Kofi Hughes among suspended players as IU opens fall camp
By Andy Proffet Post-Tribune correspondent August 2, 2012 11:36PM
Updated: September 4, 2012 6:24AM
BLOOMINGTON — Although Kevin Wilson and his coaches couldn’t monitor Indiana football’s summer practices, he knew there were plenty of Hoosier players turning out.
That should benefit IU’s depth, which took a hit on Thursday as the Hoosiers announced several suspensions and player departures.
IU opened fall camp Thursday with top returning receiver Kofi Hughes, cornerback Lawrence Barnett and safety Forisse Hardin facing one-game suspensions, and receiver Jay McCants dismissed from the team, all for violating team rules.
“We have things we stand for, believe in, those things are explicit,” Wilson said, noting the difference between a one-game suspension and a dismissal from the team had much to do with how many times players had been told they were facing trouble.
“From our first meeting, our best players have been held to high standards,” Wilson said.
That’s evident in the suspension of Hughes, IU’s top receiver last season, and Barnett, who was seventh in tackles.
IU also announced that two players, safety Shaquille Jefferson and receiver Logan Young, had left the program for other opportunities. And four players — running back Matt Perez, tight ends Paul Phillips and Jordan Jackson and linebacker Ishmael Thomas — were left off the 105-player fall camp roster because of injuries.
The Hoosiers were 1-11 in Wilson’s first season. That hasn’t stopped IU fans from buying more season tickets for the coming season than at any time in 20 years, according to athletic director Fred Glass.
“I was holding my breath a little after 1-11 on how our public season ticket sales would hold up,” Glass admitted Thursday. “I think there’s an understanding about what Kevin’s trying to build, there’s an enthusiasm.”
The schedule might help as well. IU’s home games include two in-state matchups, against Indiana State and Ball State, and conference home games with Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The Indiana State, Ball State and Ohio State games are all 7 p.m. Central time starts, which Glass acknowledged could hurt attendance from the northernmost and southernmost parts of Indiana.
“There are some downsides (to 7 p.m. games),” Glass said. “We’re trying to create a thing that’s fun for the whole family. With our great fans in the northern part of the state, or even in Evansville, it’s not the easiest place to get to and from … (but) our students respond well to the night games. I think on balance, night games are good for us.”
What about the IU players?
“I really do like the night games. It brings a different energy,” said safety Mark Murphy. “It’s not as monotonous, you’re switching up (the kickoff time). It’s nice.”