BLOOMINGTON – A lot of emphasis is placed on the spring game, but Indiana coach Kevin Wilson saw the Hoosiers’ version on Saturday as practice 14.
Yes, there was a running clock on the gigantic scoreboard at Memorial Stadium. Sure, there were officials throwing flags. And there was a final score: Hoosiers 27, Indiana 24 thanks to a 12-yard touchdown pass from Adam Follett to Leneil Himes on the final play.
But Wilson approached Saturday as more of a chance to see how the team responds to third-down situations in front of a crowd (2,564 fans) rather than give any indication who will be the starting quarterback for the Sept. 3 opener against Ball State.
It’s a little more practice in that, hey, that turnover created points or lost you points. That penalty created a first down or did not create a first down,’ Wilson said. You try to practice situations, but when you get out there and it’s truly a third-down conversion or it’s not and you see the ramifications of points added or deleted.
Fort Wayne products Damarlo Belcher, Lawrence Barnett and Dre Muhammad added points for both squads.
Belcher, the receiver who is a North Side grad, made a nice leaping catch for a touchdown for team Indiana.
It was a great pass by Dusty (Kiel), said Belcher, who had six catches for 63 yards in the unofficial statistics. He put it up where only I could get it. We practice that a lot throughout the weeks. We executed it very well.
Barnett, the cornerback who is a Bishop Luers graduate, caught a tipped pass for an interception and returned it 25 yards for a score for team Hoosiers.
That was a big play there, co-defensive coordinator Doug Mallory said. Getting his hands on the ball and taking it back for a touchdown. He’s had a productive spring for us.
Muhammad, a receiver who is from Harding, had a 41-yard touchdown reception for the Hoosiers squad.
In general, the first-team offense and second-team defense represented team Indiana. The first-team defense and second-team offense represented team Hoosiers. But players changed teams throughout the contest, so there wasn’t a set roster.
Kiel started for team Indiana, completing 14 of 27 passes for 196 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Edward Wright-Baker spent time with both teams, competing 8 of 10 passes for 82 yards and one touchdown. Follett went 6 for 9 for 74 yards, orchestrating the final drive. Teddy Schell went 2 for 7, and also rushed for a 13-yard score.
They are all very capable, Wilson said, and that is why we are keeping them all in the mix.
IU has its final practice Tuesday. Wilson is already looking forward to what the summer produces.
In the summer, as coaches, you are limited in what we can do, Wilson said. Workouts are voluntary. But teams voluntarily win or lose.