Live chat transcript

QUESTION: MODERATOR: Good afternoon, and welcome to the IU sports chat. Thanks for joining us.

MIKE MILLER: Good morning, everybody. What’s happening?

ANDY GRAHAM: A football game that a lot of folks always considered a key to IU’s non-conference portion of the schedule kicks off at 4 p.m tomorrow. Ticket sales are strong. Could be a few points scored. Well, maybe more than a few. In the interim, we chat.

QUESTION: I saw Coach Shelby talked about Tyler Green briefly during a conversation with the H-T yesterday. As one who many publications viewed as the top recruit in this year’s freshman class, why hasn’t he been given the same opportunity as other true freshmen in the secondary?

Kevin, Indianapolis

MIKE MILLER: Hey Kevin,

Good question. Sounds like he just isn’t ready to make the full-time switch from safety to corner. A minor injury this summer could be partially to blame. Though, given the clear need at the position, I’m going to be surprised if he doesn’t play this season.

ANDY GRAHAM: Kevin:

Green had a slight injury that sidelined him in fall camp long enough to put him behind some of the others, but by all accounts he is a very talented kid who is doing well. The question now is whether or not to get him a redshirt season or to go ahead and utilize him, because I think the coaches feel he could probably help this season, both at cornerback and on special teams. If the other young kids at corner prove adequate, there might be no need to burn the redshirt. But I know the coaches like Green’s potential. A lot.

QUESTION: This is going to sound strange but has IU thought about playing there basketball games at Bankers Life this year? It just seems between Assembly Hall and 37 both being demolition zones and most ticket holders being from Indy anyways this could be a great solution for one year. Let IUPUI students (and any Bloomington students who want to drive) make up the student section since they root for IU anyways when not playing IUPUI.

Mike, Seymour

MIKE MILLER: Hey Mike,

Anytime the conversation turns to moving games out of Assembly Hall, I think it’s a terrible, terrible idea. Though I understand what you’re saying, and these are unique circumstances, I don’t think it’s any better solution than asking fans to be patient for a year. Whether or not a move was ever considered, I’m not sure. But I certainly wouldn’t do it. Keep the team within its homecourt advantage and keep them in their routine. It could be messy at times, but staying in Bloomington is the right move to me.

ANDY GRAHAM: Mike:

Not going to happen, obviously. And I don’t know that “most” basketball season-ticket holders are from Indy. IU students, faculty and Bloomington-area residents make up a big chunk of the season-ticket base. Not saying that the construction issues you mention won’t be a pain in the posterior, and not saying Bankers Life isn’t a great facility. But … no.

QUESTION: I hate to say it as a positive person but our athletic department is not in the best shape.

We have Football and basketball players getting arrested with team not winning enough, soccer isn’t as strong as it used to be, volleyball, women’s soccer, softball, field hockey and women’s basketball are all struggling. The only sport that has been decent recently is baseball and with the recent coaching change who knows how long that will last.

It seems time that this is either going to have to change or we need a new athletic director and all new coaches badly. Besides Rutgers and maybe Purdue we have by far the worst athletic program in the conference now.

Malcom, Bloomington

MIKE MILLER:
Hey Malcom,

I’d tone down some of the hyperbole, but your general thoughts aren’t off base. This is an incredibly important year for the athletic department. There’s no doubt about it. Football could break through or it could … umm … break once again. I think basketball gets back to the NCAA Tournament, but it still has some inherent flaws that may not be able to be fixed. From the outside looking in, volleyball and softball each seem to be at a make-or-break point, women’s soccer is still a year or two away and field hockey is always going to be a tough sell in Indiana. I don’t know what you do about that. And there’s no doubt the ceiling for women’s basketball has been lowered, too. Things are often cyclical, though I’m not sure how long this cycle will last.

ANDY GRAHAM: Malcom:

For a positive person, you sure know how to accentuate the negative. Calling not only for a new athletic director but “all new coaches” seems more than just a bit over the top.

Not saying everything at IU is hunky-dory. At all. Not saying that some changes, maybe some big changes, won’t ensue. Clearly, it wasn’t a stellar off-season for the two highest-profile sports, men’s basketball and football. But Indiana is also just a couple of years removed from challenging for a national all-sports award for college athletic departments, and things are often cyclical in regard to college sports.

No doubt the current football season and upcoming men’s basketball season are important, possibly pivotal, campaigns. But let’s let them play out a bit, and let some of the other sports’ seasons play out, before we start firing everybody in sight. Men’s basketball perhaps has a flawed roster, due in part to the off-season dismissals, but still enters this season in most Top 15 national rankings. To cite just one other example, this year’s edition of men’s soccer is actually a very strong squad that could potentially challenge for national honors if it starts finishing off a few more attacks with goals. Might not happen. But it might.

If some negative trends become ossified, moves will need to be made, sure. Let’s not over-state things, though, for now.

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on the mess at Rutgers?

Roger, Bloomington

MIKE MILLER: Hey Roger,

I hope Jim Delany saved his receipt. As you say, it’s a mess. That’s gotta be a decision Delany would like to try again. Delany’s made a lot of good ones in his time with the Big Ten, but this is a total debacle. I mean, between Mike Rice, Kyle Flood and Julie Hermann, it’s like that place breeds bad decisions. Frankly, I don’t know how Flood and Hermann are still employed. I mean, I just can’t understand it. It’s Rutgers, I guess, and it’s a total joke. Their facilities are lousy, they bring nothing to the table in athletics and now they’ve become the black sheep of the Big Ten.

ANDY GRAHAM: Roger:

The Flood-gates are currently open. The university president has said he considered dismissing head coach Kyle Flood, but opted instead for a three-game suspension and a $50,000 fine resulting from Flood’s admitted ploy to get a player preferential academic treatment. But other aspects — with standout wide receiver Leonte Carroo drawing a domestic violence charge just the most recent incident on or around campus producing various violent-crime charges against six players in recent weeks — have also clearly tarnished the program.

Though Flood has claimed he didn’t know that contacting the professor about the player in the manner he did was against the academic rules, so to speak, some of his reported actions seem pretty clearly designed to keep his ploy clandestine — as if he did, indeed, know what he was doing was improper. People have questioned his use of private e-mail, his dealings with academic advisers, his avoidance of wearing Rutgers coaching gear to avoid folks recognizing him when going to the meeting, etc.

Flood can continue to conduct practices during his suspension that, as currently constituted, would end with his return for the Indiana game Oct. 17, the Hoosiers’ homecoming game. That would almost certainly make for an extremely emotional Rutgers team that day, though it still could also be a team in some disarray.

Obviously, Flood is skating on exceedingly thin ice right now.

QUESTION: I think tomorrow’s game against Western Kentucky is the biggest game of Kevin Wilson’s IU tenure. If IU can get the win, I think this team is going to get to the 6 wins needed for a bowl game. Everyone is focused on IU’s defense, but doesn’t this game fall more on the offense? I think Western Kentucky is going to score in the 40s. IU’s offense will need to put the pressure on Western Kentucky by scoring touchdowns. So far this season, they offensive play calling has been mixed. Using Jordan Howard to grind out yards has been smart, but some of the calls on first downs have made no sense to me. Too many drives have seen first down plays with negative yardage, which stalls the offense. If IU moves the ball, but only ends up with field goal opportunities, Western Kentucky is going to win big. IU has lost an early game like this each of the last three seasons (Ball State, Navy, Bowling Green). In each of those games, while the defense was poor, the offense had miscues !

that aided in the loss. Can IU play smart, effective offensive football tomorrow to help a defense expected to give up a lot of points?

Brian F., Chicago

MIKE MILLER: Hey Brian,

I did an out-of-town radio spot yesterday and said essentially the same thing. I can’t remember being this excited for an IU non-conference game, save for maybe Navy in 2013. On second thought, maybe that’s a poor parallel.

I think they can play effective offensive football. As you say, they’ll have to. In the office a few weeks ago, Andy raised a really good point about this game — one that I think holds a lot of truth: IU ought to give Howard a steady dose of carries and let him grind through WKU. Last week on first down alone, Howard ran the ball 12 times for a 7.3-yard average. Seven of those touches included runs of five or more yards. So Howard might be one of the best ways to turn this game in IU’s favor. Then again, you’re right about some of those play calls. Why Indiana continued to run the same middling stretch play with Devine Redding confused me. There were some other questionable choices on second and third down that left some of us upstairs quite puzzled, but Kevin Wilson and Nate Sudfeld each took blame this week for some of those miscues and play calls. Can they get it fixed in a span of five or six days? Well, they’ll have to.

No doubt, this game is huge for the trajectory of IU’s season. Win tomorrow and they’ll head to lowly Wake Forest for a chance to enter Big Ten season with four wins. IU hasn’t started 4-0 since 1990, I believe. Yes, this could be a big one.

ANDY GRAHAM: Brian F:

Wouldn’t disagree much with anything you say here, although games aren’t played on paper and the course of Saturday’s big game may still surprise us. WKU’s offense looked full-tilt-boogie last week against Louisiana Tech, but not so much on the road in the opener at Vanderbilt. Indiana’s attack, as you note, has left some points on the field at times and probably can’t afford to do that against the Hilltoppers. But Hoosier fans should like the notion that IU seems to possess some capacity for ball-control offense this season, with Jordan Howard and the O-line and the tight ends playing their parts, which could keep that torrid WKU offense on the sidelines for extended periods. Could be a very interesting game, and always figured to be.

WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty is ruthlessly efficient when unhindered, so it’s vital for IU’s defense to apply some pressure in some form. Vanderbilt was able to do so and held the Hilltopper scoring down. But as you say it’s crucial for IU’s offense to avoid settling for field goals. Even if Indiana is able to reduce the number of possessions with a ball-control attack, I’d say the Hoosiers still need to make their possessions pay off with maximum points. I don’t know that Indiana’s receiving core is quite a proven unit, yet, and it will need to shine Saturday.

Big game. Biggest in Wilson’s tenure? I might not go quite that far, because there will still be nine games to play this fall. But still really, really big.

QUESTION: Always love the weekly chats and insight you provide. One suggestion – any thought ever given to scaling back the answers and not having everyone answer the same question so you could get through more questions? It’s like everyone is compelled to write an entire story on every question. Less emphasis on a (as Andy might say) superfluity of words might allow you to get through more questions. Just an idea!

TJ Wilson, Bloomington

MIKE MILLER: Hey TJ,

Not a bad idea, although some weeks the amount of questions are hit and miss. Sometimes we get a bunch of questions, other times we get only two or three. But we always get to each of them. You raise a good point, though. Moderator, you listening?

ANDY GRAHAM: TJ:

Thanks, and your observation is astute. I (as the football columnist) should let most of the men’s basketball-related queries slide, though sometimes I can’t help myself. Jeremy (our basketball columnist) is much more fastidious about avoiding football-related stuff. It’d be easier if we were all in the same place and could compare notes while chatting, but much of the time we do this from home. I agree that some streamlining would be good, and I’m the primary culprit as to why that’s true.

QUESTION: The IU football team went from 3 solid QBs to one injury away from a losing season like last season. Does IU have a potential Big Ten Quality QB waiting in the wings on the roster now or as an incoming freshman next year? Coach Wilson is gambling this year that Sudfeld will make it through the season injury free which will most likely determine if he will be retained as Coach. With DC Knorr on staff, I would like to keep the coaches, but the roster is very thin at the most important position. Tell me that I am wrong and a quality replacement is waiting in the wings.

Valpo Dave, Valparaiso

MIKE MILLER: Hey Valpo Dave,

Good question. Austin King is well-regarded, but he didn’t get on campus until this summer so he’ll redshirt as a freshman. There’s some potential there, but we didn’t get to see much of him during open practices this summer. Peyton Ramsey, a 2016 commit, is a coach’s son playing in a fantastic league in Cincinnati. We’ve heard good things. But the bottom line is next year’s quarterback race is open ended. Zander Diamont is getting reps with the second team even though IU hopes to redshirt him. I’d imagine he’ll be the frontrunner come the spring, but there’s still plenty of growing — both physically and at the position — that he must do between now and then. Personally, from what we were able to see this summer, Danny Cameron looks much improved to me, but I don’t know that he’s the answer that they’re looking for.

ANDY GRAHAM: Valpo Dave:

That’s a really good question that we have also pondered, with no really clear answers at this juncture.

I do think Zander Diamont is probably much better equipped to step in, if need be, than he was last season — but the Hoosiers seem to prefer his benefiting from a redshirt season, if possible. Danny Cameron apparently made some strides in the off-season. But I’ve heard some pretty good things about the kid who came in directly from high school, Austin King, who flipped from North Carolina State to join IU’s 2015 recruiting class. Again, I think IU would like to redshirt him, but he might be able to step in if needed. So the quarterback depth issue doesn’t seem quite as dire as it most certainly did following last year’s Iowa game, but it isn’t as if any of the guys behind Nate are proven commodities, either.

Some folks have said that Peyton Ramsey, the coach’s kid from Cincinnati Elder, is under-rated and could be the real deal at IU next year. I also think IU is still looking and, if the Hoosiers have a positive season this fall, we could see other quarterbacks attracted because the team will still return the bulk of its starters for 2016. For now, I’d say there are potential replacements more than proven replacements.

QUESTION: OSD is in the house for second week in a row. You guys are blessed.

Usually only ask BB questions but wondering how many games KW has to win this fall to keep from getting fired. I mean not much progress as far as I can see.

As to BB I see lots of stuff in paper and on net about this Max who transferred in from UM. If he was so good why did UM not renew his scholly.

I see we are in the mix with lots of top recruits. I feel like we are in the old Lefty Drissell age. Good recruiter and horrible coach. Will keep making the tournament and finish in top 1/2 of Big Ten but not go farther. We will be stuck with CTC forever. What say you?

Well time to go but on way out Andy watch out for my Cubs. We are coming on strong and ready to take your Cards out.

Have a great weekend guys!

OSD has left the chat…………..

Old Sport Dude, Crown Point

MIKE MILLER: Hey OSD,

What a nice surprise. Two weeks in a row! Would you dare make it three?

I think Wilson needs at least five. I can still see a world where 5-7 keeps him at IU for at least another season, but Wilson obviously shouldn’t leave that to chance. Tomorrow’s game seems to be huge in that regard. With a 3-0 start, I could pretty easily point to at least three more wins on the schedule. It’s a big one, no doubt. We’ve pointed this out while you were gone, OSD, but there’s been a lot of progress in Wilson’s tenure. The guy’s done almost everything but win. Perhaps the program is at that point. Clearly, you can point to the perpetual rebuilding of the secondary, which is clearly an issue, but the ability to build a foundation up front on both sides is a huge, huge point in his favor. Lot of season left to play — and it hasn’t been pretty so far — but this has a shot.

I think the short answer is Michigan didn’t want him. Bielfeldt expressed an interest in returning for his fifth year, but Michigan wanted the open scholarship for recruiting. So he left. But to say Michigan didn’t want him is not to say he won’t be a good fit at Indiana. I really think he will — he’ll have to be. When he announced his transfer this spring, it seemed to provide a really nice boost to frontcourt depth, which also included Hanner Perea and Emmitt Holt. With those two now gone, that depth is essentially down to Bielfeldt and Juwan Morgan. We’ll see how that shakes out. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bielfeldt starting on opening night.

ANDY GRAHAM: Dude:

Good to see you chatting and, as you say, doing so two weeks consecutively.

I’ll leave the hoops stuff to Jeremy and Mike but, as to football, I do think some overt progress has occurred with the roster via three pretty strong recruiting classes consecutively by Indiana standards. There is overtly more talent and depth. There are just more Big Ten-caliber-looking guys deployed. But that must manifest on the field in the form of more Ws this season. Last fall’s quarterback injuries made gauging that campaign more difficult, but Wilson’s program had increased its win total every season till then. If that happens this fall, the Hoosiers will challenge for a bowl bid. The opener was alarming, the second game was more encouraging, but from an IU perspective at least both were Ws. Saturday’s game is huge and the challenge is significant. Western Kentucky has an absolutely top-flight passing attack that will test IU’s young secondary severely. The Hilltoppers have fielded bowl-eligible teams every fall since 2008 and quarterback Brandon Doughty has been around WKU almost as long. All he did last season was lead the nation in TD throws (49) while completing 68 percent of his passes for 4,830 yards. He already has 650 yards passing through two games this season. But WKU’s defense hasn’t exactly seemed a shut-down unit the past few years. If IU finds a way to score with and ultimately outscore the Hilltoppers, the Hoosiers would be halfway to bowl eligibility just three games into a 12-game season. If the Hoosiers fall tomorrow, they still have a chance for a 3-1 non-conference season in that the ensuing road trip to Wake Forest isn’t unwinnable. And unless IU’s season devolves into a total disaster or some unexpected major issue arises, I don’t see Wilson exiting anytime soon.

And as to your Cubbies … wow. We always knew they were coming. I told my many Cub-fan friends the day Theo was hired that the Cubs had just won the World Series, that it was just a matter of time. I’d say the team has arrived about a half-year early because the young bats not only came up quickly but were ready to take on Major League pitching, and Arrieta has become a legit ace. I went into the season thinking the Cubs needed at least one more front-line starter. He’s it. Joe Maddon was the perfect hire as skipper for this young team. Regardless of how this season pans out, the Cubs look like they’re going to be potent for an extended period of time. The Cubs’ biggest hurdle now is the competition. I don’t see the Cards and Bucs going away, and I think they Reds and Brewers will probably rebuild pretty quickly. Best division in baseball.

QUESTION: 1. I realized when IU plays Ohio St that will be a major problem with 37 with a soldout crowd. Unless IU and Ohio St communicate with there fans to go through Cincy to 46 you simply cant have 50,000 people coming to a football game and 1 lane. Has there been any thought just to open the lanes for this one day?

2. Soccer. Weird week facing 2 completely different teams. Penn St may have the best defense IU will play all year and last night at Butler (was there) IU may have seen the most dynamic forward in Vincent Mitchell with his speed. He is exactly what IU has been looking for since Eriq Zavaleta left. How does a guy like this end up at butler and IU still cant find the speedy scorer they are missing? IU had the 2-13 best players on field but Mitchell was the best period and has been all year. Butler basically tried to play back in 1st half on defense and when that didn’t work they started attacking and coming at us and IU was unable to adjust. I will let it slide since its early in season but hopefully these are things IU will fix moving forward because PSU is not the last stout defense IU will face and Mitchell is not the last dynamic speedster they face so adjustments have to be made or I will start calling for some changes. Early in the season this is forgivable but not later!

Darren, Martinsville

MIKE MILLER: Hey Darren,

We’ll check in with IU a little closer to that one. As for this week, IU recommends folks avoid taking 67 to 46 due to a parade in Ellettsville.

ANDY GRAHAM: Darren:

1. Expecting a pretty decent crowd for football tomorrow, too, especially if the weather proves conducive to a strong walk-up. So perhaps the Powers That Be will get a bit of a dress rehearsal in terms of handling a somewhat more robust traffic flow, though obviously any Western Kentucky fans coming up will miss the 37-related stuff and come over on the I-65 to 46 route. I wouldn’t doubt that IU has perhaps inquired with INDOT and the I-69 Partners about special considerations for the Ohio State game, but that doesn’t mean everybody will or can comply. At the very least, I’m sure IU will (and probably already has) communicated with Ohio State so that OSU can inform Buckeye fans of the need to leave early and take the I-65/46 option.

2. Yes, the Butler game was a bit of a lesson learned, but the Hoosiers looked as strong as I’ve seen them, overall, during the first 40 minutes of so. The Bulldogs, having been dominated in midfield (with Thompson dynamic as IU’s attacking midfielder), bypassed it by playing direct in the second half and it worked like a charm. Coach Yeagley noted post-game that IU should have adjusted quicker and took responsibility that it didn’t — but sometimes coaches like to see how their guys will handle certain things on their own, especially in an early non-conference game, and it isn’t as if Indiana doesn’t have some experienced defenders. Goldsmith, the guy who scored the last two goals for Butler when IU visited two years ago, was also a very catalytic player with his passing, but, as you note, Mitchell was the key (and also was the guy who set up IU’s first goal with a bad foul on Gutman that produced the PK). It was a bit like the Notre Dame game in that Indiana’s early dominance should have produced more goals. Your observation about Indiana needing a target striker with some real pizzazz and some giddy-up who consistently finishes seems valid, but I don’t know that one still won’t emerge. There is talent on that roster, including, I think, some young attacking talent.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That is all the time we have today. Thank you for submitting your questions. Have a nice weekend. Stay on top of IU sports news on the Hoosier Scoop blog and app.

MIKE MILLER: As previously mentioned, big game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. We’ll all be there, and you can follow along before, during and after the game on the Scoop. Thanks for checking in, everybody. See you next week.

ANDY GRAHAM: Thanks to all who chatted and/or checked in.

Big game tomorrow.

3 comments

  1. I’ve been to a number of IU BB games, no traffic problem

    Tempted to hit the game Saturday. Don’t have far to ride but hate heavy traffic areas when on the bike. Is there any off-site parking (way off-site) and catch a bus or something? Never been to an IU football game.

  2. Some won’t agree but I will dodge the bullets. I am in the stands every damn game. After the last 21 or 22 seasons, progress = winning!!!

  3. Based on my 1/2 mile drive on 37 South through Martinsville, I suggest anyone from Indy leave now to get to Btown by game time. As far as you can see, stopped (and once in awhile go) traffic, both ways. .

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