Indiana held its final Tailgate Tour event on Thursday night in the concourse of the North End Zone. Football practice was made open for one hour after that and athletic director Fred Glass, women’s basketball coach Curt Miller and volleyball coach Sherry Dunbar spoke and were made available to the press before hand.
Some notes, first on the practice itself, follow.
— Cameron Coffman started the open portion of practice looking fairly sharp, and after one particularly accurate slant route, I suggested to a few other beat writers present that Coffman might just surprise everyone and win the starting job. Coffman responded to the claim he obviously didn’t hear by throwing an interception on his very next pass and threw a few more in the next few reps. Sorry about the jinx Cam.
He found his groove more toward the end of practice and made what was probably the throw of the day in an 11-on-11 scrimmage. He rolled to his right around the 50-yard-line, threw off-balance and lofted a throw perfectly over the shoulder of wide receiver Jamonne Chester for about a 35-yard gain. He also looked pretty solid in a red zone scoring drill.
— Tre Roberson continues to improve, and connected on a deep ball with wide receiver Nick Stoner early during the open period of practice. He also connected for a few touchdowns with Charles Love III during the Red Zone scrimmaging portion of practice.
— Nate Sudfeld still has the strongest arm, still looks very accurate on deep balls, still seems to be swimming a little bit. Lots of potential there, but exactly what you’d expect from a quarterback who’s been in college football for little over a week.
— Sophomore Kenny Mullen has been as impressive as any player on defense so far. He’s been outstanding in coverage, has been able to close on thrown balls for breakups. Lawrence Barnett has been effective, and JUCO transfer Antonio Marshall seems to have gotten his legs underneath him, but Mullen, more than anyone else, is making quarterbacks pay for throwing his way.
— All three wide receivers are making a push to play right away, but Kevin Davis has been the most impressive, at least in open sessions. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder has an extra gear of speed than the others, and he also appears to be the most polished. His routes are sharp, he’s got good hands, he knows how to get open.
— Among true freshmen, the entire offensive line is getting a serious look, and Jason Spriggs appears to have been officially converted from tight end to left tackle, not that it was a surprise for the 6-7, 270-pounder. Dawson Fletcher is also getting more of a look at safety than some may have expected.
— Fred Glass said the construction of the baseball/softball complex is very much on schedule.
“The drought’s bad for about everything except construction,” Glass said. “It helped us with the new artificial surface that we’re really excited about with football. That just gives a really good feel, I think, in addition to being great utility. Baseball/softball is on time and on budget. I’m really pleased with the progress we’re making on that too.”
Glass said the baseball/softball complex would make for a parking problem with football, but he said he hoped to eventually pick up parking spots near the current Sembower Field. Sembower will eventually be converted to intramural fields to replace the ones that are being built over for the new varsity complex. However, Glass said that Sembower would not come down until Kaufman Field is ready for action.
“I think it will stay until we have a pitch in the new facilities,” Glass said. “I’ve sweated out that transition before, and we’ll err on the side of careful on that one.”
Glass said athletics has worked with the recreational sports to make sure there is still enough facilities for them to use for intramurals.
— Glass was asked about corruption in basketball recruiting and the degree to which he believed it was a problem. He suggested that it very much is.
“It’s terrible man, I mean, it’s gross,” Glass said. “I always had a sense of how gross it was before I had this job. I have more of a sense now I think A: because I’m closer to it, and B: it’s gotten worse in the few short years I’ve been here. I think it’s a very serious problem that potentially challenges the nature of the game. I applaud the NCAA, the basketball focus group which was formed to take a very aggressive approach with that. … I think extreme situations call for extreme measures, and we ought to figure out what we can do about it.”
Glass was asked what the first thing would be that he would to clean up the situation, he said he’d bring in investigators who could figure out whether or not players and others are being paid.
“I would encourage the NCAA to hire a bunch of former FBI guys that know how to follow the money,” Glass said. “I think we get caught up in the number of phone calls and stuff that isn’t a big deal. I think the really corrosive is people getting paid to play, to have official visits, to have unofficial visits. I think you need to hire guys that know how to find bad guys that know their way around tracking money. That’s what I’d do.”
Of course, it was pointed out to him that even those FBI guys would have to operate without subpoena power, which wouldn’t help their cause, but that was still his idea.
— Curt Miller said he’s been pleased with the reception he’s received around the state heading into his first year as the women’s basketball coach. It will be admittedly difficult, he said, to field a contending team this year, but he sees a chance to build in future classes.
“We signed a couple of kids in the 2012 class to roundout numbers this year, but we’re behind,” Miller said. “We’re behind in the ’13 class. We’ve gotta scramble to the finish line and add great players to the program. It’s late, but where we’re going to make the biggest strides are in the classes of ’14 and ’15 and the class of 2016. We’re really, really excited about our reception from those young classes. That’s who we’re going to make the biggest impact on. We have to field a roster this year. We’ve gotta have the community be patient with us, but we really believe the future is bright down the line.”
Miller said Indiana should know soon about the status of Kaila Hulls, the former Bloomington South star and younger sister of men’s basketball point guard Jordan Hulls. Kaila Hulls sat out last season at Bowling Green with a knee injury and then transferred to Indiana, following Miller. IU has applied to waive the transfer penalty year that would ordinarily require her to sit out this season as well.
“We’re hoping early September to have a final decision,” Miller said. “The good news for us is the NCAA has circled back to us with more questions. That’s good news to us that they’re looking at it and they’re not immediately denying the appeal and the waiver. So, we’ve answered more questions. We’ve turned in more paper work and now we believe it will be early September when we have a final answer.”