Live chat transcript

QUESTION: MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat with Mike, Andy and Jeremy. Big, busy first weekend of fall is upon us. Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying this great weather, at least down here in Bloomington.

How are you today? Are we ready to get started?

JEREMY: Great weather for football, soccer, even volleyball I suppose, all of which will take place in Bloomington this weekend. But first, let’s chat.

MIKE: Ready to chat. I’m already trying to figure out ways to make sure I wake up early on Saturday morning to watch the Everton-Liverpool derby match before heading over to Memorial Stadium. Need to be able to see my boys in blue take down Andy’s beloved Reds. That’s what is going to happen, right?

ANDY: Sorry, late start for me today. Computer issue. Seems to be cleared up now. Onward.

QUESTION: First of all, I liked the quote from Coach Wilson, “We are the same bums as we were last week.” BRILLIANT!!!

Does this victory help “up the ante” on recruits or do THEY think “we are the same bums we were last week?”

Otherwise, I’m trying to remain even keeled…didn’t lose my head over the BG loss, TRYING not to think the Missouri win made us “break through”

Your thoughts?

Steve, Indy

JEREMY: Steve,

I’m not sure one win or loss necessarily moves the meter a whole lot. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the extremes, but the Bowling Green game shows how much work Indiana football still has to do, while Missouri shows the potential of what it could do. Still, after BG, the win at Missouri was certainly huge in terms of providing credence to whatever message the IU staff is selling recruits. But to move the meter significantly, I think, there has to be a show of consistency and ultimately the payoff of a bowl to provide tangible proof of progress. Kind of the same even-keeled approach you’re taking.

MIKE: Hi Steve,

First, can we just take a moment to recognize how great of a quote Kevin Wilson continues to be? Also enjoyed his story on the radio show about his dad’s affection for Tegray Scales. Good stuff.

As far as recruiting, sure, it’s always a good thing to show your program can beat ranked opponents — especially those from the SEC in their own stadium. For me, at least, Indiana makes that Mizzou win meaningful by beating Maryland this week. IU needs to show it wasn’t a fluke. The only way to do it is by beating a very quality Maryland team inside Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Missouri game built much-needed momentum, but Indiana has to sustain it. No more taking one step forward and another one or two backwards. Take the Missouri win and run with it. So, yeah, that game was great for Indiana, but it doesn’t mean much if they can’t build on it.

ANDY: Steve:

I’m sure the Missouri game got some recruits’ attention, got some guys to take a look or a longer look, but whether it has any real effect depends upon how IU follows it up. As you note, one game doesn’t make a trend.

QUESTION: I’m not real sure who or how this years football schedule came about, but I am curious as to who decided to schedule Mich. St.for homecoming. Usually for homecoming, teams schedule weaker opponents and the visitors realize this, don’t you think Mich. St. is going to give IU a lot of problems, and now to insult them and give them more reason to win (like they need it), by scheduling them for homecoming?

Mike, B-Town

JEREMY: Mike,

The days of purposefully scheduling a patsy for homecoming are long gone. The Big Ten sets the conference portion of the schedule, then you build non-conference in. Once that’s done, all that’s left is to look at the calendar and figure where to put Homecoming. In this case, it’s not about making everybody feel good with a win, although that would be a bonus, it’s about packing the stadium and making what will already be a significant game for IU even more so. I don’t think how ready MSU is to play will have anything to do with it being IU’s homecoming.

MIKE: Hi Mike,

Lots of factors go into scheduling games these days and, frankly, there aren’t a lot cupcakes available in the Big Ten East around that time of year. Excluding the finale with Purdue, Indiana plays Maryland, Michigan State and Penn State at home this year, so it’s not like there were a lot of appetizing options. Maybe they could have scheduled it for North Texas. Not sure.

ANDY: Mike:

MSU, which looks like the best team in the league so far, isn’t going to give being a homecoming opponent a second thought. Whereas it’s often true that teams try to schedule a winnable game, on paper, for homecoming, I think everybody understands that is hardly always the case and obviously isn’t the case in this instance. The Spartans are self-assured and aren’t going to worry about that, one way or another. Neither should Indiana fans.

QUESTION: 1. I Saw on twitter ticket sales are going well and should exceed 40,000. How is that better? Every crowd the last few years has been between 40-45,000 for the most part per the box scores from the games. For it to really be an exceptional crowd you need it to approach 50,000 like the Mizzou game last year. How can IU think that a crowd that exceeds 40,000 is really good when that has been the average recently?

2. What Hoosiers go pro early after this year across IU’s 24 sports. Tevin Coleman, Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon, Scott Effross, Christian Morris, Femi, Tanner Thompson? Any other candidates I’m forgetting that could potential be leaving early to play in the pro’s next year?

Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY: Darren,

1. I think the thought is it’s better just because the Indiana State game only drew 38,000. Would 50,000 be better? You bet. And if IU had won at Bowling Green and was 3-0, maybe, just maybe, that would happen. Regardless, your question prompted me to look up average attendance and with an assist from an article in the Indianapolis Business Journal, here’s what I came up with:

2013: 44,353

2012: 44,802

2011: 41,380

2010: 41,953

2009: 41,833

2008: 31,781

2. Honestly, outside of Coleman, I don’t even want to guess, because that’s all it would be right now. Soccer season is still young, basketball is yet to start and baseball is eons away.

MIKE: Hey Darren,

First, the box scores list announced attendance. Not sure exactly how Indiana computes those figures, but typically included are tickets sold, whether or not the seats are actually occupied. Some places, I believe, also count folks working in the stadium, like members of the media. Again, not sure how IU does it. That said, I’d be very surprised if Indiana didn’t get close to the 49,149 they listed for the Mizzou game last year. Fred Glass told the H-T on Thursday that he expects attendance to be well above 40,000. What that number will be, I’m not sure. But I’m willing to bet there will be a significant crowd on Saturday.

Tevin Coleman is the only one I think is very likely to leave. Then again, there are some other running backs perceived to be ahead of him right now, so maybe he’s not enamored with his draft stock and comes back? Outside of him, it’s too early to guess about the others, especially basketball. Perhaps Andy and Jeremy have a better feel on soccer.

ANDY: Darren:

1. Well, ticket sales perhaps have generally been in the 40,000-45,000 range, but not always actual attendance. I think IU is expecting a lot of folks to show for a big game on a nice day. I saw the quoted figure you allude to in a story early this week, but ticket sales have stayed reportedly stayed strong all week. I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual crowd approaches 50,000. Even if it’s 45,000, that’s a healthy turnout by recent IU standards.

2. Too early to tell for most of those guys. Coleman is obviously off to a good start and has (and should) draw the eyes of pro scouts, but there is a lot of football season to play and seems really premature to speculate on the other guys. Femi is a key player, but is still young and has only started part-time in his career. James Blackmon has yet to play a college game, and the NBA tends to go much earlier for big men than guards. Baseball players are somtimes easier to peg in that they have a prescibed timetable. They to wait three years after matriculation, but even there it could well depend upon how they look this season. So I think it’s pretty much moot for most of these guys, at this point.

QUESTION: Hey fellas,

Certainly nice to talk to you fellas again last weekend. I’d say that I enjoyed Shakespeare’s just as much as Mother Bears, although I was riding a post-victory euphoria so my judgment could be miscalculated.

Glad to know that the victory flag flies after road wins as well. I figured as much, but wasn’t totally sure since well…we haven’t won on the road since the flag pole was erected (I hope THAT doesn’t get moderated!)

Somewhat overshadowed in the victory is the fact that Missouri’s nation-leading streak of forcing at least 1 turnover came to an end last Saturday. Outside of a absolute killer fumble by Coleman in the BG game, Indiana has actually held onto the ball relatively well. It helps to have the guys touching the ball the most (Sudfeld, Coleman, Roberts, Wynn) as upperclassmen. Maryland seems to have a little problem holding onto the ball. It’d be nice if Indiana could actually put some points on the board following turnovers. The last 2 interceptions Indiana forced, they had the ball in opponent territory, failed to get a first down, and ended up with 0 points (failed 4th down and missed FG). Has there been any indication as to who will kick this week? Also, I can’t say I really remember Oakes in the Spring Game, but how has he looked when you’ve seen him kick FGs?

I’ll be out there early tomorrow cooking up some turtle soup in the grass lot. Feel free to stop by. You know how to get a hold of me.

From your favorite,

I like soup!, Blooomington

JEREMY: Soup,

I’ll let the football guys address the kicker situation, but since you brought it up … If there’s an x-factor in the IU-Maryland game, it might be special teams. Maryland has three blocked kicks and a return touchdown this season plus is perfect on field goals and extra points, coming in ranked as No. 2 in special teams nationally according to an ESPN formula. While Indiana was solid enough against Missouri last week, the Hoosiers’ special teams haven’t been particularly consistent.

And, oh by the way, former IU fullback Andre Powell, the guy who blocked for Anthony Thompson, is the Maryland special teams coach.

MIKE: Soup! Welcome back. Great to see you guys in Columbia, and appreciate you checking in to chat. I really enjoyed Shakespeare’s pizza — Andy, Chris and I split The Masterpiece and it was tasty — but I’m still partial to Mother Bears. Mother Bears, for me, is on another level. I’m not pandering either, just telling the truth.

Kevin Wilson was non-committal about the kicking situation. With Del Grosso nursing whatever is wrong with his groin, my read on the whole deal is that it will be Oakes’ job to lose. I wasn’t around for the spring game, so maybe Andy saw something there. Throwing away the windy Bowling Green game, Del Grosso averaged 65 yards on his five kickoffs against Indiana State, Oakes averaged 63 on four kicks at Missouri. Not too much of a difference there. Oakes apparently doesn’t have the overall leg strength of Del Grosso, but the job will be his if he manages to show any semblance of consistency. Either way, Indiana needs someone to start hitting field goals. If the Maryland game turns into the shootout I’m expecting, three points here or there could be big.

ANDY: Soup:

Shakespeare’s struck me as a very delectable example of what I would term “East Coast”-style ‘za, with its thinner crust, but I concur that our taste buds could have been effected by contextual factors. And it was great to see you, too.

The somewhat phallic connotations of outsized flag poles seem pretty overt, frankly, and amusing allusions along those lines should not be barred during civilized discussions amongst adults, as you note.

Ball-security is always a big deal.

Confess I haven’t seen enough of Oakes to really comment, given the limited glimpses we’ve had (and I was generally watching DelGrosso, if I had a second to watch, as he seemed to be the guy most likely to succeed Ewald.)

And soup concocted by you is okay by me. As evidenced by your trilp to Shakespeare’s, you clearly have a taste for fine cuisine (especially, I would expect, in the form of soup.)

QUESTION: Tim Bennett, is he a top quality CB or does the opposite team target him often? He leads the nation in passes defended. Not sure if he gets challenged because he is on the leading receiver or he is not very good and closing.

Chicago Hoosier , Chicago

JEREMY: Chicago Hoosier,

I’d vote a little bit of both, not just because other teams target him, but because he often draws the top receiver. But Bennett is also a bit of a gambler for better or worse, and other teams know that as well. And he was victimized rather badly at the end of the Bowling Green game, although his backfield mates provided their share of pass interference too.

MIKE: Hi Chicago Hoosier,

Yeah, he gets the other team’s top target quite often, so that’s a factor. He’s also a gambler, who occasionally gets burned. That’s probably another factor teams consider when looking at his side of the field. It’s a bit of both. Speaking to that, I like the way he plays. He tries to make things happen. While I’m sure it can be maddening to watch him whiff, his aggression is refreshing.

ANDY: CH:

One thing I’ve always liked about Bennett is that he actually tries to make plays. Since cornerback is perhaps the most unforgiving position in football (and maybe in any sport), this means he gets burned at times. But I have said all along that I like seeing Indiana’s defense take an aggressive posture, generally, and that also goes for secondary play. Bennett’s approach means he’ll get a lot of PBU (as was the case last season, too, as he led the nation in that category with 20.) At 5-foot-9, Bennett is perhaps at a disadvantage against tall receivers, so most opponents aren’t going to shy away from testing him. I haven’t really noticed that teams target Bennett or Hunter more often, or the guys who rotate in for their spots. I do think teams feel like they can throw on Indiana, and Maryland has as good a wideout corps as IU will see all season.

QUESTION: As a follow up to an answer I see about homecoming with North Texas, I think I know the reason why it wasn’t scheduled then but dont want to say in case I am wrong and dont want to start rumors. With North Texas unavailable MSU was only option.

With that said I have a question for this week. Will the next 2 games decide the direction of our season? If we win both and are 4-1 we are golden. If we go 1-1 and are 3-2 we have work but our OK. If we lose both and are 2-3 season is over and Mizzou win looks like flukey Oregon win from some years ago.Is it accurate to say next 2 wins will decide direction of the season?

Mike, Seymour

JEREMY: Mike again,

Can’t say two wins necessarily make the season, although 1-1 would keep things dicey and 0-2 would be pretty much a disaster.

MIKE: Sort of. Kind of. The Maryland game is big for both teams, especially Indiana. As you mention, a win over the Terps sets up IU in a great position heading into the North Texas game and beyond. But it’s early. I still look at the stretch of games to start November — Michigan, Penn State and Rutgers — as the critical period for IU. The Hoosiers can realistically win two of those games, which may become pretty important depending on how the next two weeks go. So, you’re not wrong to think that way, I just don’t want to make any declarative statements in late September.

ANDY: Mike:

Again, I don’t think the homecoming opponent is really that big a deal, one way or another.

I also think we’ve learned that the next couple of games, while obviously important, won’t finalize anything about the season, one way or another. This team has already demonstrated it can lose games people expect it to win and to win games people expect it to lose.

Sure, if IU wins this week and then gets to 4-1, there is some real momentum, and momentum does matter — but it still isn’t definitive. Sometimes teams click midway through a season. Sometimes team chemistry goes awry. Sometimes, knock on wood for all concerned, injuries intervene. Sometimes the timing of when a particular opponent is met matters (Michigan, for example, seems really reeling right now, but the Wolverines are still talented and may have righted themselves a bit by Nov. 1.) People, in this day and age especially, tend to over-react to everything in terms of immediacy, and certainly tend to read too much into individual football games.

Kevin Wilson is always making the case that seasons should be properly judged upon their conclusion. I think he’s pretty much right about that.

QUESTION: Good morning guys, I hope all is well. As always, thanks for your terrific coverage and for this chat, I appreciate it. Last Saturday was such a pleasant surprise. For those of us that stick with IU football, are optimistic to the point of delusion and believe that every Saturday is “going to be different”, it was very satisfying to watch IU beat a ranked SEC team (on the road, no less) and make it not look the least bit like a fluke. It wasn’t a shootout and Missouri didn’t trip all over themselves and blow the game, IU was just the slightly better team and made enough plays at the end of the game to get the job done. It doesn’t mean all that much if IU can’t rally for a bowl game as a result but I’ll remember it and I hope the players and coaches do as well.

1. I absolutely love IU’s running game. The offensive line opens holes and the stable of running backs churn out yards. Redding and Roberts continue to look pretty great in secondary roles and Tevin Coleman is proving to be every bit as good as any of us hoped he would be. My question, do you think IU can/will try to get the running backs more involved in passing game via screens? The offensive line moves well and we know they can block, the wide receivers appear to be able to block well enough and we know how dangerous Coleman and Roberts are in the open field so I think it could be effective if used a bit more heavily, do you think Kevin Johns will incorporate it a bit more as the season progresses?

2. As you guys pointed out, aggression was the key word for the IU defense and it showed on Saturday. The stats weren’t amazing but they looked infinitely better against Missouri. Maryland’s a different beast though. They rely on CJ Brown for the majority of their offense and he can really hurt you with his feet. How do you think the defensive gameplan will differ from what we saw against Missouri?

I really hope there’s a great crowd for the game tomorrow (I’ll be at the North Texas game), I hope there’s a buzz around Bloomington about what this team could accomplish over the next two weeks. Nothing is guaranteed but they deserve a couple of big crowds after that big win. Anyway, thanks for everything guys, have a great week, God bless and go Hoosiers!

TJ, Noblesville

JEREMY: TJ,

1. I think the screen game has to be used with a bit of discretion, and the only way it can be incorporated more effectively is to show the ability to throw the ball downfield. Keep in mind, the Coleman screen late against Missouri came when the defense was backed off and not stacking the box against the run or short throw as much. Sudfeld has still struggled a bit to hit on the deep ball, including one overthrow of a wide-open Shane Wynn that stands out in my mind from the Missouri game. Also, if there’s something Indiana is likely to incorporate more, it’s the tight ends, particularly against a Maryland team that has had linebacker injury issues.

2. Actually, not sure the defensive game plan changes much at all. Maty Mauk was a pretty mobile quarterback in his own right. What has to improve is what the IU defenders that come on the blitz do once they get to the QB, which is if not make the tackle, then at least contain the avenues of escape.

MIKE: Hi TJ. Welcome back.

Regarding screens, I think so. It was my interpretation that Johns enjoys using those already. It’s a good play — quarterback gets rid of it quickly and they typically allow you to take a nice chunk of yards. There’s some risk involved with them, but I think they’re a good fit for Indiana. Especially with IU’s current personnel, there’s always the potential for someone to break free — definitely the case with Coleman. By the way, Andy mentioned to me a great stat he saw on BTN Live the other night: Tevin Coleman has a combined 73 touches on carries and receptions. Over 34 percent of those have gone for first downs or touchdowns. Pretty remarkable. So, yeah, I’m in favor and I think we’ll see plenty of them over the next few months.

With Brown, Indiana’s probably well prepared after facing Maty Mauk last week. I’m sure they’ve used Zander Diamont to play the role of Brown in practice this week, so they’re probably getting a good workout. Brown’s good, but not great. Yes, he’s mobile, but I don’t think he’s as good as Mauk. That said, don’t give him the ability to run. Still have to contain him and keep him from getting free. Indiana did a good job of that against Mauk, so a similar effort will work fine.

ANDY: TJ:

Agree that it wasn’t just winning at Missouri, but also the manner of winning. It was a veyr closely-fought, competitive, entertaining affair that clearly could have gone either way, but I don’t think anybody objectively could say Indiana was not a deserving winner. Plays, as you note, were made.

1. Missouri, for all its success recently, has seemingly been susceptible to screens defensively, so it wasn’t a surprise to see IU employ a few Saturday. But I agree that it seems a good idea, generally, given IU’s personnel.

2. Your point about Brown is well-taken, but Mauk is also a very fleet and nimble quarterback, and Indiana applying pressure was still a net positive against Missouri. I go think Maryland, like Mizzou, has definite big-play capacity, and it’ll be another risk-reward situation for IU’s defense heading into the game. The Hoosiers are likely to give up some big plays periodically, but perhaps it is a price worth paying if it also generates better overall results. Brian Knorr obviously has some experience game-planning against C.J. Brown and Maryland, from his days at Wake Forest, so it’ll be interesting to see what approach he adopts Saturday. I think it’ll be reasonably aggressive, because I thnik that is how Knorr prefers to play.

Thanks, TJ.

QUESTION: IU football fans are perpetually hoping for the best and expecting the worst. So after that win over Mizzou, my question is simple: if IU football continues to improve, how long can we expect to keep Kevin Wilson around? I have to think that if IU makes a bowl game this year and next year, Wilson will become a hot coaching commodity. Is there any chance that he will be at IU for the long haul (5+ additional years)?

Kelvin Sampson, Houston, TX

JEREMY: Kelvin,

Sure, there’s a chance he’s still at IU in five years. Not sure it’s a good chance, because he’ll have to have success to stay that long and eventually get a shot at a higher profile place. That said, I don’t think that one good year this year or next is going to mean he’s gone. I’d say three or more consecutive winning seasons, then it might be time to get nervous. I would suggest IU fans just hope for one winning season, then figure out what comes next.

MIKE: Hey Kelvin Sampson,

Tough to say. Provided Wilson gets things going, he could see something worth hanging on to in Bloomington. He’s shown he can recruit to IU, the facilities here are on par with others, etc. I could just as easily see him preferring a better football environment if that option were to present itself at a different, football-focused school. But I think IU needs to actually win some more games before we get too deep into this conversation.

ANDY: He Who Must Not Be Named:

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. But if Indiana continues to progress and starts posting winning seasons, sure, some programs would give Coach Wilson overtures and Fred Glass would attempt to retain him further.

I’m not sure how things would go, obviously. Some offers are difficult to refuse. Then again, Wilson is in his 50s and doubtless has a very proprietal feeling about the program he has built in his first head-coaching opportunity. I’ll tell you one thing I think might be a big factor — if Indiana does enjoy some success, will the fan base fill Memorial Stadium? And will The Rock be rockin’? If achievement isn’t acknowledged through full-house, full-throttle support, Wilson isn’t going to hang around.

But it’s all speculation at this point. Indiana needs to focus on Maryland.

QUESTION: So we have an offense, but our defense goes back to playing like it did last year against Central Florida. I don’t just mean the 2 goals. The great communication and playing hard on d just disappeared. I hope that game was a fluke because I’d rather take my chance with the great D from every previous game and try to win 1-0 than the offensive score 4 and have the bad defensive performance we did against UCF. The team needs to develop consistency on both sides to really get where they want.

Now with all that said to be 5-1-2 is better than I expected at this point and am fairly pleased with the teams play overall. I just hope the strong D performances from the 1st 7 games returns going forward because the one against a UCF team that can barely score was hard to watch.

IU Soccer Fan , Bloomfield

JEREMY: IU soccer fan,

I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in the UCF game either way, to be honest. The Knights have a better offense than they had shown early in the year, largely because of MLS prospect and Hermann Trophy candidate Romario Williams. And it was indeed a rather flat performance from the defense, but I guess it was a good game for that to happen.

UCF plays a style that opens up a lot of space for opposing offenses, which IU took advantage of, but the temptation to push forward too much also opens up the defense. IU coach Todd Yeagley said as much and mentioned that the Hoosiers could have (maybe should have?) taken a more conservative approach defensively. But from my perspective, it was nice to see a match where both teams were pressing the attack for goals instead of sitting back and trying to wait until somebody made a mistake in a 1-0 game. Frankly, not a lot of teams are willing to engage in such a game with Indiana.

Yeagley told me last week that he expects this team to win with defense, not offense. That said, I think this team has just enough offense to make that approach work more often than not. Sunday’s game against Northwestern should be interesting in that regard, as the Wildcats have one of the Big Ten’s best goalkeepers and are known for being a disciplined team. Key game if Indiana wants to contend for the conference crown, not to mention the Hoosiers’ next two games after Northwestern are No. 10 St. Louis and No. 9 Louisville.

MIKE: Take it away, soccer fellas.

ANDY: IUSF:

No reason to shunt aside all the good D that Indiana has played so far this season and fixate upon a reason to complain about a 4-2 win. I didn’t see the UCF game, but I wouldn’t read overly much into one outing, either offensively or defensively. From a Hoosier fan’s perspective, it’s encouraging that IU scored four times, but one game does not a trend make, and the same goes for the defensive performance. As you note, 5-1-2 is a good start. And, as you note, a solid defense is perhaps the best sort of foundation for a successful soccer season. I think the play of Indiana’s back third, generally, looks pretty foundational to me.

MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Thanks for being here. Be sure to download the Hoosier Scoop app and check the blog for updates and more throughout the weekend.

As always, thanks for the time. Anything else to share before we say goodbye?

JEREMY: I’ll be tackling women’s soccer at home vs. No. 13 Wisconsin tonight, there’s that little football game tomorrow and I’ll have more futbol with the IU men hosting Northwestern Sunday on the back end of a doubleheader with the women’s soccer team. The Scoop is the place for all the details. Thanks, everybody, and enjoy the weekend!

MIKE: We’ll have everything covered from Saturday’s game against Maryland at Memorial Stadium. Check in with us on the Scoop for plenty throughout the day. Meantime, I’m gonna try to shake this nasty cold I’ve picked up. Thanks for checking in, everybody. See you next week.

ANDY: Should be a beautiful day Saturday, meteorologically, at Memorial Stadium. Big Ten commish Jim Delany and spouse will be there, and what sort of Big Ten atmosphere will the Terps find in their inititial league football game? Will Indiana fans show up and make their presence felt? Will be interesting to see. Hope everybody is on their way to a great weekend and thanks to all the chattees and chatters.