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Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Converted cornerback Fisher leads Hoosiers in tackles

Ray Fisher

With two games down, Ray Fisher gives himself a “C+.”

But Fisher, the Hoosiers’ senior wide receiver-turned-cornerback, is earning higher praise from the coaching staff after leading IU in tackles in its first two games.

Fisher looks like “a natural” on defense, IU coach Bill Lynch said.

“I haven’t played the best football I could play,” Fisher said of his performance thus far. “I’ve only played two games, so I’m still learning every day.”

In his first two starts at cornerback for the Hoosiers, Fisher leads the team in solo tackles with 12 while also serving as the punt returner on special teams.

Lynch decided during spring practice to convert the wide-out to defense.

Fisher’s 5-foot-9-inch build was a factor in the switch, because Fisher’s size works better in the cornerback position.

The exchange shook up the offense and defense – Fisher ranks eighth all-time in receptions with 118 and has accumulated 1,070 career receiving yards.

However, with spring and summer practices to adjust to the new position, Lynch said his conversion has been seamless.

“It fits him very, very well,” Lynch said. “I think we saw it all the way back in spring practice – that it was going to be a good spot for him.”

Fisher said he has noticed some differences between playing offense and defense and thinks the defense allows him more openness.

“The offense is ‘You’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that,’ but with defense you’re a little bit more free out there,” Fisher said.

Fisher joins a secondary that struggled in some areas last season after the graduation of cornerback Tracy Porter following the 2007 season.

The Hoosiers had a school record for fewest interceptions in 2008 with six. The Hoosiers have yet to get an interception this season.

Co-defensive coordinator Joe Palcic said the interceptions will come with execution.

“Interceptions is a component of being in the right place,” Palcic said. “So they’ll come to us. There’s no panic. We’re getting some fumbles, forcing turnovers. The interceptions will come.”

Fisher echoed Palcic’s sentiments.

“We haven’t had the chance to get one, but it’ll be coming, I promise you,” Fisher said.
And with Fisher in the secondary, Palcic is confident the group will put up better stats in 2009.

“He’s made plays versus the run; he’s made plays versus the pass,” Palcic said. “He’s passed my expectations of what I thought he was going to do.”

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