Football Notebook: Voices in the Room, Doing Homework on Indiana, and More

In our weekly installment of the  "Football Friday'' notebook, Indiana wide receivers coach Grant Heard shares news that might surprise you and new tight end Khameron Taylor talks about doing his homework on Indiana.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Put a microphone in front if Indiana wide receiver Whop Philyor, and he'll talk and talk and talk. That's a wonderful thing.

But when his position coach, Grant Heard, was asked about the big voices in the receivers room now that Nick Westbrook and Donovan Hale have graduated, had a surprising answer.

"I know people think Whop's personality is outgoing, but he is really a shy person,'' said Heard, who is in his fourth season as Indiana's wide receivers coach. "Ty (Fryfogle), he doesn't say a word. It's trying to get those guys to speak out and start being leaders on their own. Hopefully they've been doing it.''

Heard said he's often just let Philyor and Fryfolge take over these "new normal'' virtual meetings. From a production standpoint, they are the unquestioned leaders of this group. Philyor, the Tampa, Fla., native who was the team's MVP a year ago, had 70 catches for 1,002 yards and Fryfogle, a senior from Lucedale, Miss., was second among the receivers with 48 catches. 

They are the clear starters this year, but there's a ton of young and explosive talent in that room, too. They need to be shown the way, much like Philyor and Fryfogle were when they were freshmen.

"To me, it's not even about seniors (leading), it's not about playing. It's about, you know, what needs to be done. Whoever it is, somebody step up. Somebody step up and lead the room. 

"I don't truly believe that just because you're a senior, you're a leader. Leaders can be anybody. So hopefully somebody in that room, I would love for it to be Whop or Ty, but somebody needs to step up and fill those roles that Nick left and Donavan left.''

Philyor was quick to dispute Heard's assessment on Twitter. "NOT SHY AT ALL,'' he said.

Khameron Taylor asked the right questions

Recruiting is absolutely a two-way street, and it's even more true for graduate transfers, because they have just that last one year to play college football. That's why it was important for Khameron Taylor to find the right fit if he was going to leave South Alabama for one final season elsewhere.

He did his homework on Indiana, and the Hoosiers passed the test.

"I just like everything about IU. I talked to Coach (Tom)Allen and I liked everything he preached. I felt like he was a good guy and I feel like he's got my best interest at heart,'' Taylor said. "All the coaching staff was cool, and I know (Indiana defensive coordinator Kane) Wommack from South (Alabama). We had a pretty good relationship. 

"I'm cool with him. He's a great genuine dude. I'm glad he's on staff. It just felt like everything was pointing in Indiana's direction, and the coaching staff is right to develop me into a better player and reach for my future goals.''

"I think I'm really good in the passing game, and I think I'll get an opportunity to show it in this offense,'' Taylor said. "I think I'm just going to lead by example and just try to buy in, and let all my teammates know I'm bought in. Like, I want to win. I'm here for you all. L-E-O. Like Coach said, L-E-O.''

Keeping it 100, Badger style

We've reached that threshold now, and we're within 100 days of the season opener, God and COVID-19 willing. The Hoosiers are scheduled to open the 2020 college football season on Friday, Sept. 4 at Wisconsin.

The Hoosiers haven't fared well lately against the Badgers, losing 10 games in a row dating back from IU's last win in the series in 2002. In those 10 games, Indiana has allowed a whopping 51.2 points per game. (They are averaging only 15.3 themselves.)

Wisconsin has been great and simply pounding Indiana in the run game. They have had great backs there for years, but the latest, Jonathan Taylor, is off to the NFL after getting drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.

Here's an interesting "keeping it 100'' stat on the departed Taylor. Last year he rushed for more than 100 yards in 10 of Wisconsin's 14 games, and had 94 in its Rose Bowl loss to Oregon. For his career, he had 31 100-yard games out of 40 games played.

Good riddance, in other words.

Taylor averaged 143.6 yards per game during his three-year career. His likely replacement, sophomore-to-be Nakia Wilson, had 331 yards total a year ago.

Related stories from Indiana football

  • BACK HOME AGAIN: New tight ends coach Kevin Wright is part of Indiana football royalty and he's thrilled to be back home. CLICK HERE
  • FALL SEMESTER SCHEDULE: Students at Indiana will leave for Thanksgiving break and not return to campus until Feb. 7 in the latest schedule for the 2020-21 school year. CLICK HERE
  • TIM BENNETT HAS COACHING BUG: Former standout Indiana cornerback Tim Bennett is moving up in the coaching world, and he has a great mentor in Brandon Shelby, his former coach at IU. CLICK HERE
  • CAM WILSON'S FAMILY SAYS THANK YOU: There has been an outpouring of support for the family of Cassondra Wilson, the mother of three who was murdered earlier this month. They said thank you this week in a very public way. CLICK HERE