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Indiana University

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Hoosiers sharp as practices kick off

Coaches impressed by players’ work during the offseason

– The Indiana football team has lots to work on and plenty to prove.

But its first day of practice, offensive coordinator Seth Littrell said, featured something unheard of in his time with the Hoosiers: no mental errors.

“Not a lot of mistakes on base plays, which shows me that they have been working hard this summer on their own,” Littrell said Friday, the first day of preseason camp for the Hoosiers. “Even when the freshmen got in there – guys that have never been around us, never been coached by us – you know, it proves the leadership of our team when those guys can go out there and I don’t have to tell one of those freshmen what to do.”

For the first day of camp, IU was surprisingly sharp, and the communication on defense impressed assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Doug Mallory.

He, like Littrell, was also pleased with what he saw from the freshmen.

“We talked to them about the opportunity to come in and compete from Day 1, so we’re going to give them that opportunity,” Mallory said. “We’re gonna challenge them. They’re going to be thrown in the fire the next three weeks, and we’ll see how they respond.”

IU coach Kevin Wilson said he sees a lot of potential in the Hoosiers. They were able to get to camp without many injuries. Linebacker Chase Hoobler suffered a stress fracture in the offseason, which is a significant loss for the defense, but otherwise IU is unscathed as it prepares for the season.

“Good starting point – lot of work to do,” Wilson said. “It’s not really Day 1 except for a couple guys that just got here, but you are breaking some of those old habits.

“You’re trying to be the superstar route runner or thrower or DB. You’ve got to play within the context of the scheme, offensively and defensively.”

The players were excited to get going Friday, after the most productive summer they’ve had in Wilson’s three-year tenure.

“People were competing at a high level,” said running back Stephen Houston, who is competing for a starting spot with Tevin Coleman, D’Angelo Roberts and several newcomers. “But we’re nowhere near where we want to be or need to be.

“The competition is at a high level at all positions. No one is guaranteed a start. It’s a day-to-day grind.”

Tight end Ted Bolser, a fellow senior, agreed. He sees a lot more competition across all spots, and more potential at each, as well.

Even Bolser, a starter the last three seasons, has to worry about his starting spot.

“We’ve got high expectations at every position, offensive line to tight ends to wide receivers,” said Bolser, who is on the watch list for John Mackey award, given to the nation’s top tight end. “We’ve got the talent at every position.”

That goes for the defense, too.

“We just have a lot more depth than we ever have before,” safety Mark Murphy said. “As long as I’ve been here, I think it’s the best we’ve ever had – just the amount of guys and the amount of guys who can play.”

And for Duwyce Wilson, who is coming back from a knee injury last season, all that energy and competition is more exciting than ever.

“I love coming out here every single day,” Duwyce Wilson said. “I love what I do out here, and I love my teammates. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

smorrison@jg.net

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