Live chat transcript

QUESTION: Good morning, and welcome to the IU sports chat. Thank you for joining us today. Are you ready guys?

JEREMY PRICE: Good morning. I suppose I’m ready. Let’s find out.

MIKE MILLER: Good morning, everybody. Hope the bye week has treated you all well. Snuck in a day off this week, but back to the grind this weekend.

ANDY GRAHAM: Ready to chat. All treats. No tricks.

QUESTION: If IU loses Davis and Kegler, what other big men are out there that could be viable options?
Thanks
Kevin B, Mooresville

JEREMY PRICE: Kevin,
By all accounts, IU is still involved in the Thon Maker sweepstakes, although that will likely run through the spring. There’s also mutual interest with Jarrett Allen but no news of an official visit yet. Don’t be surprised if a few other names pop up. And in Kegler’s case, he’s more of a wing, big guard anyhow.

MIKE MILLER: Hey Kevin,
Thon Maker remains an option, though that saga likely won’t come to an end until the spring. Keep an eye on 6-foot-9 forward Jarrett Allen, a five-star out of Texas.

ANDY GRAHAM: Kevin B:
Thon Maker would be the (literally) big one and isn’t likely to sign till spring. Jarrett Allen, a 6-9 kid from Texas, is a more remote possibility. Alpha Diallo technically counts as a forward but is just 6-5. Other than that, I’d be hard pressed to come up with further names at this juncture.

QUESTION: Who committed to the IU Women Basketball program last night?
Clark, monroe

JEREMY PRICE: Clark,
Credit to our Jon Blau for digging up the commitment this morning. It was 6-foot Bailey Broadnax of Hill Junior College in Texas. She averaged 8.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season. She was listed as a post player and attempted just two 3-pointers all season.
We’ll try to find out more.

QUESTION: 1) Which QB, currently in the program, has the best chance of taking the reins next year? Zander Diamont brings an interesting element to the position with his ability to run, although Jordan Howard should still be around next year. Danny Cameron, in a limited opportunity, showed he has the ability to be a good pocket QB. And, at this point we haven’t seen Austin King, although CKW has made some positive statements on his behalf. 2) Are we going to see a slower tempo offense next season? It is clear that the Hoosiers have the best chance to win games when the defense is kept off the field. Scoring lots of points is one way to win games, but scoring too quickly seems to be giving our opponents too many opportunities.

DL, Chicago, IL

JEREMY PRICE: DL,
1. I’d probably try Cameron, but football dudes might feel differently.

2. There’s some truth in what you say, but I would also argue that the defense’s penchant for giving up big plays is not necessarily a fatigue issue.

MIKE MILLER: Hey DL,
As far as those in the program, I think Diamont probably has a leg up given his experience. He’s played in some big-time environments and has a king of swagger and confidence that Wilson likes. I like Diamont and have enjoyed covering him, but from a pure football standpoint, he needs to make marked improvement in his ability to throw the ball with consistency and accuracy. Until he does, I’d almost be more inclined to consider Cameron. At this point, though, my guess is that next year’s starting quarterback is not on the current roster.

I’ll counter that we’ve started to see a slower tempo offense this season. IU’s average time of possession is 29:05 — up from 25 minutes in 2013. I’d venture that the TOP would be further boosted with a full season featuring a healthy Jordan Howard. Utilizing a more methodical approach is most dependent on Howard’s availability. But really, since the start of Big Ten play, IU hasn’t actually had that luxury. Your point about defense is fair, but IU also hasn’t been very good on third-and-long. It’s time someone stepped up and made a play.

ANDY GRAHAM: DL:

Good queries.

1. My best guess is that next year’s starting quarterback isn’t necessarily on the current roster, though, as you note, Coach Wilson did mention Austin King positively this week and I’ve always surmised King was the more likely candidate to emerge from the current crop on campus, though I think Danny Cameron has shown some good potential and I also think Zander could re-emerge but needs a redshirt year to build his body. I’ve heard good things about Peyton Ramsey of Cincinnati Elder and I also like his film. Clearly, the Hoosiers are also looking hard at JUCO prospects (Matt Weaver at Peegs.com, who knows more than any living human outside the program about IU football recruiting, lists four JUCO QBs as current possibilities) and will probably consider fifth-year transfers if any suitable guys materialize. Indiana probably won’t take a JUCO or a fifth-year guy unless it thinks that player has a high probability of starting next season.

2. I think we’ve seen, and will still at times see, slower tempos this season, not just in future. With a healthy Jordan Howard available, Indiana closed out the final 5:56 of the Western Kentucky game with a single drive, and also had 99-yard and 97-yard marches in that game that took up almost five and almost four minutes respectively. Heading into the Michigan State game, in which the Spartans ended up with two-thirds of the available possession time, Indiana had more possession time than its opponents and had run more plays than its opponents for the season. I would also add that the defense can get itself off the field by making more third-and-long stops than it is currently making. The secondary guys were almost always in the vicinity during the Michigan State game but didn’t make enough plays.

QUESTION: I’ll be brief. Davis, Brown and Kegler. Yes or no?
indianavelt, Fort Wayne

JEREMY PRICE: indianavelt,
All three would be a stunner, so I’d say no. But as to who’s in and who’s out, that’s a different matter.

Davis is the guy Indiana’s had the longest relationship with, and ultimately you’ve got to think that matters.

Brown doesn’t seem to have much to say about his visits, and he’s making the full tour — Miami and Purdue next. Tough to read this one.

Kegler’s guardian seems to rave about each place he visits as the next great thing, but Kegler seems to be looking at the full situation he’s walking into in terms of position and playing time. Seems like he and Davis would be a good pairing in that regard.

MIKE MILLER: Hey indianavelt,
The latter two players are hard to read. Frankly, they all are. That’s the beauty of recruiting, I guess. I still think Indiana is in good shape with Davis. So for the sake of answering your question: Yes, no, no. But don’t hold me to that. I reserve the right to change those thoughts next week.

ANDY GRAHAM: Indianavelt:

Brevity is the soul of wit.

I guess I’ll hazard a guess: yes, no, no. Not even remotely certain about any of those, either.

QUESTION: 1. Well glad someone at IU listened to me. Playing IPFW in Ft Wayne is brilliant next year, especially Thanksgiving week when students are gone and you will probably draw more people there then in Bloomington with a 90% IU crowd. Also even better that IU is in control of the tickets so IPFW can’t pull any shenanigans and make people buy other games to get the IU game. Hope to see IU do the same thing with all the other in state teams.

2. Is Ben Howland cheating or is Tom Crean a horrible recruiter? The fact that Davis and Kegler are so serious about MSU tells me either Crean cannot recruit or Howland is doing something fishy. If its the latter I have no problem and am proud of Crean for playing in the rules but if Howland is just out recruiting Crean with an even playing field than there is problems. It’s definitely one of the two.

Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY PRICE: Darren,

1. It is a good thing to set up a game in another part of the state, and it could also serve as a homecoming game for James Blackmon, assuming he’s still at IU. But that’s one game fans in the Fort Wayne and surrounding area can circle as much easier to get to than Assembly Hall.

It will be interesting to see if IU can work out some similar arrangements with other in-state schools, although I doubt there will be an in-state road game every year. Maybe every other year depending on the rest of the IU schedule with big tournaments like the Maui Invitational being a factor.

2. Well, that’s one way of looking at it. I don’t think Crean is a terrible recruiter, but you can bet your bottom dollar other programs are using negative recruiting about Crean’s job status and/or the off-the-court incidents. On the flip side, Howland is off to an impressive recruiting starts at Mississippi State considering he has yet to coach a game there. We’ll see what happens.

MIKE MILLER: Hey Darren,
The more I’ve thought about this IPFW game, the more I like it. It might be fun to do this with other in-state progams every couple years, too. For one, it’s a great way to cultivate good will for the Hoosier brand across the state. It’s also just really, really cool, and something that has a unique appeal in a state like Indiana.

I don’t think Crean is horrible, but I do believe the lack of meaningful on-court success the last couple years is making Indiana a tougher sell. That’s absolutely the case. I can almost guarantee that Crean is dealing with more negative recruiting than at any other point. That’s how it works. The Davis recruitment is very interesting to me. It seems that IU remains in good standing — and obviously has the longer relationship — but the longer this drags out, the less confident I feel that IU seals the deal. Howland has a fine resume, and this obviously isn’t the first time he’s made a dent in recruiting circles. How he’s doing it so quickly in Starkville, I have no clue. Either way, I don’t feel comfortable giving merit to any unsubstantiated guesses about cheating.

ANDY GRAHAM: Yo, Darren:

1. Agree entirely about the IPFW arrangement. Love it. Would also love to see IU come up with similar set-ups to play in other Hoosier locales. It always helps build and retain fan base if some of those folks who don’t often get a chance to see IU in person suddenly have the Hoosiers come to their town. One would presume Indiana could always have two games in Bloomington for every one on the road in a series against an in-state opponent, allowing schedules with enough home games each year but also affording the Hoosiers periodic chances to, say, play in Muncie or Terre Haute or Valparaiso or Evansville — or, say, at the venerable Fairgrounds Coliseum against IUPUI. I also think playing in cities bordering the state gives a lot of Hoosier fans a chance to come out, which is one reason the Louisville series is cool. Maybe Indiana could pick up either Xavier or Cincinnati to hit the Cincy area, for example. Anything along those lines, I’m all for it.

2. I don’t really think your question is an either-or. Howland has a strong track record at elite levels going back to his days at Pitt, including three straight Final Four trips with UCLA. There obviously were some overt problems late in his UCLA tenure (the whole Reeves Nelson situation, and pretty much a mass exodus of players, and highly-touted recruiting classes that didn’t pan out.) Don’t know that there has ever been anything more than just rumors regarding any possible recruiting improprieties.

Mississippi State does seem to have had a sudden advent in elite recruiting circles since Howland arrived in Starkville, but bear in mind that Kegler is a Jackson, Mississippi native and that he Tyson Carter, who just committed to Mississippi State and is another native Mississippian, are pals. Davis’ interest does seem a bit tougher to explain. Why any random non-Mississippi-native player would prefer playing college basketball in Starkville as opposed to Bloomington does seem a bit of a mystery on its face. But at any rate I wouldn’t be drawing too many conclusions about who is out-recruiting who, and what possible inducements there might be, until guys actually sign.

QUESTION: Gentlemen! Thanks as always for your great coverage. Helps us distant Hoosier Faithful stay on top of things! Q: what’s your impression of CKW as the leader of IU football, on and off the field? My impression is that he has progressed a lot, especially off the field. When he started I swore the man could not speak in complete sentences… At any rate, it seems like he and the program are really coming into their own. Regardless of how this season turns out, I it seems like CKW has built a culture and mindset that has IU a legit Big10 team. Another year or two and they should have a defense to go with the offense.

PacNWHoosier, Renton, WA

JEREMY PRICE: Pac,

Did you stay up for the Oregon-Arizona State OT thriller last night? I did. Seemed like a good idea at the time, not so much this morning.
I’ll let the football dudes dive into this one.

MIKE MILLER: Hey PacNWHoosier,

First, Wilson’s penchant for speaking in fractured sentences is just part of the guy’s … ummmm … charm. I’ll also say, he knows how to offer an interesting press conference.
In the football realm, Wilson has done just about everything you want to see from an Indiana football coach. Everything except win football games. It’s getting difficult to look past that ever-important fact, but — as of today — I think it’d be a mistake to let go of the guy. First, who the heck is going to replace him? There could be a long list of schools looking for football coaches, and many of those would be more attractive options than IU. I don’t know of any slam-dunk replacements, and given the way Wilson has built the program to this point, I’d be more inclined to let him see it through a bit longer. IU is getting to the point where it actually has Big Ten-caliber players at almost every spot on the field. It has raised the standard in recruiting, and Wilson is not only in the mix with better athletes, but better football players, too. But, man, you gotta win games.

ANDY GRAHAM: PacNWHoosier:

Spent a few days earlier this year out in Portland, OR, and Port Townsend, WA, both gorgeous locales. Got sets of cousins and friends out there. Smart cousins and friends. There are worse places to end up, let’s put it that way.

My impression of Kevin Wilson doesn’t deviate much at all from yours. I think he’s settled into the head coaching role well and has gotten the players to largely buy into his culture and his vision for the program. I think anybody who doesn’t recognize this Indiana football has progressed, and that this current IU club is reasonably potent, isn’t really paying close attention.

Indiana, right now, mostly looks like a legitimate Big Ten team that has hit a rough patch. The secondary play has remained a potentially fatal flaw, and IU sustained untimely injuries to two key offensive players, Sudfeld and Howard, right as Big Ten play began. But this team has shown itself fully capable of putting itself in position to win against good opposition. Now it needs to show it can go ahead and win.

The Rutgers loss was a debacle in so many ways, just really damaging, and the current four-game losing streak will get longer unless the Hoosiers can knock off the nation’s No. 10-ranked team (followed up by the nation’s No. 15-ranked team). And that threatens to obscure and dampen the progress made. Perception outside the program for those only taking a cursory look is probably “same old Indiana.” It’s really not. I now see a lot more Big Ten-caliber athletes than I saw when Wilson arrived in Bloomington. I see a Hoosier team more competitive at the line of scrimmage against the likes of Ohio State and Michigan State than I’ve seen in a long time. But public perception isn’t going to change unless more wins ensue.

On paper, yes, the defense should progress over the next two years, but IU hasn’t really solved its defensive issues since Joe Novak, Bill Mallory’s coordinator, left town. The unit will return a lot of experienced players, especially among the linebackers and secondary. But the Hoosiers will have to show those secondary players, especially, can become fundamentally-sound play-makers.

I certainly believe it would behoove Indiana football to keep the current staff in place, if at all possible, and continue to progress. The alternative certainly seems unpalatable. Things seem pretty solid, off the field. I think IU is, at the least, on the cusp of Big Ten legitimacy. But more wins need to materialize on the field. IU needs to show it can knock off some Big Ten big boys, needs to show it can get to a bowl at some point soon, before the future of the program under the current staff will seem fully secure. This season seems at a tipping point, right now. It might still go either direction. The same might be said for the program as a whole. It’s on more solid footing, to be sure. But it needs Ws.

QUESTION: That is all the time we have today. Thank you for all of the questions. Stay on top of IU sports news with the Hoosier Scoop blog and app.

JEREMY PRICE: Haunted Hall of Hoops and IU soccer home finale on the docket for Saturday, so no shortage of IU sports to follow this weekend. Thanks for chatting.

MIKE MILLER: Thanks for checking in, everybody. We’ll be at IU’s Haunted Hall of Hoops on Saturday. Ignore the silly title of the event for a moment — I’ve been told that those in attendance will see a pretty intense scrimmage tomorrow afternoon. The quality of which should be improved from what we saw a couple years ago, and perhaps better than the brief look offered at Hoosier Hysteria. Admisson is free and the scrimmage begins at 2:30. If you’re in town, it might be worth your time before trick-or-treating. Speaking of which, I need a costume. See you next week.

ANDY GRAHAM: Thanks, as always, to those who chatted and/or checked in. If I may further voice an editorial opinion, there were some good football-related inquiries today. Hope everybody is already on their way to a fine Halloween weekend — and those within travel distance of Bloomington, don’t forget Saturday’s Haunted Hall of Hoops, with IU basketball men set to scrimmage at 2:30 in Assembly Hall. (And as Mike Miller noted on The Hoosier Scoop: The North lobby will open for candy and games at 1:30 p.m., and fans will be able to find seats beginning at 2:15 p.m. Admission is free. Children are encouraged to wear costumes and participate in a parade on the Assembly Hall floor immediately after the scrimmage. An autograph session will follow the parade, and each child will be given an item or may purchase items at the Varsity Shop to be signed.)

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