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Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Hoosiers take next step with first practice

Football with the Boys & Girls Club

Fresh with expectations for a high-powered offense and questions about who will step up on defense, the IU football team opened practice Friday — the first step in the team’s bid to improve upon last year’s 4-8 record.

“When you have some disappointing losses that we had last year, you can go one of two ways,” IU coach Bill Lynch said of his team’s overall attitude. “Just watching what they did (Friday), they certainly did their work during the summer.”

Always a very organized session, practice featured the Hoosiers splitting off for individual position drills before coming together to run set plays with the first, second and third team defenses.

NCAA rules kept the players in helmets-only mode for the Friday practice during an “acclimation period” that forces teams to work their first two days of practice in just helmets and the next two days in helmets and shoulder pads.

The Hoosiers should be in full uniform by Tuesday, with full contact drills starting Wednesday.

As expected, fifth-year senior quarterback Ben Chappell was under center with the first team offense featuring receivers junior Damarlo Belcher, junior Tandon Doss and senior Terrance Turner.

“Coming out with no pads on is obviously tough for the running game,” Chappell said. “I thought seven-on-seven was really crisp. It was fun to get back on the field.”

Sophomore running back Darius Willis, plagued by some nagging injuries a year ago, got extensive work in the backfield and appeared healthy during Friday’s practice.

“He’s bigger, he’s stronger and he’s every bit of fast as he’s been,” Lynch said. “He knows the offense, and I think that’s really big. If we can keep him healthy and keep him going, he’s going to have a big year for us.”

On defense — the biggest question mark for the Hoosiers this season — Lynch admired the depth he felt his squad has versus what they played with a year ago in the secondary. The Hoosiers return just four players who started five or more games a year ago on defense.

“I think the competition there will be really good and that we’ll have some guys surface out of there that will have a real impact on the defense,” Lynch said.

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