A day later and it’s still not pretty

After Indiana’s first two games of the year, I meandered my way toward the duty of watching the broadcast of the game. And when I did get around to watching the wins against Western Kentucky and Murray State, my suspicions were confirmed: those games revealed almost nothing about the Hoosiers. (Though watching those games did make me hungry for Ro*Tel.)

Saturday’s loss to Ball State, on the other hand, wiped away much of the talk that has surrounded this team. The defense is not vastly improved; it was pushed around all day Saturday by a MAC team. IU’s running game has not really made strides; the three primary backs are inconsistent. Kellen Lewis was not able to overcome the time he missed while suspended; he’s very uncomfortable on the field right now. The no-huddle offense doesn’t guarantee an opponent will tire or struggle to react; Ball State was barely fazed by it. And the list goes on.

Obviously we’ll have coverage of where Indiana must go from here all this week.

For now, here are some observations from my viewing experience today.

  • Geno Johnson’s personal foul in the first quarter was completely unacceptable and should have led to him having a seat on the bench for a series or two. I did not see the incident that led to the call last night, but it is right here on the tape: Johnson punches MiQuale Lewis in the helmet well after the play. Maybe Lewis said something, or had taken a shot earlier. I don’t know. But what Johnson did was unsportsmanlike and hurt his team; it also shows, I think, that Indiana was losing its composure early in this game before it even really started sliding Ball State’s way.
  • More evidence that Indiana was not mentally ready: the failure of both returnmen to get on the ball during the kickoff following Lewis’ first score.
  • Doug and I called for Indiana to stretch the field with a deep pass to Andrew Means during our Tailgat Bash at the Bus Web cast, and Indiana obliged. Means, who played primarily in the slot prior to this year, proved that he can run under a ball and make difficult catches. That should keep opponents more honest and open up soft spots underneath in future games.
  •  Memorial Stadium is going to really have a nice look when the addition is complete. It already seems more unique, and from this broadcast it seems like there was a real college football atmosphere for this game.
  •  Here’s my first question of the day: Where’s Greg Middleton? He did not really seem to have much of a presence in this game, and so far I’ve seen him struggle even when he was not double-teamed. Also, Ryan Marando got a bunch of playing time in Middleton’s place. Interesting.
  • I’d like to see Bryan Payton get 25 to 30 carries in a game. Just to see what happens. He seems like a guy who would not only be able to handle that load but might actually be better in that situation. Some backs are like that. Then, you can use Marcus Thigpen as a real change-of-pace guy.
  • Wow was Indiana’s offense atrocious on the drive early in the second quarter. The offensive line can’t handle three rushers and Lewis constantly was flushed. Then when he does have time to throw he chucks a ball high into the air for Ray Fisher, who is short and being covered by three people. It’s intercepted.
  • Here’s the part of the film I dreaded: the Dante Love injury. I’m literally feeling sick trying to watch this. The noise of Love’s helmet hitting Adkins’ helmet is the worst thing I’ve heard in a long time. All in all, it was a big hit but a fairly routine football play. How awful.
  • I’ve been critical of Big Ten announcers before. Well, these chaps handled the Dante Love situation very well.
  • Nate Davis’ 45-yard touchdown pass is one of the best throws I’ve ever seen a quarterback make. On any level.
  • But lost in the concern for Davis is the fact that CB Christopher Phillips, a senior captain for the Hoosiers, may be done for the season. He was hurt trying to defend that epic heave by Davis, and to me it looks like his right knee buckled as he tried to plant. You saw that a lot on the old style turf, but not as much on the new stuff. Hopefully we can get an update on him soon.
  • You always hear how devastating a score in the last two minutes of the first half can be. Well, in retrospect, this game ended when Kellen Lewis’ pass sailed into Sean Baker’s hands. IU sagged immediately. And permanently.
  • I’ll add second-half thoughts in a bit.

26 comments

  1. On the Geno Johnson penalty…Lewis shoved a Hoosier player in the helmet(can’t remember which) and Geno retaliated. It just so happened that the refs saw him, and not Lewis. Here’s an observation for you…Matt Canada is completely inept as a play caller, as he apparently only knows the names of 2 plays: QB Draw and HB Draw. Oh, and another one…Why are we playing the entire game in a Cover 4 defense? Are we that afraid of a MAC offense?

  2. I just read a report online that said Love is moving his arms and legs after spinal surgery.

    Prayers for his family need to continue, but this is certainly good news.

  3. IU isn’t going to continue to draw the kinds of crowds it had Saturday night if they can’t win… no matter how “unique” the stadium is. I think this loss is an absolute program killer. Making matters worse, I think this has to make the beginning of the end for Bill Lynch. Lynch’s tenure has the chance to undermine everything that Terry Hoeppner built during his short but meaningful stint as IU’s head coach. Firing Lynch may seem knee-jerk but IU looked completely unprepared for this game and you have to turn that around on the coaching staff.

  4. This team will not be successful until it can at least hold its own in the trenches. We are not even close. Whatever yardage Lewis got — just double it for Ringer next week. It will be uuuggllyy.

  5. time for lynch, canada, and palcic to find their next MAC stop… I hope the new AD’s first move is a new football coach

  6. Lynch needs to put his best players on the field regardless of age.Red shirting Willis is just one example. He would be their best chance for a solid inside runner and then Payton. Where is Finch after all the hype. He blocks a punt and then goes to the bench with all the injuries we have in the secondary he needs to play. Ben Chappell should get some passing downs if Lewis is passing poorly. Maybe, if he gets some snaps,we don’t get an offsides penalty when Chappell goes in for a 4th quarter 4th down. Coach may be one of IU best recruiters in some years but he may never get to coach them. Play these kids who are better and stop playing upperclassmen who are not getting the job done.They need a wake up call!! Why no blitzing by the defense? I know he was great, at one point, but where is Middleton the once in your face pass rusher? The schedule that once looked easy now is full of undefeated teams. There is a lot of football still to be played. Changes have to be made now!

  7. I hate to pile on, but games like Saturday just reinforce our most pessimistic nature.

    When you look at teams like Wake Forest, North Carolina, Illinois, East Carolina, South Florida, Connecticut (I could go on)with little football pedigree who have turned it around in recent years, you have to wonder what is wrong at IU.

    Take Wake Forest, as an example: The entire school’s enrollment is only slightly larger than IU’s freshman class and yet coach Grobe has turned them into a top 20 team.

    Or, even more disgustingly, Illinois: People laughed when the Illini hired Zook (at the same time we hired coach Hep, by the way) but who’s laughing now? They went from two wins to the Rose Bowl in a single season, and we’re still mired in mediocrity.

    Wake Forest and Illinois are proof it can be done. We just don’t seem capable – or willing to do what it takes to make it happen.

    We seem to have accepted that IU will never be a good football school. As an alumn, donor and fan I find that attitude unacceptable.

  8. Mark, I don’t think Wake Forest, North Carolina, Illinois, East Carolina, South Florida or Connecticut would give Bill Lynch the time of day!

  9. Let’s not proclaim anything about Illinois yet. They’re barely ahead of us in computer polls. They’re not in the LVSC top 30.

    Missouri beat them by 3 TDs on a neutral field (I’m not counting the BS Illinois TD as time expired) and they only won by 3 against Louisiana-Lafayette at home.

    We’ll know how good they are after this week. They go to Penn State.

  10. What did I tell you guys about Middleton?

    Did nothing all night.

    What did I tell you guys about our passing game after WKU?

    We had none all night.

    Go ahead Mike P. Try saying he’s not overrated.

    If you watch George Selvie, you watch a game-changing defensive end who commands double teams, has speed off the edge, and anticipates the snap well.

    Middleton isn’t close to that.

  11. Jack, you’re an idiot. “More unique” is perfectly acceptable English for a blog post, maybe not a formal term paper, but in a blog post it’s fine. I love all the wanna-be copy editors who cloud these comment sections and the Peegs message boards.

    Get a fricken life. How about I come to your job and point out all your shortcomings that I perceive?

  12. the sooner you fire lynch and the crackpot coaching staff, the sooner IU will be on track to improving the program.

  13. This coaching staff has lost all credibility. For example, all spring we hear about how Ben C is the starting qb, and how he is improving etc. KL struggles, the game plan unravels, and still BC gets no snaps? I’m not saying that we bench Lewis, but for a series or two let the other kid try….could it have gotten any worse?

    After the game, I read quotes from the head coach containing the “I don’t know why blah,blah,blah. . .” Isn’t the head coach paid to know? Expected to know?

    The spirit of this team has to be pretty devastated now.

  14. We need a motivational coaching staff. I dont care how good you are if you are not fired up for a game your chance’s of winning are not as good. Hire Bob knight to coach football!! This staff is way to laidback!!!

  15. Indiana is spending huge money to make an empty football statium bigger. This in itself tells me the entire sports department should be fired. IU will NEVER be competative in football. They just do not care.

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