Indiana Daily Student

Indiana football defensive leaders discuss expectations for the team following the bye week

<p>Then-sophomore linebacker Cam Jones high fives then-freshman defensive lineman Sio Nofoagatoto’a on Oct. 12, 2019, in Memorial Stadium. With multiple players injured, the team took advantage of their week off and took time to rest and regroup.</p>

Then-sophomore linebacker Cam Jones high fives then-freshman defensive lineman Sio Nofoagatoto’a on Oct. 12, 2019, in Memorial Stadium. With multiple players injured, the team took advantage of their week off and took time to rest and regroup.

 

Indiana football got a much-needed week off following four straight losses in Big Ten play, giving the team extra time to reflect on the 3-5 record overall. As Indiana prepares for a big game against No. 16 Penn State at home, the team took time to recover physically and mentally.  

While the Hoosiers lost junior receiver Cam Camper to a torn ACL this week, the return of senior linebacker Cam Jones is still up in the air. 

Fellow senior Tiawan Mullen spoke about the importance of Jones’ presence on the sideline, even when he isn’t playing. Jones has been absent from the defensive unit since the Nebraska game Oct. 1, when he suffered an undisclosed foot injury in the first half and played out the rest of the game. 

“His leadership has been strong, that’s just Cam’s personality,” Mullen said. “He gets the guys going in the linebacker room, he gets the young guys going and he gets the team going. He is just always positive and a great motivator.” 

With so many Indiana players dealing with injuries both minor and major, the week off was beneficial for the healing process. 

Players such as senior receiver DJ Matthews, junior tight end AJ Barner and Jones could all benefit from the increased treatment and rest. Barner dealt with a foot injury for a couple weeks and Matthews has been careful with his knee following the game against the University of Cincinnati on Sept. 24. 

Senior safety Devon Matthews said the bye week is not only important for the physical aspects of play, but also the mental side of the game. 

“We just regrouped and refreshed our minds, really clear our minds of what happened before the bye week,” Matthews said. “We just must come into this week with the mindset to win out and finish out this season strong.” 

Dropping five straight games has an impact on team morale, but the skid doesn’t seem to have affected the Hoosiers yet. 

After facing Penn State, Indiana will play two away games against Ohio State and Michigan State before the season finale at home against in-state rival Purdue. With Barner and Matthews back to full health, the Hoosiers are poised to finish the season well. 

“I feel really good, was able to get healthy,” Barner said. “I’m really excited for the last four games and hoping for a strong finish for myself and the team.” 

Though the team has fallen into a slump, the players are in high spirits as they enter the toughest portion of the schedule.

Follow reporters Garrett Newman (@GarrettNewman20) and Jacob Spudich (@spudichjacob) and columnist Will Foley (@foles24) for updates throughout the Indiana football season. 
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