Hoosier Scoop Sage Take of the Day, No. 1


I’m birthing a new feature on the Scoop today in honor of my wife Susie’s birthday, which I figure is absolutely as good a day as any.

The feature is called The Hoosier Scoop Sage Take of the Day. It will involve evincing an opinion or observation, a “take,” on the extant sports news, primarily but not exclusively pertaining to IU and the Herald-Times coverage area. If a national story lends itself to a take, fine. The plan is to have a take every weekday. Our readers, of course, can determine just how “sage” the take actually is.

Some takes will involved a few paragraphs. Some will be epigrammatic or Tweet-sized. Some might serve as seeds for columns, or might not deserve any further dissemination. Some will attempt to tickle funny bones, others will be provocative, and all will attempt to put something arguably (and hopefully intellectually) sound out there that folks can enjoy contemplating or discussing.

And so, without any further ado, here is the inaugural take:

Hoosier Scoop Sage Take of the Day, No. 1:

It isn’t often a decision by a defensive coordinator that allows the opposition a game-winning touchdown qualifies as both correct and courageous. But that was my take on what Indiana’s defense did Saturday when Navy faced a 3rd-and-3 at the IU 4, with the Hoosier lead down to 30-24 and just over two minutes left.

The Hoosiers had just used their last timeout, mindful of preserving precious seconds for their offense in case Navy scored and kicked the PAT to take the lead. Navy also had a chance to get a first down at the IU 1, which could have allowed the Midshipmen even more opportunity to run clock before scoring. And probably in part because IU’s defense had been on the field most of the fourth quarter, Navy’s vaunted rushing attack was rolling. The chances of the Hoosiers holding Navy out of the end zone during another couple of plays didn’t seem good.

While watching the game with others at Nick’s, I said aloud: “IU needs to send everybody. All-out blitz.” One of two things would likely ensue. Either the blitz would blow up Navy’s next play in the backfield, creating a tough 4th-down situation for the Middies, or Navy would score easily but there would then be enough time remaining for Indiana’s offense to potentially march for a winning field goal.

The notion of a make-or-break defensive effort made sense, too, because even if the result was subsequently putting the game in the hands of IU’s offense, that didn’t seem daunting. The previous Indiana offensive series had been a 3-and-out, but that was self-inflicted. Navy’s defense hadn’t stopped Indiana all day. IU’s Erich Toth had only punted twice, and both times that was more the result of Hoosier miscues than Navy’s defense.

We all know how things turned out. Indiana’s defense went with an all-out blitz but Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds managed to get a TD pass off before being swarmed under. And IU was down 31-30 after the PAT. But the Hoosiers then got the ball on their 20 with 2:02 left, adequate time to move the 50 or so yards needed for a possible field goal. Cam Coffman threw Navy a game-clinching interception on the second snap of the series, so it all became moot.

But the all-out blitz was still both the gutsy call and the right call made for IU’s defense three snaps earlier. It didn’t pan out optimally, but it gave the Hoosiers their best chance to still get the W, given the circumstances. Kudos.


  1. Great, great idea Andy Graham…it will be fun, especially guided by you and we take it seriously.

    Just read both the Washington Post’s and The Baltimore Sun’s coverage of the game. The impression from their reporter’s coverage, discussion of Navy’s last score and the after-the-game comments by the Midshipmen wholly supports your conclusion. So does the idea that the Hoosiers need to go all out for the win…once it comes, the results will follow. They did just that, it simply did not work out…this time. As you say, kudos.

  2. My Sage take…. How could IU let Sage Steele be the MC for Hoosier Hysteria? Did they not consult with Harvard first to determine that she was Establishment? Once ESPN gets their mitts on you it’s over. In fact I’m pretty sure if you move to CT for work, but start up the CT Alumni of IU Die Hard Crimson Fan Club so you can feel closer to home you only have about 6 months before you’re completely tainted and become Establishment by association. How could IU do that to its fans? No wonder so many started leaving (reportedly) during the scrimmage…

  3. Hoosier Scoop Sage Andy, you have hooked me already even with the understanding that some “takes” may be less than earth shattering. Excellent start to the column.

  4. I think a tiny bit of research would provide a tiny bit of sage into the choice of Sage Steele as Hysteria host.

    Her brother Chad is the Media Relations Director for the Baltimore Ravens football team(courtesy: Wikipedia

    A Harbaugh is married to Crean..A Harbaugh coaches the Ravens. Sage’s brother is tied to the Ravens football team. I’m sure the Harbaugh family influenced the choice.

    I would have preferred Seth Davis hosting the event. We could have thrown cabbage at him.

    I do like the way you appropriately showed tendencies in Establishment disrespect toward Andy Graham for immediately attempting to turn the football discussion toward basketball(your favorite topic).

    Sometimes your Establishment tendencies still follow in perfect congruence to my desires.

  5. Oh, by the way…Seedy “influence” trumping credentials, honesty, and even playing fields is definitely an Establishment trait…It’s Calipari’s world in obvious light as we witness firsthand his thick ties to ESPN and an NCAA that turns away from his ugly contempt for the college game. Ratings is the only thing they care to preserve.

  6. “The Hoosier Scoop Sage Take of the Day. It will involve evincing an opinion or observation, a “take,” on the extant sports news, primarily but not exclusively pertaining to IU and the Herald-Times coverage area.”
    Advice to the Sage from Strunk and White – Don’t use fancy words to try to impress your audience: “Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, and the cute. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy, ready, and able.”

  7. I’m actually surprised Sage agreed. The family connections likely gave her no choice but to accept. These Midnight Madness and Hysteria events are actually quite lame. One likely feels they’ve cheapened their image by being cornered into hosting one of these events. Can you see Al Michaels, Howard Cosell, Bob Costas doing one of these college hype parties? I guess every sports journalist has to pay the painful dues of getting a chance to sit near Skip Bayless.

    I actually like Sage(not to mention, she’s rather cute).

  8. Ok Harvard, but do you think that Costas, early in his career, would have turned down his alma mater calling and asking him?

  9. Sage…it is so easy to get short-circuited and discouraged. Many here appreciate your valiant attempt at serious, deep thought on aspects of Hoosier and sports culture and the chance it creates for us to do some intellectual exploration of areas of our culture that are usually barely scratched at the surface.

    Scoop has many contributors who look at our passion for Hoosier athletics in deeper, intellectually challenging ways who will find these discussions both provoking and rewarding.

    If we share, as readers and contributors the same love for the Hoosiers, sports and individual participants with a healthy and serious exploration of our inner core and respect for each other, this could become an incredibly interesting, entertaining and essential part of this blog.

    Given your long history, intelligent yet passionate involvement with sports and IU; and your mastery for writing and a nearly-unlimited range of love, interests and deep knowledge of sport, it makes you the perfect host and moderator. Its obvious that your thoughts about participants and sports come from deep within. That is unusual in a world dominated by shallowness, bean counting and provocation.

    Please forgive us if too frequently we provide evidence that thoughtfulness has to compete with the Bud Abbott and Lou Costello inside us,(I started to say Laurel and Hardy, but remembered there was much depth to their comedy); or respond with evidence that expresses our deepest personal darkness and continue to desperately search for ‘self-improvement/self analysis/self acceptance seminars’.

    Hopefully, the influence of the Sage will lead us to treat this opportunity as a daily visit to the Oracle at Rhodes. Rather than a yet cheaper version of Hoosier country’s ‘Dancing with the Stars” or “So you Thought You Can Dance”, we will learn something, maybe much, about who we are.

    Good luck and, again, thanks for your enlightened attempt.

  10. Geoff-

    In all honesty, I didn’t realize Sage was an alum.

    She seems like a good choice and it was gracious of her to come and be part of the festivities. I didn’t go to Hysteria(I have never attended one) nor have I seen any desire to attend one in the future. Sometimes I begin to feel I’ve lost some of the passion for sports that I had years ago. I’ve gotten cynical(even toward my own alma mater) and tired of much of the hypocrisy.

    I tend to think sports used to stand taller on its own merits..There is so much empty hype and helium blowing up the entire process…There is so much focus on athletes thumping their own chest that I’ve become a bit disenfranchised the entirety of the spectacle. I’m tired of coaches turned into public preachers that believe they have the right to be a moral compass. I’m tired of coaches that put their personal agendas ahead of the fans. I’m tired of the momentous salaries shoved in our faces when so many spend the price of a new home on a college education. For me personally, much of the sell in sports, turning coaches and recruits into superstars falls upon ears long ago tuned out. I beginning to feel so much of it is a waste of my personal time and thinning dollar. I begin to feel more and more that the “all about me” culture in sports has left this fan at the bus stop. They don’t care I’m not on trip. The cheers I used to offer with the sense I, the fan, was a meaningful and appreciated part of the relationship, now begin to clap with hollow echoes.

    I digress. Maybe I’m just not the Hoosier fan I used to be. Maybe the Establishment and all the money the only needed drink of the machine has flattened my spirit in this ‘I,’ ‘me,’ and ‘mine’ world. I don’t feel part of the party and watching VO sing a rap song won’t change it.

  11. Hoosier Hysteria. I was planning to attend but ended up with a 10yr old, 6yr old and 2 yr old grandkids. Did not think the 2 yr old would do well with the wait.

    After watching the tape I don’t think I would be interested in attending. Watching someone mimic a song while adjusting his crotch every 30 seconds – not interesting. Not the type of show I would be interested in.

    More confusing was the introductions. What was the dance steps with the music? Hulls, Cody, the walk on guy and a couple of others took the floor looking ready to play. The rest, with the dance entrance. I see now that I should have taken Interprative Dance instead of Business.
    One group looked ready to go and another group seemed to say “It’s All About Me.”

    I could be totally wrong but I’ll not feel bad about missing it next yr. But again I’m an old guy and all this may be the new normal. Was nice to see last yrs seniors involved.

  12. I was in school during the time of the undefeated 70’s teams and I don’t recall any of this hoopla for the first day of practice.

    Maybe we were just busier back then.

  13. For those that enjoy continually ridiculing my views in referencing hoarders of influence that revels in using its power, its command of the media, its quest for greed in rusty hierarchies of privilege in the stagnant stench of east coast power regimes in sports journalism, and thus, derail the hope in attempts to sway the potential future our road back to the forefront of college hoops, please explain to me what Tom Crean means by “they” in his speech to the crowd during Sage Steele’s interview at Hoosier Hysteria(Listen very closely from the 2:47 mark to the 3:43 mark of this clip).

    “They didn’t want it to happen…There were people around that didn’t want to see it come back.” Tom Crean

    Could the “they” and the “people” be the naughty word Harvard has developed as the all-encompassing term for the giant shoe that has attempted to squelch our resurgence?

    It appears we have established(pun intended) that Harvard is in perfect unison our coach on this one. The fat shoe of elitism in sports ill never keep Hoosier hoops down. If you stand against Harvard’s feelings on the subject, you obviously stand against Tom Crean. Nothing wrong with that…I just want to make sure we’re clear on it.

  14. ooops.

    The fat shoe of elitism in sports will never keep Hoosier hoops down.

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