August 16, 2007

Allied rivals

The sun beat down on the practice fields behind Memorial Stadium last week, slowly baking the 105 Hoosiers who were preparing for the 2007 season. Summer camp is always hot, but with the mercury rising almost by the day and the regular season seemingly so far away, the heat seemed to be almost unbearable. For most of the practice, everybody seemed to think they were standing in the hottest place on the field.

But once the team's scrimmage drills rolled around-the seven-on-seven passing drills and the full team scrimmage, in particular-it wasn't difficult to find the hottest place on the field. That space was occupied by a 5-11 senior cornerback and a 6-7 junior wide receiver, and their battle was something to see. After all, when two stars on a team go one-on-one, it's always an event.

CB Tracy Porter and WR James Hardy both were second-team all-Big Ten performers last season and both have their share of potential. Hardy has 20 TD catches in his first two seasons in Bloomington, and Porter finished fourth in the Big Ten in interceptions with four last year. Their individual success on Saturday's has fostered a rivalry, but one that is friendly and ultimately helps the Hoosiers in the long run.

"We go at each other each and every day, talking trash," Hardy says. "When (Porter) gets a good play on me, I ask him what I did wrong. When I get one on him, he asks me what he did wrong. When you look at it like that, you make each other better every day. Practice is practice to get ready for the game, so if we come in every day to get each other better, then we should destroy. He should get better each and every week."

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