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Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Indiana football to be without ‘handful of key guys’ in spring practice due to injuries

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Indiana football will begin spring practice March 21, formally kickstarting Curt Cignetti’s new era as the Hoosiers’ new head coach. 

But Indiana isn’t going to be at full strength when it returns to the practice field. 

“There won’t be a number, probably a handful of key guys not participating in the spring — more on defense than offense — because of post-season surgery,” Cignetti said during a Zoom press conference Wednesday. 

Sixth-year senior defensive tackle James Carpenter, senior linebacker Jailin Walker, fifth-year senior defensive end Lanell Carr Jr., redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Venson Sneed and seventh-year offensive lineman Nick Kidwell are all expected to be absent for the Hoosiers. 

All injured players, however, are expected to return in time for fall camp, an IU spokesperson confirmed to the Indiana Daily Student. 

Carpenter, who followed Cignetti from James Madison University to Indiana, earned second-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors the past two seasons. He recorded nine tackles for loss and four sacks while starting all 13 games for the Dukes this past season. 

The 6-foot-1, 218-pound Walker, also transferred from James Madison, tallied 61 total tackles in 2023 — the second most on the team. 

Kidwell marks the third Dukes transfer absent from activities this spring as he recovers from an injury that cost him the final eight games last season. He was a four-year starter for Cignetti at James Madison, seeing action at both right guard and right tackle. 

Carr was one of Indiana’s most productive defenders in 2023, ranking second in sacks with five and third in tackles for loss with 8.5. 

This past November, then-Indiana head coach Tom Allen said Sneed had a bright future, resulting in more playing time as the season progressed. Sneed logged three tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in the Hoosiers’ final four games. 

Wednesday also marked the second period of National Signing Day, but Indiana’s roster may not be finalized. Cignetti said the Hoosiers could partake in another wave of transfers in May after spring practices should they see a need. 

“I think offensively, on paper, we look like we’re in pretty good shape right now,” Cignetti said. “Defensively, maybe some depth in some areas, evaluate the back-end — do we have what we need going into the fall?” 

Indiana’s first spring game under Cignetti is set for 8 p.m. on April 18 inside Memorial Stadium. 

Follow reporters Matt Press (@MattPress23) and Dalton James (@DaltonMJames) and columnist Daniel Flick (@ByDanielFlick) for updates throughout the Indiana football offseason.

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