Hoosiers Work on Situations Heading into Final Week of Spring Practice

 Caleb Jones  Image:  Sammy Jacobs Hoosier Huddle

Caleb Jones Image:  Sammy Jacobs Hoosier Huddle

Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

The cold weather lingered and forced the Indiana Hoosiers back inside the John Mellencamp Pavilion on Saturday morning as they wrapped up the penultimate week of spring practice. It was the third straight Saturday where the Hoosiers brought in officials and set up scrimmage situations.

It was a "good day" head coach Tom Allen said after practice. 

"The thing I loved about today is we got a lot of situations. We were able to put our guys in a lot of positions that are game like that you don’t always get, whether it’s overtime to tight red zone to the high red zone, drives, coming out series and learning how to deal with that. We got a lot of guys a lot of reps so it was a productive day. I feel we were shown exactly what we need to work on and what needs to be corrected but overall I was very pleased with what kind of work we were able to get done."

The Hoosiers' offense had some success in the red zone Saturday, but offensive coordinator Mike DeBord wasn't pleased with how the points IU left on the field.

"We gotta finish drives better" DeBord said, "we finished some there with touchdowns but when you get down to the red zone you gotta score touchdowns. We always talk about that, it’s really a four point play, three compared to seven, so I just feel like we have to finish a little bit better down there. I think that first group moved the ball pretty well all day. The second group was very inconsistent and there were too many mistakes so we have to clean that up."

Walk-on Running Backs Running Hard

With the spring game a week away the Hoosiers started to play some younger players and give them a chance to strut their stuff and give the veterans a little rest. Walk-on running backs Ahrod Lloyd and Connor Thomas got the majority of carriers on Saturday and were impressive. Lloyd was especially good at getting the tough extra yards. 

"I have really been impressed with Ahrod Lloyd." Allen said.  "He came here as a walk-on from Park Tudor. Awesome kid, he runs hard and he’s been very impressive the whole spring. He’s a true freshman and was really good for us in the fall on scout teams and his quickness, power, and his speed have just been a really pleasant surprise. Really proud of him and just love his attitude."

DeBord also talked also talked highly about the reserve running backs. "I like our running backs a lot and I thought today was going to be a big day for them. The younger guys, Ahrod and Cole both and they brought it all day, Connor excuse me, brought it all day. I was really pleased with what I saw there, now we watch film and see where we go from there."

DE James Head Impressing

Early enrollee defensive end James Head will catch the eye of anyone watching an IU practice this spring. On Saturday, Head made one of the highlight plays of practice when he tracked down a running back from the backside of the play for a tackle for loss. James physically looks like he should be an upperclass-man, but is fresh out of high school. He possesses attributes that Tom Allen is looking for in his young players.

"I have seen a lot of growth out of him and him being here early has been huge for him." Allen said. "He is a mid-year enrollee so he should still be in high school and he is definitely flashing also. You also look for those guys who make key plays at key times. As he has learned the defense his confidence has grown."

QB Michael Penix Learning From Mistakes

Another early enrollee is quarterback Michael Penix. He's had a great spring so far, but Saturday his play reminded observers that he is indeed still a freshman. However, that is not stopping him from growing from these experiences.

"He grows everyday. He’s going to make mistakes and he’s going to have players make mistakes. The one thing about him, he has great composure so he keeps his composure, he doesn’t get frustrated and that’s part of it so he’s learning."

Other Notes

  • Spring Game Format- It’s going to be very similar to last year. We are going to play a full game, we have cream and crimson, we have the draft on Monday night which is a lot of fun. The kids are looking forward to that, we have some names already picked. The staff was introduced this morning and the coaches had great fun with that too so it will be like a normal game and in between we will have some field goal competitions like we did last year. We want the value of those guys picks in the draft and free-agency to be able to be shown so those guys are going to have to kick the ball and get points for the team but other than that it will be normal format of a normal game.
  • Morgan Ellison Injury Update- I think he won’t be practicing the rest of the spring, he had a lower leg injury but he will be back. It was a very good prognosis so we feel good about it but at this point we aren’t taking any chances so we want to get him healthy and ready to roll, he should be full Morgan by the beginning of the summer.

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