Indiana opens fall camp today. And while all eyes will be on quarterback Kellen Lewis, that’s not the only storyline to keep tabs on as the Hoosiers shoot for consecutive bowl appearances for the first time since 1990-91.
Picking up the pace at wide receiver
Record-breaking wide receiver James Hardy is in the NFL, so the Hoosiers will have to rely on a receiver-by-committee approach.
Ray Fisher, Andrew Means and Terrance Turner are the top threats. Fisher, a junior, had the most catches (52) of any of the returnees. He also accumulated 482 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2007. Means is fresh off a summer of minor league baseball after getting drafted in the 11th round by the Cincinnati Reds. He caught 48 passes last year. Turner suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 5 at Iowa last season.
Brandon Walker-Roby, a senior, and redshirt freshman Matt Ernest add depth.
Big shoes to fill at corner back
Four-year starters Tracy Porter and Leslie Majors are gone (Porter, a second-round draft pick, recently signed a four-year deal with the New Orleans Saints). Chris Phillips is in line for one of the starting position. The senior played in 12 games last year, and was second on the team with three interceptions.
The other side is up for grabs. Richard Council, Donnell Jones and Adrian Burks are in the mix. Burks and Council are sophomores. Jones is a redshirt freshman. Burks played five games on special teams, and Council didn’t see any action last season. Each benefited from the team’s extra practices during run up to the Insight Bowl.
“We’ve got some guys, it’s just a matter of we have to settle in on somebody in camp so they can get some quality reps,” IU coach Bill Lynch said.
Progress of punter
Punter Michael Hines struggled in 2007 spring camp, but turned it on once the games mattered. IU hopes the same is true for Chris Hagerup in 2008. The freshman must improve on his spring performance.