In the middle of IU football’s final spring practice, IU women’s basketball sophomore guard Tyra Buss was throwing passes to sophomore receiver Simmie Cobbs.
That about summed up the seriousness of Thursday’s practice, which was really more of a fan experience.
The athletes spent the practice playing with kids and interacting with fans. IU Coach Kevin Wilson was put in charge of a dance off. Even reporters were getting their chances to catch balls thrown by sophomore quarterback Zander Diamont.
The point of all this being — Thursday’s final practice was of the spring season, by design, had a relaxed atmosphere.
“Moving forward, not that we’d do it again, but I think the people appreciated it,” Wilson said of the event. “Maybe we can make it better going forward.”
The players would eventually start working on drills in front of a smaller crowd that included members of various IU Athletics teams including the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Most of their work was light. Fans were able to stand along the sidelines and in sectioned-off areas to watch the players go through their workouts up close.
“It’s amazing to see the sheer athleticism and size of some of these guys up close,” sophomore Michelangelo Federici said. Federici participated in the events with some of his fraternity brothers.
In more pertinent football news, UAB transfer wide receiver Marqui Hawkins was active in drills after being limited throughout the spring.
The redshirt sophomore caught a touchdown in one of the team’s redzone drills.
“It was nice to see him get some work, get a few catches,” Wilson said. “Probably more than anything just for self-confidence and self-esteem because he’s been working out, but he’s missed some of the work.”
Wilson, offensive coordinator Kevin Johns and defensive coordinator Brian Knorr all said they were pleased with the progress the team made on the spring.
Johns was particularly impressed with some of the work his receivers and young running backs have done. Knorr said he was excited with the growth in the pass rush and the linebackers.
Wilson, when asked what one player got the most out of the spring, said he felt it was good for rising senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld to return to the field.
As the team enters a more relaxed period, the Hoosiers will have a few months to work in the strength room and prepare for practice to start up again in the fall.
IU’s last practice wasn’t as much of a practice as it was a fan experience, but Wilson was still pleased with his team’s work. He said he enjoyed hearing friends of the players giving them a hard time and enjoying themselves in the relaxed atmosphere.
“It was fun,” Wilson said. “It was cool.”