Yeagley feels at home, here at, umm, home

When it all seems so huge — so complicated and real and right in front of you — the best thing to do, sometimes, is to go small.

This morning at Indiana’s practice, first-year coach Todd Yeagley had a manager place four cones on the field in a rectangle about eight yards wide and 10 yards long. Then, he gave a ball to one player and told him to dribble it past the player in front of him. This one-on-one drill continued for five minutes, and gave way to two-on-two drills, then three-on-three.

Yeagley, whose father built the Indiana soccer program and won six national titles, is back in town after a year coaching the Wisconsin Badgers. He replaced Mike Freitag, whose teams struggled offensively and failed to reach the College Cup (soccer’s final Four) since winning the tournament in his first year, 2003 2004.

The program he takes over is certainly not in shambles, not compared to the football or basketball programs currently being restructured on another part of campus. But Yeagley says he has been working non-stop since being hired in late December to figure out what fixes he needs to make. He’s hardly had enough time to glance down at the logo always depicted somewhere on his shirt.

“We’ve been so busy that sometimes you have to step back and remember that you’re leading the most prestigious program in the nation,” he said. “It hits me at moments, but we’ve had our heads so wrapped around what we have to do that you don’t have time to think about it. When you do, it’s humbling.”

I attended the last two IU soccer practices — late Wednesday and early Thursday — and will have more on the team in a bit.

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