Tuesday, September 05, 2017 1:00 am
Dwenger graduate walk-on no more
Wattercutter given scholarship at IU
Ben Portnoy | For The Journal Gazette
Where: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
TV: ACC Network
BLOOMINGTON – Entering a meeting last week, head coach Tom Allen said he was going to be upset if his players weren't ready to go.
In the meeting Allen ran a drill that entailed backup players throwing their hands up in the air when the starter at a position's name was called to indicate they were the substitute.
When the meeting began, redshirt-junior tight end Ryan Wattercutter's name was not on the backups list, yet Allen still awaited a response from him. When none came, Allen began to chew-out the former Bishop Dwenger star, who insisted he wasn't on the list.
But after being yelled at momentarily, Allen said to Watercutter, a former walk-on, that he had earned a scholarship.
“I ripped him and then he went from like pale from getting ripped, to red from being embarrassed, to pale,” Allen said of Wattercutter's reaction. “He was just all over the place and I had to say it twice for him to realize that he'd really gotten a scholarship.”
Watercutter, who was an Indiana All-State player as a junior and senior, tallied two receptions for 23 yards in IU's season-opening loss to No. 2 Ohio State.
“He's very conscientious. Everybody on the team loves him, respects him 'cause he's just an awesome kid,” Allen said. “Does everything the right way.”
Monday's press conference also brought some major bad news for the Hoosiers. Nick Westbrook, Indiana's leading receiver in 2016, was declared out for the season with a torn ACL. Westbrook was injured on the opening kickoff Thursday night against Ohio State and had an MRI Saturday to diagnose the injury.
“As we've shared with our team, sometimes life's not fair,” Allen said. “Things happen, it's tough. He's got a good attitude about it. He knows it's a challenge he has to overcome.”
This marks the second time in as many years that Indiana has lost a major receiving threat early in the season. Last year, redshirt-junior receiver Simmie Cobbs suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a Week 2 win over Ball State.
In the absence of Westbrook, redshirt-junior Luke Timian, junior Donavan Hale and freshman Whop Philyor and Ty Fryfogle will get an opportunity for more reps at receiver.
Hale, a one-time quarterback, was listed ahead of Westbrook on the depth chart entering the season and will likely play a major role on the outside with Cobbs.
Allen also announced the IU players of the week from the Ohio State game. Cobbs and linebacker Tegray Scales were named offensive and defensive players of the week, respectively, while Chase Dutra earned special teams honors.
Cobbs had a career-high 11 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. It was Cobbs' first game back from the ankle injury that sidelined him all of last season.
Scales anchored the defensive effort Thursday night, securing 12 tackles (nine solo) for his fourth-straight double-digit tackle performance.