Live chat transcript

QUESTION: Good afternoon, and welcome to the IU sports chat. Thanks for joining us. Welcome back guys!

JEREMY PRICE: Thanks, moddy. It’s good to get back in the chat saddle again.

MIKE MILLER: Thanks for hanging with us last week, everybody. A hectic Friday for each of us. But we’re back and ready to chat.

ANDY GRAHAM: We be chattin’.

QUESTION: OSD is here again kind of like a bad penny I keep showing up.
Not really excited about football team but how many points you think the spread will be? I say 24. OSU winning of course.

Now onto basketball. I know the Hoosier Hysteria is like the 24th but when do they start practicing?

Has this Thomas Bryant been a kid who gets into foul trouble. As I see it if he or Troy are out for long stretches of time during a game we will be sunk. Also despite his denials I think if this kid has a good year he is gone to the NBA after one season. What say you?
Finally my prediction is we win 21 games and after the season we lose the 3 seniors plus Troy, Thomas and James. then one more who underclassman who just transfers. So that makes 7. More than half the roster again. I see a scenario where CTC wins enough games to get another year but we are very bad due to the loss of personnel.

You boys have a good time covering the FB game. I will be watching from the palatial estate here in NW Indiana.

OSD is gone

Old Sports Dude, Crown Point

JEREMY PRICE: OSD,

I admire your restraint about IU football, but the fact you mention it is something. I think money has the spread around three touchdowns, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is somewhat similar to the one in Columbus last year. Hoosiers hang around but lose by two touchdowns.

As for basketball practice, that started this morning as a matter of fact. I don’t think Bryant has been foul-prone in the post, but adjusting to the college game could make that tricky, and I agree that with Davis, Perea and Holt gone, the frontcourt’s ability to make up for a foul trouble or a sprained ankle is razor thin.

I think it’s possible Bryant jumps to the pros, but not having seen him play a minute in college yet, I’m not quite ready to conclude he’s one and done, and he probably shouldn’t be.

You know, I think 21 or 22 wins in the regular season is feasible, plus a couple more in the postseason, although I’m not sure that’s such a good season that all of those guys leave early. Now if IU wins 30 games this season, I would think that more likely. Regardless, it is likely to be a rather large recruiting class next year with a new-look roster.

MIKE MILLER: Hey OSD,

Glad to see you’re back again. I’m picturing a final score of 45-27, so I think IU hangs close for a bit.

Practice starts today, and you’re right. Indiana’s frontcourt is once again a bit thin by traditional standards, so they may be forced to get creative once again this season if Thomas Bryant needs to sit or miss any substantial length of time. Whether or not he goes pro after one season is hard to predict at this point. I kind of want to see him play a few college games first, but it’s a reasonable possibility.

I think it’s fair to project a vastly different roster at this time next year. It’s going to be a large recruiting class, and the trajectory of this season could also determine whether Blackmon and Bryant leave early. I’ll be surprised, if not completely shocked, if Troy Williams doesn’t leve.

ANDY GRAHAM: Dude:
I’ve been thinking around 42-27. As to hoops, they are practicing this very day. I’ll let the basketball dudes handle the balance of your queries. Always good to hear from you, Dude. And I have always assumed your estate to be palatial.

QUESTION: When will baseball schedule be released?

Chris, Bloomington

JEREMY PRICE: Chris,
A good question, the answer to which we’ll hope Mike knows.

MIKE MILLER: Hey Chris,
Any day, I’d guess. I think there were some staff changes in the sports information office, which may be causing the delay. I imagine it should be out soon. In the meantime, there’s an exhibition against Xavier next Thursday afternoon at 4:30 at BKF.

ANDY GRAHAM: Chris:

Don’t have a handle on that one, but Mike might.

QUESTION: Who guards me? Seriously, though. Do IU’s corners have a chance against Ohio State in limiting the passing game?

Braxton Miller, OHIO

JEREMY PRICE: Braxton,

Good question, and on the surface, it would seem there’s little chance IU can defend the OSU passing game. Obviously, stopping the run on early downs and forcing obvious passing situations could help, but the Hoosiers will have to generate a pass rush and hope Cardale Jones has another off-target day. Or simply find a way to win a shootout.

MIKE MILLER: Hey Braxton,

It’s a good question — and not just for yourself, but for teammates like Ezekiel Elliott and Cardale Jones, too. I realize your offense isn’t quite firing on all cylinders, but this might be the week you guys get it together. Now, don’t be surprised if Indiana keeps pace — you do remember last year, don’t you? But barring a slew of turnovers by yourself and Cardale, I’m truly uneasy about Indiana’s ability to both cover you and tackle you.

ANDY GRAHAM: Braxton:

Worthy question, one I have also pondered. I also think the Hoosiers will have issues when you line up for direct snaps in the backfield out of the Wildcat. Unless Indiana tackling has improved a ton in the past week, it’s pretty easy to envision many would-be Hoosier tacklers just bouncing off you, Cardale Jones, Zeke Elliott and others Saturday. There are reasons why you guys are unbeaten, No. 1-ranked, defending national champs.

Having said that, IU has made a concerted effort to introduce more length and overall size to its secondary, though the effects of those efforts have yet to fully manifest. At some point, for example, the 6-foot-3 Tyler Green (injured during the preseason but healthy now) is gonna play some corner for the Hoosiers, either this season or in ensuing seasons. Jon Crawford is 6-2 and already playing safety. At some point, Indiana will be better able to contend with big, physical receivers. That point might not be Saturday, however.

QUESTION: I know this breaks all rules of a fan, but I’m trying to be reasonable…
If Ohio State crushes us, they’re supposed to…if IU hangs, plays the game of their lives and still loses…that’s fine. But if they hang, make that one play and take the lead (preferably with :05 left) IU can shake the NCAA Football…in the words of Marv Levy, where else would you rather be?

Question…IF option 3 happens, does this influence recruiting this year or does it lay the groundwork for next year??

Steve, Indy

JEREMY PRICE: Steve,

The fact you consider option three a reasonable scenario is exactly what trumps any other rules you may break. Considering this game is on national TV and the many recruits in attendance, I think it would absolutely make some difference this year and even more for next year. But I’ll let the football dudes expound on that.

MIKE MILLER: Hey Steve,

There’s no doubt it would be great for recruiting. Having IU as the lead story on Sportscenter and all the other highlight shows would be the kind of boost that College GameDay can’t provide. It’d be really, really good for IU. I still get the feeling that there are some kids committed elsewhere that remain high on IU’s board. An unexpected win — heck, just a good showing — could move the needle in Indiana’s direction.

ANDY GRAHAM: Steve:

You sound reasonable to me. Ohio State is heavily favored, and should be, and could well roll IU even if the Hoosiers play fairly well. The Buckeyes could roll anybody, when they’re on their game. They’re that talented and that well-coached. But an IU win isn’t completely out of the question and, as you say, it would shake foundations. And I think it would most definitely affect recruiting immediately. I know there are some in-state guys who are either uncommitted or are committed elsewhere who are keeping tabs on how IU starts the season. And there are doubtless out-of-state guys, too. And 4-0 is a pretty optimal start. If Indiana pulls off the stunning upset, even with only limited scholarships available, I think the 2016 class would be enhanced along with 2017 and beyond.

QUESTION: 1. Legitimately how is Todd Yeagley any different than Mike Freitag since National Championship in 12 (which Freitag won also in 04 before struggling)? Only Andy will be able to speak to this but when Freitag was here players didn’t fully reach their potential (See Femi and Lillard among others who have leveled off instead of improving), team constantly attacked and didn’t finish opportunities due to never having a dynamic striker and defense leaked a lot and coughed up leads.

My Point is these issues eventually got Freitag fired and literally the same thing is happening more or less for the last 3 years. I am not advocating firing Yeagley but we need to see IU improve from what has happened since 2012 if this is the long term answer.

2. I would assume Darius Latham suspension has something to do with academic cheating? I know the student ethics office handles a wide range of things but if it were something legal like a sexual assault there would be a police report.

I won’t add much on the traffic since we have exhausted it, other than to say I think you guys (maybe even a non-sports reporter) should do a story from Indot’s perspective to see why they can’t be more flexible such as not doing construction on 67 while 37 is under construction. I get the feeling IU is doing the best they can and INDOT has been pretty in-flexible.

Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY PRICE: Darren,

1. My first two years on the IU soccer beat full-time were Freitag’s last two years at IU, and for the most part, I have to disagree with you.

That said, Freitag has the course of being the guy to succeed Jerry Yeagley, a task that was likely impossible. And I’ll never forget 2008, when the Hoosiers coughed up a two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes of regulation and lost in overtime at St. John’s with a trip to the College Cup on the line. You wonder how things would’ve been different had that game turned out the other way, but it was also emblematic of the struggles in the Freitag era, where a lack of focus and discipline prevented the team as a whole from maximizing its potential. But I also feel, for whatever reason, there was a dropoff in talent during those years that Todd Yeagley is just now fully overcoming.

As for Femi Hollinger-Janzen, he has five goals and two assists through 10 games, matching his previous career high for a season. And I think Grant Lillard, along with Derek Creviston, has been an anchor at center back with most, not all, but most of the defensive breakdowns coming on the wings. And those are generally quite fixable.

All that said, whether the coach is Freitag or somebody named Yeagley, IU soccer is ultimately defined by postseason results, and from that standpoint, with the two years since winning the national title both being one and done in the NCAA Tournament, it is disappointing. What this year will bring, who knows, but the Hoosiers have flashed the potential for both a long and short stay.

2. I’ll avoid the conjecture on Latham and just say whatever it is, it’s clearly a serious matter and one that’s hurtful for both the individual and the team.

MIKE MILLER: Hey Darren,
I’ll let the soccer dudes tackle the first part.

Perhaps, but until we know for sure, it could be a number of things given the broad scope of the ethics office. These things, no matter what the subject, are often kept tightly under wraps. It may be awhile before we know anything.

Not a bad story idea, Darren. We do a gameday story each week, so I’ll float that to the news side of the office. But I think at the end of the day, I don’t know how much more flexible folks on that side can really be. with a 5 to 10 minute drive to the stadium each week, I really don’t know what we’re dealing with here. So excuse my relative ignorance. But I just think people have to understand this is going to be messy and awful for the next year.

ANDY GRAHAM: Darren:

1. Not at all sure I’m the only guy who can speak to this, for one thing, as Jeremy is our primary soccer man now. And I was working on the news side at the H-T during the Freitag years. But I’ll note that while this team has admittedly not performed at its optimal level at all times this season, I’m always wary of passing judgments around midseason. There are issues, to be sure. There is no reason IU should surrender four goals to Rutgers or any other team. But it seems the wingers, while helping create changes over-lapping into the attack, have not always defended solidly. I don’t concur with your assessments of Femi and Grant Lillard. Femi is probably having his best season so far. I don’t know that the defensive issues don’t have much to do with Lillard. I do agree that the lack of a consistently dynamic striker remains a problem. But this team has the capacity to get hot by tournament time and make a major run. Let’s see if it does.

2. The Latham situation remains simply conjecture at this point. Obviously, however, it was something deemed serious enough to warrant immediate and indefinite suspension from the team. It doesn’t have to be academically-related, though it could well be. One of the potential difficulties here is that university mechanisms tend to move at a glacial pace, so I wouldn’t necessarily expect Latham’s case to be adjudicated quickly. As to the traffic situation, it isn’t simply INDOT, but also the I-69 Partners involved. And INDOT has other considerations to take into account besides periodic IU sports events.

Thanks, Darren.

QUESTION: 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.

JEREMY PRICE: Thanks for joining us, folks. Should be a fun weekend in Bloomington.

MIKE MILLER: Thanks for checking in everybody. Big weekend in Bloomington, so we’ll have you covered over on The Hoosier Scoop today, tomorrow and beyond. See you next week.