Indiana football wrapped up spring camp on Saturday at Memorial Stadium with its Spring Football Fan Event, a reimagined spring game.
The event started with a few competitions, and some things that got fans involved on the field, like attempting to kick a field goal or catch a punt from the JUGS machine.
The team then played two quarters of a scrimmage that more closely resembled usual spring games.
IU head coach Tom Allen spoke with media afterwards as well, with some updates on where the team stands heading into summer and more. A key point he made was that the Hoosiers avoided any major injuries this spring, something they haven’t always done the last several years.
Here are a few takeaways from Saturday’s event, and from spring in general.
A close quarterback race
Brendan Sorsby and Tayven Jackson played on Saturday the way they have for much of this spring.
Both players had some good moments. And they had a few not as good ones.
IU head coach Allen said after the event on Sunday that the staff was not yet ready to name a starter, and that they’d wait until fall to do so.
“I think they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them. I know the summer’s going to be huge. Fall camp’s massive,” Allen said. “But anytime you’ve got two talented young quarterbacks, I think you can see out there, they both have skills. They can both throw it, they can both run it. And so that’s going to be a big part of what we want to be able to do, is be able to take advantage of their skill sets, and maximize our run game and our throw game. I think that the bottom line is going to be, who’s able to do that to the highest level, protect the football and move our team down the field.”
So clearly, it’ll be a few months before we know who’s playing quarterback for the Hoosiers this year. But Allen said that he and his staff would meet with Sorsby and Jackson at some point and tell them, honestly, where they stand in this competition after spring. So there is a pecking order of some sort — they know who they’d go with if the season started tomorrow.
And I think there’s a real chance that it’s Sorsby in the lead. He had an impressive spring, typically looked in command of things, showed good mobility and playmaking ability.
Touchdown pass in the abbreviated spring game portion from Brendan Sorsby to EJ Williams. #iufb pic.twitter.com/tcufuyyItb
— Seth Tow (@SethTow) April 15, 2023
But there’s still plenty of time for things to change before a decision will be made. And it wouldn’t be completely shocking, either, if IU added another quarterback option out of the transfer portal, with such little experience in the room currently.
Dangerous offensive skill players
Indiana, on paper, had a stable of dangerous players like that last year, too. But health issues chipped away at that, and some players turned out less effective on Saturdays than initially hoped.
But even after some turnover, the Hoosiers may be reloaded in that area this year. Jaylin Lucas was named most outstanding offensive player of spring camp, and his elusiveness is well-documented. The Hoosiers are clearly looking to work him into their offense more heavily this year.
Josh Henderson returns after a productive season, and Christian Turner looked good this spring — and his teammates and coaches said good things about him during camp.
Allen said the running back room is the group he feels most confident in heading into summer, with five players he thinks could contribute this season.
At receiver, Cam Camper is a known threat. But Donaven McCulley, with his leaner build, looked a lot better this spring. He made the offensive play of the day on Saturday, a great one-handed catch on the sideline.
Impressive one-handed catch by Donaven McCulley. #iufb pic.twitter.com/4t0RQmOeNa
— Tyler Tachman (@Tyler_T15) April 15, 2023
Clemson transfer E.J. Williams caught a touchdown from Sorsby on Saturday, and although he also had a second touchdown ripped away, he was impressive. He looks like a promising playmaker, and was named one of the most improved players on offense, along with tight end Aaron Steinfeldt and running back David Holloman.
Although Kamryn Perry wasn’t in that group, he also broke out this spring. He made a few good plays on Saturday, memorably catching a longer pass from Sorsby over the middle and taking it into the red zone. Perry is quick in the slot, which could allow for some offensive creativity with him and Lucas.
Steinfeldt had a promising spring, though the tight end room is in flux with some injuries among an already younger-leaning room. Allen said the Hoosiers may add a veteran from the portal.
Carter a game-wrecker, secondary has solid depth
Up front, Andre Carter has been the biggest defensive standout of the spring. He and Noah Pierre were named most outstanding defensive players of spring camp.
The Western Michigan transfer was at it again Saturday, wreaking havoc on an improved IU offensive line and getting into the backfield many times. He’s versatile and athletic, but also big and imposing. Carter will be a crucial part of IU’s defense this fall.
And in the secondary, despite a lot of veterans leaving, IU looks pretty solid. Allen named the safety room as the other group — along with running backs — that he’s most comfortable with after spring.
The depth is particularly evident there. Josh Sanguinetti and Louis Moore made some plays on Saturday and should contribute. Juco transfer Tyrik McDaniel looked good on Saturday, winning some early competitions with speed and strength. Allen lauded his tackling ability earlier in spring. Fellow Juco transfer Jamison Kelly and sophomore Phillip Dunnam have received praise this spring as well, giving IU a lot of options at safety.
Pierre had a good spring, and was already an effective player. He’ll lead the secondary at husky.
Texas transfer cornerback Jamier Johnson made, perhaps, the defensive play of the day on Saturday, ripping the touchdown catch away from Williams for an interception.
Tayven Jackson intercepted in the red zone by Jamier Johnson, who took it away from EJ Williams. #iufb pic.twitter.com/Mw7w2dBtse
— Seth Tow (@SethTow) April 15, 2023
Texas Tech transfer Kobee Minor made some plays on Saturday as well, and redshirt freshmen Jamari Sharpe, James Monds III, and Trevell Mullen flashed at times this spring.
IU’s secondary struggled last year, despite a lot of returning talent and experience. So it’s reasonable to wonder if this secondary will be able to hold up against quality Big Ten opponents. We won’t find that out until fall arrives.
But for now, this revamped secondary has at least shown potential.