Support the Indiana Daily Student to beat Purdue's student newspaper, the Exponent, through making a donation to the IDS Legacy Fund! Whichever publication raises more money before the Purdue v. IU football game Nov. 26 "wins" the challenge, but all donations go to support student journalism at the respective publications. To help IU beat Purdue and support the IDS, follow this link to donate.
Indiana Daily Student

Longtime linebacker Clyde Newton prepares to play running back in 2016

Linebacker Clyde Newton attempts to tackle Duke running back Jela Duncan during the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 26 at Yankee Stadium. The Hoosiers lost, 44-41 in overtime.
Linebacker Clyde Newton attempts to tackle Duke running back Jela Duncan during the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 26 at Yankee Stadium. The Hoosiers lost, 44-41 in overtime.

Deland McCullough makes certain everyone in his position group is ready come game time.

The IU running backs coach gives them first-team reps in practice. He provides them with opportunities to earn his, offensive coordinator Kevin Johns’ and IU Coach Kevin Wilson’s trust. He allows them time to build their confidence, so the coaches can have confidence in them.

That’s held true for senior Clyde Newton, even as he practices alongside 2016 Doak Walker Award Watch List member and IU junior Devine Redding.

Newton, who made the transition from linebacker to running back after spring practices, has had the most reps of any IU running back during fall camp.

Although he was a potential starter this fall on defense, started all 13 games at strong-side linebacker in 2015 and made 37 total appearances at linebacker through three years in Bloomington, he wanted a change.

The defense is switching to a 4-2-5 scheme this season under new defensive coordinator Tom Allen, which takes away two traditional linebacker spots from last season's 3-4 set up. 

So Newton wanted to use his final year of eligibility to put a hurt on opposing defenses rather than offenses, as he did at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Florida. Newton, who played both running back and linebacker at Charlotte, rushed for 1,938 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior.

McCullough’s witnessed that skill in fall camp practices.

“He attacks you,” McCullough said. “When guys come after Clyde they’ve got to think twice because they know they’re in for a fight.”

Junior linebacker Tegray Scales has seen it too.

Scales headlines a still deep linebacker corps with junior Marcus Oliver and senior T.J. Simmons, and as a fierce competition for playing time persists for a group fighting for less starting spots in the 4-2-5 scheme, Newton is still pushing them to be better.

“He’s got a competitive edge on offense that makes us work harder on defense,” Scales said. “He helps us with tackling because there are bigger backs in the Big Ten. It all worked out for the best.”

Scales admits it hurts to lose an athlete like Newton on defense, but acknowledges Newton had to do what’s best for him and anything that makes the team better is ultimately the right decision.

“At the end of the day it’s all a team sport,” Scales said. “We’re on the same team, so whatever helps the team win.”

Newton’s specific role in helping IU win is still being decided, McCullough said. The coaching staff has some ideas of what he could do for the offense at the moment, and maximizing those opportunities for Newton is where McCullough’s focus is at.

The improvements Newton’s made just from the beginning of fall camp to now have aided that. He’s understood the finer points of what it means to be a running back, points that go further than just getting the ball and running.

“There’s angles, there’s reads, there’s things you’ve got to have a feel for,” McCullough said. “You’ve got to run with a pace when this particular look presents itself. That’s what Clyde has made a nice transition over into doing. It’s not just being big, strong, running up somebody’s back. We’re trying to find seams. We’ve got answers, he just needs to look at them and take coaching.”

As a senior, but first time member of the running back group, Newton’s taken a back seat to Redding and others as the position’s leaders. He just wants to learn, McCullough said, and is leading by example.

Newton adds another body to a group which boasts many who are physically and mentally prepared for game action, and his approach is no different.

“All the guys in my room have got that killer mentality,” McCullough said. “He fit right in perfectly. We just took the defensive mentality and funneled it toward offense, which is why I think it was seamless based on the mentality of our room.” 

Like what you're reading?

Get more award-winning content delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Recap.

Signup today!
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 Indiana Daily Student