On the first day of spring practice, as he stepped into his equipment and pulled an Indiana jersey over his head, Vinny Fiacable couldn’t believe what he was doing.
It was really happening, he told himself. The day he’d waited on for years was finally here. After making regular trips to Bloomington each fall for as long as he could remember, Fiacable was now part of the team. A Hoosier in full.
And while it feels like Fiacable was destined for a college football playing career at Indiana, where he’s the fourth member of his immediate family to wear the colors, the 6-foot-4, 318-pound offensive lineman isn’t taking anything for granted about this eagerly-anticipated IU experience.
“Watching (IU) play and progress and get better just means a lot to me,” he told reporters last month. “Now that I’m part of the team and I can help progress and help the team get better, it means a lot and it’s really exciting.”
Indeed, Fiacable has had good reason to watch and support the Hoosiers over the years. His father, Steve, was an offensive lineman for Bill Mallory from 1988 to 1991. His brother, Steve, also played on the O-line, lettering for Bill Lynch in 2009 and 2010. Another older brother, Mike, spent four years with the program from 2015 to 2018.
And it might not be long before the freshman gets his first opportunity to help the Hoosiers on the field, too. Fiacable already appears to have the physical tools needed to play Big Ten football, and depending on how he performs during fall camp, he could work his way onto the two-deep at guard in short order. At least, it’s not out of the question.
Enrolling in January only seemed to help his cause, allowing him to further develop his body with IU strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman and company this past winter.
“I’ve gotten stronger everywhere, especially with my back strength,” Fiacable said. “I’ve never really trained my back before like the way we do it here.”
He’s also found that fellow Fort Wayne natives Luke Wiginton and Randy Holtz have had his back as he’s made the jump to college. Wiginton and Holtz have spent extra time helping Fiacable learn the playbook and adjust his technique, while also inviting him out to socialize.
“They’ve brought me into their friend group and helped make the transition from Fort Wayne to IU a lot smoother,” he said.
Certainly, there’s more for Fiacable to master in the weeks and months to come. Simply getting a taste of college football during spring practice illustrated to Fiacable the difference in the speed of the game between the high school and Big Ten levels. There’s also a mental adjustment that needs to be made, Fiacable says, in terms of thinking through the game and all of the fine details. But so far, so good.
It’s also helped that his brother, Mike, played for Allen during the head coach’s first two years leading the program. So Mike was able to fill in Vinny on what he could expect and what he should know about life in the Allen era.
“I just know that he’s a really good guy and he has a goal for our team,” Fiacable said. “We’re going to reach that goal.”
Just as Fiacable, too, has always wanted.