Ball State beats Indiana 41-39 on controversial late completion and field goal

Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning connected with wide receiver Willie Snead on an 18-yard sideline out route at the Indiana 25-yard line with one second to go and senior kicker Ball State followed with a 42-yard field goal to give Ball State a 41-39 win over Indiana in front of 48,186 at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.

Wenning’s pass to Snead was under official review for several minutes. Snead laid out completely to catch the pass and it was difficult to tell whether his legs and feet came down in bounds before his shoulders and elbows fell out of bounds. Eventually, it was ruled that Snead was in fact in bounds, giving Schott the opportunity to try a makeable 42-yard field goal instead of the much more daunting 60-yarder.

It was a heartbreaking loss for the Hoosiers, who had twice dug themselves out of double-digit deficits and scored two touchdowns in the final 4:07 on touchdown throws by true freshman quarterback Nate Sudfeld, who had entered the season as the Hoosiers’ third string quarterback. He was bumped up to backup last week when starter Tre Roberson suffered a season-ending broken leg and he was forced on to the field Saturday when sophomore Cameron Coffman suffered a hip pointer in the third quarter after throwing for 251 yards for two scores.

Sudfeld completed 13 of 20 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns — a 70-yard pass to sophomore Cody Latimer with 4:07 left and a 2-yard toss to sophomore Shane Wynn with 49 seconds remaining. However, that left enough time for Wenning to drive Ball State 44 yards on seven plays for the game winning kick.

They took the lead early with a 46-yard field goal by junior kicker Mitch Ewald, but Ball State scored touchdowns on their next two drives with Wenning finding tight end Zane Fakes for a 2-yard score and then Snead for a 34-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-3.

Indiana rallied, however, with a 13-yard scoring run by junior tailback Stephen Houston — who rushed for 102 yards on just 12 carries — and then a 9-yard touchdown pass from Coffman to Kofi Hughes with 13:30 to go in the second quarter. Scott’s 51-yard field goal and a 1-yard touchdown run by Ball State sophomore tailback Jahwan Edwards made it 24-17 with 4:35 to go in the half, but Indiana took the lead back with another score and a gutsy call by IU coach Wilson.

Coffman hit Latimer with a 3-yard pass with five seconds to go in the half. Rather than go for the extra point and the tie, Wilson called for the two-point conversion and Houston ran in nearly untouched for the score to make it 25-24.

Ball State took control in a poor third quarter by the Hoosiers, however. The Hoosiers managed just one first down in the third and Ball State scored on a 12-yard trick play pass from Smith to Wenning and then on an 11-yard pass from Wenning to Fakes.

“We just couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Wilson said. “That’s a credit to one, their defense making a stop or just whether you’re throwing the ball. I know we tried to throw a couple short passes there early and just didn’t connect. … They didn’t do anything dramatic. They did blitz a little bit more than any of the other games, but it was the same things they did last year against us.”

Coffman came out with 2:52 to go in the third after completing 24 of 35 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns. That brought on Sudfeld, who’d thrown just three collegiate passes, all of them coming at the end of the Hoosiers’ win over Massachusetts last week.

After two stalled drives — one of which reached the Ball State 35 before Cardinals cornerback Jeffrey Garrett broke up a critical pass on 4th and 5 to give Ball State the ball — Sudfeld got the Hoosiers back in the game when he found Latimer on a sideline out route and Latimer broke loose down the left sideline for a 70-yard score.

Indiana tried an unsuccessful on-side kick allowing Ball State to start at the Indiana 49, but the Hoosier defense managed a 3-and-out to get the ball back with 1:42 to go in the game.

Sudfeld took advantage of abusive Ball State coverage to gain 41 yards via penalty and connected with junior wide receiver Kofi Hughes for an all-or-nothing 4th-and-7 conversion before eventually connecting with Wynn for the score with 49 seconds to go.

122 comments

  1. The worst part about all of this is to see the stands empty after the first half. How are these guys on the field supposed to get any extra push. If I didn’t live 3 hours away, I would be there for every game. When I was a student from ’85-’89 we wouldn’t think about leaving a game. Anymore the students and so called fans are only worried about getting back to the party. It’s sad that there are very few TRUE IU HOOSIER fans. I can see it now… when the basketball team is doing well, these same people will say, “Hey, I’m an IU fan”. I say if you’re not a fan of ALL the INDIANA UNIVERSITY sports than quit jumping on the band wagon when the time is right. This IU football team is on the right track, and this IS the coach to turn it around.

  2. We knew we had to keep our QB’s healthy. Now, after the third game of the season, we’ve had our first two QB’s injured. One seriously, and one with a hip pointer (ouch). Although it sounds like (I did not see the game) Sudfeld played very well, given the circumstances, it’s not good to have a true freshman as the starting QB as we near the Big Ten season.

    How does an in-state MAC team beat IU two years in a row? How is that possible?

  3. Don’t blame the fans and don’t let the final score fool you. We were completely out coached tonight. Great coaching doesn’t mean going for it on 4th down or going for a two point conversion when it makes no sense. Great coaching means having your team not make so many stupid penalties. Great coaching means playing your best players (Houston 8yds per carry) and not playing your liabilities (Mullen is the worst cb I’ve seen wear an IU uniform).

    If I was at the game, I would have walked out after that terrible third quarter. If Murphy isn’t running sprints all week for his stupid penalties, then Wilson is an idiot.

  4. Aruss couldn’t be more correct. Mullen has no business being on the field. If he makes one or two plays the whole night, IU has a chance to win. IU was lucky to be in this at the end after Ball State lost their minds committing 3 PIs on go-ahead drive. Too many horrendous penalties the whole night prevented any momentum. I cannot blame people for leaving because the team has got to perform at least on a high school varsity level to develop fan support.

    Now concerning the call at the end: I fail to see where the BSU player had any portion of his body in bounds before his elbow hit out of bounds, but the fact is, IU has got to get stops on that drive to prevent that from even being an issue. I believe in the Hoosiers and I believe in Kevin Wilson’s credentials, but they sure do make it hard to continue to be a fan sometimes.

  5. Q- How does an in-state MAC team beat IU two years in a row? How is that possible?
    A- They scored two more points than we did.
    The opponent is not important. Never important. We play against the game (that was Knight’s favorite summed up philosophy of sports).

    Podunker, either believe we will get it done or give up. That’s the choice.

    Winners bite their lip, spit to the side and go get another blow. I don’t like it either, but I’m convinced we’ll get it right. Coffman took the pointer to the hip.(Ouch?) We’ve got to handle the pain as well, or we lose the right to demand the same from the players.

    The day we understand that, we’ll stop being losers.

    This is no time to cry.

  6. I admire Ball State. (Hell, I remember when they were Ball State Teachers College and the thought IU- a Big Ten University- whoaaaa- would even schedule them was inconceivable…they’ve earned every bit of it!) Good for them!

    Good for them and good for Butler! Good for Indiana State. We badly need that shot of humility that has taken both (in football or basketball) where they are, where they can make themselves winners. where they fight us tooth to tooth). We need that same humility.

    I’m not embarrassed by our team. I believe they will stop being losers. Sometimes, I am embarrassed by our fans…what makes us think Ball State or Indiana State or Butler shouldn’t represent strong challenges to us? or beat us?. Ridiculous!! Why should we not be a strong challenge to Ohio State? It’s the same question.

    We got beat today (we also beat ourselves). Refs and calls had nothing to do with it. Now it’s our turn. Now we play football!

  7. It’s just too bad it’s the same old IU sieve defense as ever. That and the penalties (YES THAT’S A CLEAR COACHING/PREP/DISCIPLINE ISSUE) lost us this one. I mean you got inspired play by 2nd AND 3rd string QBs and you can’t manage to beat MAC team 2nd year in a row, this time at home? Only other possible victory on sched with this D and QB issues is Navy – but a big if.

  8. …”completely out coached tonight”…how silly, Coach Wilson is setting the tone for these boys to do what they may not think they can do…these are exactly the actions needed to turn away from the history of IU FB past. Even the announcers understood and got it right about that last night. One of the few things they produced while announcing that was pertinent, interesting and worth listening to. Put ARE in the booth for some informative analysis and color. IU does not gain all those yards by being out coached. With a handful more upperclassmen sprinkled in to the starting lineups to temper the younger guys would help lessen the penalty business. Although I agree with Mike P. the officiating was well below mediocre. Lembo is damn good and will probably have a higher profile job after this season but he did not out coach anyone tonight “completely” or otherwise. What he had was 18 returning starters. The only thing that will buttress our D are both long term propositions, more experience and forward recruiting. Wilson is fixing both.

  9. Tsao’s posts: brilliant. Podunker’s are continuously plagued by the same arrogance and sense of entitlement that always prevented him to think straight. The game is far more complex than Podunker’s simple calculations of pedigree. The game is full of intangibles that needs to be taken care of. It’s no shame to be humble. It’s no shame to keep working at it. I think Wilson knows this. I hope he does. Either that or we might as well be the Chicago Cubs.

  10. Totally agree with ARuss. Lembo flat outcoached Wilson again. Lembo and BSU have outscored their opponents 35-0 in the 3rd qtr this season. It’s called 2nd half adjustments, something Wilson didn’t do or hasn’t done. It’s a shame that a Big 10 school will not do what it takes to get our football program to a level of competitiveness. We can pony up dollar after dollar to support IUBB, but do nothing to bring in a semi-decent to decent coach that will get players to commit and believe in the program. Yeah, yeah north end zone blah, blah, blah. Twice now we have played teams with guys we didn’t want but are good enough to play and we lose one and narrowly beat the other. Wilson is not in anyway someone who should be a reprsentative of our university. And shame on the students that left at halftime. But it is what it is; until we show we are worthy of playing games at a reasonable hour, we will continue to play at a terrible time.

  11. …if you knew the facts instead of just agreeing with what Aruss dreams up you would know BSU has outscored their opponents by not 35 point but 45 points in the 3rd quarter…

  12. I have to agree with IU89. I graduated just 2 years earlier, and I went to every football game during those 4 years. Not because i liked the coach or we were winning, but because I went to IU and it was MY TEAM. It was embarrassing to see all those empty seats and hear the roar of the Ball State fans at the end.

    To the people who say we were “outcoached”, what exactly is your point? That you don’t like the coach after only one season and therefore you are no longer an IU fan who needs to show up at games until we get a new coach? Like him or not, he’s our coach and we need to give him a chance.

    Given the fact that Ball State outscored all 3 opponents in the 3rd quarter by 45-0, including Clemson, I’d say the guy outcoached all his opponents. So what? Does that mean we should give up on Wilson and the team? Lots of people were claiming that Crean was a sucky coach 2-3 years ago. That we had good players and good fans, but our lousy coach made us lose. Some fans have no faith and no loyalty.

    Maybe we were out coached, maybe not. We were definitely out fanned by the Ball State fans and many IU fans weren’t there when the team could have used them. It was a thrilling game, I would have killed to be there but I live out of state now. This is our team and our coach and our school — we should support them.

  13. Who cares? After each football game-we get closer to basketball season.At least I got to go to one Rose Bowl-thanks Gonso,Isenbarger,Butcher, and Cole.

  14. JfB – You are so dead on…

    It’s been re-hashed many times, but every coach in every sport coming into any situation needs time to get his players and system in place. You can’t judge anything with any degree of accuracy until at least the 3rd year.

    It’s absolutely true that the current Wilson detractors are the same people that thought Crean was worthless. Context and situation don’t matter to these people. They also wanted Obama out after year one because he couldn’t turn around the economy immediately. So what if Crean had a track record of success at a Big East school and went to a Final Four. So what if the economy was fundamentally broken and in the worst shape in 70 years…. If you’re any good you should be able to just come in and succeed from day one.

    Here are the facts… Wilson did a great job at a top 5 program nationally. He recruited and coached several current NFL players. He won the Broyles Award for being the top assistant coach in all of college football. He was also named the Offensive Coordinator of the Year in 2008. He coached Sam Bradford to a Heisman Trophy. He coached in 3 national championship games.

    I can say with a high degree of confidence that no previous IU coach has done any of those things. I would also bet that no established head coach with a resume like that would be interested in coming to IU in its current state. I would bet my house that none of the Wilson detractors could name a legitimate candidate that has better pedigree or resume than Wilson that would accept the job at IU.

    They are just impatient, illogical complainers that don’t have any solutions to the problems that exist more in their heads than in reality.

  15. Hi Geoff – thanks for your take but no one is saying to fire Wilson. That’s great about all his awards but the fact is we got beat by a team with less talent last night at home due to poor coaching. It’s obvious by how many people that agree with me that I’m pretty much an expert on IU football.

  16. Geoff- some things do, indeed, take time. But 12 penalties and pinhead calls to go for two when not necessary and to go for a first down on fourth down on your own forty-five in the first quarter (also not necessary) are coaching problems NOW. I’m as patient as anyone on this board, but it is not illogical to ask a coach to make normal, “with the odds,” play calls and at least have players prepared enough to not make 127 yds. worth of penalties.

  17. Aruss – did you just say you’re an expert? Please! It has been proved time and time again that you know little to anything about any sport. You’re saying we were out coached and say great coaches play their best players and allude to Wilson not doing that with Houston? Houston had more carries then all other IU backs combined. He played his best back.

    davis,

    Penalties were a major issue, I need to watch the game again but the calls being made were in my opinion some of the worse officiating I’ve ever seen in my life.

    I don’t see why you or Aruss (or anyone) has such a problem with going for two? They lined up for the XP, then after the BSU penalty moved them to the one, they went for it and got it. I don’t know why they did it, but going for 2 from the 1 is much higher percentage and damn near was the difference in the final score of the game. I don’t think I would have made the same call, but we were heading into half and taking a lead might have been the momentum boost that this team needed.

    The 4th & 1 play was just a bad idea, all around. I won’t argue that.

  18. I’m betting on Coach Wilson. Folks, he had a third string freshman quarterback out there! We were literally 1 second away from being 3-0!
    Folks, lets get some perspective here.
    I’ll be the first here to say I expect our Hoosiers to go into Evanston and battle Northwestern to a win, a team who is undefeated and has already beaten a Big East, SEC, and an ACC team.
    I just wish I had my BTN back. Come on DISH and BTN, work it out fast!

  19. Going for it on fourth down at a higher-than-normal rate is bad coaching? Try reading this:

    http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/a-new-study-on-fourth-downs-go-for-it/

    Now, relative to that analysis, add in the fact that IU’s expected advantage from even a successful punt is less-than-average with IU’s current personnel. Then ask if going for it on fourth down is bad coaching.

    Now, add in the fact that IU’s risk of negative yardage or even surrendered points (i.e, a blocked punt) is higher-than-average with IU’s current personnel. Then ask if going for it on fourth down is bad coaching.

    Add in the fact that Wilson is trying to communicate a message about toughness and the necessity to execute when it is absolutely necessary to execute. Then ask if going for it on fourth down is bad coaching.

    With respect to two-point conversions, an average Division I-A team successfully kicks a P.A.T. 96.4% of the time, meaning the expected point result is 0.964 points-per-P.A.T. An average team successfully converts a two-point conversion 40% of the time, meaning the expected point result is 0.8 points-per-attempt. So, the choice to go for it implies expecting 0.164 fewer points-per-choice, or, even for a high-scoring team, less than a single point per game.

    That is hardly an enormous difference. Add in the messages Wilson is trying to communicate to his team…as discussed above…especially against Ball State, and there are a great many reasons why a very smart coach would go for two as Wilson did. Imagine, for example, the difference in what the team’s attitude might have been going into halftime winning the game, as IU was, instead of tied, thanks to Wilson’s choice to go for two before the half.

    So, ask again whether Wilson’s decisions in this regard meant he was “out-coached.” Seems to me that the answer is anything but.

  20. Listen to Mike Pee, he knows what he’s saying. In addition he has the pedigree of a urinal so either don’t piss him off or get off this board! Now. All of you.

  21. Podunker, sometimes I have to wonder: “We knew we had to keep our QB’s healthy. Now, after the third game of the season, we’ve had our first two QB’s injured. One seriously, and one with a hip pointer (ouch)…” What do you suggest we do? What should we have done? Start a walk-on?

    The point is that we knew three weeks ago this could happen, it has been handled better than I ever dreamed (three decent++ level QB’s with 3 years of eligibility left. Please, we’re all frustrated but we all have to show some character as well. Just keep believing, don’t give in to post-dumpum depression.

  22. Aruss, walk out on us now! It would be a highlight to celebrate of the 2012 season.

    What do you add to this blog!? What could I possibly get out of reading comments that show how dissatisfied with how your belly button was tied at birth? What do you add to resolving your personality issues? I already see your ID and skip over 70% of your postings because they express a deep problem in your personality that makes you want to be in conflict with all, all the time?

  23. Davis, since I know you; I know what a good, intelligent and sincere fan you are. I also know that you do study the game.

    Nevertheless; while I agree twelve penalties is way too many and some of them were absolutely stupid (Murphy twice trying to show he is a bad-ass superfly?)–and he cost us… badly? Two weeks in a row our captain and leader forgets the snap count? No argument…but, I do believe that KW will now address that and do believe it was not something that he could have foreseen as a major problem. Sometimes, it takes making the mistake to understanding and correcting it.

    The other issue does not concern me. I believe that KW understands this team needs ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions and is trying hard to shorten the process. You view may be fine for Michigan State but not for Indiana. More than anything KW has to show ‘belief’ in his player’s ability to exceed expectations (for reason of history and reasons of youth). No doubt he’s gambling but he understood that when he came to IU…in reality it paid off. If it were me, I think we should keep pushing the fourth down risking whatever, whenever…convention be damned… Lord knows there are already way too many people who consider the Hoosiers incapable of achieving under the most mundane of circumstances…(just read this blog often enough)…It is just fine to push ours against the wall…maybe, they will rebel and actually try to envision winning.

  24. John From Beyond, IU89- brilliant…a vow to each for an excellent comment! You defined the humility and self pride that I feel is missing in our football fans. (Just look at this blog and see how many feel a sense of ‘entitlement’).

  25. Aruss and Davis – I didn’t watch the game last night, so I can’t speak to the specifics of the calls or in-game decisions. I’m sure you know more about IU football than me.

    I am looking at the big picture, not a one-game, 3-game, or season-and-a-half snap-shot. There are lots of people complaining about Wilson and don’t have faith that he is the answer. I’m not saying he is the answer, but I am saying that those people bitching and moaning don’t have enough info yet to make a worthwhile or logical decision on him.

    I’m under the impression there are 3 categories of penalties. Maybe you can tell me if I’m correct and which the Hoosiers commit most often.
    1) discipline penalties – direct reflection of coaching and attention to detail. Things like false starts, illegal formations, and 12 men on the field.
    2) talent penalties – things like offensive and defensive holding and pass inteference that happen because a player is overmatched. Not necessarily the coaches’ fault.
    3) Aggression penalties – late hits, personal fouls, and off sides. Can be either a lack of discipline or an acceptable by-product of an aggressive team attitude.

    I also am under the impression that there are 5 primary reasons that penalties are committed:
    1) youth and inexperience
    2) being overmatched by your opponent
    3) lack of instruction
    4) aggression
    5) lack of discipline

    I honestly don’t know where IU fits in the grand scheme of these things, but I’m assuming there is a general lack of talent and experience. I’m theorizing as Wilson’s recruits gain more experience and he brings in more talented players that the penalties will decrease.

    As far as in-game decisions there are certainly different schools of thought on going for 2 and when to go for it on 4th down. I don’t know Wilson’s tendencies or philosophy, but you can’t just dismiss those decisions as stupid. Belichick is widely considered the best coach in the NFL and he goes for it on 4th down more than anyone.

    The main point is that building a successful team takes time, especially when taking over a program with as little tradition as IU.

    Anyone who complains about Wilson before 2014 isn’t worth listening to. If the problems that IU is having right now persist after he’s had a chance to bring in a core of recruits that fit his system, and have played in his system for multiple years, THEN people can bitch and moan.

    Right now Debbie and others are expecting Wilson to make a gourmet dinner with the canned veggies and frozen fish sticks that were left in the house by the previous owner.

  26. We were hearing the same “fire the coach” idiocy from some of the very same people when it was Coach Crean’s 2nd year at IU. I like the gutsy calls last night and in games past. I know what a blocked punt would have done to the energy on the IU bench at that time of the game. It would have been much more demoralizing than not being successful going for it on 4th down. The 2 point conversion was the right call. That attitude from Wilson will continue. Wilson is a tough guy and he demands that of his players. He is setting the tone that they have to take what they want and not wait for it to be given. There have not been near enough games by this staff to have any reason to sharpen the “old Crean” knives.

  27. Losing to a lesser talented team? Seriously?

    Some of you have conveniently forgotten that the 3 or 4 years prior to last year we have been recruiting, and frequently losing out on, the very same players that are now upperclassmen at BSU and other MAC teams.

    With a handful of exceptions, we just started recruiting Big Ten caliber players for the first time in years last year.

    Yesterday we pitted our MAC underclassmen, a few Jucos, and a handful of Big Ten caliber freshmen against their MAC players.

    One or two or three players can’t turn around a football team like it can a basketball team.
    Let’s see if CKW can bring in Big Ten talent and go from there.

  28. Geoff, post #28, excellent post! I think you nailed it.

    Aruss, why not ban yourself until IU makes a bowl game, or better yet, the Rose Bowl? Shoot higher than just 1 win.

  29. I would be very interested in JPat’s opinion on the Hoosier football team….(seeing how he actually empties his bellows while cheering and actually attending games and watching games).

    JPat- How are you! I know you’re reading though not commenting. I sense your presence…a passing of British Sterling perhaps captured by intuitive certainty in some parallel cyberspace plane our shared senses…?

    I have a few questions(If you don’t feel like answering, it’s o.k. Hope you’re doing well):

    1) How big of impact was losing Tre Boberson? Personally, I think the lack of mobility and running threat from the QB position is the biggest wrench thrown into a season. Isn’t the speed at the QB spot essential when undersized up front and protection can break down quickly?

    2) Do you think Wilson has put on 20 lbs? I know you were at the pancake welcoming breakfast for fans to meet coach Wilson..I’m sure you also attended some of the very first practices when CKW arrived in Bloomington so you likely have the best starting reference point to be the best judge..Maybe stress of the job has accounted for some excessive carb consumption..?

    3) Do we have a chance in Evanston? Seems to me like a lot hinges on this game in terms of any positivity a season surprisingly ahead of the typical Scoop blogger’s football progression/expectations curve.

    I’m having a visual….a suitcase..maybe a secret meeting?…Is that a horse? I think it’s an intuitively certain Geoff calling the name of ‘THE ONE’ for the very first time.

  30. H4H,

    I emailed JPat, will see if he chooses to respond. I don’t see him at the games like I used too, but our tickets are in different sections.

  31. After a bit of changing things up, clanging together mugs of frothy ale with the brawnier crowd of deeper vocal chords on Scoop, Geoff must honor the truth his intuitive certainty regarding Hoosier football.

  32. Guest…another really good post, with a well reasoned argument! I followed up on your advice and read the article from the link you provided. I really encourage that anyone wanting to think about and through the decisions a coach like KW must make read this article on fourth down options.

    It’s also not only informative, but it contains some links to articles on Mike Leach who had a strong influence on KW and on offensive coach Sam Litrell (who worked with Leach at Texas Tech). They provide a great insight on KW’s offensive philosophy and- for anyone who is interested- where we (Hoosiers) are ultimately going. Really good reading for those seeking to add some knowledge of modern spread (fast paced) offense and how it evolved.

    http://www.texasmonthly.com/2009-09-01/feature.php

  33. Guest and TTG, After absorbing the suggested reading by the 2 of you I now offer a triple fist pump to Coach Wilson for his aggressive decisions on going for it on 4th down and the 2 point conversion. Both actions cause the opponents D to swallow hard because the O is forcing there will.

  34. I attended the BSU game, and unfortunately left early(we had a three hr drive ahead of us). Listened on the radio though and regret leaving early.
    I believe you praise in public and chastise privately. But I am going to break my own rule. IU has to replace Kenny Mullen or get him squared around & soon. BSU went after him all night long. He either can’t run with the wideouts he is matched with , or he bites on every first move. I don’t see how we can have anyone worse play that spot. I like Mark Murphy’s usual play but his penalties were unacceptable. If he wants to jaw in his opponent & show how tough he is do this…. shut up and just play the game. Make the plays you need to make, hit them hard and let that do your talking. Otherwise, just shut up and play.

    Wilson says he needs to coach better. Perhaps. I don’t understand giving up field position & going for it on 4th down at our own 45 early in the game. That really came back to haunt us. But the penalties absolutely killed us.

  35. A blocked punt would have been more haunting. Until he feels more secure with the punt team we will see more 4th and go.

  36. This game affirms what I think we all knew about our team this season. Clearly there has been improvement on both offense and defense. Not surprisingly, the most improvement is on offense which we expected. IU’s offense is playing very close to a B10 level and some would argue that this year, since B10 is down a bit, we are competitive offensively. That may be overstating the case a bit, but we’re getting closer.

    I’m a little dissapointed because I really thought our defense would have made greater strides and I’m sorry to say that I’m wrong there. Defenses are harder to build and harder to coach and we are just not as far along as I would have liked. In particular, our secondary still plays out of position and in a disaggregated manner.

    Unfortunately for us, defenses win football games; particularly in the B10. We are not going to win shoot outs because our offense, while improved, is still not a B10 caliber unit. Our defense is clearly outmanned in the B10. So, realistically, I don’t see another win this season. Some people think we can beat Navy…maybe but probably not.

    This obvious pessimism aside, we are on the right trajectory and we’ll get there…would like to see 4+ wins this season, but two is better than one!

  37. I really hope CKW is the guy, but I have no idea. I like the gutsy calls in general, but they can also bite you and at times have seemed a bit much. Regardless, trying to conclude one way or another on Wilson at this point seems silly to me. Not only do I think it’s unreasonable, I think it’s irresponsible to even discuss firing him before 2015; that’s part of why we have the problems we do.

    I don’t care how good Ball State is or how poor we are, it’s still a disappointing outcome. And that’s not to disrespect Ball State, it’s really to disrespect us. At this point, I doubt we win another game and no way we win more than 2 more. What’s worse is that we won’t even be competitive in most of them and looks like we’ll get humiliated in West Laffy.

    It’s not that I really had high hopes for the season, it’s just that I’m worn out with it. We haven’t been relevant in the conference since I was a child. I can think of a handful of games, mostly 4-5 times against Purdue, that have been satisfying, solid wins. Most of the time, however, we have not only lost, we haven’t even been competitive. All of this is why people don’t go to the games. I had a great day tailgating with friends in Bloomington, great weather, great time, etc…..until the game. And that’s just a typical Hoosier Autumn. Maybe one day….sigh.

  38. These are just disappointed ramblings on my part based upon what I saw. There’s no need for anyone to destroy my ananysis since I’m really not analyzing anything and I’ll concede that I don’t have a coach’s eye. I was at the game and stayed to the end though I was on my way out when IU scored on the long pass play. IU’s defense could not “stand up and push back” BSU’s runners after contact. They got yards additional yards every time and sometimes a lot. BSU’s receivers always seemed to be open while Ball State had IU’s covered most of the time even though it was usually one on one coverage. IU’s offense could do nothing for the entire 3rd quarter and most of the 4th quarter. The defense was a disappointment except for the stop late in the 4th quarter that got the ball back. Then, the refs gave back a lot of penalty yards they had taken from IU in the prior 3 1/2 quarters setting up the go ahead touchdown. All in all, I think a Big 10 team should be able to beat a MAC team at home every time and IU didn’t even though they had that opportunity. Almost every one of the players on BSU’s roster would have chosen IU if they had been offered a scholarship. Thus IU should have better talent. If they don’t then blame Lynch I guess. If they do, then blame Wilson for under utilizing that talent and blame both the coaches and the players for all of those penalties.

  39. Glad Mike P shot me an email…I do read but had not read this thread. Had a blast at the game..had to leave late in third quarter as I have the young kids and they needed to go to sleep. I am starting to change my tune a little and lighten up on Wilson but it was never about his coaching, it was about his character for me. I will say this…I am not a twitter guy but a buddy texted me word for word what he wrote after the game and it was classy…he said ” appreciate the crowd tonight-48,000 and lots of energy! Proud of effort of our men-I and the coaches gotta lead our men to victory”. Now that was classy and humble and I appreciate that as a fan. I had another buddy sitting on the other side of the stadium that called me yesterday and said Wilson cursed out and acted like a mad man yelling at the band so I am not sure what that was about but am thinking it could have been handled better.

    Harvard, to answer you.

    1. I don’t think the QB situation losing Roberson will hurt that bad. You are correct when you speak of an undersized front but protection has been pretty good. I thought the line would look horrid but they have looked decent to good thus far. Wilson has an eye for the QB position, I mean both of the back ups to Roberson look better than WB and Kiel…combined! I think we will be ok and we seem to be running the ball well so that takes the pressure off of the QB position…for now anyway.

    2. I do think he has put on weight but he was a little heavy when he got here. Maybe the pancakes, haha. Funny, Crean has lost 20 so stress can work in different ways. Look at any picture of Crean the first 6 months he was here.

    3. I am not sure about beating NW in Evanston. That is such a classy place, facilities are awful but beautiful college campus on the water and classy fans. The ticket office even remembered I traveled there 3 years ago and called my house and offered a great deal…wish I could go. Pat Fitzgerald is sure hard to out coach and he gets his kids to play so damn hard, especially at home. It is a toughness I hope to see one day. I can hear him saying…”we might lose to this team 9 out of 10 times but not today…not today boys”…he is a truly great coach and could be other places if he wanted. I think our best bet to win again is vs Navy, Iowa, or at PSU believe it or not.

    I will add that our weakest area is defense with pass rush and secondary. Man, if we cannot get more pressure on the QB soon…Big 10 teams will score 50 plus on us, all of them maybe. Then we will be in the same boat as we were with Randle El…we can put up 50 but can we keep the other team from scoring 55-60, haha.

    Good to write and good to hear from you. Thanks Mike P and Harvard!!! Have a good day guys!!!

  40. JPat-

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Unlike most the posters on this thread, I only watched the final minutes of the game…My wife hates football and last Saturday night was dinner and movie night. We went to see “Hope Springs” with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. It’s supposed to be comedy, but I could barely watch the film..It was about a couple that had been married for over 30 years trying to jump start the lost sexual passion. The only thing that made the film hit my funny bone a couple times was how awkwardly crafted and thoroughly depressing it was..Have you ever been to a film so ridiculousness terrible that it flip-flops your emotions. During the few serious scenes that were supposed to evoke the tear button, I could hardly hold back a spontaneous eruption of volcanic laughter..During the majority of the scenes in which a a lighthearted sweet tenderness was the aim, I was overcome with a catastrophic feeling of dread that left knowing even IU football could be less sophisticating than this torture. Then I would look at the wife getting really into the sappy moments and I could barely hold back the outburst of laughter again…I know that sounds terrible..She gave me the evil eye a couple times during my inappropriate responses opposite the directors intention to move his audience…Anyway, the film epitomized the stereotypical “chick flick” …a roller coaster of oxygen depleting dread in the head combined with comic relief coming in all the wrong places. And if you can endure it for a couple hours, the night could actually end up with a surprising rare score(wink, wink..if you get my drift). Did I just describe attending an IU football game? I’m beginning to realize I had a good time at the show.

    Back to football: I think your answers were spot on. Though I do think Roberson looked very promising before the nasty leg break. The moments I did get to see Tre in action, I was thinking to myself he could really end up being quite the QB…I was pretty impressed at how Tre could roll out and deliver strikes accurately while on the run. Don’t you believe having that sort of threat also helps the running back attack? It just seems to me like the more multifaceted the weapons, the more difficult it is for defenses to anticipate the point of attack each snap of the ball. I’m sure you can tell I’m more the novice when it comes to talking about IU football..

    In keeping with such a thorough lack of understanding, I’m predicting a Hoosier upset in Evanston.

    Thanks again, JPat. Glad to hear the #1 Hoosier fan is doing well. Almost forgot…Elizabeth Shew had a brief scene(only a couple minutes as a bartender in a Maine tavern) in “Hope Springs”…Much like Tre for the Hoosiers, it was beautifully played and momentarily sparked my hope and interest..Though she’s nearly four decades old, she still makes me heart stir. Wonderful actress and cute as all hell(1:32 mark).

    Oops..One last gasp. The scenery in the film was beautiful…Made me think of Geoff and just how lucky he is to have found love and happiness in Maine. What a marvelous backdrop for a life of intuitive certainty.

  41. I really do have horrible etiquette…

    I forgot to thank you, Mike P. Thanks for emailing JPat and having the goodness in your heart to open the door. I knew JPat would be in the stands with his family.

    Sure wish JPat would blog more regularly…He keeps it real here. We have enough philosophers, literary masters, holier-than-thou worldly head shrinks, and all-knowing sports Establishment junkies of the intuitively certain sisterhood of the traveling Seth Davis crusty pants, to infect this place with all the empty blow a dragon fart.

  42. Wonder if a hip equals a foot? Though arm hit first. It will always happen to Indiana until something or someone can make it stop we will always be playing 11 but playing 18 or so is not fair so until then. I hope that is not the case but it has been like that for years….

  43. Tsoa, some times you read too much into a post and then over-react. I have no idea what prompted your responses to post #2, but I think you’re off target. It was a pretty sedate post.

    You question my belief that IU will get it done? Given all my comments about IU football, that’s just ridiculous. You take exception to me expressing frustration that IU has lost to the same MAC team in two consecutive years (and in three consecutive games)? Am I supposed to be excited or ambivalent that we lost the game, let alone to a MAC team? I expected IU to beat BSU and I am disappointed they did not. I think the vast majority of fans that support other Big Ten football teams would express far greater frustration about their team losing to a MAC team two years in a row. And please do not suggest that MAC teams are on the same level as Big Ten teams, because they simply are not, and should not be. Do you think BSU could beat any other Big Ten team on their home field this year? I don’t think they could.

    My point about the injuries to the first two QBs was in reference to discussions from weeks back when several posters were sharing their predictions for how many games IU would win this year. At the time, I felt IU could win four games if we kept the key offensive players healthy. Now, our very talented starting QB is out for the year and his capable back-up is recovering from a hip pointer. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just bad luck. We now enter the Big Ten season with a true freshman at QB. If Sudfeld goes down, the next guy up will be a walk-on.

    One last comment. Show me a happy loser and I’ll show you a loser. If you were not disappointed by Saturday night’s loss, you’re probably not a passionate IU football fan.

  44. Podunker, good friend…you are absolutely right.I read too much into your post about the injury to the quarterbacks and misinterpreted its meaning. My sincere apologies for that. (Actually, I’m very pleased that we can go as deep as the third QB and have a very talented, poised QB. It speaks well of our depth, something us Hoosiers are not too accustomed to- it does feel more like being a real Big 10 team).

    Not so much in agreement with the rest of it. I learned from contacts and friendships with several coaches from that league (MAC) to have a lot of respect for it and to never, ever assume a win over their teams. Losing to them is not so much an embarrassment as a challenge. I mentioned in my post that growing up playing against Ball State Teachers College was not even considered, but following them over the last ten years or so I consider a win over them a good win. I always, always respect my opponent as my equal…Ball State has more than earned that respect (as has Butler in basketball…etc.)When we do beat them, I will consider it a good win and an achievement. No apologies there, hope it does not make me a loser or make me a bad fan. But, if it does…let it be.

    You’ll never see me a ‘happy loser’, and I would say that I was disappointed at losing but only in terms of my hopes. Now, I respect Ball State’s ability to maintain its level, am satisfied that there is definite improvement with the Hoosiers, disappointed at mistakes (lack of concentration leading to badly timed penalties, the ‘badass but stupid’ syndrome some players displayed leading to needless major penalties, our ‘disappearance’ during the third quarter, and a continued uneasiness about some cover backs). However, I also believes KW has his and the staff’s fingers on it. We are much improved over last year, as a program, have a better positioned reality for where we are going and why; and now have a right to expect some serious success.

    But, we (fans) need to understand we just began a tough journey and we have to be patient or we’ll short circuit a process we are positioned to benefit from. Thanks, sorry for my error.

  45. I went to the game. Ball State was the better team. Anyone whjo thinks IU is improved. I’d ask, in what phase of the game? Kicking was great, Ewald is a stud. Tre is a stud, but he’s hurt. Where are we better? Kevin Wilson has shown nothing, and anyone who disagree’s, where are we better? Our bubble screen is ok, bit we can’t cover their bubble screen? I hate this spead bs, it let’s ISU and BSU be our peer..

  46. Tsao, do you get some sort of merit badge for the wordy drival you post? Glad your a supporter, but question whether you have any testosterone in you bloodstream?

  47. Thanks tsao, no offense, I played the game…going to guess, you, not so much? You seem like a very talented poet……LMAO!

  48. Not sure, but I think Tsao just said he D’ed your mom. Didn’t know you had it in you Tsao!

    (setting myself up…)

  49. I know Meryl Street is supposed to be the greatest female actress of my lifetime but I can’t seem to recall any good movies she has starred in.

  50. Tsoa, I respect BSU also. I respect the MAC conference. I loved it when Ohio beat Penn State, because I tend to root for the underdog (Cubs fan), when NIU almost (and clearly should have) beat Iowa in Chicago. I respected Toledo for outplaying Arizona (at AZ) before losing in overtime. I respect all the MAC teams because their kids play hard and those schools do not enjoy the same level of financial support, the same level of facilities, or the same notoriety that schools in the BCS Conferences enjoy. I respect their players because they tend to have chips on their shoulders, and I respect their coaches because they are ambitious and a lot of great BCS-Conference team coaches got their start at MAC programs and have gone on to do better things at bigger programs (i.e., Urban Meyer). Having said all that, I still don’t believe any Big Ten team should lose to a MAC school on their home field. And I especially don’t believe any Big Ten school should lose three games in a row to the same MAC school.

    As frustrated as I was at Saturday’s loss, I will never stop believing that IU can become a competitive Big Ten football program. In the short term, Saturday’s loss just means that IU is not as far along as I thought they might be (I plead guilty to having become slightly optimistic about IU’s progress this year). I suspect it’s because Wilson’s team is simply very young and very inexperienced, and that experience leads them to make too many mistakes. Generally speaking, a senior playing for BSU is going to have an advantage over a freshman, or a redshirt freshman, playing for IU, no matter how talented the freshman is. In football, game experience is a significant advantage.

    The immediate problem is that Saturday’s loss to BSU will reinforce, in the minds of a great number of Hoosier fans, the old, tired narrative that IU “sucks at football” or that “IU will never be good in football,” etc, etc. Saturday’s loss reinforces the pessimism that so many Hoosier fans have about IU football and justifies their decision not to attend the games or write checks, or whatever. At best, some portion of Hoosier fans that actively support IU football have concluded that it will be another year or two before IU football is worth getting excited about. And at worst, this will reduce attendance at this year’s remaining home games, cause some verbally committed recruits to reconsider their commitment to IU and become another wet blanket on the program.

    Before IU can become competitive in the Big Ten, it must win against the teams that it is “supposed” to beat. And yes, regardless of how much respect we have for BSU or any other MAC team, Big Ten football teams are supposed to beat MAC football teams, just like IU basketball is supposed to beat Indiana State, Ball State, and Evansville. Can you imagine the uproar from the Hoosier Nation if Crean’s basketball teams got beat by Evansville that last three times we played them.

    Everything is relative to expectations, and Wilson’s task is to begin to change the Hoosier Nation’s expectations about football. Unfortunately, I think Saturday’s loss to BSU set expectations back by at least another year.

  51. Chet – Meryl Streep has done okay – Kramer vs. Kramer, The Deer Hunter, Sophie’s Choice, Silkwood, Thelma and Louise, Bridges of Madison County, The Devil Wears Prada, just to name a few. Seen any of those?

  52. I don’t remember Meryl Streep in Thelma and Louise..

    I’ve always consider the Green Bay Packers a Mac team and my Bears(BCS) have lost in 7 out of the last 8 meetings between the two teams. I mean how big of a city is Green Bay when compared to one of the greatest sports cities in the nation? I’m very frustrated with Lovie and Cutler.

  53. I thought I read that 48,000 attended Saturday’s IU game…That seems like pretty decent numbers considering it was a night game.

    I really don’t think a victory against BSU would have boosted future attendance anymore than the tight game ending in a loss. We should still pack them in for the Big 10 games…I tend to believe some of the realistic expectations a slightly improved season were quelled considerably with the injury to Tre Roberson. I realize it’s just one player, but it’s a very key position and Tre seemed to have undergone a noticeable improvement over last season. I think he would have made the difference against BSU. I understand he can’t make up for the sometimes overwhelming effects of poor defensive play or a lousy kicking game. I just simply believe the Hoosiers would have stayed a more potentially explosive offensive threat with Roberson behind center. I’m sure many of the fans know the injury set the team back while, at the same time, understanding Wilson is not the type of coach that will make excuses.

  54. HforH; Good analogy. Cutler, Lovie, and the McCaskey family drive me crazy! How does a team, located in the single largest NFL market (remember, NY has two teams) lose 7 of 8 games to a team located in the smallest NFL market? In a phrase; bad ownership! The McCaskey’s, while probably a very nice family, suck as NFL owners! And of course, it does not help them that the City of Chicago has them over a barrel regarding their stadium. I pray they sell the team to someone who has the money to make them a top NFL franchise.

    The Cutler trade was the worst trade made by an NFL team since the Vikings gave away the farm for Hershel Walker. All those picks the Bears gave up to get Cutler could have been used to draft a quality Offensive line. And I believe that unless Cutler turns his performance around this year, the Bears will get rid of him after this season. I tried to defend him for a couple of years, but I can’t do it any more. I think he’s losing the team. The media hates him and fellow players and NFL alumni mock him openly, never missing a chance to take a shot at him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a QB demonstrate such a lack of leadership, on the field or on the sidelines. He’s finally got the receiving core he asked for, so he’s out of excuses.

  55. I’m not quite ready to give up on Cutler…He’s immensely talented and has a cannon for an arm.

    I’m not sure he’s run out of excuses when he never has more than two seconds in the pocket before his protection breaks down..I’ve also heard talk about backs being very lazy on putting some pads into blitzing linebackers. Though Matt Forte is beyond valuable as one of the most versatile backs in the NFL, we tend to forget what a phenomenal blocker the great Walter Peyton.

    If the Bears are to realize Cutler’s fullest potential, they need to backs not afraid to put on hit on a blitzing defender and an offensive line that can protect him long enough to look down field. He does throw some ill-advised balls, but the way he is repeatedly sacked and assaulted is shameful. The Bears knew they were not getting someone with the wheels a Michael Vick…You have to protect him.

    I love Urlacher(tough as they come)…but has he played beyond his effectiveness?

  56. Cutler may have a cannon for an arm but he is dumber than a bag of hair. His OL protected him in Denver and he still crapped in his nest.

  57. I miss Bob Avellini….I miss Rex Grossman…I miss Doug Flute…I miss Vince Evans.

    I do believe the biggest hit to the Bears has been the NFL rule change on kickoffs ..By moving the kicks to the 35-yard line, Devin Hester’s impact has been reduced to nearly zilch. Not only do you remove a huge offensive threat from that aspect of the team, but you also substantially reduce backing up your opponent deep in their own territory even when an initial offensive drive may stall despite a good kick return. Bears have always been a field position team that lives off of turning turnovers into points.

  58. Sitting at my window, looking due south…draw a straight line from the middle of my desk there it is!,…Soldier Field and ‘Da Bears!!! (pronounced like ‘da Mare (Chicago for Richard J., Richard M and Rahmbo).

    What can you expect after 11 years with Jerry Angelo as Bears General Manager? One by one over the last five years, he ended up with no offensive line, then last year under Martz they tried to play without a blocking tight end …School is still out on Cutler,…I’d be ‘bumping’ linemen who are going to get me killed or badly maimed (like last year) as well! Right now, I’d be demanding hazardous duty pay.

    Last year, no receivers…this year they’ve loaded up on receivers but, beware of running backs who get big four year contracts..

    And,… Cutler has to make better decision. And, the Bears had better start putting together a younger defense. You can measure the life of this one in the number of quarters left in their careers. (Urlacher and Biggs are about as old as I am…and I’m faster, meaner and cuter).

  59. I haven’t been to Soldier Field for over 25 years(and if my recollection is correct, that was for a preseason game). I’d sure love one more chance to sit in the stands and cheer on DA BEARS!

  60. I’m a 3rd generation Packers fan, even at that I respect the Bears. I actually picked them preseason to win the NFC North over my beloved Packers, IF Jay Cutler didn’t have a meltdown before week 8. Well, that happened last week against the Packers.

  61. How refreshing…NFL talk!!!

    Let me issue a warning to the Cheeseheads for the weekend: the chilly marine air NOR hungry Seattle D will be kind to you on Monday Night Football at Century Link Field.

    SEAHAWKS 20, PACKERS 13

  62. Harvard – its an interesting theory about kick-off rule change nullifying Hester’s effectiveness, but you should have checked the stats. You’d see your WAY off. I would cut you some slack if the numbers were anywhere in the same ballpark and just give you credit for the “eye test”, but there is a huge huge disparity, and it goes against your theory.

    The rule change went into effect last year, the 2011 season. Well last year Hester returned more kicks than he had the 2 previous years combined! He had the second most returns and return yards of his career. He had his first return TD since his second year.

    He returned 7 (7!) kicks in 16 games in 2009… In 2011 he returned 33. In 2010 he returned 12 kicks in 16 games… In 2011 he returned 33.

    Remember when he made that huge splash his rookie year with his electric return game? Well last year he had 13 MORE return attempts and 200 more return yards.

    If anything the rule has increased his effectiveness and impact on the game. In this case the numbers don’t lie.

  63. Been doing a little more research on this… Some helps your argument some hurts.

    In 2010 the Bears had the same exact number of returns as their opponents (59) for roughly the same number of yards. After the rule change in 2011 the Bears returned ALMOST TWICE as many kick-offs as their opponents (57 to 35).

    However, in the 2 previous years to the rule change the Bears were #1 in average starting field position. In 2011 they dropped to 24th. Their “Line Of Scrimmage per Drive” in those years was the 33-yard line, which went back to the 27-yard line in 2011. That’s a big change and their are lots of factors besides kick-offs that go into the stat, but it can’t just be coincidence. According to NFLReference.com the difference between those two starting positions is about .4 points per drive. The average number of possessions per game for an NFL team is 12, so we can surmise that on average the rule change cost the Bears about 4 to 5 points per game.

    Interestingly, even though they were #1 LOS/dr on offense, their opponents starting position was not effected at all. In 2009 they were 28th, in 2010 they were 24th, in 2011 they were 27th, and all three years their opponents average LOS/dr was within a half yard of the 31-yard line.

    Conclusions: the Bears starting position was drastically effected, but it did not effect where their opponents started. Your theory that it negatively effected Hester’s impact on the game was not only incorrect, but the opposite was true. He became much more of a factor under the rule change than he had in recent previous years.

  64. It is funny how some of you are calling out the fans. Watching that game was like watching a car crash. I changed the channel at home. Very poor product on the field. It had more to do with the coaches than the players. FUNDAMENTALS!
    Any coach that leaves a player like Mullen in the game after he basically got burned 2 out of ever 4 downs just blows my mind. He is possibly the worst DB I’ve ever seen. Our defense is simply pathetic.

  65. I would love to offer a response, but it appears Scoop is not letting me comment today for some reason.

  66. Dustin-

    Why can’t I post a response more than two sentences…? Have I been sent to the penalty box again because of the photoshopping?

    Geoff- Sorry, I tried.

  67. affect…affected (to impact, influence)

    effect….as in result, outcome (appearance, tendency)

    Your theory that it negatively effected Hester’s impact= it negatively impacts Hester’s impact (????)

    You can affect an effect (Harvard’s thought deeply affect Geoff). But you can not effect and affect. Geoff’s on the other hand can not effect Harvard. Harvard simply is not affected by Geoff’s thoughts and they he is more likely to not give a ______(hoot) than be affected by them. That generally is the way we are affected by the effect of Geoff’s thoughts.

    I luff Indiana..eet good to me…eet teach me goo’ Engleesh.

  68. I don’t know why Harvard’s post isn’t posting, but just to prove that we here at the East Coast Establishment…er…I mean…Hoosier Scoop… don’t believe in censorship, his post follows.

    Those are interesting stats. Though I’m not in the mood to challenge those statistics nor look for something that may have been missed, I’ll trust your numbers, their source, and their completeness. Could it be that Hester was forcing returns out of the end zone last season and thus accumulating yardage between the goal line runs short of the 20? Of course, an automatic spotting of the ball on the 20-yard line is the better resultant starting point if the return specialist just takes a knee in the end zone(assuming the ball doesn’t sail completely beyond as often seems the case).

    Averages can be deceiving and big stage players take risk. They often make the big play in pivotal moments on the scoreboard. Many of these memorable and highly impacting moments can get washed into the averages and make any spectacular player look mere mortal and “average.”

    And if my recollection is correct, when Devin was being revamped to be a wide-receiver (knowing the coming rule change and likely looking for an added weapon for Cutler during a time period the Bears had a rather scant and not very dangerous receiving crew) Lovie Smith was using different Bears to take on much of the kickoff return duties/load(I should remember the primary replacement Bear, but I’m currently going blank on his name).

    To summarize: Averages can be deceiving and one must be very careful to make assumptions without taking into account other variables(Is the kickoff return artist having as many touches? Was another Bear accounting for return kickoff attempts in 2010 and 2011 while Hester was being molded into a receiver? Is his higher average per kickoff being effected by forcing returns out of the end zone instead of wisely taking a knee?…etc…etc…etc).

    Good effort, Geoff…Good effort. Never forget that stats can sometimes be far more deceiving than the honest eye.

  69. I am aware of this Harvard. Which is why I never use stats in basketball unless they back up an argument that my eyes witness. I know it’s unusual around here, but I like to back up my statements and opinions with facts.

    I dont watch the Bears very often, so I was careful to not debate this unless the stats were just telling a completely different story, which in the case of Hester, they are.

    Your premise was that the worst thing to happen to the Bears was the changing of the kick-off rule BECAUSE it limited Hester’s role and effectiveness.

    I PROVED that was not the case.

    Now you are changing your premise and saying Lovie is limiting Hester’s role and effectiveness. I will not argue that point one bit.

    I know it’s difficult, but I provided both the stats and the context. The sources are completely legit. If you want to do some research and come back with facts instead of guesses and opinions we can continue this.

  70. Tsao – once again, thank you for taking the time to read my posts. And not only read my posts, but disect them so thoroughly that you can edit them for me.

    Next time I’m struggling with a sentence I’ll shoot it over to you for proofing. What do you charge?

  71. Chicago Bears

    Midway through the 2008 NFL season, Manning took over Devin Hester’s duties as the Bears’ kick returner. On December 11, 2008, he returned a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown, making it the first regular season opening kickoff returned for a touchdown for the Bears since 1972.[2] A week before this touchdown, Manning picked off David Garrard’s pass on the Jaguars opening drive, and returned it to the Jaguars five-yard line.[3]

    Manning led the league in return average and number of 30+-yard returns, despite only starting half the season. Manning was Bears starting nickelback in 2008, and competed with Josh Bullocks, Corey Graham, Kevin Payne, and Craig Steltz for starting free safety.[4] Manning won the starting position before the start of the Bears 2009 summer training camp.[5] On passing downs, Manning played nickelback, while Steltz filled in for him at free safety.[5] Due to Manning’s larger role on defense, the Bears have chosen second year wide receiver Johnny Knox to take over kick returning duties.(courtesy:Wikipedia)

  72. How is it proving it wrong? Lovie was limiting his role(primarily using him as a punt returner) because he needed him more at wide receiver. Now that he can move back into the role(a stronger receiving crew…Marshall and a healthy Bennett and a rookie by the name of Jeffries), the rule change is taking away his effectiveness.

    You are the one that failed to realize he was not being delegated the full role when the numbers were slumping. He is still a huge impact player that rarely gets to exhibit his true gifts. Opponents rarely give him a shot at punt returns realizing the positive influence on field position for the Bears. Maybe the kickoff numbers are less impacting, but given a fair shot(the rule change prevents the better percentages)I still believe he is one of the most lethal threats in the game. It may not happen with regularity..It may be difficult to put it into numbers and averages may get washed, but coaches around the league more than respect how quickly he can change the complexion of the game.

    And to Devin’s credit, I think he became a much better receiver than many anticipated. He is a phenomenal athlete and it’s a shame the NFL has sidelined much of his eye-popping abilities..(no penalties on punts kicked out-of-bounds and the deeper balls on many nonreturnable kickoffs).

  73. None of what you are say about Hester makes any sense.

    Your original statement in post #81 was, “By moving the kicks to the 35-yard line, Devin Hester’s impact has been reduced to nearly zilch.”

    But the 2 years before the rule was in place he wasn’t the primary kick returner. So his impact in that part of the game was already limited, and not because of the rule. His impact was reduced to nearly zilch because of a coaching decision. Once the rule change was put in place his impact increased because his role increased. I’m sorry the facts aren’t convenient to your argument.

    Your next statement in post #81 was, “Not only do you remove a huge offensive threat from that aspect of the team, but you also substantially reduce backing up your opponent deep in their own territory even when an initial offensive drive may stall despite a good kick return.”

    That was rebutted by the fact that he wasn’t removed from that aspect, he was actually the most effective he had been since 2007. It was also rebutted by the fact that the rule had absolutely NO impact on the opponents average starting field position.

    Stats don’t always tell the story, but in this case they absolutely disprove your points.

  74. I do believe the biggest hit to the Bears has been the NFL rule change on kickoffs.

    “Believe is basically synonymous with “it is my opinion,” Geoff. The stats don’t necessarily dissect his potential threat being limited.

    His averages were coming up before the decision to limit him on kickoff returns. The Bears coaching staff must have felt it was more advantageous to not overwork him when they were honing him to become a wide receiver. Manning was a very good return artist on kickoffs the Bears likely believed Hester was more important on punt returns.

    In 2010-11 he was averaging almost 36 yards per return. In 2009-10 there may have been some injury issues. It only shows him playing in 13 games. Last season he had a higher number of returns and total kickoff return yards(though I think he was still sharing duties with Knox), but the average per return dropped back to 21 yds…The averages likely dropped because he was forcing too many returns from deep in his own end zone.

    “I think every now and then, I’m going to do kickoffs,” said Hester, who still is expected to handle most punt returns. “It will depend on how the game is going.

    “If I’m involved in the offense the whole first and second quarters, maybe I’ll tell them to cut back on the kickoff returns. If I’m not getting that many touches on offense, of course I’m going to want to get some more touches on kickoff returns. That’s how I see things panning out.”

    ________________________

    “Devin, he’s a speed guy — quickness and speed. He likes to get around the edges and make people miss. I’m more of a hit-it returner. I just hit it hard.”

    The Bears have had similar contrasting styles in recent years with Hester returning kicks alongside speedsters Danieal Manning and Knox. In fact, the Bears limited Hester’s returns to seven in 2009 when Knox (32) and Manning (28) handled the bulk of them. That season, Hester caught a career-high 57 passes for 757 yards and three touchdowns.

    Hester has an NFL-record 17 return touchdowns in 92 games, 12 off punts. He averaged 35.6 yards on 12 kickoff returns in 2010, which provides a reason for the Bears to keep him in the mix.

  75. With a huge increase in touchbacks and with the new rule giving players fewer chances to make an NFL roster, it’s safe to say this rule has been more of a negative than a positive.

  76. I’m not debating you on your points after the fact Harvard. I am debating your initial premise. The case is closed and you got snowballed.

    If you want to say the rule has effected the Bears negatively you can, and I’ll agree, but not for the reasons you stated originally.

    I never made any statement that the rule hadn’t negatively effected the kick-off return game for the league in general. That would have been as stupid a premise as your original statement.

  77. o.k., Geoff. You just keep attempting to disprove everything I say. One thing is for certain and it doesn’t take the intuitiveness of a mouse fart to realize you have some severe issues with wanting to see things only your way. I’m not going to take the time to go on a three day stat mission. I believe there are factors that don’t necessarily show up in these stats. Yardage is being gained where yardage doesn’t make for positive effects(between the goal line and the 20-yard line).

    I did say “I believe” which opens the door to uncertainty. Within that uncertainty, I’m not willing to completely give up the opinion without more time(a thorough examination and re-examination seems tedious and exhausting)..Sorry, you, nor the verification of my assumption(and assumption that I possibly extrapolate playing into this season more than past seasons) I simply feel is worth the effort.

    I think the rule change has an impact on Hester(certainly, a potential future impact this season when Hester may have more of the load on kickoff returns)and any member of the Bears kickoff team with regard to overall positive/negative effects on field position.

  78. What the hell is wrong with me? I made an assumption and it was wrong.

    My apologies, Geoff. You are a smart young man and I was just taking a shot in the dark at something that I “believed” would prove true but did not. You put forth the effort to successfully disprove my assumptions with the researching of the stats. Why should I be offended by such effort?

    And Tsao…I appreciate you having my back, but in this instance it’s pretty obvious I lost the argument. I know it was more an instinctive thing to defend a friend…I still appreciate that though I don’t think there was a need to go so harshly after Geoff’s typo. God knows Harvard needs all the help he can get against someone as keen as Geoff. Grown men must realize when they’re wrong. I was wrong….And God knows I also make my share of grammatical errors, spelling, etc.

    Conclusion: There is no way a stupid rule change could limit Devin Hester’s effectiveness. He is the all-time record holder in the category of kickoff returns for touchdowns.. He doesn’t need my excuses…He’s the best and most dangerous in the game. Maybe the best ever. Then again, the best ever don’t always have stats to back it up.. When I watch old highlights of Gayle Sayers, I’m not sure if there has ever been a craftier running back..He was such a magnificent and uniquely styled runner.. What he did on the field was art and no stats in his short career will ever give a taste his abilities seen with the naked eye and the passionate heart.

    Hester? Rule change or no rule change, he’ll be just fine..He’ll likely prove it this Sunday by taking a kickoff deep in the end zone for a 110 yard score. His effectiveness has never been limited to the extent he is not still feared and respected by any team seeing him at the receiving end a returnable kick or punt. Who was I trying to kid?

  79. Actually Harvard, I think the issue with Hester is much simpler than any hypothesis put forth by you, Geoff or me. 1) He’s just getting older 2) the older he is, the longer he is in the NFL and the more film they have on him, thus 3) there’s nothing like NFL scouts to study habits and tendencies (I’ll guarantee you they have them in statistical probabilities) and 4) have counters to his running. Hester was great at allowing the first wave of defenders to come down on him close enough that they could not react to the speed of his first 3-4 steps. Then, the scouts simply designed a coverage that hesitates slightly, and is delayed while maintaining its lanes until he has already made those first 2-3 steps.

    Consequently they are in better position to swarm him. I’ve noticed it is usually the 2nd/3rd man who stops him. He’ll still break one or even two this year, but I doubt he’ll repeat his first years.

    It always amazes me how well NFL (and a lot of football coaches) are at analysis and mission planning. And, I’m very surprised educators are not using those facets to teach kids problem solving and the science of sports as a formal setting for learning and thinking. Don’t forget, few of the coaches in the NFL would have been a candidate for formal knowledge gathering, problem solving and the scientific method; yet, the possibilities are great. It would be fun to document the development of Hester’
    s appearance and career in these terms.

    Kind of a nut, aren’t I? That’s exactly what attracts me to sports…it is such a great laboratory for all of our activities.

  80. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I’m inspired! Very useful information specially the closing part I care for such info a lot. I used to be looking for this particular info for a long time. Now I found it.

    Posts 113, 109, 105 deserve special mention but also the others tremendously a lot. Kick or punt. That’s what attracts me to sports. Passionate heart. More yardage. Ellipsis. Pedigree. Mission planning.

  81. I didn’t say 10 guys didn’t make an impact. That’s another false statement by you. I said 10 guys weren’t locks to get picked in the nba draft. Of those 10, six were starters, one was a rotation player for the national champions, and 3 played sparingly. None averaged fewer than 10 minutes a game.

    The only argument you could make is that 3 of 22 (14%) didn’t make an impact on their team. That is the VAST minority.

    I’m not upset, I’m just not going to let you make a faulty premise based on your “opinion” that clearly isn’t attached to reality.

    ScoopGeoff posted a comment in Big Ten’s Top 25 Players: 25-21 · a month ago

    No you made 2 premises:
    1) you shouldn’t include freshman on these lists because you don’t have reliable data to make the prediction.
    2) a large number of the 5-star recruits in 2011 didn’t make any impact on their teams.

    Both premises are wrong. It’s not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of fact.

    ScoopGeoff posted a comment in Big Ten’s Top 25 Players: 25-21 · a month ago

    I’m not gonna argue that Joey. I just think if you have an opinion (that you care to share) thats in disagreement with someone else (in this case Alex) you should probably base it on logic and (at least be prepared to) back it up with facts.

    Yup..as I suspected. “ScoopGeoff” is busy in many places and is on many fact-checking missions. I didn’t think the manifestations of this form of compulsive behavior would be limited to Hoosier Scoop. I was correct. This is only a small sample set…Everyone has their issues….And that is an undeniable fact.

  82. Harvard, very true. I spend a little bit of time over there. But nothing in comparison to the Scoop. I like the personalities here waaaay better. In fact, while I enjoy the daily updated content there, I find the discussion portion really boring. I can promise you one other thing. I spend zero time on any other blogs debating any other topics. I am passionate about IU hoops, and I don’t have the time to try to do this elsewhere. As you can see I spend too much time here.

  83. I have a much greater affinity for Dustin than I do Alex Bozich, but I do think I did a pretty damn good job of defending Alex on that one.

  84. Watched the Iowa-Central Michigan game last Saturday. While our defense probably doesn’t have an answer for their 3rd string running back (Wiseman?), we still may be able to beat Iowa so long as we’re not too banged up by that time. We have them at home and they are not good. This could be our 3rd win this season!

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