Getting ready for the big one at Minnesota

With Indiana facing a Gopher team that’s 0-5 in Big Ten play, the Hoosiers aren’t going to get a better chance than Saturday to win a sixth win that should send them to their first bowl game in 13 years.

But Minnesota has traditionally been much together at home than on the road. During Glen Mason’s tenure at Minnesota, the Gophers have been 3-0 against IU at home and 1-3 in Bloomington. Despite the 0-5 conference record, Minnesota (3-6 overall) has played well at home in an overtime loss to Penn State and in a 14-point loss to No. 2 Michigan.

One of Minnesota’s home-field advantages is playing in a dome. Most of IU’s players have never played a game in a dome, IU coach Terry Hoeppner said Tuesday, so the Hoosiers will arrive in Minnesota Friday afternoon in time to practice at the Metrodome. It will be the first time this season IU has practiced at an opponent’s stadium before a game.

Hoeppner said the indoor lights are one of differences in playing in a dome, along with dry air that can cause dehydration.

At his Tuesday press conference, Hoeppner said he wasn’t the one who originally came up with the 50,000 figure as an attendance goal for last Saturday’s game, but he went along with it because he believes in setting high goals. Even though the crowd fell well short of that figure, Hoeppner has gotten numerous e-mails, he said, from people talking about the game environment and enthusiasm being the best IU’s had at a home game in years.

Games like Saturday’s will help build IU’s crowds of the future, he said, along with giving the athletic department the revenue it has been lacking from poor football attendance, and will give a major boost to recruiting. He said that no amount of charm and salemanship by a coaching staff is as valuable as a high school player seeing IU’s team playing well.

James Hardy attended the press conference and was asked whether he intends to play for IU next season or jump to the NFL. He said that’s a question he’ll talk about in the off-season because right now he’s thinking only about each day’s practice or game.

One comment

  1. Yes james hardy is ready to go pro. He is a good friend and a athlete. I talked to him and he told me that hes going pro in 2008 nfl draft. He was always a basketball person, we played 2years together in middle school. He started playing football his 8th grade year. Overall thats my dude and he is the number 1 draft pick good luck

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