Live Chat Transcript

QUESTION: MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat. Hope everyone is doing well on this cloudy Thursday — at least here in Bloomington.

Are we ready to get started, Dustin and Andy?

Jeremy is en route to Henryville to cover the high school golf regional.

DUSTIN: Yep, let’s get to it.

ANDY: The seemingly perpetual IU quarterback question is now essentially answered. Ready to riff on that and whatever other topics arise.

QUESTION: 1. Evaluate the state of IU athletics? Is there really a program besides Baseball (I continue to believe we’ll be competing with Nebraska for the conference title every year as long as Tracy Smith is here which you never know how long that will be but as of this question and hopefully for the foreseeable future he’s the coach) and Swimming that IU can brag about? I have mentioned this before but it just seems a lot of the sports could be in a rut moving forward (they could be great but it just seems like to many unknowns which isn’t a good thing)?

2. Sembower Field is an eyesore now. I was waiting for baseball to end to make a point of this but I drove by there recently and it’s a mess. You have graffiti on the old press box and concession building, grass as long as me in the field of play and even weeds growing through the dirt on the infield. I understand the place is no longer used (thank god for that), but if IU is going to leave it there at least maintain it and don’t let it rot there. Is IU going to tear it down soon (and if so when because the way it looks now is unacceptable) or just leave it there to drag down what is an otherwise beautiful area of campus?

Darren, Martinsville

DUSTIN: Hey Darren,

1. First off, Indiana’s rowing team apparently became a big deal this year. i really wish I could have done more (and by more, I mean anything) with that. Seemed like a really cool story but there was too much happening with baseball to get away from it. Anyway, no, Indiana athletics is not in the best state it’s ever been in, but it’s certainly not in the worst. From a how-great-are-the-teams-right-now perspective, there is certainly a lot to be desired. Men’s basketball, the flagship, obviously has to get its act together. Football is taking positive strides, but still hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2007. Men’s soccer is coming off what could best be described as an odd year after a dismal regular season followed by a Big Ten tournament title. Track and Field just overhauled its coaching staff after some rough finishes in Big Tens, but did win a men’s cross country Big Ten title. So yeah, there aren’t a lot of programs operating like powerhouses right now. But as far as the state of the department, I think it’s important to mention that the department is as sound in terms of infrastructure as it’s ever been, which is important to note. There’s more money involved and they’re turning a profit, which can, over time, fix a lot of ills. It doesn’t make every team good instantaneously, but it’s motivational in the sense that it means that if a coach underperforms, they can higher a new one. It’s functional in the sense that it pays for facilities, which do actually matter from a performance perspective, especially when you’re talking about a weight room, or the clubhouse with indoor batting cage for baseball or Cook Hall for basketball. All of these things matter, so because of that, I would say that many teams and the department as a whole have growth potential. But yeah, at the moment, there are some teams that could stand to win a little more.

2. You know, I haven’t driven past it in some time. The plan was to turn it into intramural fields, though I’m not exactly sure how much function that might have. Something I can look into.

ANDY: Darren:

1. Yes, you’ve mentioned it before, and we’ve pointed out that just the year before IU finished second for the Capital One Cup, which is one method that gauges overall athletic program performance nationally. Things always fluctuate. Not saying you don’t have a point in that this past overall campaign constitutes a bit of a disappointment (though some of the non-revenue sports such as water polo and rowing made a bit of a national splash.) Clearly coach Helmer felt he needed to make some changes regarding track, given he recently changed virtually his entire assistant coaching staff. And football didn’t make a bowl and men’s basketball had a disappointing season. But I suspect both of those programs might well have a better season looming. Women’s baskeball is definitely on the way up. I think the overall health of the athletic department is good.

2. Don’t really know what plans there are/aren’t for Sembower. My impression had been that the area would eventually serve to replace the student athletic fields that were erased by the construction of Bart Kaufman and Andy Mohr fields. Maybe Dustin knows Mohr … uh, more.

QUESTION: I am sorry to see Tre transfer but I think it will be a good thing in the long run to have a sure starter and it will give Nate the confidence to be even better to not have someone looking over his shoulder always. I could see him throwing for 4,000 yards and 30 TD’s next season. I also think you get 1,000 yard seasons from the Booth kid and Wynn. Also think you see a 1,500 yard season from Tevin Coleman. Do you agree with all of this? Maybe I am being a bit Rosy but I am very confident in the offense next yr.

On the problem child side of the ball how much better can the D be simply by switching coordinators?

Mike, Seymour

DUSTIN: Mike,

Yeah, you are being more than a little bit rosy. There were four receivers in the entire Big Ten who went for over 1,000 yards last year and those were all pretty elite guys. (Allen Robinson, Jeremy Gallon, Cody Latimer, Jared Abbrederis.). Plus, there wasn’t a team in the FBS last year that had both a 4,000-yard passer and a 1,500-yard rusher. At the end of the day there aren’t quite enough snaps for what you’re talking about to occur unless the rest of the Big Ten suddenly decides it doesn’t want to tackle anymore. Or if we’re talking about NCAA 2K Football.

But your bigger point is not so much about numbers, it’s simply a point that the offense has a chance to be very productive, and I agree to a point. The one thing I would say though, is I don’t know that you can simply assume that this group of wide receivers will immediately pick up where the last group left off. Cody Latimer was a second-round pick and no one in this corps has his size or experience. And Kofi Hughes was a much better college player than a lot of people realize. I think Dominique Booth will be good, but his lack of height is an issue, and I don’t see him as an All-Big Ten caliber player as a freshman. I think he starts and he might get there eventually, but he’s going to need at least some time. Wynn’s good, but he’s still a 5-7 slot receiver, and after that, there isn’t an established go-to-guy. That is going to make Nate Sudfeld’s life harder than a lot of people realize. I think you could see evidence of that in the spring game. Sudfeld was pretty much on point with his throws, but you didn’t see as many guys getting wide open downfield as you saw last year. Plus, I do think having Roberson around to run the zone read option with Coleman was an asset, and as good as I think Coleman is, I think his per-carry average numbers take a slight hit without Roberson in the backfield as a legitimate decoy.

As for the defense, it can be better but only so much. The scheme will give them a slight advantage because there isn’t a lot of 3-4 in the Big Ten and some slight of hand could help them the cause. And the fact that the group is a little older and a little more mature should help as well. Are they going to go from the worst defense in the Big Ten to being Michigan State in a year? No chance. But it’s at least conceivable that they’ll get out of the cellar and most important categories. Let’s put it this way. Indiana was last (12th) in the Big Ten last year in both scoring defense (38.8 ppg) and total defense (527.9 yards per game. Northwestern was ninth in both (27.1 ppg and 423.4 ypg). So to get from 12th to ninth, Indiana has to get 11.7 points and 104.5 yards better per game. That’s pretty freaking drastic, but if Indiana was ninth in the league in defense last year, it’s a bowl team by a substantial margin. So maybe that kind of leap is realistic, maybe it isn’t. This team has a long way to go there, and we’ll see. Maybe 10th or 11th is more what you’re talking, but even then you’re talking about substantial improvement.

ANDY: Mike:

That was basically my initial take on it, too, regarding Tre’s departure. Tre seemed like a really nice kid and was a definite asset to the program, but his decision essentially means Nate now takes on the full mantel as the starter, can assume the expanded leadership role inherent in that and get all the No. 1-unit reps preparing for next season. I don’t know if the sort of statistic numbers you toss out will all transpire, but I also really like the chances of Coleman, Wynn and Booth (and others) to have big seasons in addition to Nate, providing everybody (offensive line included) stays healthy. If the offensive line avoids the rash of injuries it had last year, I think Tevin and the other backs will manifest enough of a running threat, even in Tre’s absence, to complement Nate’s passing. And I always kind of thought Nate’s ability to stretch defenses vertically will also help the running game (because those opposing safeties had better stay deep.)

As to the defense, I don’t think anybody is claiming a new coordinator and new scheme constitutes a magic wand. Players, or lack thereof, are by far the biggest components in how a defense does. I don’t think Doug Mallory had enough to work with, frankly. I do think IU has started to add more talent to that side of the ball and has a lot of experience returning. On paper, at least, there should be more competition for playing time at more defensive positions heading into next falll. All those elements should theoretically help a bit. Plus, on paper, I think the 3-4 suits IU’s current personnel reasonably well and first impressions of Coach Knorr are positive. Any time a shift in defensive formations is made, an adjustment period is to be expected, but I do think it might pan out pretty well in the long run. Let’s face it, there pretty much is only one direction for IU’s defense to go, given where it was the past couple of seasons. And if there is even just incremental improvement, that might be enough to help the program over the hump in terms of a bowl bid.

QUESTION: Good morning guys, I hope all is well. As always, thanks for your hard work and excellent coverage. I appreciate it. Well, the Tre Roberson transfer is bad news. I’m not going to try and paint it as a positive because losing a talent like Roberson is never a good thing. However, Nate’s the guy now and I am glad we have someone as talented as Nate Sudfeld ready to grab the full-time starting job.

1. Dustin, I saw your Scoop Talk about the transfer (informative, as always!) so I won’t ask about the depth issue that is now created. I mean, t’s IU football so we certainly don’t have to worry about anything bad, like an injury, derailing a promising season! My question is how the offensive structure changes. I assume 99% of the option stuff gets cut out but I think it’s critical to get Tevin Coleman the ball as much as possible. So, do you think they will focus on getting Coleman the touches he used to get from the option in some other way? If so, how do you think they’ll go about it? My personal opinion…I trust Kevin Johns and Kevin Wilson, I don’t think scoring will be an issue this coming season.

2. Things seem to be really quiet on the basketball recruiting front. I know IU has been evaluating guys (seems like there are roughly 25 names on the 2015 radar) and that there are limited contact periods during the summer. Why do you think Tom Crean is continuing to pursue 6’2″-6’5″ shooting guard types when it appears that playing time will be rather tough to come by at that spot for the next couple of years (and that IU has massive needs at other spots)?

As always, thanks for your hard work and great coverage. Enjoy this great week…I’m a huge soccer fan (Tottenham Hotspur…COYS!) and if my son was old enough to be in school and enjoy watching sports with me, I’d let him play hooky for a day. World Cup, US Open, NBA Finals tonight…no IU sports but that’s a heck of a sports day. Have a great day, God bless and go Hoosiers.

TJ, Noblesville

DUSTIN: TJ,

1. You’ll still see some zone read option stuff, even without the quarterback threat, because sometimes that’s just a good play and Sudfeld can run at least well enough to burn a defense for a couple of yards. It’s not like he’s a total stiff out there. But more or less, it’s not any different than what teams with drop-back passers and thoroughbred tailbacks have done for decades. They’ll just hand him the ball and block and throw him the ball out of the backfield. Losing Roberson certainly takes away a weapon, and I think Coleman will need more carries to get as many yards because there’s an element gone, but getting the ball in the hands of a running back isn’t hard to do.

2. Don’t know that it’s necessarily quiet on that front so much as it’s odd to cover at this point. I’ll be honest, I don’t feel like I have a grasp on it at all. Not that i necessarily ever thought I was really competing on the level of the recruiting sites (Peegs, Scout, 247 or Inside the Hall) in that regard, but I feel like I have even less of a handle on it now and I’m not even sure what even rises to the level of something we should cover. I used to try to write a story about anyone Indiana offered a scholarship to, but I stopped doing that in part because IU baseball became such a compelling story, but also because it so often seems like just as Indiana becomes a player for a recruit, he signs someplace else. Crean has been going after guys at a lot of different spots simply because he’s going to need players going forward. He still needs wings along with big men, and also big men aren’t easy to come by anyway. I think right now he’s just in a position where he needs talent of all sorts, and there is also a need for a true point guard for the post-Yogi era.

ANDY: TJ:

Not saying losing Tre is a net positive, by any means, but there are positive elements to it. I always felt Sudfeld should emerge as the starter, and this facilitates that. And I think IU’s running attack shapes up as potent enough to keep defenses honest regardless of whether or not the quarterback runs much. Providing Nate stays healthy, I think IU will be fine on that side of the ball. But, as you say, it’s always a bit of a blow to lose a guy of Tre’s talent and temperment. Coach Wilson called Tre and Nate two of the better players in the program and two of the better quarterbacks in the league, and I think he was right on both counts.

1. One former college coach who shall remain nameless has told me that IU has one basic running play with variations, aside from the option. The line blocks one direction or another and the back, after taking a stretch handoff or pitch, reads and reacts. Fortunately, with a healthy line and a healthy Coleman, that figured to be really effective. IU will miss the downfield-blocking capacity of guys such as Latimer and Hughes, but teaches that element of the game well. I, too, trust Kevin Wilson and Kevin Johns to still out-scheme most defenses regarding both the pass and run.

2. Having seen both Indiana All-Star scrimmages this week, I remain flatly amazed that Trevon Bluiett not only got out of the state but exited to Xavier. Seriously, the dude is scoring machine. If things weren’t going to click for IU, for whatever reason, I’m still astounded that Purdue or Notre Dame or Butler — or Michigan or Michigan State or Ohio State or somebody else in the B1G — didn’t swoop in and get him. He was UCLA-bound for a while until he apparently decided it was just too far from home. But I digress. I think the biggest target, among many big targets for IU right now, is T.J. Leaf.

I’m a Liverpool fan. As such, suffice to say I have conflicting emotions about the recently-concluded Premier League campaign. And beyond obviously pulling for the USA (and since Scotland and Ireland rarely make the World Cup), as an Anglophile I’m always rooting for England during World Cup play. Which means I am perpetually heartsick in the end. But I love following the Cup play every four years, inevitable heartsickness notwithstanding.

Thanks, as always, TJ.

QUESTION: OSD is in the house. Hope all is well with you guys. Now onto the questions.

This will be the abbreviated 2 questions (with follow up like they get on the debates).

First is Chuck Martin our new assistant coach or not? Follow up: What is the problem are they thinking about bringing Bernie back?

Second question is what does CTC mean when he said he has 2 open schollys? Follow up: We had 7 coming back, signed 5, limit is 13. I may be old but 7 + 5 used to = 12 and subtracting that from 13 used to = 1. So what gives?

Hate the 2 questions format by the way. Anyhow have a good weekend. Nothing on the radar for OSD except a nap on the couch.

OSD is gone like the proverbial wind…….

Old Sports Dude, Crown Point

DUSTIN: 1. He’s going to be, and I don’t know. Might be an HR thing.

2. They do have the oversign, and I don’t know that Peter Jurkin is long for the team.

ANDY: Dude:

1. Good question. Either some things just need to get finalized or perhaps there is a snag of some sort. I read someplace that he was listed on IU’s official coaching roster, but now isn’t, though I have no idea if that’s correct. He isn’t listed on there today, anyhow, since I just checked.

2. I think the implication is pretty clear. I would be surprised if Peter Jurkin suits up for IU going forward, due to physical health issues. That would be my thought.

A somewhat existential query: Can one be gone like the proverbial wind while simultaneously napping on the couch?

QUESTION: Why does the host team have to give up its dugout when it is the “visiting” team for a game in an NCAA regional or super regional? Why can’t it just continue to use its own dugout, but bat first? I’m sure the host team’s dugouts might be a little nicer, but shouldn’t that be the perk of being the host? The main advantage of being the “home team” for any given game in that setting is having last at-bats anyway.

Charles, Muncie

DUSTIN: Basically, the NCAA sees its events as neutral regardless of where they’re held. Obviously, this is an issue on which reasonable people can disagree, and I personally wouldn’t see a problem if the host team was the home team throughout its regional. But the way they see it, an NCAA baseball regional is no different than an NCAA basketball regional played at a neutral site. Home teams and away teams are determined by their criteria, the dugouts are determined by that designation, and even the music played in the ballpark has to be neutral. Teams can’t even have walk-up music. If you have a batting cage in your clubhouse as Indiana did, you can’t use it during the tournament unless there is a second one on the other side of the field. The NCAA is really big on sticking to this. That’s it’s thing.

ANDY: Charles:

It seems a minor point, but I don’t disagree. The key, as you note, is the final at-bat.

QUESTION: It’s clear that there was no reason for Tre to transfer other than pushing for a decision on the starting quarterback. Either Wilson refused to pick one or the other or he picked Nate. One of those two caused Tre to decide to go where he will get the starting job.

Roger Farr, Naples

DUSTIN: You are most likely correct and I’m all but certain he didn’t pick Nate, because even as of last week, Wilson was calling the competition even and saying it could be a strength if they would play both, so most likely Roberson simply didn’t want to go through that again. But I’ve also learned never to make assumptions in this business. This is my guess, but until I hear Roberson say it, I’m leaving it open to other possibilities.

ANDY: Roger:

Yep. I’d say you pretty much summed it up. Either Tre didn’t want to perpetually participate in a continued competition for playing time at quarterback, or felt (or was told) Nate was probably going to be the starter. I don’t think it’s very likely CKW advised Tre to transfer. I think he genuinely valued having Tre in the program. As previously noted, the coach felt that not only were Nate and Tre two of the program’s best players, they were two of the better quarterbacks in the B1G. He wouldn’t have voluntarily jettisoned that sort of guy.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Thanks for joining us.

What’s on the agenda for the rest of the week and weekend?

DUSTIN: We’ll be covering some Indiana All-Star basketball and James Blackmon. Andy was on the case on that last night, I believe he and Mike Miller will be going to Lexington on Friday and I’ll be going with Andy on Saturday. Other than that, I guess you never know. Certainly didn’t think I’d be writing about Tre Roberson transferring yesterday, so I guess we’ll see. Thanks everybody.

ANDY: I’ll be watching IU recruits James Blackmon and Maura Muensterman (and Pennslyvania signee Lauren Whitlatch of Bloomington South) play for the Indiana All-Stars in their annual series with their Kentucky counterparts Friday in Lexington and Saturday in Indianapolis. However much luster that series has lost over the years in Kentucky, the Indiana kids still seem to value it and I still enjoy covering it every June.

Thanks to all who chatted and/or checked in.