Hoosiers top Ball State in uneven opener, 34-24

INDIANAPOLIS — In Saturday’s opener versus Ball State, Indiana’s Nick Westbrook lived both a receiver’s dream and his nightmare.

His moment of fantasy came early in a 34-24 win over the Cardinals at Lucas Oil Stadium, watching the corner blitz and the middle of the field open wide for his post route. Michael Penix, the redshirt freshman, zipped one through the air, hitting the 6-foot-3 senior in stride for a picturesque 75-yard catch and score.

But in a squirrelly opener where every high seemed to be matched by a disconcerting low, Westbrook erred. It came on another beautiful deep pass, dropped right into his hands. Only that time, right before the third quarter’s end, the football slipped right through.

A would-be touchdown went poof.

Westbrook flailed his arms, almost reflexively. If it wasn’t for the fact that the Hoosiers won, that’s the exact kind of play that could haunt Westbrook in his sleep. But he was smiling after the game, able to laugh it off.

“I was mad,” Westbrook said. “That’s probably only the second time ever I’ve had something happen to me like that. The last time was, like, high school. It was a little weird for me.

“But just bounce back from it. Still got the dub, so it’s all good.”

That was the exact point IU coach Tom Allen made after the game. There were drops Saturday the Hoosiers hadn’t made all camp. His players made shoulder-only tackling efforts. Clearly unacceptable.

But at the end of the day, a performance marked by unfortunate blunders led toward the only result that mattered. The Hoosiers are now 1-0 heading into their home opener with Eastern Illinois next weekend.

“I’m tellin’ ya, to be able to win, and play sometimes not very good, and get a W and learn from a win, is a great feeling,” Allen said. “But an ugly loss really, really stinks.”

Some lows are to be expected with a 19-year-old under center, including the two interceptions Penix threw. But the good outweighed the bad. Penix completed 24-of-40 passing for 326 yards, becoming the second freshman in program history to debut with more than 300 yards passing. That other freshman turned out to be a distinguished name in IU lore.

Had Penix heard of Antwaan Randle El?

“I’ve heard of him,” Penix said, amused by the question, “but I don’t know him like that.”

Hoosier fans certainly got to know more about Penix this weekend. In a way, Ball State put the game in his hands.

Considering the number of defenders the Cardinals put in the box, their priority seemed to be stopping sophomore Stevie Scott and the IU running game. That strategy succeeded, limiting the Hoosiers’ rushers to 26 yards in the first half. Scott had nine yards on seven carries.

Again, Penix made mistakes, staring down one receiver for a pick. A wideout stumbled out of his break on the other. But Penix hit Westbrook on that post bomb. And even after those interceptions, Allen showed faith by allowing his new starter at quarterback to march down the field with 1:11 left in the second quarter, the ball starting at the IU 10.

Penix hit Ty Fryfogle for gains of nine and 13 yards. He then rushed for nine and found Whop Philyor for 18 more. A 49-yard field goal from Logan Justus gave the Hoosiers a 16-10 cushion going into the locker room.

“You turn that offense over to him, you gotta trust him,” Allen said. “To me, it’s about growing. You can’t simulate those situations in practice. I just felt like, as much as possible, we wanted him to be able to move us down the field. Got us in field goal range.

“We talked to him about being smart with his decision-making. But at the same time, I want him to keep growing and learning. You saw the upside I’ve seen throughout all fall camp.”

In the third quarter, Penix and the offense came out ready to roll, driving 63 yards to make it 23-10. IU’s defense just couldn’t put its foot in the ground. In fact, the Hoosiers were leaving their feet and failing to wrap up.

Micah McFadden was the offender on a 45-yard catch and run by Ball State running back Walter Fletcher on a second-and-17. After Penix led another drive for a score, a missed interception in the Hoosier secondary turned into a 36-yard touchdown pass from Drew Plitt to Yo’Heinz Tyler.

“I saw a lot of guys just trying to shoulder tackle. And that’s gotta go,” Allen said. “That doesn’t work.”

Penix, who also rushed for a team-high 67 yards, led the drive to seal it, getting Justus in position for his fourth field goal of the game, a career-high 50-yarder. It may have been an uneven effort for the Hoosiers as a whole, but IU’s quarterback was steady in the huddle.

“He was great, man,” Westbrook said. “It wasn’t too big for him. He just treated it like any other game. Super calm, and that all rubs off on us.”

And that’s the way the Hoosiers were after the game, mostly happy, not filled with regret. It wasn’t a dream of an effort, but the result was everything they wanted.

It was a win.

“It probably didn’t look that good on tape, but it was a team win. A win is a win,” Penix said. “We are going to keep working. We are going to flush this game, 1-0 mindset. We gotta get ready for next week.”

87 comments

  1. The good news for the offense is that we have a real Power-five conference quarterback and a very good tight end. The bad news is that two of our most talented/experienced receivers displayed stone hands today. How many passes were dropped? Westbrook should be made to watch his drop 100 times a day until the next game. Isn’t he a senior?

    On defense, a couple practices doing tackling drills are in order this week. TA will go crazy watching all those missed tackles, arm tackles, reaches, grabs, etc. during the film session. And we’re not real good at shedding blocks yet, either. And lastly, our new DC needs to teach his linebackers and DBs how to play a zone pass defense. Numerous 3rd and long passes were completed without a Hoosier defender anywhere near the receiver.

    Two thirds of our kicking game looks good and now we know we have a good field goal kicker. But our other kicker can’t seem to keep the ball inbounds on kick-offs. That’s ridiculous!

    TA’s post-game comments to his team and to the media should be highly critical of today’s performance. These young men should not be happy or satisfied with today’s performance. They escaped, but I guess it was a better outcome than Purdue’s first game.

  2. let’s all remember this is the first game of the season for Indiana also the first game in the BIG10 for our new offensive cord and the first game that our new defensive cord got to call his own defensive signal…there will be a lot of rough patches/moments for both in the future….there is a lot to be disappointed in and a lot to be thankful for (Indiana won)….Some of the same old problems still exists….poor tackling, drop passes, defensive and offensive line play, etc…but what was more concerning was the idiotic plays by Marcelino Ball (you do not expect this kind of play from an upper (JR-SR) class-man). At least the Indiana fan can take notice that we have a very good place kicker.

  3. Knew it was going to be a challenge up front on both sides and that proved to be true. The skill level there, especially on O, is modest, and there’s not much experienced depth. They’re trying to scheme around it but if BSU can control those units, which they did, there’s going to have to be major improvement. First game for the Cardinals too and they showed IU’s talent level still isn’t going to match much of the big ten.

  4. Attendance less than 21,000 what a waste of money to rent Lucas Oil. I know it Labor Day Week End, the game was in an stadium with A/C with the INDY fans a short drive to the game Colts not playing this W/E. Will be interesting to see how many of the new recruits got playing time. Very inconsistent effort by I U the leaning curve needs to make a big jump before the Ohio State game.

    1. Not IU’s issue since it’s a BSU home game but it’s a horrible turnout considering the proximity to both campuses and their alumni bases in Indy. When there’s no buzz about either program, people find other things to do.

  5. Maybe a little less emphasis on “LEO” and a little more discipline is in order from IU’s coaching staff.

    Ball should probably be benched for the first half of the next game. I assure you teams on our schedule will be trying to bait him into losing his temper and committing another PF or ULC penalty to get an easy 15 yards. Not to mention that the refs will be watching Jim close and be ready with a quick whistle.

  6. how do you know MP.. is a P5 QB .. dont you think you should wait till he plays a P5 team ?

    Penix Jr., Michael 24 40 326 1 2

    PLITT, Drew 26 41 298 2 1

    Going to be lenient … and call that a tie with a MAC …QB ,, ( MP ..2 Picks and 1 TD , DP .. 1 Pick and 2 TD’s

    1st game ( BIG 10 ) Huh .. Ball State is not in the BIG 10…..

    Bear Down knows ball ..

    1. I compared the two QB’s

      One going against a P5 team and one going against a mid major ..

      That’s why I sad lenient ..

      P5 QB should out gun a mid major ..

  7. As I watched things develop, I couldn’t help but think what Mike Neu would do with IU’s budget, facilities and BIG recruiting status. Does anyone think we could beat Akron 49-3 like overlooked Illinois did?
    It looks very possible that IU could lose its 10th (yes TENTH) straight homecoming game to a much improved Rutgers.
    Remember 2015?

  8. Any ‘power’ 5 conference team (IU) that feels it needs to play `Chip Kelly` football in its opener (see Cincinatti v Bruins) has only exposed the program’s overall weakness.
    IU’s in for a looooong season. This year the Bucket game will have zero bowl implications for either team.
    It has been, is, and will always be about running, stopping the run and imposing your will at the line of scrimmage.
    Last year gave me hope. Today’s game erased it.

  9. It could be worse. You could be TN fans like my wife’s brother-in-law. TN paid Georgia State $950,000 to play in Knoxville and then lost to them. Now that’s a disaster.

    Many of IU’s players simply did not pass the eye test today when you compare them to other teams playing on TV. And it’s not the lack of size (like it used to be) or the lack of athleticism. It was just bad execution and way too many stupid mistakes. And that is all about coaching. It was as if IU had one less week of practice time. TA and staff have a lot of things to clean up this week.

    1. Po, I missed the weather report of the sky is falling. I sat in the 2nd row from the field. IU has the players to exceed your “eye test”. Gosh, with a new OC and a new DC, IU made mistakes, no surprise there. The tackling was poor, the O Line was weak, but Ball State loaded the box. Lot’s of things to work on. This offense will be dangerous this season! The defense needs to ramp up the aggression and make turnovers. Tackling and tight coverage will be the keys. It is a long season. However, I am tired of being “Mr Nice Guy” in football. When the Ball State Coach called time out to stop IU from running out the clock in the victory formation, I U needed to punish him. Kick the field goal and win 37-24! Of course there is some risk. But not much. Shove his face in it! IU should never stop trying to score points!

  10. 4 star OL and DL needed to develop into higher stars rather than to try to develop 3 stars into 3.5 to 4 stars. Sure IU tries to recruit 4 star linemen but they choose other schools.

  11. IU has things to correct but this often happens in the first game of the year. We saw things this game we haven’t seen in the past two years – deep passes, a dynamic QB, a freshman KO returner that looks like the real deal. MSU fans booed their own offense despite an easy win on the scoreboard. Purdue opens 0-1 for the third year in a row. Iowa is struggling with Miami of Ohio in the 3rd. Many teams don’t look good but film of the first game can correct many errors. The key is how much do they improve from this win and how much they improve each week.

    1. Plenty that can be corrected, but the issues that a few of us knew were coming on the O and D lines showed themselves today. They can get better, but the talent, depth and experience deficiencies on both of those units are going to be a problem all year.

      1. I don’t think the OL and the front 7 of the D were very amped up. Displayed by the fact no offside penalties at the LOS IIRC. Maybe game plan decision by O coaches. It seems to me if you were sick of preseason camp there would be a pent up urgency to get across the line to your 1st game day opponent and then get to the 2nd level. Surprised by the lack of aggression. Great in-game adjustment by DeBoer to help MP forget the INT’s by calling some zone read options plays and QB rushes. If DeBord had 4 brains he could never figure that out. MP is unflappable.

  12. MP looked good for first start. He can’t keep running like this in the B10 or he won’t last. Running game has to improve without him.

  13. CaliHoosier – you are so correct….cannot go thru the season with your quarterback as your leading rusher.

    1. IU79 – true, but MP is just too skinny to get hit much. Love watching him until he takes off then I cringe. Throw the ball to his gf in the stands or slide.

      1. but MP is just too skinny to get hit much

        Always has been my concern with Penix. He could take the hits against BSU. But once the big boys of the BigTen East come in, I sort of fear for his safety.
        I’ve seen thicker wrists on a tree frog….And his eyes may be in the same family when he sees an OSU linebacker charging.

  14. Penalties omitted from the box score. What’s up with that? Concur with PO about benching Ball (or whatever it takes to get his attention), but except for him IU seemed pretty good today penalty-wise. But this might be a very long season, indeed.

    1. Ball is playing the wrong position. He’s a linebacker in the 4-2-5. He lacks the lateral quickness to play the hybrid when he’s asked to drop into coverage. He was chasing way too much today.

  15. I agree about the line play- not good enough to beat most Big Ten teams. Typical TA game- sloppy and undisciplined. But Penix is such an upgrade at QB, maybe they can still get to 6 wins…maybe.

  16. The poor tackling is a major concern. It seems to be a constant with IU football. During preseason camp we watch video clips of tackling drills and get all excited claiming this is the year the defense will be all that and a bag of chips. The first game is played and we are left wondering what happened to those vicious hits that we saw that stopped a runner in his tracks.

    The defense is not at a level that will win many games for IU against conference teams. I watched the Northwestern, and MSU games and witnessed how bad these two teams are offensively. Possible wins for sure, but then I saw their defenses, and I quickly realized that we are not at their level. Those defense not only gang tackle well, their players are very good at tackling in the open field in one on one situations. I didn’t see backs or receivers break free from a tackle once the first defender made contact with them. I most cases they went down. The IU offense will struggle to move the ball against those two, and the defense will likely suffer enough breakdowns to allow them to win the game.

    I won’t get excited about IU beating up on Eastern Illinois next week. They were scheduled for the sole purpose of obtaining an easy win against an FCS opponent. I also won’t get discouraged when OSU dismantles IU in two weeks. Those are two teams at opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s how IU performs against UCONN, Rutgers, and Maryland that will determine our season. A loss to any one of these teams and any notion of going to a bowl is out the window. I can’t see IU beating MSU, Northwestern, Nebraska, PSU, or Michigan.

    1. My biggest concern is that there seems to be a lack of toughness and physicality. The physical beat downs against the Wisconsin’s and Iowa’s are easy to remember, but there are too many games where IU has the ability to either hang in and battle or find a way to lose. Against better teams, that ends up being second half fades, and against lesser opponents, it’s letting people hang around. I know Allen says all the right stuff and everyone likes him, but something isn’t transferring to the field. DeBoer’s debut was promising, but culture is much more important than scheme, and IU still seems to lack a culture. I get LEO, but that’s not enough.

  17. You know, other than the fact we have an awful lot of posters auditioning here to be West Lafayette trolls, the lack of historical perspective is mind boggling. One year ago this same Ball State team nearly did the same thing to another team it nearly did to IU yesterday. Funny how short some memories around here can be. Did I happen the say last year Ball State did this same thing to a slightly better program than IUFB? Not to mention Ball State was the visiting team at the other school’s home field.

    Only difference was it was BSU’s 2nd game into the season instead of the opening game this year where you don’t have current year film to review. Funny thing, short memories, they tend to reflect more on the individual instead of what they are saying. Does IUFB have a lot to work on? You better believe it, but at least they held on for a very ugly win. Just like Notre Dame did last year with these same Ball State Cardinals.

    1. There is nothing atypical about a prestigious and powerful football program taking small schools too lightly. It’s blasphemous for IU to believe their football program’s strength and history affords such idiocy.

      To use any results against Ball State as some sort of comparison between IU Football and Notre Dame Football ….is akin to Napoleon Dynamite pounding his chest to bring it on at a bar brawl. This is IU Football…and its fan base.

      To not have doubts surrounding every year’s early overkill and excessive hyping of the supposed turnarounds/”breakthroughs” coming down the pike for our football program is a different sort of “trolling.”
      I saw the same sort of trolling for the last 10 years(the overselling of someone who was a charlatan) in our basketball program.

      There are plenty of trolls from the Establishment wanting nothing more than IU fans to be content with mediocrity. They troll because of the memories a once great basketball program under Bob Knight beating the daylights out of their truly favorite South, West and East colleges (or their old stomping grounds) not of Indiana or IU.

  18. You’re on it, thinkaboutit. Sure, IU was sloppy. Big deal, it was week one; at least they won. What about all of the positives? How about a pass that traveled 52 yards in the air and on the money? That play simply would not have happened last year. Indiana now has a takeaway in 19 straight games, tops in the country. Stevie Scott is still very dangerous in red zone short yardage plays. IU clearly has a good kicker in Justus. A single game, especially the first game, does not make a season.

    And what sayeth all you TA nay sayers when comparing him to Brohm? All PU did was give up 17 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to lose to Nevada. The same PU that was shellacked by Auburn 63-14 in the Music City Bowl last year. Don’t get me wrong, Brohm is a fine coach. But it’s not as though PU has hit the football throttle and left IU in the dust.

    And…. IU over the last six years has a winning record outside of the East’s big four of Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan St , and Penn State. As noted in the ESPN preview of IU: “They’ve also been cursed with life in a murderous division. That will continue until the idea of conference pods gains traction. Since 2013, the Hoosiers have gone 2-22 against the Big Ten East foursome of Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, and 29-21 against everyone else. They will never have the history of these programs, and they will forever be based in a state with a more shallow pool of football talent. And they have to play all four, every year.” No easy task, indeed.

    I say relax, IU football is doing just fine under TA. Let’s take the 1-0 start and support the Hoosiers on to a hopefully winning season!

  19. It’s not that IU was sloppy and undisciplined, it’s that they were sloppy and undisciplined yet again. Here’s what we’ve learned about the Allen era-they peak against elite teams they can’t beat, they play surprisingly flat and mistake-prone against matchup teams and they are mistake-prone against bad teams but hang on to win. 8 months of bigger, faster, stronger stories and IU lets Ball State’s 265lb linemen dominate the line of scrimmage? IU can’t tackle BSU’s Division II running back? Those aren’t talent issues. Has there been a game where Allen’s team was more fundamentally sound than it’s opponent? I don’t remember any and it certainly didn’t happen yesterday.

  20. Typical IU fan we Make excuses for the Indiana staff that this was game one of the football season and yet we criticize Jeff Brohm at Purdue for losing game one at Nevada….Then the question becomes where will each football program be at the end of the year. Indiana has three cupcakes non-conference games….Purdue supposably has the easier division schedule….the final game of the year will tell which coach is improving their teams and program respectfully. Indiana will have a chance to win 6 games this year with winnable games at Rutgers, Maryland, Purdue and Northwestern until then I am a naysayer of Tom Allen and Fred Glass.

  21. There is NO question Purdue has the easier conference schedule. I’d like to see how the Boilermakers stack up to OSU, UM, MSU, and PSU if they met them every year, where the teams know each other well from previous years games and current year scouting reports. I’d trade places with PU in a heartbeat.

    All Tom Allen has done is bring in the highest rated IU recruiting classes back to back, despite Indiana’s atrocious football history and lack of support. He is an honest, straight up, good man. He himself said the defense and its tackling against Ball State was “terrible” and “that’s not who we are.” He holds himself responsible and culpable. It’s clear he has developed good relationships with the network of high school coaches both inside Indiana and in Florida. Given the overall small pool of football talent in Indiana, it’s important to have good recruiting outside of the state. Indiana does not have a high school football talent pool large enough to support IU, PU, and to some extent, Notre Dame. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Maryland, Rutgers, Iowa, and Penn State each have their respective Big10 states to themselves. IU has such an uphill recruiting battle. Any kid reading the majority of commentary on this site sure as heck wouldn’t want to go to Indiana, given the nonstop trashing of the program on this site.

    Until the program really tanks (and 5-7 is not atrocious) I’ll stand behind Tom Allen. I think he’s the best coach to happen to Indiana since Coach Mallory and the unfortunately brief tenure of Terry Hoeppner. Go Hoosiers!!

    1. Here is this month’s reminder that Tom Allen continues to be the winningest coach in modern IU history at this point in his tenure.

    2. Not sure what Purdue has to do with it, but their record against the East over the last two years is better than IU’s, so that argument isn’t valid if comparing the two programs is the goal. And head to head, they’ve really controlled IU and brought in better recruiting classes. I like Allen, too, but the guys in WL aren’t slowing down for him. They also have a good staff and a DC who is as good as TA.

      As for IU’s play, saying “that’s not who we are” rings hollow when they keep showing that it’s really ‘who they are’. Talk is talk, but the play is what matters, and IU’s needs to rise or the recent recruiting successes will evaporate. Even now, IU’s 2020 recruiting is trailing almost all of the Big 10, which may be a sign that the “we’re building with LEO” message only lasts for so long if you’re not winning. Hope that’s what IU is on the verge of, but Allen needs to stop saying it and start doing it if he wants more support. The crowd yesterday, at the epicenter of the IU alumni base, was embarrassingly low, no matter who the home team was.

    1. No, it’s out of necessity to get the best players on the field, but it’s clear he’s out of position because of the way opposing defenses continue to exploit his weaknesses.

      1. It’s not his weakness. It is the weakness of that hybrid position in the 4-2-5. Not hard to observe and figure out.

        1. Plenty of players play that position at a high level, so it’s not a weakness of the position. It’s implemented throughout football by seasoned defensive people, so there’s no question that it works and works well with players who can play it. Ball has never been able to play it well, even though he’s the best they have.

          1. Every team that plays nickel coverages plays a 4-2-5, and every team in a base 3-4 plays principles that often mimic a 4-2-5. For those that play a nickel, they use a db, and that’s not MB. Those who play a 3-4 ask their lb’s to drop into coverage depending on the offensive formations presented (watch Wisconsin or Iowa for good examples in the Big 10 and you’ll be able to see the similarities). The issue isn’t the scheme, it’s the players playing it. MB is far better in run support than in the hybrid role, which is why he’s out of position because he gets caught chasing way too much because he fails to quickly read his keys, as you could easily see yesterday on several occasions. IU would very likely get similar results by dropping a third safety into the box or by playing three corners and going with quarters coverage. But TA is wedded to a D that worked great at Ole Miss when he could deploy more athletes and get pressure with four. He doesn’t have those luxuries at IU.

          2. I was just trying to explain to you how the defense worked and how it was used. You should watch tape of IU and maybe you’ll have a better understanding, though I’m surprised you didn’t realize how many teams play a nickel on a pretty regular basis. It’s common in college and increasingly so in the nfl.

          3. Your explanation is lame. It describes a part time player
            as a specialist in a pass prevent D. That’s only half the responsibility of a full time player in the
            hybrid position in the 4-2-5. Really pretty simple.

          4. It’s only lame if you don’t understand the philosophy behind the 4-2-5 and the hybrid position. If you watched tape of IU, you’d have a much better understanding of it than you’ve shown you do.

          5. It’s “nothing” because you don’t understand the philosophies behind those defenses or how they’re intended to function. When you dismissed the notion that Ball was playing out of position and flipped to say it was the defense itself you didn’t believe in you showed you don’t comprehend the basics of the D. No problem to move forward from those facts.

          6. Mirrors my thoughts in passing amusement with your drivel. I’ve heard ducks fart underwater before.

          7. Was just trying to help you understand what you were watching and why IU designed it the way they did. After all, they’re football coaches and get paid for it. Sorry you’re so upset. I’ll make a note to talk football with the football people.

  22. Here’s this month’s reminder that IU’s last football coach is currently the offensive brain trust at the most prestigious football school in the Big Ten.
    Allen’s program-changing and breakthrough win against BSU(a.k.a. Alabama 2.0) appears momentous in comparison to the cultural change Wilson brought to IU Football after following the worst coach, Bill Lynch, in its history.

    1. Wilson did very little at IU and has done even less at OSU! He did not get a whiff of either the OC position last year or the Head Coaching position this year. He is a life assistant coach, albeit a good one.

      1. Wilson took nothing and turned it into 2 bowl teams, leaving Tom Allen with as good a start as any new coach, especially at IU, could hope for. Wilson did a lot and IU would be much further back had he not been the coach.

        1. Your opinion not mine! He beat a really down Purdue to go to two bowl games. Allen has lost to an improved Purdue and missed twice. That is a draw! This is the test year!

  23. Ugh. The plight of the Indiana football fan…

    Appreciate some really great comments. I love Penix. They made the right call there for sure. He’s a legit Big Ten QB. I’m really not the praying type, but I’m going to hit my knees every night for his knees through this season.

    Another “meh” performance. Is it first game rust? Maybe. Or is it on brand for what this staff brings to the table? I won’t make any conclusions until I see at least three games. Reacting to the micro doesn’t serve one well. But a 34-24 win where our defense can’t wrap up a guy versus a pretty bad, mid-major team, doesn’t seem like a fix that happens in a week.

    Indiana football is 150 years of not buying it until they prove it. And, well, they’re still on brand…

  24. …yet he never produced a single winning season as head coach at Indiana…or anywhere else, for that matter. Zero. Zip. Nada.

    Yes, this great coach at Ohio State has never, ever won anywhere as head coach.

    He must be really good. That’s why no one has offered him another shot. People are intimidated by his awesomeness.

    Let’s sing the praises of the guys who have failed and left Indiana. Yea Kevin Wilson. Yea Tom Crean (I realize that’s kinda unfair to CTC. He actually won). Yea Bill Lynch. Yea Gerry DiNardo.

    1. He’s only been a college head coach at IU, so that argument really falls flat. And it’s obvious that he took the program from nothing and built it into one that could compete in the Big 10. I’m not sure he was ever going to get it much further, but suggesting he wasn’t any good or that he didn’t have a profound impact on the IU program isn’t realistic or accurate. Not sure what this has to do with the current team, other than as a diversion.

      1. Bear Down you are so right. Lots of folks think, like me, KW was an old school, stubborn hardass. IUFB is fortunate he was. I also believe that is exactly why AD Glass initially hired him and ultimately replaced him. Like everyone he has flaws but running a soft program wasn’t 1 of them. To our benefit.

      2. He did have a nice run of 0-11 as a high school head coach.

        Singing the praises of a person’s skills in a specific area when all they have known is failure falls flat.

          1. He has been passed over for every P5 job opening in the past two years. There haven’t even been any reported interviews. As someone mentioned before, he is a career assistant. Nothing wrong with that.

            Not saying he isn’t successful as an assistant. Just saying he has never won as a head coach. Many here have criticized the CTA hiring because he had never previously won as a head coach but turn around and give CKW a pass on the same criteria.

            We can go round and round. Sure, he slightly improved the Hoosiers during his tenure. No, he never produced a winner. I suppose it is just how low you want to set the bar to call someone successful. Many of the same people criticizing CTA are praising CKW for doing less.

          2. Quit deceiving yourself, Chet. Crean’s understanding of X’s and O’s in basketball are beyond insufficient compared to Wilson understanding of football. Crean had a team that needs a minimum of five decent players. He gets one named Cody Zeller and the world is right…Does it mean he can coach basketball or manage a game in pressure situations? We all know these answers. Wilson belonged in the profession of teaching. Crean is in the profession of preaching.

        1. Aren’t you the same guy who’s talked about Coach K’s first years of poor results? Wilson’s first years after Lynch’s bottom of the barrel departure certainly needs no explanation as to why he’s not competing for the “winningest” anything.

          Clarion is correct. Wilson turned around the soft culture. KW never made excuses for taking over a program sinking deeper each year under Lynch (nor does Archie having the unfortunate circumstance of teaching basketball and reinstating a culture of team defense post Crean).
          Not saying Allen inherited an average BigTen program but he certainly came on board in better circumstances than Wilson….which is why Wilson had the opportunity to hire Allen. Allen doesn’t likely take the job without the improvement all were witnessing. Though not always reflected in the W-L column, the team was finding more NFL caliber talent and not getting completely annihilated by the cream of the BigTen crop.
          You don’t work for OSU in any capacity unless a) you’re the grandson of the head coach’s most prominent mentor(even if you’re a wife abuser)…or b) you’re pretty damn strong at understanding and teaching the game of football.

          1. And let’s keep in mind the fact Allen was never sought after to be a BigTen head coach….It sort of arrived by default. It was the best we could do under the circumstances Fred put us in. We could have thrown 8 million/yr at someone with somewhat of a recognizable name, but how much difference would it have made when you’re surrounded by programs like Michigan, OSU and Notre Dame?

          2. That’s the great thing about tossing out nothingness such as ‘he turned around the soft culture’. It’s like saying ‘it was the saddest night ever’. It is impossible to prove or disprove. It is pure nothingness.

            What is that based on? Quantify that. Give some way to determine that you aren’t just tossing out your usual BS.

            “Well, he might not ever win anything but these guys are more culturally informed than the teams before he arrived.”

            WTF is your comment even supposed to mean? It is nothing.

            I fully expect an asinine response such as “Wellll, if you can’t see that the culture was tougher…yadda, yadda, yadda….”

          3. One more thing.

            Tell me the names of a couple big time coaches that IU could have dangled that money in front of who might accept it.

            Or, is that total BS, too?

          4. Yes, a 3-21 conference record in Lynch’s last three seasons(1 conference win each of those three years) is quite the tough as nails culture.
            Slice it and dice it anyway you prefer. Wilson inherited a historically bottom-feeding program which somehow managed to dig even deeper into the realm of pathetic under Lynch. That was far from the state of affairs once Allen was hired.

            And my point exactly: Allen gets the job after Wilson’s firing because no experienced coach takes any sort of mega salary to take over IU Football. It’s just not a wise career move for anyone already on somewhat secure footing. Thus, Allen gets the job by default. Did he have to take it? No. But he’s here already(hired by the guy you keep labeling as a nothing …which makes it all sort of ironic anyway) and the money ain’t bad. Sink or swim, Allen will never be viewed as a failure because he was our “savior” or a second guess hire after Fred fired big bad Wilson for allegedly talking locker room smack to some disgruntled benchwarmer.

            Bottom Line: Allen is here because of Wilson….He identified where he needed to improve. Nobody was searching for a head coach. Maybe we’ll be blessed by default. Don’t bet your last farm on it.

          5. Well then, why did you suggest dangling money at another coach was an option if it actually wasn’t?

            I see you awkwardly dodged every question thus proving my point…as you always do. I understand. There really was nothing to say.

          6. Bear Down says:
            September 1, 2019 at 1:54 pm

            Wilson took nothing and turned it into 2 bowl teams, leaving Tom Allen with as good a start as any new coach, especially at IU, could hope for. Wilson did a lot and IU would be much further back had he not been the coach.

            That’s 3 anonymous to one, somewhat, anonymous Chet….(well, you did sort of have anonymous ‘Beat Purdue’ on your side but we all know he’s a bit nerdy and said he once attended Purdue…but now wants to beat them. Sounds sort of passive aggressive if you ask me).

            Not saying one anonymous “hole” opinion can’t end up being bigger than three anonymous tiny holes….just as one victory attained by Wilson in the post Lynch era could be bigger than a win against Ball State in the still rather infant stage of Allen’s tenure.

  25. Lol. comments about ex IU coaches or really anyone connected to the IU football or basketball program…. Individually, after leaving IU every IU ex coach and others did quite well in coachin, media or other career endeavors except for medical issues or if they got in some kind of trouble.

  26. So much for blow out predictions and getting to see backup quarterbacks. IU had to hold on to be 1 and 0. As far as Penix goes. (Penix played well); if needed I would assume PR would be replacement. Unless PR was successful it would be interesting to see JT . After all it is IU football and what does IU have to lose? That is if back up is needed and PR struggles….in other words don’t allow PR to struggle game after game.

  27. All the S & C in the world can’t make a guy’s bone structure bigger. Penix can build muscle but he can’t change the size of wrist bones too small for most women’s watch bands. I hope they’re very rubbery wrist bones because if he falls on one the wrong way (or gets it pinned in a bad position underneath a 350 lb. lineman), then it likely snaps like a twig. Still fear for his safety when the Goliaths of the schedule come knocking us around.

  28. Hoosier Clarion says:
    September 1, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Wilson executed the turnaround of the soft shell IUFB culture.

    And go on your rants with this regular for a while….I believe he used the “culture” turnaround thing. Or does his BS float prettier than mine?

    All opinions are BS but your own. It’s known as the Golden SChet Rule.

    1. Is that silly quote from an anonymous poster supposed to prove something or are you just forgetting the first rule of holes…again?

      Wait…let me get a quote from some random guy. That’ll show him.

  29. IMO, the two best comments in this string were: #1: “I know Allen says all the right stuff and everyone likes him, but something isn’t transferring to the field.” Bingo! That’s spot on. #2: “Has there been a game where Allen’s team was more fundamentally sound than it’s opponent? I don’t remember any and it certainly didn’t happen yesterday.” Again, that hits the bullseye because it is true.

    How can you not like TA? How can you not appreciate the improvement he’s made in recruiting? But sooner or later his players, as a group, must start demonstrating both mental and physical toughness during the games. The continued stupid (and huge) penalties by one of our defensive leaders is just inexcusable. The numerous dropped passes by experienced receivers and dropped interceptions by defensive backs. Two kick-offs going out of bounds. These are self-inflicted wounds that have nothing to do with the opponent. And they continue to happen over and over and over again with IU’s players. TA’s program isn’t good enough to survive those mistakes.

    Maybe TA needs to start being more of a hard ass (as HC accurately described Wilson) and demand more from his players, and increase the consequences for making stupid mistakes. As an example, remember, under Wilson, when a running back would fumble? They got benched for quite a while. Remember when one of his assistants became over-excited on the sidelines when one of his players made a nice play, and Wilson told him to cool it and behave as if he’d been there before? When Wilson’s teams barely squeaked out a victory over some mid-major program or Indiana State, Wilson did not look overly happy. That’s because he had high standards and new, based on his experience at OK, how far his teams had to go before they’d meet those high standards.

    TA is a nice guy and I have no doubt that he loves his players. Maybe he’s too nice and still has too much High School coach in him! Maybe it’s time to implement a tough love philosophy that will instill more mental toughness and discipline that translates to improved fundamentals and fewer mistakes on the field. Who knows? But I think a lot of people suspect that unless we start seeing TA’s words translated into performance on the field, we’ll continue to get what we’ve had for the last two seasons. It’s a legitimate concern.

    1. Remember when Snyder kicked the second kickoff out of bounds, he did not have another kickoff in the game. Is that the “tough love” you mean?

    2. Couldn’t have said it better myself, PO, and nobody on here has posted anything more on point in ages. What we’ve been seeing week after week now are teams simply not prepared to play football on any given Saturday.

  30. PacNWHoosier94, you don’t have to worry about recruits reading these comments and then deciding not to sign with IU. First, they don’t read this site exists, and second, this site is polite compared to other, similar sites associated with other Power-five conference schools. You should read comments posted by fans of SEC schools when they’re unhappy (imagine what TN fans are writing today). It makes anything posted on this site seem docile. I assure you, the 25 to 30 people who regularly log on to this site are harmless and have no impact on IU’s ability to recruit athletes. The rest of the Hoosier Nation has been beaten into submission for decades.

    Besides, coaches and Athletic Directors are fair game because they get paid the big bucks.

    1. That’s always funny, isn’t it? “We better hope recruits don’t read this site.”

      Right. Ten guys post on this site. No high school senior knows it exists.

      Alabama has fans who want Nick Saban fired.

  31. I enjoyed all comments re game and performances yesterday. But remember, these are all young men trying their best to beat their opponent. Sometimes they will do well and sometimes they won’t, but they are representing Indiana University to their best. Always remember that before commenting.

    I didn’t care as much for the comments (and comparisons) of former coaches. Let’s try to stay on topic and represent IU well.

    1. Well said, IUJim. Then again, I see no problem with going into comparisons of coaches. It’s far from off-topic. IU Football and all sports are in constant evolution….(IU Football will one day learn to walk upright) and the decisions made on hires and “fires” fully impact the next man or woman at the helm.

      Allen is doing pretty o.k. for a coach who was not originally sought out to be our head coach. We all pray for the day when a Hoosier coach can say “It’s Indiana” and we’ll know he’s talking about IU Football’s legacy to make himself look important enough to get the job after an apocalyptic meltdown caused by a 3-way call to a recruit.

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