occasionally make big plays in the passing game.

3. Northwestern: Senior Jeremy Ebert (62 catches for 935 yards and eight touchdowns last season) was a first-team All-Big Ten performer as voted by the media. Demetrius Fields had 25 receptions last year, and the Wildcats are counting on big improvements from sophomores Rashad Lawrence, Tony Jones and Venric Mark. Northwestern uses its superback position as a tight end, and Drake Dunsmore had 40 catches from that spot last year.

4. Indiana: The Hoosiers languish at the bottom of many of these rankings, but receiver/tight end is a point of pride. Senior Damarlo Belcher led the Big Ten with 78 catches last year on his way to 832 yards. Even with the loss of Tandon Doss and Terrance Turner, who each had more than 60 catches in '10, new coach Kevin Wilson has a solid corps behind Belcher with Duwyce Wilson and Kofi Hughes, among others. And Ted Bolser is a highly productive tight end who had 27 catches for 407 yards and five scores a year ago.

5. Penn State: Three of the top four receivers from last year return, including No. 1 target Derek Moye (his 16.7 yards per catch average was second in the Big Ten a year ago). Justin Brown and Devon Smith need to continue moving forward. Will the Nittany Lions get anything out of Curtis Drake, who's trying to return from his second broken leg? Penn State hopes to get something out of the tight end position, where Andrew Szczerba and Garry Gilliam dealt with season-ending injuries last year.

6. Wisconsin: Once we reach the middle of these rankings, the units start to become interchangeable and a little indistinguishable. Wisconsin doesn't have to throw it too much because of its stellar running game, but the Badgers have some solid choices when they do go to the air. Senior Nick Toon has the talent to record more than the 36 catches and 459 yards he produced a year ago. Jared Abbrederis should continue to come along after a nice freshman campaign. There's potential but not much experience among the rest of the receivers. Star tight end Lance Kendricks will be tough to replace, but Jake Byrne is an outstanding blocker and Jacob Pedersen caught two touchdowns last year.

7. Nebraska: Brandon Kinnie is the leader here, and the 6-foot-3 senior isn't afraid to make the big catch. Freshmen Jamal Turner and Kenny Bell had nice springs and could add some playmaking skills to a largely unproven crew around Kinnie. Kyler Reed might be the most dangerous pass-catching tight end in the Big Ten, if not the country, after hauling in eight touchdowns and 18 yards per reception a year ago.

[+] EnlargeMarvin McNutt
Scott Boehm/Getty Images Marvin McNutt will be expected to be the No.1 wideout for the Hawkeyes this season.
8. Iowa: Senior Marvin McNutt is the go-to option after recording 861 yards and eight touchdowns last season. The Hawkeyes will look to junior Keenan Davis to improve and become the No. 2 target. Just about everyone else is green. Tight end is usually a strength for Kirk Ferentz and should be again with senior Brad Herman and a group of talented backups behind him.

9. Ohio State: Seems like we write this a lot, but the Buckeyes would be ranked higher if their star player in this group were available an entire season. But DeVier Posey's five-game suspension means this is an awfully young corps, and that inexperience showed with some inconsistent play this spring. Ohio State will need talented sophomore Corey "Philly" Brown to take a big leap forward and youngsters like Chris Fields, T.Y. Williams and James Louis to contribute in Posey's absence. Tight end Jake Stoneburner might have to become a bigger presence in the passing game.

10. Purdue: The Boilermakers have some decent depth but no proven stars. Antavian Edison is the leading returning receiver with just 314 yards last year, though the junior does have good speed. Justin Siller is talented but has had trouble staying healthy. Purdue lost two solid veterans at tight end in Kyle Adams and Jeff Lindsay and added a couple of potential replacements, including former basketball player Patrick Bade, this summer.

11. Minnesota: Da'Jon McKnight tied for second in the Big Ten last year with 10 receiving touchdowns. But the Gophers' second-leading receiver last season was MarQueis Gray, who's now their starting quarterback. Brandon Green could help after an injury-plagued season. Tight end Eric Lair can grab a few passes, as he did 39 times in 2010.

12. Illinois: The good news: A.J. Jenkins is a reliable weapon who had 746 yards and seven touchdowns last season. The bad news: There's not much experience behind him. Perhaps Ryan Lankford, who starred in the spring while Jenkins was out with an injury, will emerge as a star his sophomore year. Evan Wilson is back at tight end after starting 11 games as a freshman.

Big Ten scrimmage notes

April, 11, 2011
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The Big Ten featured only one spring game this weekend, but plenty of teams took to the field for scrimmages. I've compiled some scrimmage highlights from around the league based on reports from official team websites and other media sources. Several teams didn't provide specifics about their scrimmages, but I included what I could find.

ILLINOIS

The Illini scrimmaged for about 90 minutes Saturday, and all players were involved in contact aside from starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase.

Notes
  • The offense prevailed in the scrimmage and gashed the defense for several big runs. Troy Pollard took most of the reps at running back as Jason Ford sat out with a sore knee, and Pollard helped his cause with 110 rush yards on 19 carries. Scheelhaase completed 7 of 12 passes for 53 yards and added 58 yards on the ground, while backup Miles Osei had a 63-yards pass to Fred Sykes and finished the day with 165 yards through the air.
  • Coach Ron Zook singled out linebacker Houston Bates for his play in the scrimmage. Bates had a sack and a quarterback hurry. He saw increased playing time after Jonathan Brown was kicked out of the scrimmage after throwing a punch and drawing a personal foul penalty.
INDIANA

The Hoosiers held their second scrimmage of the spring Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. Check out coach Kevin Wilson's thoughts as well as some highlights.

Notes
  • The offense got the best of the defense Saturday after the D shined in Indiana's previous scrimmage. Receivers Duwyce Wilson and Kofi Hughes stood out in the highlights Indiana showed on its website, as Hughes had a long touchdown reception and Wilson was forced out just shy of the goal line. Both players have been impressive this spring and should complement top wideout Damarlo Belcher in the fall.
IOWA

No official information from Iowa's scrimmage Saturday, but here's a photo gallery and some recent player interviews from the team's website.

MICHIGAN

No official information from Michigan's scrimmage Saturday, but here are video interviews with defensive tackle Mike Martin and offensive lineman Patrick Omameh. Running backs Vincent Smith, Michael Cox and Stephen Hopkins had some nice runs in the video highlights.

MICHIGAN STATE

The Spartans held their first jersey scrimmage Friday and the defense prevailed 55-45 in a modified scoring system. The defense had 18 ways to score points, while the offense had 11 ways to score, including touchdowns and field goals.

Notes
  • The defense dominated the scrimmage, holding the offense without a first down on the first five possessions and without points for the first 13 possessions. Michigan State's D recorded three sacks and two interceptions during the stifling stanza. The only two touchdowns scored came during the goal line and red zone portions of the scrimmage.
  • Defensive ends William Gholston and Tyler Hoover combined for nine tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and a pass breakup. Sophomore linebacker TyQuan Hammock recorded an interception. "The defense played well -- tackled effectively, pressured the quarterback and came away with some turnovers," coach Mark Dantonio said in a news release.
  • Starting quarterback Kirk Cousins had a rough day (6-for-16 passing, 41 yards, INT), although he didn't get much help from his receivers, who dropped three passes. Backup Andrew Maxwell completed 15 of 26 passes for 116 yards with an interception.
  • The touchdowns came from Edwin Baker (22-yard run) and Le'Veon Bell (6-yard run). Receiver Keith Mumphery caught a 43-yard pass from Maxwell.
MINNESOTA

The Gophers scrimmaged Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium and ran about 120 plays.

Notes
  • Minnesota's defense held the upper hand as the offense struggled to gain a first down early in the scrimmage. The defensive line had a very good day as tackles Brandon Jacobs and Brandon Kirksey both stood out. Jacobs sacked No. 1 quarterback MarQueis Gray and Kirksey recorded a blocked field goal attempt. Ends D.L. Wilhite and Ra'Shede Hageman also made some plays. "The defensive line got up the field a lot more than we have been. [It was] a lot more aggressive," coach Jerry Kill told reporters. "And we need that. We need more push. We had nine sacks last year, and that can't happen."
  • Gray and top receiver Da'Jon McKnight hooked up on receptions of 45 and 20 yards. McKnight also recorded a punt block in the scrimmage.
  • Reserve quarterback Tom Parish threw two interceptions and fumbled a snap. Moses Alipate ran a few series at quarterback and led a scoring drive.
NEBRASKA

The Huskers ran about 150 plays in a scrimmage Saturday in Lincoln. Quarterbacks Brion Carnes, Cody Green and Kody Spano took most of the reps and drew praise from coach Bo Pelini.
  • The coaches limited reps for quarterback Taylor Martinez after the sophomore hurt his toe in a recent workout. Running back Rex Burkhead participated in the scrimmage and "looked great," according to Pelini, although Burkhead's reps were limited as well.
  • Nebraska had two false-start penalties and one fumble during the scrimmage. "That's not bad," Pelini said. "Most of it is with the young guys. It shows me the emphasis is working and there's progress, but one's too many as far I'm concerned."
NORTHWESTERN

The Wildcats scrimmaged Saturday in Evanston in preparation for this week's spring game.

Notes
  • Top running back Mike Trumpy had runs of 33 and 25 yards, while Tyris Jones added a scoring run. Jones has had a really nice spring for the Wildcats, who are looking for more options in the backfield.
  • Trevor Siemian and Evan Watkins took the reps at quarterback as Kain Colter was held out of the scrimmage. Siemian completed 8 of 12 passes for 86 yards with an interception, while Watkins, victimized by dropped passes, completed 8 of 21 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown strike to Charles Brown.
  • Defensive end Tyler Scott picked off Siemian on the second play of the scrimmage. Siemian later responded with a 36-yard pass to Rashad Lawrence. Demetrius Fields led the receivers with five receptions, while walk-on Torin Dupper had three catches for 46 yards.
OHIO STATE

The Buckeyes held a special-teams scrimmage followed by a full jersey scrimmage Saturday in Ohio Stadium. The team went through about 20 possessions and the offense prevailed 56-45.
  • Receiver DeVier Posey recorded two touchdown receptions, a 33-yarder from Joe Bauserman and an 8-yarder from Taylor Graham. Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller had the only other touchdown of the scrimmage on an 11-yard run.
  • Bauserman completed passes of 33 and 16 yards and also threw an interception on a pass tipped by defensive lineman John Simon. Graham completed 10 of 20 passes for 80 yards, while Miller hit on 4 of 6 passes for 43 yards and looked impressive on the touchdown run. Kenny Guiton struggled at quarterback, leading the offense to only one score (field goal) in six possessions.
  • Posey recorded five receptions for 83 yards and two scores, while the other scholarship wideouts combined for only five receptions. Think Ohio State will miss No. 8 in the first five games?
  • Senior running back Dan Herron didn't get much work Saturday, and Jaamal Berry and Rod Smith stood out among the backs with several nice gains.
  • Defensive linemen Adam Bellamy and Melvin Fellows both recorded sacks, while other defensive standouts included cornerback Travis Howard and linebacker Etienne Sabino.
PENN STATE

The Lions scrimmaged Saturday, but there's not much info out there aside from this ($$$).

WISCONSIN

The Badgers held a scrimmage Saturday, running more than 120 snaps, and coach Bret Bielema shares his thoughts here.
  • Sophomore linebacker Conor O'Neill had a big day with interceptions on back-to-back plays, picking off Joe Brennan and Joel Stave. Wisconsin auditioned O'Neill at safety last year, and his experience defending the pass is paying off.
  • Bielema said center Peter Konz will miss the rest of the spring because of ankle and knee injuries. Konz will undergo minor knee surgery and should be fine for fall camp. Versatile sophomore Ryan Groy is seeing time at center and can play all three interior line spots.
  • Remember Zach Brown? The running back is still around in Madison and hopes to enter a crowded backfield this fall. Brown had a 17-yard touchdown reception and an 8-yard scoring run Saturday. "Zach is an angry running back," Bielema told reporters. "Everybody wants to talk about those other guys. People forget he ran for 200 yards [in a game] as a freshman, and he has won some games for us."
It's all over in Bloomington, Ind., and here are my quick thoughts on Northwestern-Indiana.

Northwestern 20, Indiana 17: Wins never come easily for Northwestern, which found a way to make things interesting in the end before surviving to become bowl eligible. Six wins should put a team in the postseason this year, so it's safe to say Northwestern is going to a bowl game for the third consecutive season, a first in team history. This wasn't the shootout many had expected, and both defenses deserve a lot of credit. Until allowing a gorgeous Ben Chappell touchdown pass to Duwyce Wilson with 44 seconds left, Northwestern's defense did a really nice job of containing the Hoosiers in the second half. The Wildcats received another big performance from quarterback Dan Persa (18-for-28 passing, 212 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT) and found a way to close out the game when Persa left with an apparent head injury. The Wildcats also got lifts from receiver Jeremy Ebert (2 TD receptions), kicker Stefan Demos (2-for-2 on field goals) and running back Mike Trumpy, who became the first NU player to record a 100-yard rushing performance since 2008. Chappell had another 300-yard passing performance but couldn't get his team in the end zone enough. The heat likely will rise on coach Bill Lynch, who needs to win a Big Ten game or two down the stretch.
The red zone was pretty much a dead zone for Indiana's offense in 2009.

The Hoosiers had little trouble moving the ball inside an opponent's 20-yard line, but once there, drives typically stalled. Indiana finished 10th in the Big Ten in both red-zone scoring percentage (77.3, 34 of 44 chances) and touchdowns scored in the red zone (22).

[+] EnlargeDamarlo Belcher
AJ Mast/Icon SMIAt 6-foot-5, Damarlo Belcher has the size to be the red zone threat Indiana has been missing.
Not surprisingly, Indiana made red-zone offense one of its top offseason priorities as it tries to overcome the near misses that surfaced throughout Big Ten play in 2009.

The solution seems pretty obvious: Damarlo Belcher.

At 6-foot-5, Belcher has the size and ability to take Indiana out of the red in the red zone.

Belcher had a good start to his junior season, recording a game-high seven receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's rout of Towson. Although the scoring pass stretched 41 yards, Belcher set up another Hoosiers touchdown with a 19-yard reception down to the Towson 2-yard line.

"You hope he's a big factor [in the red zone]," Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said. "He does have the ability to go up over the top of people. The other thing is, when the field gets constricted down there, whether it's slant routes as well as fades, something where he can shield a guy with his body.

"We work on that a lot, and he's getting better at it."

Belcher, who ranked fifth in the Big Ten in receptions (61) last season but had only five touchdown catches, has confidence he can be a difference-maker near the goal line.

"We’ve got to make more plays in the red zone," he said. "I love the jump ball. I can play a little basketball."

Belcher was an all-area basketball player in Fort Wayne, Ind., and he takes every chance he gets to hoop it up with his teammates at Indiana. All the wide receivers play, and they had pickup games throughout the summer.

Although Belcher is the tallest member of the corps, Indiana has three 6-foot-3 receivers in Tandon Doss, Terrance Turner and Duwyce Wilson.

"We ball a lot in the offseason," Belcher said. "Tandon, he's a smooth player. Same with T-squared [Turner]."

But Belcher puts them to shame, at least according to him.

"I dunked on Terrance before," he said, "I dunked on Duwyce Wilson. I do a lot of tricks. We all play exactly the same, but I'm better than all of them."

Mitchell Evans begs to differ.

"That is a false statement," said Evans, a former wide receiver now at safety. "I know some other guys can shut him down. I’m pretty confident I could shut him down, to be honest. I don't know how he could say that.

"He doesn’t have good enough ball-handling to get to the hole."

The debate continues about Belcher's basketball skills, but when it comes to football, he can make Indiana's red-zone woes disappear.

"We worked on our red zone plays this summer, we did it every day after our conditioning," Belcher said. "We're going to be way better this year, mark my words."
We'll find out Thursday night just how deep Indiana will be at wide receiver in 2010.

The Hoosiers will open the season without first-team All-Big Ten receiver Tandon Doss, who will miss the Towson game because of a lingering groin issue. Doss, who led Indiana and finished third in the Big Ten in both receptions (77) and receiving yards (962) as a sophomore last season, should be back after the bye week for a Sept. 18 road game against Western Kentucky.
"He's been day to day," coach Bill Lynch told reporters Monday night in Bloomington, "but I thought in fairness to him and probably the other guys, he's just not making the progress that he needs to to play Thursday night at full speed."

The only upside of Doss' absence is that Indiana will be able to evaluate its other receivers in featured roles. Junior Damarlo Belcher and senior Terrance Turner are expected to take steps in 2010, and redshirt freshman Duwyce Wilson will start in Doss' spot.

Indiana shouldn't have trouble beating Towson, and strong debut by those three wideouts should make the passing game even more dangerous when Doss returns.
Welcome to National Depth Chart Day. No day on the college football calendar inspires more curiosity about depth charts than the Monday before the season, when most teams release their Week 1 two-deeps.

(And then there's Purdue, which didn't include a depth chart in its game notes for Notre Dame. Ugh.)

I've had the chance to review depth charts from those programs that released them today -- two-deeps from Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota are coming soon -- and I checked in on several coaches' news conferences.

Here's what stood out:

INDIANA
  • Even though Indiana will shift to a 3-4 defensive alignment this year, the depth chart lists a 4-3 with Darius Johnson and Fred Jones as the starting ends and Chad Sherer and Tyler Replogle flanking junior college transfer Jeff Thomas at linebacker.
  • Interesting to see several veteran offensive linemen like Justin Pagan and Cody Faulkner listed as backups rather than starters. Junior Andrew McDonald steps into some big shoes at left tackle as Rodger Saffold departs to the NFL.
  • The backup quarterback job remains open, as Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker are both listed as No. 2 behind Ben Chappell.
  • Indiana expects big things from redshirt freshman Duwyce Wilson, listed as a starter at wide receiver, kick returner and punt returner.
IOWA
  • Sophomores Micah Hyde and Greg Castillo are listed as the starting cornerbacks. Shaun Prater doesn't appear on the depth chart after dealing with a leg injury in camp. Prater hasn't been officially ruled out for the Eastern Illinois game, but I wouldn't expect to see much of him on Saturday.
  • James Ferentz is listed as the starting center, a spot where Iowa might be a little thin following Josh Koeppel's motorcycle accident Monday morning.
  • Starting defensive end Broderick Binns is suspended for the opener, so Christian Ballard is listed as a possible starter at both end and tackle. Mike Daniels and Lebron Daniel are the next options behind Ballard.
MICHIGAN
  • Sophomores Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier and freshman Devin Gardner are listed as co-starters at quarterback. Head coach Rich Rodriguez reiterated Monday that Gardner won't redshirt this fall.
  • Vincent Smith and Michael Shaw are listed as co-starters at running back, with Michael Cox behind them.
  • True freshman Carvin Johnson is listed as the starter at the spur position (safety/linebacker). Pretty big surprise here, and a testament to Johnson's work in camp.
  • Senior James Rogers steps into Troy Woolfolk's starting cornerback spot opposite J.T. Floyd.
  • Receivers Martavious Odoms and Kelvin Grady clearly showed enough in camp to be listed as starters or possible starters against Connecticut.
NORTHWESTERN
  • Sophomore running back Arby Fields returned to practice Monday and wore a no-contact jersey after being sidelined with a shoulder problem. He's listed as a co-starter at running back with Jacob Schmidt and Stephen Simmons. Northwestern wanted a clear No. 1 running back to emerge in camp, but Fields' injury changed the plan.
  • Junior Bryce McNaul is listed as the third top linebacker alongside returning starters Quentin Davie and Nate Williams. McNaul won the job in camp.
  • Venric Mark is the only true freshman listed on the depth chart, both as a backup wide receiver and a co-starter at punt returner. I'll go out on a huge limb (sarcasm) and predict Mark will be the man on returns for the Wildcats very shortly.
OHIO STATE
  • Junior defensive end Nathan Williams, a projected starter, will miss the Marshall game with a knee injury. He should be back shortly thereafter. Solomon Thomas will start in Williams' spot Thursday night.
  • Starting cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring) is questionable for the Marshall game, but corner Devon Torrence (hamstring) should be fine.
  • Sophomore C.J. Barnett's strong performance in camp lifted him ahead of Orhian Johnson on the Week 1 depth chart. Johnson missed a chunk of camp with an injury.
  • Start salivating, Buckeyes fans, because running backs Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry likely will handle kickoff returns against Marshall.
PENN STATE
  • Sophomores Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin and freshman Robert Bolden are listed as co-starters at quarterback for the Youngstown State game.
  • Sophomore Devon Smith's strong camp landed him a starting spot at both receiver and kick returner, and a backup role on punt returns.
  • Redshirt freshman Garry Gilliam is listed as the starting tight end, as Andrew Szczerba likely will miss the opener with a back injury. Penn State obviously is thin here after losing Andrew Quarless and Mickey Shuler.
  • Veterans Nate Stupar, Chris Colasanti and Bani Gbadyu are listed as the starting linebackers, with promising younger players like Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges right behind them.
WISCONSIN
  • After a very impressive camp, freshman running back James White appears at No. 3 on the depth chart behind both John Clay and Montee Ball. White also is the No. 2 punt returner behind David Gilreath. His emergence likely will result in veteran Zach Brown redshirting the season.
  • Senior Blake Sorensen likely will start at outside linebacker, as Mike Taylor continues to rehab after undergoing a second procedure on his knee in camp. Culmer St. Jean and Chris Borland are listed as the other starting linebackers.
  • The starting cornerback spots remain open, as Niles Brinkley, Antonio Fenelus and Devin Smith will compete in practice this week.

Big Ten position rankings: WR/TE

August, 23, 2010
8/23/10
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The position rankings move on to the wide receivers and tight ends, who will be grouped together. The Big Ten remains a defense-first conference, but I really like the depth at receiver and, to a lesser extent, tight end throughout the league. Although star power was considered, I put a very strong emphasis on overall depth and 2010 potential here.

This was the toughest position to whittle down to five (actually, six), but here goes ...

[+] EnlargeCunningham/Dell
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesMark Dell (left) and B.J. Cunningham headline an experienced group of receivers for Michigan State.
1. Michigan State: Sure, there's a lack of star power entering the season, but trust me, that will change. There's not a deeper group of receivers and tight ends in the Big Ten than this one. Veterans B.J. Cunningham and Mark Dell anchor the receiving corps, and dangerous speedster Keshawn Martin will play a much bigger role in the offense this season. Converted quarterback Keith Nichol also joins the mix there. Michigan State also boasts three talented tight ends, including Mackey Award watch list members Charlie Gantt and Brian Linthicum.

2. Indiana: The Hoosiers return two of the Big Ten's top five receivers in Tandon Doss, a first-team all-conference selection, and Damarlo Belcher. They also add experience with Terrance Turner and exciting young players like Duwyce Wilson and Dre Muhammad. Overall depth is a bit of a question mark, but both Doss and Belcher will get the attention of opposing defensive backs after combining for 1,732 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last fall. Max Dedmond returns at tight end after recording 18 receptions in 2009.

3. Wisconsin: I'm not completely sold on this entire group, although receiver Nick Toon and tight end Lance Kendricks should contend for All-Big Ten honors this fall. Isaac Anderson and David Gilreath both boast a ton of experience, but must take the next step in their development. Wisconsin could use a rebound season from Kyle Jefferson, and walk-on Jared Abbrederis continues to make plays in practice and should be a contributor this fall.

4. Purdue: Surprised by my choices so far? You won't be when the season starts. Like Michigan State, Purdue's depth will reveal itself this fall. The Boilers are led by Keith Smith, a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2009 and the league's top returning receiver (1,100 yards). He's joined by two veterans in receiver Cortez Smith and tight end Kyle Adams. But the real boost could come from young players like Antavian Edison and Gary Bush, as well as Justin Siller, the team's former starting quarterback who brings size and big-play ability to the perimeter.

T-5: Penn State: I'm tempted to rank the Lions a little higher but want to see how the entire group performs this season, provided they get the ball thrown to them. Derek Moye has all the tools to be an All-Big Ten receiver after recording 48 receptions for 765 yards and six touchdowns last season. Graham Zug is a very solid target who reached the end zone seven times in 2009. Although Chaz Powell moves to defense, Penn State boasts several exciting young wideouts like Devon Smith. Tight end is a big question mark after the departures of Andrew Quarless and Mickey Shuler.

T-5. Iowa: The Hawkeyes boast the league's top big-play tandem at receiver in Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt. DJK is on track to become the team's all-time leading receiver this fall, and McNutt averaged 19.8 yards per catch and scored eight touchdowns in 2009. I like the potential of guys like Keenan Davis and Paul Chaney Jr., who returns from a knee injury. Tony Moeaki is a major loss at tight end, but Allen Reisner returns and talented freshman C.J. Fiedorowicz enters the fold.

Just missed the cut: Ohio State, Michigan

Up next: Quarterbacks

More rankings ...
Wisconsin running back John Clay might be the Big Ten's best hope for the Heisman Trophy this season, which will make you scratch your head after reading this next statement.

The Badgers can survive without him.

Not to diminish Clay's size and power, which Wisconsin would miss if he goes down, but the Badgers aren't exactly starved for running backs. Montee Ball showed flashes as a true freshman the past season, and Zach Brown boasts more experience (36 games played) than any other Big Ten backup back.

And whomever carries the ball for Wisconsin will benefit from working behind one of the nation's top offensive lines. Left tackle Gabe Carimi and guard John Moffitt get most of the buzz, but Wisconsin returns all five starters up front, as well as others like Bill Nagy who boast game experience.

The Badgers are one of several Big Ten teams who can survive the loss of a key player or two, as long as it isn't quarterback Scott Tolzien.

The reason why Ohio State has won or shared the past five Big Ten championships: their depth chart. Take the linebacker position, for example. The Buckeyes have two of the Big Ten's best in Ross Homan and Brian Rolle, but they also can turn to a guy like Etienne Sabino, or younger backers Storm Klein, Dorian Bell and Andrew Sweat. Tyler Moeller also should return to the field this fall, although he'll likely see more time at safety.

Indiana's Tandon Doss and Purdue's Keith Smith were the media's picks for the first-team All-Big Ten squad in 2009, and both players are primed for big seasons this fall. While both also would be big losses, their teams have other options. Indiana can turn to Damarlo Belcher and Terrance Turner, or younger players like Duwyce Wilson. Purdue always boasts depth at receiver and has options like Cortez Smith, Antavian Edison and Gary Bush behind Smith. And don't forget about incoming freshman O.J. Ross or Justin Siller, the reinstated former starting quarterback.

Speaking of the offensive skill positions, Michigan State and Iowa boast similar depth. Both teams have potential All-Big Ten players -- Keshawn Martin, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Marvin McNutt, Keith Nichol -- but can truly lean on their strength in numbers. Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins is a very lucky man, as he'll have four capable wideouts, three capable tight ends and at least two capable running backs at his disposal. Iowa's Ricky Stanzi also has weapons at wideout with Johnson-Koulianos and McNutt, as well as three solid options in the backfield with Jewel Hampton, Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher.

Michigan has several areas of concern entering 2010, but offensive line shouldn't be one of them. The Wolverines return five linemen who started part or all of the past season, led by veteran guard Stephen Schilling. Michigan has five offensive linemen who have three years of experience under their belts, not to mention promising young prospects like Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield.

Flipping to the other side of the line, look at Penn State. Sure, the Nittany Lions lose Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Year Jared Odrick, but there's no reason to doubt defensive line coach Larry Johnson and his personnel. Penn State will have depth up front yet again with guys like Jack Crawford, Ollie Ogbu, Devon Still, Eric Latimore and Kevion Latham.
Indiana went 1-7 in Big Ten play last season, a mark that seems all too familiar for the Cream and Crimson.

But a closer look shows that it wasn't your standard 1-7, if there is such a thing. Indiana held fourth-quarter leads against Michigan, Iowa and Northwestern, only to see each slip away. It jumped out to a 10-0 lead at Penn State before allowing 24 unanswered points in a 31-20 loss. It twice closed to within three points of Wisconsin in the fourth quarter of a Nov. 7 game, only to fall 31-28.

Hoosiers players and coaches know they were close in 2009. They don't need to be reminded of it.

And if you choose to rehash the past, they'll likely drop an F-bomb or two.

"As a whole team, the offseason theme was finish," said co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Joe Palcic. "We have to learn to finish games."

[+] EnlargeBen Chappell
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesBen Chappell led Indiana to plenty of leads last season, but the Hoosiers had a hard time finishing with wins.
The message especially resonates with Palcic's defenders, who were on the field for all those lost leads last season. The Hoosiers led Michigan 33-29 with five minutes left before the Wolverines marched downfield and scored on a 26-yard touchdown strike. Indiana dominated Iowa for three quarters, picking off quarterback Ricky Stanzi five times, but Stanzi caught fire in the fourth quarter, tossing touchdown passes of 92 and 66 yards on consecutive plays against a shorthanded Hoosiers secondary.

A week later, IU surged out to a 28-3 lead against Northwestern, but the Wildcats fought back and ultimately marched downfield for the game-winning field goal.

"That’s three games right there that the defense could be more consistent and learn how to finish," Palcic said. "And not only not giving up the big play, but let's make a play to win it in those situations."

Indiana's offense has the same mind-set after a season with some adequate yardage production, especially through the air, but not the points to go along with it.

The Hoosiers had the Big Ten's No. 3 passer in quarterback Ben Chappell and two of the league's top six receivers in Tandon Doss (2nd, 80.2 ypg) and Damarlo Belcher (6th, 64.2 ypg). They also had a running back in Darius Willis with breakaway ability.

But Indiana still finished 10th in the league in red zone offense, scoring on just 34 of 44 chances and reaching the end zone on only 22 of those opportunities. Not surprisingly, the red zone was a major focal point for the unit this spring.

"Just minor mistakes here and there," offensive coordinator Matt Canada explained. "We have to correct those issues and make plays when we’re given an opportunity. Just finish. Finish every drive. It’s a bottom-line business, and we have to score more points."

Canada also identifies third-down efficiency as an area that must be upgraded in 2010. Indiana tied for seventh in the league in third-down conversions last fall (39.1 percent), and the biggest problems, according to Canada, came on third-and-short situations.

The Hoosiers hope Willis and others can produce a consistent rushing attack, which was a chief goal of the pistol formation but hasn't truly come to fruition. While the run game remains a question mark, Indiana has more than enough weapons to be better in the red zone. Belcher is a big target at 6-foot-5, and Doss (6-3), Terrance Turner (6-3) and Duwyce Wilson all boast good size.

"We feel like there's plenty of weapons and plenty of things we can do in the red zone and anywhere out there, with all the kids we have at the skill positions, " Canada said. "It’s a matter of our guys understanding that it’s hard to score, it’s hard to move the football against anybody. And when you get it down there, you get an opportunity, you have to score touchdowns.

"We're bringing a real awareness to our team that it's what we have to do."

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