Linebacker Chase Hoobler has suffered from injuries the past two seasons, the most recent of which is a stress fracture in his foot.
Redshirt junior linebacker Chase Hoobler missed half of the 2012 season with an ankle injury, and continued to sit out through spring practice. Just as he was poised to begin fall camp with his teammates, Hoobler again suffered a setback, IU head coach Kevin Wilson said.
About a week before Friday’s initial fall practice, Hoobler’s foot began to bother him. On Thursday, Hoobler had his foot examined, and doctors concluded that Hoobler has a stress fracture. While Wilson isn’t yet sure about whether or not Hoobler will require surgery, he knows the injury will sideline Hoobler into the season.
“That’s going to shut him down,” Wilson said Friday. “That can be a surgical deal, a non-surgical deal, but the time on that will go well into the season. It’s not just a preseason deal, and you feel for him. He’s one of our better players.”
Wilson is hopeful that Hoobler will be able to return to the team by the end of the season, but for now, the linebackers will operate without him on the field. Hoobler was redshirted as a freshman, but Wilson said that if the situation allows for it, the team could pursue a medical redshirt that would allow Hoobler a sixth season of eligibility.
During his only full season at IU, when he was a redshirt freshman during Wilson’s first season at the helm in 2011, Hoobler made 48 tackles in 12 games and eight starts at outside linebacker. He totaled five tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble forced as well. In just six games in 2012, Hoobler made 26 tackles, including a sack.
IU has been working to build depth at the linebacker position by recruiting both junior college linebackers and putting more of an emphasis on recruiting high school linebackers as well. At outside linebacker, IU has freshman Steven Funderburk, senior Griffen Dahlstrom, junior Forisse Hardin, freshman Kristopher Smith and others in the mix.
Junior linebacker David Cooper, who is at the top of the depth chart at middle linebacker, said the team still doesn’t know enough about the injury to definitively know how long Hoobler will be out. As long as Hoobler is out, however, Cooper said the linebackers are going to simply have to deal with it.
“Hopefully he’ll be back, but we’ve just got to keep going,” Cooper said. “He’s still going to be a leader to us, he’s still going to be showing guys what to do and everything, but we’ve just got to keep moving.”
Wilson expressed a similar mindset. As he has said before, he has seen his team crumble after things haven’t gone right, and he hopes to see Hoobler respond well to the setback.
“When we’ve had adversity, we’ve always gone south in my short time down here,” Wilson said. “When things don’t go well, how can you help us? I’m sorry you’re hurt, and I feel sorry for you, but at the same time, you have a voice on this team, you live with guys who are good players, so I need some positive mind from him.”