Film room: Indiana @ Western Michigan

So, it’s Thursday. And I don’t know how useful this exercise will be this late in the week. But let’s go with it anyway.

I simply haven’t had time to re-watch the game now that college football games last so long. You’ve got to carve out a good chunk of time just to see anything useful. Here I am, 7 a.m. Thursday.Bill Lynch is an excellent time out caller. Look at that form.

  • First impression: it’s not easy to be a college football commentator. Dave Armstrong and Mike Gottfried really added very little to the broadcast. Gottfried is like John Madden in that he loves to restate the obvious, but does so by using fewer annoying catch phrases and a slew of boring coach speak. Too bad they don’t let him use the telestrator. And then, Armstrong says things like this about Josiah Sears: “He’s not just Sears, he’s Sears andRoebuck.” Question — isn’t the game on a 3-second delay? Isn’t there someone in a truck somewhere, a producer, who might have a bleep out button? Please, use it.
  • OK, onto football. What’s with the running right? On Indiana’s first drive, Marcus Thigpen cut that way every time. That’s Charlie Emerson and John Sanberg’s side. Wonder if the coaches see them as better run blockers.
  • I rarely watch ESPNU. So I never realized how bad the commercials are. It’s all goofy stuff like a belt thingy you strap around your stomach that will supposedly give you buff abs. I just ordered one. And, being in the buying mood, I also bought the next product: yes, the power scooter chair. Now, I’ll have flat abs even though I won’t walk anywhere.
  • Being a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I wish Tracy Porter could have flown from Kalamazoo to Green Bay to field punts for the Eagles on Sunday. At least he knows how to catch the ball.
  • You may recall how open Anthony Middleton was on Western Michigan’s first touchdown. Tough to tell what went wrong on that play, but it appears as though middle linebacker Adam McClurg should have been drifting more that way. As it was, he stayed in the middle, only a few yards from fellow ‘backer Will Patterson. Looks like McClurg may have been slow on his read. Plus, safety Nick Polk wheeled and said something to McClurg as soon as Middleton crossed the goal line.
  • The commercial with Lee Corso putting hairspray on before getting into bed alongside two mascot heads disturbs me. Deeply.
  • Did Indiana ever really attack the middle of the field, where Western Michigan was weak due to an injury to safety Louis Delmas? Doesn’t seem like it.
  • I wouldn’t watch that new Cavemen show if you paid me Lee Corso’s salary to do so.
  • E.J. Biggers played James Hardy really, really well. In fact, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t give the nod to Biggers, overall, since he was matched up one-on-one with the 6-7 wide out so many times. It’s just nearly impossible to stop Hardy in the red zone, which is where he made two of his three catches.
  • It was brought to my attention that a Bloomington sports talk radio show took umbrage with something I wrote in my column following this game. I wrote that Indiana had been out-coached in the second half. They claimed no such thing happened. To be honest, I don’t really listen to sports talk radio so I have no idea what their argument was. But I’ll stand by my original statement. Western Michigan’s fans had deserted them and the Broncos were a mess. Even after turning the ball over on its first offensive play of the third quarter — its fifth straight time coughing it up — Western Michigan continued to play tough and eventually made it a game. Meanwhile, Indiana played down to its competition, which was a major flaw last season. The Hoosiers needs to push through and play assertively this season, and that trend should have started as soon as they came out of the tunnel for the second half. It didn’t.
  • What’s the lesson of the three straight QB sneaks? I think it’s evidence that Indiana’s offensive line recruiting philosophy — finding tall, rangy players — has left an offense that isn’t going to run anybody over. There was just no push.
  • Ray Fisher’s getting it. Let me now praise the coaches for helping him to do so: a player of Fisher’s talent and stature can’t just step in a be an immediate impact player. But he can’t sit on the scout team and learn to play in these big stadiums, either. Indiana’s offensive crew — Bill and Billy Lynch, Matt Canada — ensured that Fisher caught a few passes last year. He made his mistakes, and he learned how to be effective. He’s really impressive in this game, especially on this drive with about six minutes left in the third quarter. On one play he was very elusive and, with Indiana needing to run down the clock, cut back to the middle of the field instead of heading toward the sideline. Then, on another play, he kept running and came back toward a scrambling Lewis, who found him for a completion.
  • The Hiller to Ledbetter pass that made it 37-27 was practically perfect. Technically, freshman Mitchell Evans — the subject of intern Zak Keefer’s story in Thursday’s paper — got beat, but it was more a case of perfect catch and throw.
  • I’m not sure that William Patterson didn’t make the play of the game. On 2nd and 13 with about six minutes left — Western Michigan trailing by 10 and having just scored and then stopped Indiana — Patterson reached in to strip the ball from Jamarko Simmons as he was coming down from leaping up to make the grab. Simmons comes down with that ball and makes that big play, that drive might not stall.

6 comments

  1. This has nothing to do with the above, but I don’t know where else to lodge my complaint. I just looked at the IU recruiting data base and wonder why you go to the trouble if it’s not going to be more meaningful than it presently is.

    A number of players are listed who have committed to other schools, some of them long ago. It’s especially ridiculous to see a player on the IU data base who has committed to :Purdue. And he’s quoted as saying great things about IU.

    Derek Elston, who has committed to IU for 2009 doesn’t show up on the IU data base.

    Information provided about the players listed on the data base is very inconsistent from player to player.

    Come on, guys, you surely can do much better. If not, why even try.

  2. Oh, yes, Peegs today has a story about Kevin Jones who apparenly is one of IU’s foremost targets for 2008. He’s ranked very high and according to Peegs will visit IU so he must be giving the Hoosiers strong consideration. I couldn’t find him on your data base. Why not?

  3. Jack,

    We’re doing a shabby job with the recruiting database. I admit that. But we’re working at it.

    As you well realize, we don’t have anywhere near the network of reporters and editors that Rivals.com or Scout.com has. Our reporting process is much different. We’d love to fix this by picking up another reporter or two, but that won’t happen. We’re losing Rex Kirts in December to retirement and he won’t be replaced.

    So all I can say is that we’re working to find a way to make it work as a part of our coverage.

    Thanks for the feedback,

    Chris

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