What to make of today’s game

Well, it’s been a few hours since IU’s loss to Illinois. I’m curious to see what all of you think of today’s performance now that you’ve had a chance to digest the game. It definitely wasn’t an encouraging performance from the IU football squad, and they’re going to have to fix a lot of things before they head to Iowa next Saturday.

Like Bill Lynch said after the game, Illinois played a good game and deserved to win. I don’t think anyone can dispute that. Credit Ron Zook for coaching a good game too. Granted, it seems like all he did was call the option. But it was working. Illinois gained 288 yards on the ground and because of that, they were able to control the clock and the game. IU’s defense, which has played great in their three wins this season, didn’t have an answer. Every time IU needed a stop on third down it seemed like the Illini pounded it with the running game and moved the chains.

If this is a team that’s going to “Play 13” they’re going to have to make improvements in a lot of areas. A lot of fans out there are going to be down on this team after today’s performance. I’m not ready to do that. It’s a long season and this team still has a solid chance to get three more wins and qualify for a bowl. Time will tell.

They’ll need to do a few things better next week, and for the remainder of the season. Firstly, protect Kellen Lewis. Give him a chance to make the kind of plays he did against Akron. Second, throw the ball to James Hardy. Six catches for only 42 yards? He’s too big of a talent to not go to him more often. Lastly, stop the run. Illinois ran all day long against IU and combine that with the Hoosiers’ four turnovers, it wasn’t a good day for IU football.

In his post-game press conference, Lynch stressed getting back to work this week and getting better. James Hardy did as well. It will be a big week for IU, seeing how they’ll rebound from this disheartening loss. We’ll have to wait and see how they respond next Saturday at Iowa.

16 comments

  1. Ok Zak, first thing you need to learn as a sports writer, is that this phrase can never be deemed true: >b>”Credit Ron Zook for coaching a good game”.

    I am like you Zak, I am not ready to give up on this team, I am however ready to give up on whoever is calling the 3rd down defensive coverage. For the life of me I can not figure it out. When you have a team 3rd & 7, why are the corners playing 10-12 yards off the line of scrimmage? Why don’t one of you guys ask Lynch that? Credit the Illinois line for opening holes, and moving down the field to keep blocking.

    Like I said yesterday, the IU line, and Kellen Lewis would be the keys to this game. They would have to give him the time to make reads, which they did a decent job of, but for the 2nd week in a row, Kellen could not, or did not see the open guys underneath when in trouble. I am also perplexed as to why he was not moving from the pocket, and making things happen with his feet. If he would have took the runs more often, it would have pulled them up, and gave him Hardy or Bailey one on one more often. It was like he was determined to be a pocket QB today. He done good early hitting Means on the crossing and out routes, then went away from it.
    The running game has still not came around. Though Bryan Peyton will at least hit the hole and turn up field.

    The things that need to be fixed are little things, and should be able to be fixed easily.

  2. Thank God this wasn’t the “most important thing happening in Bloomington this weekend.”

    Any more on Zeller’s visit?

  3. When does basketball season start again??

    And Mike P, we have zero talent on this team. That is one reason why we can’t stop anyone on 3rd and 7.

    Until you bring a coach in here that will be able to recruit top athletes, we are going to be terrible.

    Ron Zook is doing just that at Illinois and has brought them out of the basement of the Big 10. They are bringing in a ton of 4 star and 5 star recruits now. No reason it can’t happen here as well with the right coach.

  4. Unfortunately, I think I agree with Scott. A good part of it–as always–is that we just dont have the horses that everyone else does. We have some good players and maybe a could great ones, but overall are outsized and outmatched as always.

    I’m not going to let one loss keep me from supporting the team. I agree that Play 13 is alive, but it’s going to be a struggle and with one more let down we might not make it. We have to beat Minnesota, Ball State and N’western (which all 3 wont be easy, I’m afraid) because I really dont like our chances in the others. I do think 6-6 and the Motor City Bowl is progress.

    I’m a die-hard IU guy. I have one IU degree and am working on my 2nd and 3rd; lifelong fan; Alum Assoc. member; Varsity Club member; season ticket holder in basketball and football. I’ve been to most football games since Mallory’s last few years. But, ultimately, as I was leaving the stadium today I couldnt help thinking the same old things. Will we ever be competitive in this league? Why do I buy into the pre-season hope every year only to be disappointed? Am I a masochist because I put myself through this frustration? Will we ever turn the corner? Will we ever make a bowl? Will we ever beat Purdue? And most importantly (and as always)….

    When does basketball season start?

  5. I agree with those above that stated it is too early to give up on the season. That being said, however, IU continues to have a talent gap (especially on the lines and the quickness of the players). I loved the enthusiasm brought by Hep but the fact of the matter is that his recruiting classes continued to consist of 2 star players and were ranked 10th or 11th in the Big Ten.
    Hopefully we can upgrade the talent but if you were a 4-5 star player would you want to play in front of 35k or 90-100k at
    Wiscy, PSU, UM, OSU etc??

  6. No talent on the team?

    I believe the Kellen Lewis was a 2nd team All-American as a sophomore. Multiple Big Ten player of the week. James Hardy is on the watch list for the best receiver in the nation. Marcus Thigpen is the number one rated returner in the nation.

    No, no talent at all on this team.

  7. Mike P,

    I understand your point of view, but would like to stress that because this isn’t an article for the paper, rather a blog, that I have a little leeway in giving my opinion. Consider it a column-type situation. Sports writers are asked to give their opinion sometimes. I wish I could give mine more often.

    And after this game, I wanted to give Ron Zook some credit. He realized the running game was working for them, and took full advantage of that. IU couldn’t stop it. There’s no bias in that statement. They had nearly 300 yards on the ground.

    I enjoy seeing what everyone has to say and giving my point of view as well. Thanks for your input.

    Zak

  8. Zak,

    My first line was actually meant more as a joke than anything else. that is my personal opinion of Ron Zook. Remember, there was a fireronzook.com started by Florida fans before he was even officially hired.

    His game plan was run, run, run, and I know why. They have a punishing running back that will run up the middle, and run you over to get that extra two yards. A fast QB that can work the option extremely well. I will say this, I am not impressed by the play of Juice Williams. He is no where near as good on his feet as Kellen is, and unless he is throwing a bubble screen, everything is way off.

    Keep up the good work Zak, so far I feel you have done a fine job on the blogs.

  9. There is some real talent on this team, just not enough. The problem is not the coaches. There are a lot of good football players out there. Does the state of Indiana have as many high school players as Illinois, Michigan and Ohio? No. When IU won in 67, there were a lot of out-of-state players. There were also many fifth year senior linemen and linebackers. When Purdue was really good, they recruited Illinois (Chicago) very successfully. I don’t think they are doing it as well today. The competiton for the Indiana players is fierce. You have Purdue, IU and ND, not mention the rest of the country. So the few 4 and 5 start players have to stay in state, and that’s difficult. This could go on and on, so I’ll stop now.

  10. Mike P,

    Kellen Lewis is a sophomore this year, and has never been on an All-American team, and never will be. He can’t even look past his PRIMARY receiver!! There is a reason he was recruited by NO ONE else besides IU. Glad to see he was Big 10 player of the week against AKRON though….

    James Hardy said all the right things in the offseason. However, as I suspected, he is back to his lazy ways on the football field. Taking plays off, not making key blocks, and not protecting the football.

    And I would not be upset if Marcus Thigpen never saw the field again. We would be hard pressed to find a worse starting RB in the nation.

    This is what happens when all you have is 2 star recruits. These three guys may look elite to IU fans, but when you compare them to the rest of the country, they are just that: 2 star recruits.

  11. like Laffy said, good thing this wasn’t the most important thing going on in Bloomington yesterday!! another overhyped football game. indiana won’t win until they get better players. period. you can’t put a bunch of mediocre guys on the field and expect them to look like usc. (with the exception of kellen lewis and james hardy.) Midnight maddness is less than a month away. I might start pregaming this weekend.

  12. Coach Hep’s loss is deep. Until we find the right replacement, we are doomed. Playcalling is terrible on both sides of the ball! Please football gods, send us a savior!!!

  13. It seems to me that the ’87 team isn’t the only reunion that took place…..THE SAME ‘OLE HOOSIERS showed back up in all it’s glory….

    You don’t make a take-away and give it back….You take something away from a team; thus not allowing them to do ANYTHING they want.

    AND….you don’t turn the ball over five or six times and expect to win…

  14. Scott – Sorry I typed the wrong word. Kellen Lewis was on the All -Big Ten freshman team, and was named a Freshman All-American last year. So yes he does have the talent to be one.

    Hardy has been playing a lot harder than last year, and has not been taking plays off, though he really does need to be taught to block better, and one fumble is not grounds to say he needs to learn to protect the ball. He will be playing Sunday’s next year unless IU gets lucky and gets him for his senior year.

    Your thoughts on Marcus Thigpen as a running back I echo. Not all of it is his fault, but he has to be willing to run up the middle, even if it is only for 3 yards. I said it last week, he would return kicks, but I would not put him in at running back at all.

    Why don’t you make your plans for midnight madness, I know I will be there also, and will be rooting on them, just like I do ALL IU teams.

  15. I watched with great expecations which i normally do not do… I did not enjoy the game after spending a bundle for my family to attend… 🙁 After sweating on the Rock in frustration… then hearing echos of I- L-L and the retort I-N-I throughout our walk out of the stadium was a bit much for me!
    My biggest dissapointment was the arm tackling and the lines .. both lines… they were beating us regularly… The other thing I noticed on the defense… did we even fake a blitz or blitz once? We were stationary many times at the start of the plays… I have watched every game and I question as others were the play calling. We need alot of work to be considering a bowl chance.

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