New IU football tight ends coach Kevin Wright took questions from the media on Wednesday.
Wright was previously the head coach at IMG Academy. He compiled a record of 44-2 at the Florida based prep school over five seasons.
Wright has Indiana ties. He was the head coach at Carmel High School from 2010-14. The Greyhounds went 54-11 in his five seasons, reaching the state finals three times.
The transcript (via iuhoosiers.com) of the Q&A session with Wright follows:
Q: On his evaluation of the tight end room…
WRIGHT: Our big emphasis for spring was just to try to develop depth. You didn’t have Peyton (Hendershot) out there so it gave everybody the opportunity really to get equal reps. You got a chance to see a guy like TJ Ivy do some different things. He did play a little bit last year so I was able to watch him on tape, but not to see it up close and personal. I felt like TJ had a good spring. Another guy you mentioned Gary Cooper. His skill set is probably totally different than anybody else in the room just because of the speed factor. In testing I think he was one of the top four or five guys on our team in regards to speed. He’s not quite as big but I think with quickness and speed, it helps make him a different type of player that we can plug and play with. Gary played some last year as well. Both TJ and Gary, it’s not like they haven’t played and downs, it’s just been a little bit more limited.
We had some guys in the room, Ryan Barnes being one that was a walk-on kid from Noblesville, Indiana who I also thought had a good practice spring. Along with Matt Bjorson, those four guys, I was really concerned with spring because of the lack of depth that we’d through 15 practices and get done what we wanted to get done. But they got a lot of quality reps and I felt like we came out of it having a good idea of where we’re at. We’re going to add Khameron Taylor to the mix. I think that provides more depth as well. So, I feel pretty good about where we’re at going into the summer really and we’ll see how it plays out once we’re able to get pads on and get to practice.
Q: On what these last few months been like for him…
WRIGHT: That’s a great question. I got hired in January and jumped on a plane, and I think two days later they sent me right back down to south Florida. I was down here recruiting for a couple of weeks and then recruiting ended. Then I settled into my apartment in Bloomington through the four spring practices to about mid-March while my family stayed and finished up school in Bradenton. I went home with a backpack in mid-March expecting to be back in a week and camp was closed down. So, I’ve actually been working remotely from down here in Bradenton, Florida. The sun shines a little more right now. I’m just really excited to get back on campus. As things open up and we’re allowed to go back to our offices, we’re moving the family, they’re packing things, they’re ready to go, finishing school and just excited to get going quite honestly. Excited to be back in Indiana.
Q: On who’s impressed him the most remotely among your group…
WRIGHT: We’re spending virtual meetings and I think sometimes the position coach probably talks too much quite honestly. But I think you see the older guys like Matt Bjorson who really stepped up during spring practice. He was thrust into the position of being THE guy. He’s been stepping up from his home. I think he was in Florida for a while and then he went back to the Chicago area. Honestly, everybody’s really been great. It’s one of those things where you’ve had to put more on kids to be more disciplined. They’ve got to know to have that daily regiment and be locked in and focused. I feel really good about everybody in the room. They were all over the country quite honestly and some of them still are. Just their ability to buy in and get things done.
What we’re going to find out of course is what they did outside of the meeting rooms working out, doing those types of things on their own. That’s one of those things where, we should gain an edge quite honestly. I think our guys really bought in. Whether you were working out in your garage doing body weight exercises or; we sent guys resistance bands, sent them dumbbells, we’ve got a running program, all those things. I think we’ll find out who really stepped up when we actually get a chance to get back together, and run a few wind sprints and do some things physically. Because at the end of the day, everybody looks good when we’re in the virtual world in a Zoom meeting. But really been excited with the group and how they’ve responded just being on point. It’s really easy when you’re at home to be a couple of minutes late, or sometimes forget because they were trying to do classwork. Everybody’s home situation is different as well. To answer your question, I think Matt did a great job in Peyton’s absence early, and that’s carried over to the last few weeks here.
Q: On (new graduate transfer) Khameron Taylor…
WRIGHT: We started to go down the road a little bit to try to provide some more depth for the room and knew would have to opportunity to potentially bring somebody in. There’s a lot of guys out there that jump in the transfer portal or that or are in a situation where they could grad transfer. You’re looking for a guy that’s going to fit the needs. I think that what we’ve found in Kham was a guy that had predominately been a blocker in the offense he was in and also who is a really good athlete who has the potential I think to catch the footballs. You’ll have to talk to him a little bit about that. I told him he’s probably not going to block power very much like he did at his previous school. He’s going to have to block. Don’t get me wrong. I think you’ll see some of the athleticism that when you watch the tape you see. I think as far as fitting into our room, he fits as the guy that has that hybrid ability. He’s probably a little bit bigger than some of the guys in the room. I think you really can’t replace experience.
Quite honestly, you can’t replace game-time experience and that’s the advantage of bringing in someone like Kham, who’s a grad transfer, who’s played a lot of college football. I don’t think the lights are going to be too bright for him. I think it’s going to be a matter of coming in and learning the offense. He’s been an on-point guy too. He’s been very responsible just in regards to the things we’ve asked him to do. He had a lot of school work he had to do to finish up just so he could get to IU, which is a complement to who he is, the type of kid that we’re getting. So, that’s all good things. I’m excited to meet him in person. He’s great virtually but I’m excited to meet him in person. I can see him on the call over here too. I think he’ll fit really well into the room.
Q: On bringing Peyton Hendershot back in a modified way…
WRIGHT: I think Coach (Allen) hit on that when he talked about it a couple weeks ago. I think he’s going to talk about it more next week. I think what it says is what he’s been able to do has been modified just as Coach said. Now, what he’s doing on his own is like everybody else. It’s a little bit different situation but I think Coach will hit on that more really next week with Peyton and where he’s at and what that looks like going forward. Again, it has just been modified. I think that’s probably just the best way to put it. Excited to move forward with him when we get everybody back.
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