Live Chat Transcript

A transcript from today’s live chat.

QUESTION: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat. With last week’s big win against ISU and more, there’s plenty to talk about so let’s get started.

Gentlemen: How are you today? Are you ready to get started?

JEREMY: Survived Hump Daaay, so I’d say I’m doing well. And being as it’s Thursday, let’s chat.

DUSTIN: Doing well. Lots to talk about, so let’s get to it.

ANDY: On your marks. Get set. Chat.

QUESTION: The Dude has arrived! I was able to stay out of the pokey last weekend with the wife out of town so that was a big accomplishment. Now on to the questions.

First OSU made a locker in their new facility that has LeBron James on it. He had signed there years ago but went straight to the pro’s. The NCAA prohibits using non university people from recruiting. Isn’t this a shady way for TM (Mr. Shady as far as the Dude is concerned) getting around the rules and letting people know LeBron favors OSU? TM is really slick player.

This week TB commits to Alford and LB commits to Illinois. so when do we get some love? CTC is firing lots of bullets but not hitting any targets. What say you?

Before Andy comments like he did last week that I ask all BB questions. First Andy due to the fact our FB has not played well through the years I have not followed them much. But I will ask one question this week. Do we beat Navy? If so by how much? There done!

HH is supposed to be in like 30 days (I can’t wait). Can the guys practice now? If so have you guys watched any or are you too busy covering our Rose Bowl bound FB team? Okay a little sarcasm there. But if I was your boss I would give the FB to Andy and have Dustin & Jeremy cover BB full time. Except maybe a little baseball in the spring. I did enjoy watching them this year.

Well the old clock on the wall says I better get busy working. I am going to Ann Arbor all next week to do training. I will have to wear my vast assortment of IU shirt there. You boys kick the tires and light the fires while I am gone. I do hope to find some time to check in again next week though.

As for now the Dude has left the discussion…………….later Dudes and Dudettes!

Old Sports Dude, Crown Point

JEREMY: OSD,

Staying out of the pokey is always a plus.

As far as the whole LeBron locker thing, I wouldn’t like it too much if I was an Ohio State fan, but that’s just me. I’d want my favorite school to honor its former players, not benefactors. It’s also a good example of where the line gets blurred in the big business of college athletics with shoe company sponsorships. Ohio State is a Nike school, gets the Lebron sneakers and thusly plants a LeBron flag right in the middle of the locker room. And whatever your take on Thad Matta, for him to say that they just wanted to honor LeBron and thank him for all he does in getting them gear is disingenuous at best.

Moving on, I’m not sure that many real bullets have been used on some of the targets who recently committed. Never thought Bluiett was coming to Bloomington, and Leron Black has been an Illinois lean for quite some time. Now, if Goodluck Okonoboh, Robert Johnson, Devin Robinson and Isaiah Whitehead all end up elsewhere, then we’ll have something to talk about. Keep in mind that while there’s potentially some playing time to be had in the backcourt with Evan Gordon and Will Sheehey graduating, the IU roster otherwise doesn’t look to be that wide open as far as playing time, and I think that’s a factor.

The basketball team can do workouts, in the gym and weight room, play pickup games, etc. but no practice until the end of the month. And whether we’re too busy or not, practice is not open to us or anyone else, so Hoosier Hysteria will be our first glimpse behind the 2013 curtain too.

Enjoy Ann Arbor and stay out of the pokey.

DUSTIN: How goes it Dude,

I don’t recall LeBron ever signing with Ohio State. Maybe he was thinking about going to Ohio State and maybe Ohio State recruited him, but I certainly don’t remember him ever being committed to them in anyway or there having been any chance that he wouldn’t go straight to the NBA. I guess it’s shady and it’s definitely slick, but I can’t see any reason why it’s illegal.

I wouldn’t panic about IU’s recruiting at all. Not sure about Black, but I got the impression IU’s opinion of Bluiett sort of faded. They’ve got a lot of guys coming for visits over the next month and a half and they’ve got a bunch of guys coming for Hoosier Hysteria. They’re going to get somebody. You don’t get any more points for having them in early September. Between Whitehead, Blackmon, Nairn, Johnson, Okonoboh, Robinson and Hill, they’re not going to miss on all of those guys,and those are all top 70 players now.

I say they beat Navy by 14 points.

The guys can have workouts now, but not full practices and not the same amount of hours. They do start earlier this year, though. Late September, can’t remember the exact date, but think it’s around the 28th. And no, they don’t let us in for that.

Thanks as always, Dude.

ANDY: So, Dude, you are just an unabashed front-runner, then, aren’t you? Just a selective IU fan, then?

I know Matta is a “bete noire” for a lot of IU fans (and a few IU staffers I could name, methinks.) But, hey, the guy grew up a big IU fan in Hoopston, Ill. (hometown of Scott Eels), complete with having come to Bloomington for RMK’s camps and owning a pair of candy-striped warmups. And he made no secret of his fondness for the Hoosiers even when head coach at Butler. And, and, and … all right, I know, I get it. Subsequent actions haven’t exactly endeared himself to Hoosiers. As to the LeBron thing, it may be against NCAA rules, as you say. And you and I both know this means the NCAA wil come crashing down on O$U with a vengeance, right? (a little sarcasm there.)

Yes, they’ll beat Navy. By a couple of TDs. There done! The old wall clock says I’d better stop ruminating about the Dude and get on to other questions.

QUESTION: 1. What a crowd Sunday! To bad IU didnt win what was a great game.

2. Has anyone else noticed that Billy McConnell is a liability? Both goals given up were mostly his fault and he has nearly been beaten several times. I understand he is afrshman and learning on the fly but would it be better to maybe play Dylan Lax or a veteran here until he becomes more familiar with the run of play?

3. Michael Souderland hasn’t been bad and is much better than Louis Soffner was at this point in his career but Souderland is still not quite what las year’s version of Soffner was in my opinion. Is this an accurate assessment in your mind?

4. Tommy Thompson is something but still raw. Is IU lacking a needed goal scorer right now?

IU Soccer fan, Bloomfield

JEREMY: IU soccer fan,

1. Fantastic crowd on Sunday, and when I was at practice yesterday, Todd Yeagley mentioned that the crowd felt more like 10,000, one of the best he can ever recall. The result was a bummer, but Yeagley even said he felt like the team performed well and played an attractive brand of soccer that should make people want to come back, which by the way they will have plenty of chances to do with a home game Sunday night at 8 against West Virginia, then two more home games the following Friday and Sunday.

2. If you haven’t noticed, you haven’t been paying attention. And I think if a change is necessary, it would come in the second half of the season. But right now, I think the feeling is that McConnell can learn on the fly and having Lax as an option off the bench in the midfield is more beneficial. I recall a guy like Tommy Meyer back there as a freshman going through similar things, and McConnell actually reminds me a bit of Caleb Konstanski as a freshman. McConnell is very competitive from what I’ve seen and spends extra time at practice or after practice trying to get better. He’s got a superb running mate in the middle back there with Kerel Bradford, so for now I counsel patience.

3. I don’t know that you’re too far off on that assessment of Soderlund. But nobody on the roster is going to be where Soffner was down the stretch last year. But I like Soderlund’s athleticism and aggressiveness. If he goes after a ball, he usually at least gets a piece of it, even if that last play against UCLA didn’t turn out so well, but I think it was still the right play. Like you say, the sophomore Soderlund is well ahead of the sophomore Soffner, maybe because he spent two years behind Soffner?

4. Yes and no. Is that a good answer? You know, IU has two guys in Nikita Kotlov and Dylan Mares with a pretty decent track record of scoring goals. And I don’t know that I would classify Tommy Thompson as raw. He’s a freshman finding out that what you can take three touches to do in high school, needs to be done in two at college. But he’s still got some magic in those boots and will do more than his share to keep opposing defenses on their toes. Plus he’s looking for that first goal, which usually releases a bit of the pressure. Ditto for those other guys. Once you see one go in the net, the mindset becomes so much more positive and relaxed.

DUSTIN: Obviously out of my depth here. Sir Price, the floor is yours.

ANDY: IUSF:

Since Jeremy covered Sunday’s game, I’ll let him take these inquiries. High school football coverage Friday and a fantasy football draft Sunday kept me away from Armstrong last weekend, much to my chagrin, but I will be there Sunday to get my own good gander at the soccer Hoosiers (against another good opponent, too) and should be better versed to offer up observations next week.

QUESTION: 1. More or less confident about football team after ISU game?

2. Will IU nab any (elite) recruits for 2014 in basketball and if not how will that affect team in future?

3. Great crowd at the soccer game, to bad they didn’t win.

Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY: 1. Not sure confident is the right word, but the answer is nothing changed one way or the other. It was Indiana State.

2. Yes, I think so. I’d expect a couple of commitments in the next month to month and a half.

3. I know the team was disappointed not to win in front of all those fans, but I think they would have felt a lot worse if they played poorly and lost. Even a novice soccer fan could tell that IU largely dominated, especially in the second half, and looked the better team.

DUSTIN: Darren,

1. The word confident implies that I’ve got some personal stake in them winning, which I don’t, but I’d say that was a little more impressive offensively than I expected. I knew they’d be able to score a lot of points on a lot of people, but they could’ve dropped 100 on Indiana State if they wanted to. And I knew Nate Sudfeld and Tevin Coleman were good, but they looked like draft picks on Thursday night. But of course, still can’t tell how good that defense is, and that’s going to be critical.

2. They’re going to get somebody. They’ll live if they don’t, but they obviously want to get players and I think with all of the guys who are making visits, they’re not going to strike out. Not sure who it’s going to be exactly, but they’re going to get a guard and either a wing forward or a big and possibly a point guard. Which ones, I’m not sure. I think the recent “misses” look a lot worse on paper than they actually were. For instance, I don’t think they wanted Bluiett as bad toward the end as they did at the beginning. The guys that are still on the table are the ones they really want. Obviously, the Blackmon decommit was a problem, but they’re still in on that one and they’ll apparently have him in for Hoosier Hysteria, which is big. Between Whitehead, Blackmon, Johnson, Hill, Nairn, Okonoboh and Robinson I just don’t see them going 0-for. Worst case scenario is that they go in with two open scholarships, but I just don’t see that happening. Somebody out of that group is going to pop and those are all Top 70 players.

ANDY: Darren:

1. More. Hard to argue with 73 points, whatever the opposition. And I thought the defense looked faster to the ball, with good hitting (if not always better tackling.) But the real tests start this week. Last week was just a preliminary, non-graded pop quiz by comparison to the balance of the season.

2. Gotta think the Hoosiers will end up with some guys, and some pretty good guys at that. It’s always conceivable they could strike out, I guess, but with only two scholarships technically available, that’d hardly be a death blow. They’d still have a bunch of key players returning for 2014-15, and more scholarships available for talented kids. I don’t think Tom Crean has shown any signs that he can’t recruit, let’s put it that way.

3. Agreed. But sometimes that’s just soccer, as fans of the sport well know. The result doesn’t always properly quantify the run of play. Sounds like the Hoosiers played impressively, especially after halftime, but as you say it’s tough that neither they nor that big crowd got the payoff. (Among other things, you gotta make penalty kicks.)

QUESTION: Good morning guys, I hope all is well. As always, thanks for your continued excellent work. In addition, thanks for your continued well wishes for my wife and our little man Hunter. He continues to do really well (although it feels like he is attempting to boost Pampers stock all by himself) and is growing and developing every day. He was able to sit on my lap and watch the Hoosiers dismantle the not-so-mighty trees last Thursday so I think he might be good luck.

1. The game last Thursday night was so odd. Indiana was comfortable and dominant for nearly the entire game and there was absolutely no stress or doubt about the outcome. It was downright fun to watch. Besides the obvious standouts of Tevin Coleman (WOW! He’s an NFL back) and the QB’s, who or what impressed you the most about last Thursday?

2. As I have heard you mention before, TJ Simmons, Darius Latham and Antonio Allen are all freshmen that look like they belong in the Big Ten. I think their play in the opener was encouraging and I would expect them to continue to contribute all season. Which other newcomers (this could be freshmen or guys who haven’t really played much before) impressed and which players (if any) changed your impression of them?

3. Obviously, Navy presents a completely different challenge than ISU. I’ll set the over/under for rushing yards for the Middies at 240, which are you taking? (I’ll take the under) Also, do you think IU moves to 2-0? (I do, as I wrote before the season, I am frighteningly optimistic that the Hoosiers go 7-5)

No questions about basketball recruiting from me. To be honest, I’m ready for the roller coaster 2014 class to just get decided and move on. Thanks for your great work and coverage, have a great week, God bless and go Hoosiers!

TJ, Noblesville

JEREMY: Football fellas … this one’s all yours.

DUSTIN: Hey TJ,

Good to hear the little man is doing well as always. Obviously, I think the depth of the receiving corps, which we obviously knew was there, was impressive. It’s really going to be hard to get everybody touches on that offense with all of the weapons, but it’s pretty amazing generally that IU was able to score 73 points without really getting Cody Latimer, arguably their most talented player, very involved in the offense at all. Ted Bolser was pretty much a beast in that game and obviously, Shane Wynn showed what he was capable of. Good performances on the offense all around, and I thought Nick Mangieri and T.J. Simmons were really good on defense. Generally, overall offensive execution was impressive and defense was good with the exception of one drive. Also, thought Tim Bennett at cornerback was really good. The coaching staff loved what he did in camp, and I think you saw why in that game.

2. I think Bennett and Mangieri definitely qualify on this list as well. I really liked what Bennett did in coverage. I’d say Ralph Green looked pretty good from what I could tell at defensive tackle. Steven Funderburke was OK at linebacker as was Michael Hunter at the other cornerback spot. As far as changing my impression, I knew Coleman was really good, but I’d say he was even better than advertised.

3. I think IU wins, but if Navy doesn’t pass that 240 mark, they come close. IU has been working really hard on dealing with their option for two years now, but I just don’t see them snuffing it out completely. I do see them scoring a lot of points though, and even though you’ll see fewer possessions, I just don’t think Navy will be able to keep up with them. 7-5 is not crazy at all with this team, because it only requires one real upset. With the way the schedule works, I don’t think 6-6 is a reach at all.

ANDY: Hunter as Hoosier harbinger! I like it.

1. I liked how both Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson threw the ball. I liked watching starters such as Cody Latimer, Ted Bolser and Kofi Hughes make shining special-teams plays. I liked how Kofi took personal charge of the response to that hit on Shane Wynn.

2. I thought Nick Stoner really showed he could be a threat. That fly pattern and his finger-tip catch at full stride for the TD was impressive. He’s always had the speed. He’s starting to run really good patterns, it looks like to me. And, speaking of speed, while Laray Smith had an obviously regrettable first touch, look for him to add an element to the running game as things move forward.

3. I’d still take the over at 240. But Keenan Reynolds can (and will) definitely throw it more than some Navy QBs we’ve seen in the past, and the Middies might have to throw more if they get too far behind. I do think IU goes to 2-0 (and 7-5 was my preseason prediction as well.)

Thanks, as always, TJ

QUESTION: Gentlemen,

I have Sudfeld’s brother (Zach) in all four of my fantasy leagues. Is he a top 10 TE this year? Until Gronk comes back? Do I need to pick someone else up? What are your thoughts?

On to IU football, the level of talent on the defensive side of the ball has increased dramatically. However, the option attack Navy runs always scares me. With all the youngsters we have on defense, should I be concerned? What defensive players will need to have big games Saturday? Are we primed to get upset?

Go Hoosiers,

OLD

Overton’s Limo Driver, Bloomington

JEREMY: OLD,

Perhaps until Gronk comes back, but the Patriots passing game is always so well-balanced that it’s hard to say. And frankly, they’ve got two pretty good backs in Ridley and Vereen, so maybe they take the air out of the ball a bit?

DUSTIN: Well, Brady has to throw to somebody, doesn’t he? If he starts, He’s probably a top 15 tight end just because, again, somebody has to catch the ball on that team. But yeah, I’d pick someone else up, because Gronk is going to be healthy at some point.

You should be concerned. It’s not going to be an easy prep for them at all and you’re right that the youth is an issue. T.J. Simmons at middle linebacker is going to have to grow up quick, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him move to one of the outside spots to get easier assignments. But basically, everybody has to stick to their assignments, the defensive tackles need to win at the line of scrimmage to make sure the dive man doesn’t have it easy, and the Hoosiers have to be cognizant of the fact that Navy will probably go to the air a little bit more. I don’t know if IU’s primed to get upset because they know what they’re in for, but it’s not going to be an easy win for IU at all.

ANDY: OLD:

Zach actually got snatched up before I could get him as my back-up tight end during our draft Sunday. I was definitely going to pull that trigger (hmmmm, bad metaphor when talking Patriot tight ends, I guess), but ended up tabbing former Domer Tyler Eifert as my No. 2. Zach should presumably do well, given Tom Brady’s predilections regarding tight ends. And it was fun talking with Nate Sudfeld earlier this week and just watching his eyes shine when talking about his brothers. He’s genuinely thrilled for Zach.

Yes, young freshmen linebackers going up against Navy should always be a concern. I thought guys such as Marcus Oliver and Clyde Newton played hard but looked a little lost out there Thursday. Simmons obviously is going to be a fixture, but this is a game where Cooper, Hardin and the other vets have to really lead the way. It helps that ends such as Phillis, Shaw, Richardson and Mangieri have all seen the Middies up close and personal, but part of IU’s success early in that game came via the penetration provided by defensive tackles Replogle and Black, who have moved on. Can guys such as Latham and Big Ralph provide the same sort of thing to help blow up Navy runs before they really get started? That, to me, is a key.

IU football primed to get upset? Maybe. I think this Indiana team shapes up better than last year’s team that, frankly, should have have won that game in Annapolis. Still, we don’t know how good this Navy team is, yet. The Navy coaches apparently like their talent level better than they have for the past decade or so. It so, watch out. IU is and should be favored, but this early in the season (and this being Navy’s opener), speculation is pretty much moot.

QUESTION: Will 2014 be a basketball recruiting bust for us? Seems like we can’t catch a break. Have we raised the bar too high with what it takes to play in our system or are other schools simply catching up with us?

indianavelt, Fort Wayne

JEREMY: indianavelt,

Too soon to call 2014 a bust. It’s really a matter of fit and opportunity. I think IU is a good opportunity for a guard like James Blackmon or Robert Johnson, maybe a big guy like Okonoboh in terms of playing time, but if I’m a recruit looking at this roster, I don’t necessarily see a clear window to playing time, and that can be a factor.

The other thing is that with Blackmon decommitting, some of the guys IU put the most time in on — Theo Pinson, Blackmon — have just made other decisions. That’s assuming Blackmon doesn’t come back to IU, and if he did, I’d be quite surprised. Other players of emphasis such as Dante Exum and Goodluck Okonoboh are still out there, but it’s doubtful Exum ever plays a game of college basketball. Most of the rest of these guys, IU is making a late run on. I think they’ll get a couple of them and still be fine. The 2015 and ’16 recruiting classes will be more telling.

DUSTIN: Indianavelt,

I don’t think it’s going to be a bust. As I said earlier, they’re finalists with six or seven top 70 recruits. I just don’t see them striking out with that group. And the guys they’re in on are really, really good, so if they get two or three out of that seven, they have a really solid class. I don’t think there’s a a real problem here, it’s just been a different year for them. IU has been used to putting together a class early because they’ve been doing it with in-state kids. If a kid decides to go to an out-of-state school at least prolong his recruitment long enough to consider lots of out of state schools, it naturally changes the schedule of the recruitment. You don’t get to take your official visits until your senior year anyway so if you want to visit on the school’s dime, you’re not making a decision until October or November or your senior year. That’s the situation they’re in with a lot of these kids and they’re getting a bunch of them in for Hoosier Hysteria. If IU still doesn’t have a commitment six weeks from now, then it’s a different question.

ANDY: indianavelt:

Goodness gracious, Indiana basketball fans are so quick to despair. Let’s wait till the November signing period, shall we? IU was never going to get guys such as Leron Black and Trevon Bluiett. That was always pretty obvious. IU is still right there on some really, really good players. Lots of them, actually. No need to panic.

And even if the Hoosiers got skunked for 2014, is it really that big a deal? I don’t think so. IU would still send a very talented team out there this year and next, and two more scholarships would be available for talented kids down the road. But I still think the Hoosiers are likely sign at least two kids in November and/or April.

QUESTION: Should college football do anything with the clock to quicken games. With the no-huddle offense in vogue and points coming in bunches, games are going 4 hours and scores like 56-49 are way too common. I say take an hour out of the game and let the clock run constantly except for timeouts and scores.

Tom, Vincennes

JEREMY: Tom,

That’s a good question, because games do seem to drag on a bit. But I’m not sure that much can be done about it, especially with high-scoring games stopping the clock regularly. Plus you’ve got added delays for replay reviews, not to mention a billion television time outs. But those pay the bills for everybody involved from the network to the conference to the individual schools.

I know what you’re saying with the running clock, but that probably doesn’t gain that much time. And face it, in a tight game down the stretch, who isn’t actually glad the clock stops to move the chains on a first down? It adds a little drama. Maybe the key is to spend the first quarter mowing the yard, then come in and get the rest of the game done in three hours like it used to be.

DUSTIN: The deadline reporter in me is cheering this idea because I had to start writing my game story at the beginning of the fourth quarter on Thursday and had basically 10 minutes once I got back into the press conference to insert quotes and make them make sense. But I think there comes a point where you overgovern the game if you try to make every one fit someone’s ideal for what the game is supposed to be. That’s not saying you can’t have rule changes, but the clock has stopped for the same things as long as I’ve been alive. I don’t see a reason to totally change the game in that regard just because offenses have become more complex. Also, I think fans generally like a good two-minute drill or late drives, and what you’re suggesting would make those incredibly harder to execute. Sideline passes, spiking the football, moving the chains on first downs, all of that stuff kind of adds to the drama and makes those sort of moments more likely. So as much as it’s killing me on deadline, I don’t see a point in changing the game just so it fits someone’s ideal of how long a game is supposed to take and what the scores should be.

ANDY: Tom:

Great topic, and I agree completely. But the problem is television. It needs stops every couple of minutes to barrage you with commercials. And we all know TV rules the athletic roost pretty much completely these days.

But there has to be a tipping point, and we’ve probably already surpassed it, regarding actually attracting fans to the gate. The games are far too long, and the commercial breaks far too numerous, for the fans actually in the stands. Consequently, more people are opting just to stay home.

Fred Glass is certainly proactive in trying to enliven IU game days, but until and unless something is done to speed up the games and limit the amount of commercial time, I think attendance across the college football landscape will continue to erode. And I think that is the most likely scenario, because the TV contracts aren’t going to go away.

One can always dream. Maybe we can get to the point where it is like soccer telecasts in Europe, where it is uninterrupted action followed by blocks of commercials? Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

And I’m about ready for a timer between pitches and a restriction regarding the number of times any given batter can step out of the box in baseball, too.

QUESTION: So, is Isaiah Whitehead coming to IU for Hoosier Hysteria (as rumored via twitter) or not? Also, do you have any comments on the broader question of how much more likely a player is to commit after visiting Hoosier Hysteria? It seems to me that when a player attends Hoosier Hysteria, he is significantly more likely to commit.

HoosierInChapelHill, Chapel Hill, NC

JEREMY: HoosierInChapelHill,

Isaiah Whitehead refuted reports that he had scheduled an official visit for Hoosier Hysteria via his own Twitter account. Of course, he could also come as an unofficial visitor too. So we’ll wait and see what happens, but I certainly think it is a boon to have a recruit in for Hoosier Hysteria. And I’d say the same of any other school, whether it’s Big Blue Madness at Kentucky or Late Night with Roy at UNC. But especially at IU, when that crowd is on top of you, up to the rafters and you get a sense of what Assembly Hall is like, it certainly leaves a positive impression.

But I think part of it is where a player is at in his recruitment entering a trip to something like Hoosier Hysteria. Is he looking to be blown away and make a decision, or is he still weighing the options and wants to see what else is out there?

DUSTIN: He doesn’t appear to have made that official, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t coming. (I haven’t called him, so I’m not sure.) Hoosier Hysteria is definitely a really good selling point for Indiana and Midnight Madness events generally are for all programs if they’re well-attended. It obviously shows the fans care, and that matters to recruits because � and they would certainly never put it this way � because it gives them an idea of just how much attention they’ll get on campus. It’s a better recruiting tool, on some level, even than a game itself because there’s no other team involved and it’s just 90 minutes or so of unabashed adulation. So it definitely helps. I don’t know that anyone’s put together a percentage of how many players who have been at IU for Hoosier Hysteria over the last decade or so have committed, but it’s definitely helped the Hoosiers’ cause.

ANDY: HICH:

The Whitehead HH twitter thing was, it appears, just another case of a player and his AAU coach not being on the same page at the same time. Isaiah claims not to have made any decision as yet, but I think it’s likely he’s strongly considering a HH visit, or the initial tweet in the exchange wouldn’t have intimated that. And I agree that guys attending Hoosier Hysteria would seem more likely to be swayed.

QUESTION: Hey Guys,

Simple question today:

Is the best defense a good offense?

IU currently leads the nation in scoring, ranks 7th in total offensive yards, and leads the Big Ten in offense, first downs, etc.

On the flip side, IU is 84th in the nation in points allowed and 11th of 12 in the Big Ten in defense. We all know IU struggles on defense year in and year out.

Can the Hoosiers keep up the scoring and forget the D? They have a whole host of offensive weapons from Sudfeld to Bolser to Wynn to Ewald. What level of scoring do you think they can maintain? 73 points is only one game against one non-Big Ten team, but it is three times the 24 we scored on ISU last season.

Bear Bryant said, “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.”

I guess IU needs to sell more tickets, so a good offense can’t hurt, can it?

Later!

Beachfront Property, Bloomington, Indiana

DUSTIN: Well obviously. Indiana’s offense is going to keep them in games this year. But there are still limits to what you can do if you can’t defend anybody. I think even without a good defense, the offense might be good enough to get IU to a bowl game. But if IU is to win seven, eight or nine games or go further than that, they’re going to have to stop somebody at some point. Like you said, they did just play an FCS team, and Big Ten defenses aren’t going to get eviscerated as bad as the Sycamores did. The Hoosiers aren’t going to score 73 points every week. If they average in the high 30s or low 40s, they still have to get at least some stops to win games. They don’t have to lead the league in defense, but they have to show some ability to get the ball back.

ANDY: BP:

Simple answer: the Hoosiers can (and will) keep scoring, but they can’t forget the D.

One game against a FCS opponent hardly constitutes any real gauge, and IU obviously isn’t going to average 73 points per game. But I do think this offense is capable of averaging closer to 40 than 30, if it stays healthy. I thought the offensive line had too many missed calls or blown assignments against ISU, given how veteran the line is, so that needs to get cleaned up. But Greg Frey is a great O line coach, so I expect that to happen, and this offense has capable skill guys galore.

I think IU’s defense, while still shaky, will be better served down the stretch this season by better levels of athleticism and depth.

The Bear was wise.

QUESTION: I thought giving up 35 points to ISU was still a lot for this supposedly improved defense. What are your thoughts about this?

JQ, Muncie, IN

DUSTIN: Well the obvious response is that 14 of those points were scored on turnovers when the defense never even got on the field with the pick six off Sudfeld’s pass and the fumbled kickoff by Laray Smith that turned into a touchdown. So really, IU only gave up 21 points on defense, and seven of those came late in the second half when the reserves were in. So they really only gave up 14 points when it mattered. The first touchdown looked bad because the Hoosiers just got manhandled on that drive. They had some really good stops after that. Now, nothing I saw on Thursday told me that this defense is definitively so much better this year, but however you start the conversation, you have to take into account that there were 14 points they had nothing to do with.

ANDY: JQ:

The defense gave up 14, really. ISU got a pick-six and another gift TD on a fumbled kickoff, and the Trees’ final TD came against IU third-stringers. So I actually thought the D showed fairly well, the final point total notwithstanding. Not sure Dustin agrees with that. My brother Rob doesn’t either. Both of them didn’t see many signs the defense has made any sort of significant strides. Personally, I thought I saw better overall speed, with more guys getting to the ball. And even if the tackling wasn’t always sharp, I saw some real hitting.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That should about do it for today. Any last thoughts heading into the weekend, guys?

JEREMY: Football at home on Friday, soccer at home on Sunday night. And I’ll have a feature tomorrow on UAB soccer coach Mike Getman, the Bloomington native and former Hoosier who will try to knock off IU on Friday night in Birmingham.

DUSTIN: Stick with us, we’ll have more coverage leading into IU-Navy on Saturday night and then plenty from there. Thanks as always, everybody.

ANDY: Many thanks to all those who chatted and/or checked in (yes, even you, Dude.)

There will be some good, patriotic stuff surrounding the Navy game at Memorial Stadium, including the formal dedication of the U.S.S. Indiana prow. Word has it that some Very Important People might be on hand for that.