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April 1, 2009BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The move of Kellen Lewis to wide receiver has a lot of motivating factors behind it, but one that may be overlooked is the development of freshman quarterback Adam Follett.
Indiana coach Bill Lynch said he believes Follett's progress has made that move an easier decision to make.
"There is no question about that, absolutely," Lynch said. "I can't sit here right now and say this is what we are going to do in the fall because it has to play itself out this spring. But the confidence we have in where he is right now versus a year ago when there wasn't anybody behind Ben [Chappell]."
Although Follett was redshirted in 2008, he gained a lot during his first year in Bloomington. "I have gotten better at reading the defense, but I still have to improve with that," Follett said. "I have a stronger arm with lifting since being here. Also I have put on quite a bit of weight, 20 to 25 pounds."
Lynch said he knows the staff will learn a lot more about Follett's potential this spring as he gets his first reps with the second unit.
"When I guy comes in and redshirts and knows he is redshirting, it is not the same as when he is competing to play," Lynch said. "He has made great strides. He is 225 pounds now and is all of 6-foot-6. He can really throw it, [and] he is very in tune of what we do. We were fortunate enough that he could be really involved even though he redshirted last fall. It is going to be fun to watch him go."
The Hoosiers, in their second week of spring ball, will hold their first scrimmage at 1 p.m. Saturday. "It is going to be fun, I thought we were going to do one last Saturday," Follett said. "Will be great to get some reps with the offense going full speed and full contact."
Lynch has made it clear that every position is up for grabs, including quarterback. But Follett will have some work to do to earn the nod over first-teamer Ben Chappell.
"We are going to play the best guy and right now Ben Chappell is certainly the best guy," quarterbacks coach Matt Canada said. "We are excited about what he brings to the table, but we are going to play the best guys at every position so there is nothing set at this point."
Follett hopes to contribute whenever he can.
"Ben, he is a great quarterback so I just have to work hard," Follett said. "Hopefully if I work hard enough it will help me get better all around and help the team out. But Ben Chappell is the guy right now and has really stepped it up this spring and at the end of the year last year he became a team leader. He is a good quarterback, but I am working hard and hopefully I get my shot too."
"I certainly don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we have some pretty good ones coming in," Lynch said.
But current quarterbacks Chappell, Follett and third-teamer Teddy Schell will get a head start on the pistol offensive formation, a new package that Lynch is bringing to the team this spring. Follett says it has not been that hard to get used to in the first week.
"It is really not that big of a change," Follett said. "It just gives the running backs more of a chance to get downhill instead of just starting from the standing position."
Getting to work with the second team is what Follett really seems to enjoy about the workouts so far.
"I worked with the scout team for about half the year last fall and then went over and got some third-team reps," Follett said. "It has definitely been a big help for me in adjusting to the speed of the game. It is quite a bit faster than the scout team."