BLOOMINGTON – Vinny Fiackable always wanted to play football for Indiana.
Fiacable’s father, Steve, and brothers, Mike and Steve, suited up for the Hoosiers and he was happy to be a part of the team as a freshman last season.
“The first month or so I still couldn’t believe I was here,” Fiacable said in the summer of 2021. doing this.’ It was like crazy to me. I’ve been coming to IU games all my life since I was little. … Now that I’m part of the team and I can help the team progress and get better, it means a lot and it’s really exciting.
After redshirting in 2021 — the guard was Scout Team Player of the Week before the Hoosiers played Maryland but didn’t see in-game action — Fiacable is poised to do a lot more than put on pads for the Hoosiers this year. In the spring, coach Tom Allen said the Fort Wayne native and Bishop Dwenger product will be counted on to give the Hoosiers “some really solid depth” on the interior of the offensive line.
That plan hasn’t changed. Fiacable was listed as the primary backup at left guard — behind redshirt junior Mike Katic — on Indiana’s first depth chart and has positioned himself as a key contributor for a team in need of much better play from the offensive line. before the season.
“You never know when your number might be called and you have to be ready when your number is called,” Fiacable said. “You have to help the team win. Not for the standard player, it’s for the position. … you answer the call.
Depth on offense will be especially important for the Hoosiers this year. Allen has indicated Indiana plans to run a somewhat up-tempo scheme under new offensive coordinator Walt Bell. This involves rotating more players on the field to keep everyone fresh late in games.
To prepare for a role in that offense, the 6-foot-4 Fiacable spent the offseason slimming down. He dropped close to 20 pounds and is listed at 308 entering the season. He hopes the weight he’s shed, along with some added muscle, will make him faster and improve his technique.
“(I worked) really hard,” Fiacable said. “I had to watch everything I ate, take protein and count calories. It was a process, but I’m still doing it, and I’m still getting there.
“I feel faster, I don’t feel sluggish. My body feels better because I’m eating right and sleeping right. My body composition feels better. It makes me feel so much better when I’m exercising and running and working out.”
Fiacable is expected to contribute for a line that was a weak spot for Indiana last season. The Hoosiers ranked 119th out of 130 FBS teams in average line yards — a metric that aims to isolate the line’s contribution to the running game — and were 91st nationally in sack rate.
This offseason, the Hoosiers have focused on having a more physical front. Physicality is at an “all-time premium,” right tackle Matthew Bedford said, and the Hoosiers want players who can move defensive lines against their will.
Fiacable spent his freshman year fine-tuning the technique necessary to, as he put it, “stop someone as big as you are” and feel ready to deliver the ball when called upon.
“We take a lot of pride in physicality,” Fiacable said. “You’ve got to move guys off the ball, you’ve got to get your job done and the only way you can do that is to move the other guy with your body.”
Fiacable is one of four offensive linemen from Fort Wayne on IU’s roster this year, joining Snyder’s redshirt sophomores Randy Holtz and Luke Wigginton from Bishop Dwenger and freshman DJ Moore from Snyder.
The Hoosiers have emphasized in-state recruiting for linemen in six years under offensive line coach Darren Hiller, and Fiacable believes coaching in Fort Wayne helps high school students stand out when looking at collegiate programs.
“All those guys are doing great,” Hiller said of the Fort Wayne foursome. “Obviously the old guys in the show are a little bit ahead of the new guys. DJ Moore, he’s learning a lot, he’s swimming a little bit, he’s trying to figure it out, while a guy like Vinny Fiacable is lighting the lights on right now. He was a year ago. Same as DJ.
A year older, years wiser and a summer leaner, ready to graduate from fiable scout-teamer to difference-maker on the field.
So how does it feel to step onto the field for the first time in the uniform you dreamed of as a child?
“I don’t know yet,” Fiacable said, “but I think it’s going to be awesome.”
Note: Allen said the Hoosiers won’t announce their starting quarterback before the season opener on Sept. 2 against Illinois. Connor Bazelak, Jack Tuttle and Dexter Williams II are battling for the job and Indiana will name a starter internally “in the near future,” Allen said Friday.