Spring practice begins tomorrow.

I hate spring football.  I say this every year.  It's a big tease, because the real season is still five months away.  But because of my high regard for you, the audience, I 'll try to keep you up to speed.  IU's official site has a lengthy news release on the state of the program.  Among the highlights:

  • There are a number of position switches.  Four receivers, most notably Ray Fisher, are moving to the defensive backfield.  This makes sense.  Fisher was a reliable receiver, but the future of IU's receiving corps would seem to be in the hands of the likes of Demarlo Belcher, Tandon Doss, and Terrence Turner.  For IU to succeed, those tall young guys will have to play well.
  • Every team has injuries, but my goodness: IU has four players, including three starters (DBs Austin Thomas and Nick Polk, and punter Chris Hagerup) recovering from ACL surgery. 
  • Did I comment on the decision to open the expanded stadium with a Thursday night game against Eastern Kentucky?  I don't get it.  The rationale seems to be that because of the long holiday weekend, playing the game during the week will help student attendance.  Maybe so, but my fear is that it will be more than offset by a decline in attendance by out-of-town fans who don't want to leave work early and then get home at 2 a.m.  Such a trip will be doable from Indianapolis, but Fort Wayne?  Evansville?  Northwest Indiana?  Forget it.  I have nothing at all against Thursday night games, but I don't think playing a Thursday night game against a I-AA opponent is going to be a recipe for good attendance.  I hope I'm wrong.
While not mentioned in the IU release, prior comments by Bill Lynch seem to indicate that Lewis and Ben Chappell will be splitting time at quarterback and that Lewis will be working at other positions as well.  I'm not sure I like the idea.  I think that a quarterback like Lewis, particularly if armed with a great receiver like James Hardy, can be an equalizer between a program like IU and more talented teams.  Lewis took a step back last season with Hardy in the NFL and after missing spring practice, but with the tall crop of wide receivers that now has another year of experience, I certainly hope that Lewis will take the majority of snaps at quarterback in 2009.
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