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IU quarterback suspended for violating team rules

Thursday, March 6, 2008


AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana's record-setting quarterback Kellen Lewis was suspended indefinitely Thursday for violating team rules, leaving the Hoosiers with another big hole heading into spring practice.

Team spokesman Jeff Keag would not give details about what rules Lewis violated.

"He will not participate as we begin spring practice," coach Bill Lynch said in a statement. "Kellen needs time away from the program and we look forward to his return at some point in the future."

Keag said Lynch would make no additional comments on what precipitated the suspension or when Lewis might return to the team.

Losing Lewis leaves one of the Big Ten's top offenses from 2007 without its leader.

Lewis threw for 3,043 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushed for another 736 yards and nine more TDs while starting all 13 games and leading the Hoosiers to their first bowl game in 14 years. And with his favorite target, receiver James Hardy, leaving a year early for the NFL, Lewis was expected to use this spring to build new bonds with receivers such as Ray Fisher and James Bailey.

Instead, the Hoosiers will spend the spring adjusting. Practice begins March 25.

Lewis' backup last year, Ben Chappell, who will be a sophomore, now inherits the starting job even though he has thrown only two passes in college. Chappell played in three games last season, completing 1-of-2 passes for 14 yards.

Another complication is that Indiana's only returning backup, Teddy Schell, who did not play as a freshman in 2007, is expected to miss the entire spring with an elbow injury.

So Lynch is moving safety Mitchell Evans back to quarterback, where he opened fall camp in 2007. Evans was twice named a first-team Division IV all-state quarterback in Ohio while playing at Milton Union High School. But after the Hoosiers needed help in the secondary, Evans moved to safety for his freshman season and worked his way into the team's rotation.

The Hoosiers do not expect to have another quarterback in camp until the fall -- unless, of course, Lewis returns before Indiana's intrasquad scrimmage April 19.

In addition, the Hoosiers must also find replacements for Marcus Thigpen, their second-leading rusher, and cornerback Tracy Porter, who like Hardy is expected to be drafted in April. Both were seniors last season.

Lewis burst onto the scene in September 2006 when the Hoosiers' top two quarterbacks were hurt. He was pressed into service at Ball State, then rallied the Hoosiers to a come-from-behind victory. He secured the starting job a couple of weeks later and wound up throwing for 2,221 yards and 19 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman.

Last year, Lewis developed into as one of the conference's most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks. He broke school single-season records for attempts (442), completions (265), yards passing, TD passes, total touchdowns (37), total yards (3,709) and completion percentage (60.0)

He is currently tied with ex-Hoosier Antwaan Randle El for most TD passes in a career (42) and ranks among the school's top five for career yards (5,264), completions (455) and attempts (788).

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