Ball State's football team competed its 12th practice of Fall Camp Sunday in the evening of the two-a-day session at Scheumann Stadium.
Second-year head coach Pete Lembo answered some questions for fans as the Cardinals continue preparations for the Aug. 30 season opener vs. Eastern Michigan at Scheumann Stadium.
Q: With 18 days left before the season opener, talk a little bit about the quarterback position and the progress being made there.
A: Junior starter Keith Wenning is having a solid preseason so far. Like many of our players, he needs to be a little more consistent as we hit the second half of camp. Our offensive installation is basically complete, so hopefully, he can make some more progress as he gets more repetitions at similar concepts. Kelly Page continues to be a very solid back up that has the trust of his teammates. Keith and Kelly are good sounding boards for each other on and off the field.
Q: There seem to be more players wearing knee braces this season, especially among the defensive linemen. Is there a reason for this change?
A: Player safety is always at a premium for us. Our interior defensive linemen wore knee braces last year, but we are now requiring most of our defensive ends to do so as well. Like the offensive linemen, the guys get used to them pretty quickly. We have seen some scenarios through the years where a knee brace has saved a guy from injury when someone falls on the knee from the side. There are other instances when a knee gets twisted and the brace simply cannot prevent that type of injury. We get the guys fitted for braces in the offseason and it is imperative they wear them correctly.
Q: Talk a little bit about the linebacker position and how the depth chart is looking at this time at that spot.
A: We have a little more competition for spots in the two deep this year at linebacker. We redshirted some freshmen last year and they are now competing with the veteran guys. Trent Toothman has been solid throughout camp backing up Travis Freeman. He is a smart player who runs pretty well. Ben Ingle has shown flashes at the Will Linebacker spot behind Tony Martin. Justin Cruz is also taking some snaps with the second team at Will. All three of those backups need to be guys we can count on for quality special teams play as well. At our other outside linebacker spot, junior Kenneth Lee is playing ahead of Julian Boyd right now. Both Kenny and Julian have made some plays, but are also inconsistent at times. Fortunately, there is less of a drop off when our backups go in the game at all three positions. That will help the entire defensive unit as the season goes on and injuries occur.
All practices are open to the public and free of charge.
Remaining Practice Schedule
Mon., Aug. 13 (2:15 p.m.)
Tues., Aug. 14 (8 a.m. and 7:15 p.m.)
Wed., Aug. 15 (No Practice)
Thurs., Aug. 16 (2:15 p.m.)
Fri., Aug. 17 (2:15 p.m.)
Sat., Aug. 18 (2:15 p.m.)
Sun., Aug. 19 (8 a.m.)