In a series of events that seem to have escalated quickly, Hoosiers' top receiver and team captain Damarlo Belcher was kicked off the team in a surprise move yesterday. He was suspended against Northwestern this Saturday for "conduct detrimental to the team" and was released yesterday for "violating team rules". This is devastating for any chance of cobbling together a win to finish the season. The dismissal of Belcher and surgery on Duwyce Wilson's knee has eliminated all but one receiver with over 20 receptions on the year from the roster. It appears the rest of this season will indeed be a test of the young guys as there will likely be 14 freshman starters this Saturday and 6 sophomores to make up the 22 total starters from each side of the ball.
Belcher finished his career at Indiana just 2 receptions short of James Hardy's school record of 191 receptions. He has 2,225 career receiving yards at Indiana which puts him good enough for second all-time behind Hardy as well. Belcher was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List before the beginning of the season. He was obviously expected to do big things for the Hoosiers in a transition year but injuries hampered his progress. When he finally was healthy this Saturday he was suspended. So he has been mostly disappointing this season. Still he had a lot to offer physically and this dismissal kills the offenses chances to move the ball against a good defense.
In the end, IU is losing more than Belcher. If Belcher can keep in shape and show up this spring in good form he will be in the NFL next year as a late round draft pick. The Hoosiers will have to continue to toil in terrible for the rest of the season. However, if this is a move Kevin Wilson felt he had to make then more power to him. Previous head coaches were the players' friends and we saw how that worked out. Perhaps Wilson's setting himself apart from the team will be beneficial when he demands performance. He has already chased of 12 scholarship players, it will be interesting to see if there are more on the horizon and if this youth movement in Bloomington can pay off.