BLOOMINGTON | Dimitrius Carr-Watson's biggest adjustment in his second year of college football?
"Learning to play with the weight," Carr-Watson said, referring to the 35 or so pounds an offseason of conditioning has packed onto his 6-foot-1 frame.
Not a bad problem to have.
"It's not hard at all," learning to play with his newfound size, he said. "The way our trainer's got us gaining it, it wasn't bad weight. It wasn't that much difference, coming from 205 to about 240."
It had been a quiet fall for Indiana, with coach Bill Lynch's squad spending less time in full pads to alleviate fatigue in an attempt to keep players healthier deep into the season. Saturday afternoon, that changed.
Twelve days before their season opener against Towson, the Hoosiers went full pads during a 96-play scrimmage that saw plenty of experimentation on both sides of the ball, particularly with less experienced players.
"We had to make some decisions off today's scrimmage -- and a little bit over the next couple days -- about who the travel squad was going to be and all that," Lynch said. "That's why we made a real effort of playing the young kids."
Though he certainly qualifies as a veteran by now, Crown Point native Matt Ernest was one player who impressed Lynch. Locked in a tight race to win a starting spot at cornerback, Ernest played well, making solo, open-field tackles on numerous occasions.
"I was trying to, at least," Ernest said afterward. "I've still got to work on my tackling a little bit, but I was trying to hold my own today."
Lynch said the Hoosiers will get a break once campus move-in begins en force in the middle of next week, and then it will be time to start thinking specifically about Towson.
According to LaPorte grad and kicker Nick Ford, now a fifth-year senior, the Hoosiers are ready.
"I feel like everyone's in high spirits, and you know, knock on wood, we haven't had, really, any serious injuries," Ford said. "I feel like we've done good in camp so far."
Overall, however, the Hoosiers enter the last days of fall camp relatively unscathed, thanks in no small part, players said, to the lightened physical load.
"I feel like, when you pull back, you get more mental reps," Carr-Watson said. "You get your assignments down pat."