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IU football: Tom Allen names four exceeding expectations through two weeks of fall camp

August is always a time for new names to emerge and veterans to rise to the occasion as opportunities are presented.

Indiana’s 2022 fall camp is no different.

On Friday we asked head coach Tom Allen for a couple players on each side of the ball who were exceeding his expectations, and he gave us an interesting group.

From a former 4-star in-state recruit who is flashing after a few years behind the scenes, to a Bloomington product with a recognizable name who might be a able to fill a position of need, Allen named four who have caught his eye.

The first player Allen mentioned is Carmel, Ind. product Beau Robbins.  The edge rusher appeared in all 12 games last season, but didn’t have a major role.  He delivered four tackles, one for loss.

Robbins was highly-touted out of high school, ranked the No. 4 prospect in Indiana, the No. 29 defensive end nationally, and the No. 242 prospect nationally by ESPN.  Allen is starting to see flashes of that potential in his fourth year with the program.

“Beau Robbins, he’s taking that next step that you you want him to, he has gained a lot of good weight and is really playing the way I expected him to,” Allen said.

Lance Bryant has been with IU since Allen’s first season as head coach (2017), so on the surface it would seem unlikely he’d generate a mention when it comes to eye-catchers.

But Bryant, who turns 23 in October, seems to have found another gear.

“Lance Bryant, he’s been here a long time, but he is playing his best football,” Allen said.  “He’s shown every practice he’s just flashed and made plays, and obviously he’s been here enough to understand his role.  But it was it was more than
that.  It’s just almost kind of like something kind of else has clicked in him that’s allowed him to be able to to play at a higher level.”

A Texas product, Bryant started all 12 games at the Bull position in 2021.  He totaled 26 tackles, 17 solo, 1.5 for loss, and four quarterback hurries.

We are guilty of referring to the quarterback competition as a two-man race between Connor Bazelak and Jack Tuttle, and it probably is, but third-year quarterback Dexter Williams has fully recovered from knee surgery a year ago and he was mentioned by both offensive coordinator Walt Bell and Allen last week.

“Dexter Williams is as improved as anybody on offense and that’s huge for us,” Allen said.  “I mean you know last year we needed everybody possible to step up in that room and so to have three guys you feel like that really can do some good things for you is a very, very positive thing.”

Williams has never taken a snap at quarterback after missing all of 2021 and serving as the third-stringer as a true freshman in 2020.  He warmed-up mid-game against Wisconsin in 2020 when Tuttle dealt with an injury but never got in.

A major fall camp question for IU is who can fill the run-blocking tight end role.

The surname Bomba is synonymous with IU Athletics.  Tight end James Bomba’s father Matt Bomba was an IU football letterwinner (1990-92) and his grandfathers Brad Bomba (1954-56) and Bob Van Pelt (1964-66) also lettered at IU.  Brad Bomba was also a long-time physician for the IU basketball team during the Bob Knight era.

Walk-on James Bomba joined the team in 2021.  The 6-foot-6 and 251 pound Bloomington High School South product started his career at Miami (Ohio) before transferring to IU.

“James Bomba is coming on and we need him to,” Allen said.  He’s a big guy, big frame, big body type.  We know what A.J. (fellow tight-end Barner) can do but we need another guy, another bigger guy in that group to step up that’s really going to be a thumper.”

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