Live Chat Transcript

QUESTION: OSD is here and the chat can begin. First Andy and Dustin both wanted to know what I do as I think they want to trade me jobs. Well…………I have been protecting the country for over 35 years. No I am not a policeman or Army guy. I am a Food Safety Specialist. I have been in the trenches keeping your hot dogs, bologna, smoked sausage, flavorings, cheesecake, steaks, chops, etc. safe. So if you guys are ready to put on the Big Boy pants we could switch jobs. Now onto the questions.

JB JR is announcing in 2 weeks. KU just took away another recruit from swarmy JC of UK. I think this paves the way for UK to take him. They need a shooter. What say you?

As a side light that is KU’s first 2014 commit. Guess CTC is keeping up with the Self’s.

What about Director of Ops? Any word on that?

DR did not commit over the w/e. Not a good sign since we lost out on GO. GO was our firewall but it was penetrated. The list keeps getting smaller.

Any word on AH? Did he come to HH?

Any other recruits in the bushes to get this year? Does not seem much is left.

I know most places 12,000 would be good for HH but we are INDIANA! Is this a bad sign? I know I was surprised.

How are the injured kids doing? Will all be ready for the 1st game?

Finally what about PJ? I heard he is headed back to the Sudan due to his father’s health. Will he be available this year?

Well must get back to protecting America. It is a tough job but someone has to do it and that someone is ME. America you are welcome. You boys keep bringing it to us diehards. Hope the Hoosier FB team can take care of business in Michigan (shout for FB to Andy). I hate MSU.

The Dude has now officially left the chat with a hearty Hi-O Silver!!!!!!!!!!

Old Sports Dude, Crown Point

JEREMY: OSD,

You do indeed begin the chat today, and thank you for allowing me to eat my lunch with peace of mind today.

Far be it from anyone to figure out this 2014 class, but from the Kentucky standpoint, it seems their two main shooting guard targets are Blackmon and Devin Booker, who also has Michigan, Michigan State and Missouri among his finalists. Booker is set to announce Oct. 31, last I heard, so interesting that Blackmon will make his decision first. I thought Blackmon was supposed to make his official to IU on Oct. 28, but if an Oct. 22 date for the decision holds up, never mind. The Hoosiers have hung in his recruitment far better than I would have guessed after the decommit, but 99.9 percent of the time, kids just don’t wind up going to the place they decommited from, so I’ll stick with that being the case for Blackmon as well.

 

Believe the word on director of ops is there is no word and filling that spot may not happen any time soon. Tom Crean said in his annual IU Auditorium lecture that he contacted someone in TV — speculation would be Darrin Horn — but was turned down, and now may not fill that job until after the season.

 

Ahmed Hill did not attend Hoosier Hysteria. I’d say it’s pretty much down to Blackmon, Devin Robinson and longshot Dante Exum in the spring for 2014 as of now. But that could yet change.

 

I’m not sure any official attendance was announced for HH, but I thought it was probably more like 13,000-plus. Hard to say. But that’s still not a bad turnout on a Friday night in early October with high school football still in full swing. Last year was on a Saturday, remember.

 

PJ is indeed headed home sometime very soon, as Crean said after Hoosier Hysteria that it was important, because it would likely be the last time he’d see his father. He will certainly be available this year, and best-case scencario he gives them eight minutes a game off the bench as what Crean called the “stretch five.” There’s no doubt PJ can shoot it when given the chance, but can he be strong enough at both ends to be a factor?

 

Well, get back to work, and we’ll do the same.

DUSTIN: OSD,

I’ll let you continue protect our world’s encased meats. Not sure I’m a fit for that job. I very much appreciate your efforts in protecting me from salmonella.

I think you meant smarmy. Also, my head is spinning a bit with the abbreviations.

Kentucky is going to go after Blackmon really hard after the Oubre news, certainly. There aren’t a lot of really good 2 guards left on the board, and the Wildcats don’t appear to be in on Rashard Vaughan at all. Blackmon’s probably the No. 2 guy among the uncommitted at that position. So I’d consider Kentucky the favorite. That said, Indiana hasn’t given up on him and neither has Michigan. I’m guessing you’ll see Kansas fall out of the picture now. But any of those three still have a really good chance.

Crean actually said he stopped working on the Director of Ops gig and he doesn’t seem in a hurry to get it filled. From a program operations standpoint, that’s not a big deal because Jayd Grossman can take care of most of the fundamental responsibilities. This won’t lead to messed up travel or anything like that.

AH did not come to Hoosier Hysteria, so far as I know. There was a lot of back and forth on that, but pretty sure it didn’t work out.

I don’t think it’s a major problem. Obviously, there’s less interest in this year’s team than there was in last year’s team, and no one’s thinking national champion for this squad. I don’t think that’s going to mean much in terms of attendance at actual games, But I think it’s fair to say that the fan base does not have the same amount of emotional investment in this year’s team as last year’s team. Which really means they have perspective. It’s a young team, it’s going to be exciting at times, it’s going to be frustrating at times. No one’s getting their hopes to high, and that’s probably good for the program, actually.

Per a post from Jeff Goodman, who attended practice, Troy Williams and Noah Vonleh were both close to returns and Stanford Robinson was going to be out for 7-10 days from the injury. So those guys have to be close. Sounds like Luke Fischer will be out another week or two weeks. But all of them should be back by the opener.

Jurkin will be available this year, I think. Not sure how long he’s going to be in the Sudan, but things don’t sound good for his dad at all based on the way Crean was talking. So not sure how that’s going to go.

Thanks as always dude.

ANDY: Food safety specialist. You do noble work, sir. My family of dedicated carnivores thanks you. Hope the government shutdown hasn’t affected you. You guys need to be on the job.

 

JBJ is now reportedly saying he hasn’t yet made a final decision and he might or might not commit someplace on the 22nd, the date he previously floated (and just happens to be the birthday of both Bob Knight and my wife, a circumstance I’ve always had trouble wrapping my mind around.) I guess it would still be considered an upset if he recommitted to IU, but I think the Hoosiers are definitely in it.

 

CTC has now indicated that the DoO job had been offered to his first choice, but was declined, and that the program might just do through this season without anybody in that gig.

 

If IU ends up with a class of Robert Johnson by himself, I wouldn’t be at all dismayed. There are just two seniors graduating. If Noah Vonleh turns out to be one-and-done, that changes the equation a bit, but there is always April. Having said all that, I do think at least one more guy will commit, and it is Robinson, that makes it a terrific class.

 

Hoosier Hysteria, frankly, has always seemed a bit tedious to me. The buzz at the start wears off pretty fast. The 3-point-shooting and dunk contests, while entertaining initially, last too long. Why even 12,000 people turn out is beyond me. Personally, I’d rather just watch an actual game-length scrimmage (and not after they’ve always practiced twice that day) with maybe just quick 3-point and dunk contests at halftime. My interest would be to watch the new kids actually play. But then that’s just me. I understand how others might view the whole thing differently.

 

From what I gather, pretty much everybody might be available for the season’s start. The guy with the longest timetable seems to be Fischer, but even he should probably be back.

 

Hadn’t heard that about PJ, other than I’d heard he’d gone home briefly for family reasons a while back. Obviously wish the best for PJ, his dad and his family.

QUESTION: 1. I have barely seen any IU Volleyball matches in my life but as I’m flipping through I see IU Penn State Volleyball on ESPN2. As I’m watching for a few minutes the announcer mentions that IU is building a new volleyball stadium in the next couple years. This was complete news to me. Even though I don’t follow the team hardly at all I do read iuhoosiers.com and heraldtimesonline.com and neither one has mentioned anything about any new stadiums being built at IU. Is IU indeed building a new volleyball stadium anytime soon?

 

2. Why so many basketball De-comits this year from ALL top Indiana kids? This has never happened before like this and is extremely odd. What is going on?

 

3. Why does IU have so much trouble beating Butler in sports? They have tiny old facilities, a tiny fan base and are often outnumbered by IU fans at their own home games but somehow IU always finds a way to lose to these guys in most sports more often than not. Its embarrassing.

 

4. With all these injuries to freshman does IU basketball have a strength and conditioning problem or just bad luck?

 

Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY: Darren,

1. I caught a bit of that match but didn’t have the sound up, so missed that comment. Volleyball might be in the long-term facilities plan, but I can’t say I recall hearing anything was imminent.

 

2. I have no idea what’s in the water with this 2014 recruiting class. I don’t know if they’re getting bad advice or what, but ultimately I hold the parents/guardians, whatever the case may be, responsible for 1) allowing them to make a decision before they’re ready, and 2) allowing them to back out of their commitment. I realize sometimes things happen and things change, but this hokey pokey, put one foot in, take one foot out approach to recruiting does neither them nor the schools any favors.

 

3. Just some numbers to answer your question. In men’s soccer, Indiana leads the all-time series, 21-4-1. Now, granted three of the four Butler wins have come in the last five years but still … In men’s basketball, Indiana leads the all-time series 37-13. Butler has won three times in the last 20 years.

 

The point is, don’t let a few recent results skew your perception.

 

4. Now come on, overreact much? I was on hand at Hoosier Hysteria for Stan Robinson’s injury. It was the equivalent of a football lineman getting his leg rolled up on. Nothing in the world could prevent that injury. Sounds like Luke Fischer’s was somewhat similar freak incident in a scrimmage collision of some sort. Not sure about Troy Williams. The better question might be, why don’t more guys get hurt?

DUSTIN: Darren,

1. I wasn’t aware that had been settled and I’m not sure it has. But there has been talk for some time about moving wrestling and volleyball out of University Gym, less because the sports have grown out of it and more because the university wants to do some expansion in that corridor and add some more classroom buildings and such. I’ll check in on the specifics on that one.

2. Gotta be diplomatic here because at the end of the day we’re talking about high school kids, and considering that, it should be surprising there aren’t more decommits. Remember when you were in high school? Approximately how many times per day did you change your mind? Also, I’ve at least had some level of contact with all of the kids were talking about here, and they all seem to be generally decent human beings so let’s not do this thing where we harp on the lack of character of the next generation. OK, all of that being said, the effect of the fact that the top four players in this class (Lyles, Blackmon, Lyle, Bluiett) are all close friends and AAU teammates shouldn’t be underestimated. Lyles and Blackmon both cited a desire to experience the recruiting process as Lyle and Bluiett had as reasons they left their original Indiana commitments. And Lyle and Bluiett, well, they’ve just been generally indecisive. So one situation has effected the next and so on and so forth. Beyond that, the de-commits have been more understandable. Bryant McIntosh was straight-up calculated rationality. He saw his stock rising, believed he could be a Big Ten player and he was right.

3. Because facilities and fan bases don’t win games. Butler usually has good players and good coaches, which do win games. And Indiana is usually better, but sometimes Butler steps up and beats them. They recruit over their station. They play hard and they play smart.

4. Just bad luck. We’re not talking about muscle pulls here. Luke Fischer was diving for a ball. Not sure what Troy Williams was doing, but if you get your hand busted up, there’s no strength and conditioning that’s going to save you. Same deal with Stanford Robinson’s knee, and as for Noah Vonleh’s ankle, those things happen. There’s no strength and conditioning issue from what I can see and Je’Ney Jackson has been pretty much heralded as phenomenal.

ANDY: Darren:

 

1. Interesting. I watched some of that volleyball match, too, though I missed that particular comment. I had heard something about IU volleyball eventually getting out of University Gym, but I hadn’t heard that plans were actually afoot. Maybe Dustin or Jeremy knows more.

 

2. It’s extremely odd, indeed. The only common thread I can discern is that they all played for the same (Spiece) AAU team and that they all have always talked amongst themselves quite a bit. And sometimes that matters. IU football signed a bunch of good prospects from Indianapolis for its last recruiting class, in part, because those kids all interacted with each other a bit.

 

3. Meh. I don’t think losing to Butler in basketball is ever truly embarrassing. The basketball Bulldogs have been really tough and have taken big bites out of bigger schools for a very, very long time. Butler’s soccer program has also been very good at times. Duke has a small enrollment and old facillities. Does that count, too?

 

4. Just a run of bad luck, I think. And I also think all of the players are on course to be ready at season’s start.

QUESTION: 1. How come a lot of teams have fancy covered benches in their soccer stadium and IU doesn’t? It seems as nice as Armstrong Stadium is, IU should go all out and add these as well.

 

2. I am worried more than anything about Yeagley’s quotes as the losses pile up. Either he is just not tipping his hand or he has no idea how to fix what is going on which is a huge problem as a coach.

 

3. How are the women better than the men at soccer this year? I have gone to a couple of the women’s game (it is soccer after all which is pretty much the only sport I will watch) with the doubleheaders and they are thoroughly entertaining. Maybe Amy Berbary should coach the men’s team. Wouldn’t it be strange if the women make the tournament and the men don’t?

 

4. Is it time to bench the seniors soon if this season falls off the tracks further and IU is pretty much eliminated from doing anything or making postseason? After all it could be really beneficial for next year if you were to start Femi, Tanner Thompson, Vollmer, Mares and Ballard in the midfield so you are ready to make another run next year when these guys are your starters full time.

 

6. With the last question I am concerned about the seniors play, I heard Big Ten Network say how happy Yeagley is with Harrison Petts. Either Yeagley is being nice or doesn’t get it because Petts has had a rough year and has blasted many point blank shots way over the bar. He needs to show more leadership as a captain for sure. Kotlov needs to pick it up as well as Corrado and Bushue. All the seniors look pretty weak and in my opinion it might behoove IU to replace them with younger players in prep for next year and to try to save this season as I said above.

 

IU Soccer Fan, Bloomfield

JEREMY: IU Soccer Fan,

1. A fair question, but I’m guessing sightlines for the fans and relative expense of those covered benches vs. the number of times they would be relevant is part of the factor. Also, those are generally permanent structures and might not be ideal for Little 5 and the like at Armstrong.

 

2. Well, I don’t think I’d worry about his quotes as much as the players. And I’m not sure anyone knows how to fix what is wrong. The offense is putting the ball in the net, and the defense is making costly mistakes. I mean, if you want IU to go into a defensive posture and play for a tie while hoping to occasionally spring a counter attack, then that could be a way of fixing it. But there’s too many teams doing that already in college soccer. I’d rather see the Hoosiers go down in flames playing the way they do, than not.

 

3. Because the women aren’t playing the men’s teams? No, seriously, IU women’s soccer is having an oustanding season and new coach Amy Berbary seems to have provided a real infusion of enthusiasm. Outside of the elite teams like UNC and Notre Dame and Portland in women’s soccer, there is a lot of parity out there, as the Hoosiers proved when Mick Lyon took them to the Sweet 16 in 2007. Indiana is hardly a lock for the NCAA tourney yet, and the goal this season was just to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament, but the women Hoosiers have won the games they could and should win so far, which is the main difference between them and the men’s team.

 

4. Ahh, the old senior dump. It’s a tough question and answering it wrong can create a very negative culture around a team one way or the other. In this case, there really is no point where IU is eliminated from making the NCAA Tournament, because no matter what else happens, if the Hoosiers can win the Big Ten Tournament at the end, they’re in. So, basically, unless you honestly believe that playing the younger guys gives you a better chance to win now, then don’t do it.

 

5. NA

 

6. I guess I don’t get it either, because I think Petts has been pretty good this year. Has he hit a few high, well, who hasn’t on a team that has a shooting percentage of .098 (Opponents are at .146 by comparison)? But I don’t judge leadership or effectiveness on how many shots hit the net. I do think Yeagley is trying to find what works. He had Bushue playing higher in the midfield with Dylan Lax at defensive mid last game, and I believe Dylan Mares, who simply hasn’t hit the form expected since coming from Louisville, came off the bench. Femi and Kotlov have traded off starting and coming off the bench. The offense may yet click, and it probably needs to as the defense doesn’t look likely to be able to win too many games 1-0.

DUSTIN: So much vitriol. I’ll let you guys take this.

ANDY: IUSFB:

 

1. Reasonable question. Could be they think it might obscure fans’ sightlines or something, given how the stands sit. But I shall inquire.

 

2. Well, I don’t think he thinks there is anything really wrong with IU’s overall approach. It’s the same one he and his father have always used. But it’s been a bad year so far, no doubt. Sometimes I think things snowball, either negatively or positively, in terms of a team’s psyche. And the schedule is pretty unforgiving. IU has played a schedule worthy of a defending national champ with lots of returnees, but soccer is an especially fickle sport (as I’m sure you know.) The paucity of scoring is such that the margin between a run of victories or a run of defeats can be very thin. I go back to that bad PK call down at Birmingham as perhaps the start of this particular snowball. But it’s the Hoosiers’ task to pull themselves out of it now, and the schedule won’t make it easy (with non-conference foes such as Louisville and VCU remaining.)

 

3. Don’t be silly. But, yes, it would be an upset if the women make the NCAA field and the men don’t.

 

4. That’s a reasonable suggestion, to be sure, but I also think these seniors deserve every chance to maximize results form their final campaign. They might need to win the Big Ten tournament to make the NCAA — but they might just do that and then make a nice NCAA run. The capacity is there. Given what they’ve given to the program, my inclination would be to give them that chance. But my real focus, were I coaching, would simply be to play the players who gave my squad the best chance to win.

 

6. (didn’t see a 5.) Again, understand your point. But we all know every guy you mentioned can really play. We’ve all seen that. And they’ve given much to this program. And some of them, certainly Bushue, have played better than you might think. As I said above, my inclination would be to give them a chance to finish well. But I also fully understand your point of view.

QUESTION: Good morning gents! Wow what a difference a week makes for IU football. DD asked a great question during the Coaches’s teleconference with Wilson yesterday, wondering what specifics were there about simplifying the scheme, clearing up assignments, etc that he made. He really didn’t delve too deep into that though and clarify things. Can you fine gentlemen try to do so? Why is it now we’ve heard a similar explanation at similar points in the year after this defense has been torched about simplifying the scheme, the assignments, basically “dumbing things down” so players will react and not think so much in a pre-snap situation.

 

I love KW and believe me, his offensive prowess makes this team tough to deal with. But isn’t this related to his inability as a fairly new head coach to channel the defensive coaching staff into a more productive scheme? It seems like in pre-season, implementing a very complicated offense somehow makes the defensive players try and adopt a similar pre-snap analysis and it ends up screwing up what is an entirely different side of the ball.

 

16 guards, Salem, IN

JEREMY: Football dudes …

DUSTIN: I wrote a full-length story on that for Wednesday’s paper, which I’ll post here. If it doesn’t come off as a link, just copy and paste it. it’s subscription, so once you get to that point, it’s up to you.

 

http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/sports/college/iu/hoosiers-d-gets-better-by-simplifying/article_74a5c26a-00ce-5c7e-9be5-f86dd3254256.html

 

I don’t know if it’s necessarily the offense confusing the defense that’s the issue. Wilson has actually said that this season that when the Hoosiers have gone “good on good,” meaning first teams on first teams, they’ve tried to tilt the play-calling so that it’s most beneficial for the defense. They’ve tried not to bombard the defense with all of the things they’ll do to opposing offenses actually, and they’ve made more of a point to run the ball instead of just try to throw it over the top and I don’t think they do quite as much with the tempo so that that won’t be an issue.

What the defensive guys decided was that the “check” system at the line was a little too complicated, they were reacting too much to every motion and players were becoming confused about what coverages and movements they were checking into. Communication was bad because the players weren’t totally sure what they were checking into and instead kind of guessing. Cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby said they tried to make it so that every motion brings about the same check or something from the same “family of checks.” I’m not saying this is that they do, but it might be that every time the tight end moves, they switch from Cover 2 to Cover 3 (I’m not even sure that’s a sensible thing to do, but you get the point.) Or maybe whenever a running back motions out of the backfield, whether he goes left or right, they go from quarters coverage to man. Before there might have been an in between check. Like, if the RB goes left it’s one thing, right it’s another. If he stays in the slot it’s one thing, if he moves further out or becomes part of a trips package it’s another. The goal was just to make it easier. And it was more pre-snap reads and changes than it was anything else.

ANDY: 16 guards:

 

Understand what you’re saying, but efforts to streamline and simplify the defensive approach have transpired since at least last spring, and a lot of time was spent then and in fall camp running very basic offensive plays with emphasis on the running game (both in terms of the defense stopping the run and the offense getting more physical with its run game.) So I don’t think that IU’s preseason practice should have particularly discombobulated the defense.

 

I just think there were, yet again, so many really young guys getting into the defensive mix that it required some additional simplification. But I also wouldn’t say that IU was totally vanilla in its defensive approach to Penn State last Saturday, either. I saw a lot of different things out there, actually. And I think some of the younger lplayers, the linebackers for example, are starting to settle in better.

 

Finding the optimal balance between defensive simplification and effectiveness is probably a very finely-tuned thing. And when things aren’t going well, the natural coaching inclination is to try more approaches rather than fewer. I think CKW is just insisting on proper alignments and fast play. IU fans can perhaps hope that the aforementioned balance is starting to be realized. But I would imagine it’s something that requires pretty constant tune-ups.

 

It’s true CKW is an offense-oriented head coach, but that isn’t at all unusual. Most head coaches have more background on one side of the ball than the other. Perhaps he’s starting to exercise a bit more overall oversight, but he still understands he has to delegate a lot of actual schematics and implementation to his defensive coaches. Nothing wrong with that.

QUESTION: What did you really take away from Hoosier Hysteria? Will we be better than what people may think or are we a year away from where we would like to be? Are the guys good enough to compete with the physicality of the BIG10 and do we have a player or two who will score and rebound consistently and effectively?

 

indianavelt, Fort Wayne

JEREMY: indianavelt,

First off, not much. When you have a scrimmage with no Troy Williams, Luke Fischer or Noah Vonleh, the takeaways are minimal. I don’t learn much from Hanner Perea guarding Peter Jurkin and vice versa.

 

As for the other questions, get back to us in about two months. No, really. I think IU could be both better than people think and still a year away from being a serious contender in the Big Ten and nationally. This would be a year where making the Sweet 16 would be a superb season, and I don’t think it’s out of the question. But neither is missing the tournament completely.

 

Your last question kind of ties in with the first one, in that what I did learn was that Fischer and Vonleh’s ability have an inside presence offensively will be crucial. Vonleh, in particular, remains intriguing, since what he can and can’t do may well dictate how the rest of the pieces come together.

 

I think there are some guys who can rebound, particularly offensively, whether it’s Devin Davis, Troy Williams, Perea, Hollowell, Sheehey, etc. But cleaning the defensive glass will be more challenging and arguably more important.

 

Scoring-wise, Yogi has clearly been working on his outside shot and the more effective he is there, the worse for defenders. Hollowell and Sheehey we know can put the biscuit in the basket, but answering those other questions about the post and determining if an Austin Etherington or Evan Gordon can help effectively spread the floor with their outside shooting remains to be seen.

DUSTIN: Indianavelt,

I took a lot and I took nothing at all. I can’t say what kind of team this is going to be yet, and that’s largely because Voneh was out. And Vonleh might very well be the cornerstone to everything. What he can to might influence what everybody else on the team does. I’m fascinated in terms of how he’s going to be used, because I really don’t know. He can guard the 5, but I don’t think he’s going to be stationed in the post on offense all the time. And if he’s not, I don’t know if any of the starters will be. They are both better than what people think and at least a year away from where you would like to be. This isnt’ a national championship team and it isn’t a Big Ten championship team. But I think it’s an NCAA Tournament team and a potentially dangerous one. Physically, they’ll mostly be fine. Mentally, most of them won’t have a real clue what they’re doing for a bit. They’ll be able to physically defend, but sometimes have mental breakdowns. They should rebound well. And I have no idea how that’s going to translate yet.

ANDY: indianavelt: I should obviously leave this to the guys who were there this year.

QUESTION: Good morning gentlemen, I hope all is well. Thanks for the chat and for the rest of your tremendous coverage. I appreciate it.

 

Being at Memorial Stadium on Saturday is something my Dad and I are never going to forget. I don’t care that Penn State has been weakened a bit by sanctions and I don’t care that the Nittany Lions probably won’t win more than 7 games this year. IU beat the tar out of Penn State and it wasn’t a fluke. IU was faster, more explosive and played more physical and they deserved the win. After games like the Navy debacle or the disappointment against Missouri, I find myself wondering why I continue to commit myself to IU football. I’ll remember that Penn State game as a great reminder of why. Anyway, on to the questions.

 

1. IU has typically struggled in East Lansing (but I suppose they’ve historically struggled at every opposing stadium in the Big Ten) but I don’t think the road crowd will bother the Hoosiers. What could bother them is the MSU defense. Pass protection is going to be an issue but I thought the beat up line did a nice job against PSU. Do you think the Hoosiers can protect Nate Sudfeld well enough to put up some points (or do you think this is one of the games where we see more Tre Roberson)?

 

2. Kudos to the coaching staff because nearly everything they tried last Saturday worked. I was particularly pleased with the way they used Tre Roberson (love him as a red zone closer run threat). They clearly handled the extra week of preparation very, very well. Well done Kevin Wilson and staff! For me, the biggest thing outside of the obvious is going to be the tempo of the game. IU’s hurry-up offense versus MSU’s grind-it-out (in my opinion, boring) “offense”. Which tempo do you think will win out and who gets the win in Spartan Stadium?

 

3. I know Hoosier Hysteria is nothing more than a glorified scrimmage and quite literally, “a song and dance”. That being said and since we have nothing else to go on, did your opinion of any player change after seeing them on Friday night (or hearing things during the early practices)?

 

As always, thanks for your hard work and dedication to Hoosier coverage. Andy, congrats to your Cardinals and good luck against the money-crazed Dodgers. Dustin, maybe next year for your Pirates? (as a Cubs fan, I can tell you that “Wait till next year is a LIE!) Enjoy the rest of the week and weekend. Go Hoosiers and God bless.

 

TJ, Noblesville

JEREMY: TJ,

3. I don’t think my opinion of anyone changed at all. Hopefully, the opinion is slightly more informed, but I feel like we’re all a long way from having a good feel for this team.

DUSTIN: Hey TJ,

1. You might see more Tre Roberson, but Nate Sudfeld is going to be the guy. It’s really his job at this point, which is of course fascinating, because more or less everything Kevin Wilson says he isn’t going to do with the position is what ends up happening. I don’t think that’s by design, I think it just happens that way. Tre Roberson can pass and he will, but mostly, he’s a Wildcat quarterback right now. Anyway, I think they can protect him well enough to put up some points, maybe not enough to put up enough points to actually win, though. It’s not just protecting Sudfeld, it’s also receivers getting open fast enough that he’s not taking coverage sacks. And that’s not easy because those corners are good. Michigan State isn’t necessarily a great pressure the QB team. They don’t have a ton of sacks, but they’re good enough on the edge to make plays and they’re awesome at corner, so the degree of difficulty for Sudfeld in this one is going to be high.

2. I really don’t know that tempo is so much of the issue. It’s really a strength vs. strength, weakness versus weakness kind of thing. Indiana’s offense is unquestionably better than Michigan State’s offense, but they will never be on the field at the same time. Michigan State’s defense is light years ahead of Indiana’s, but they don’t play each other either. Indiana’s offense vs. Michigan State’s defense is a titanic battle. Michigan State’s offense against Indiana’s defense is, well, not that. I have no idea how to even guess on this one, so I wont even try.

3. I’d say I was more impressed by Stan Robinson than I was beginning to think I would be. Let me explain. Just hearing about him and watching a little of his highlights and seeing him at The Derby Classic, there were a lot of things I liked about his game and I thought he’d had a chance to start at the 2 guard. The last few times we’ve talked to coaches, though, it seemed like they were trying to, not necessarily take him down a notch, but admit that he’s got some freshman flaws. I heard a few times that he “doesn’t play with both hands,” yet, which, if you’re talking about a guy who might have to play point guard when Ferrell’s off the floor, the idea that he ‘can’t play both hands,” is pretty scary. But I thought he was pretty solid in that game and looked fine running the offense. I’d say other than that, just about everyone else was about what I expected. But he’s better than I thought coaches were starting to make him out to be.

ANDY: TJ:

 

Glad to hear you and your dad were among “the few, the happy few, (the) band of brothers” who actually braved the weather last week.

 

1. You have hit upon the very point I was going to emphasize for my pregame column. I really do think Saturday’s game may well hinge upon whether or not IU’s injury-plagued offensive line can keep Nate Sudfeld clean against a very formidable pass rush. If so, the Hoosiers defiinitely have a chance. If not … well, we just saw Iowa’s offense post nine possessions of 3 plays or fewer against the Spartans last Saturday, and we could see similar struggles this Saturday. If IU has severe problems preserving the pocket, we might see more of Tre Roberson.

 

2. Michigan State is favored and should be. But IU has a definite shot in this game, particularly if Sudfeld has time to throw. Connor Cook really seems to be emerging as MSU’s answer at quarterback. This could be a really interesting game. It’s strength-on-strength regarding MSU’s defense against IU’s offense, but IU’s defense and MSU’s offense have shown recent signs of progress, so it’ll be interesting to see who has the advantage when the Spartans have the ball (and that could be just as decisive as who has the edge when IU has the ball.)

 

3. Wasn’t at HH this year, so I’ll leave that to my esteemed colleagues. Love my Cards, but I also was somewhat pulling for the Pirates all year (my brother is a lifelong Pirate fan, and several other friends are big Pirate fans (Dustin and Don Fischer included), so I actually had some conflicting emotions last night. I was rooting for the Cards, of course, but would not at all have been devastated had the Pirates won. I’d have been really happy for them, actually. But it was already a terrific, breakthrough season for Pittsburgh after a long stint of real suffering. Not quite Cub-level suffering in terms of duration, but 20 straight losing seasons still seems plenty severe. “Wait till next year” might not be a lie for these particular Pirates. They have a lot of good young pitching, for one thing. But it’s rarely going to be easy to get past the Cardinals.

QUESTION: Gentlemen,

Funny how so many Hoosier fans are on the ledge over b-ball recruiting. Kansas just got its first verbal commit for 2014. Seems that program is still going strong. So many arm chair recruiters, based on a few videos. We have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes, what sort of character the kid is, etc. Cracks me up how much these 15-18 year old kids are put on a pedestal.

 

On to football and my Q: What vibes do you guys get from the players? I sense the program is going in the right direction (pay no heed to Mr. Kravitz), but the proof is in the attitude of the players and the team culture. Beyond the quotes and videos we fans get, do you see a real shift in the IU football players compared to the last Lynch team? Also: how does CKW come across to you as a head coach? What’s the general media perception? Wilson seems bright, but he’s a terrible speaker. As Dustin recently pointed out, he speaks in fragments.

 

PNW Hoosier, Olympia, WA

JEREMY: PNW Hoosier,

Well, thank goodness that Robert Johnson chose IU or those fans might have already jumped off that ledge. IU is still right where it needs to be in this recruiting class and nothing that happens with one or two last signees makes or breaks anything for the program.

DUSTIN: PNW,

Agreed on the first point, but I would point out that this is not exclusive to Indiana. I think as a fan to have a healthy view of recruiting, you really have to set up boundaries for yourself. And I think that has to be hard on some level, because if you really are invested in the success of a college program, you know that recruiting is what makes the difference. But you almost have to meet and talk to these kids and hang around them during an AAU tournament to remember, ‘Oh, right, this are high school kids, and they really don’t know anything yet and they have no idea that’s the case.” And then you remember that no one has control over this thing, and just because a kid doesn’t commit to your school doesn’t make him a bad kid.

I do see a real shift in the attitudes. I’ve always had a lot of respect for Bill Lynch, especially as a human being. His problem was not that he didn’t know football that he had too much perspective on life to be a good football coach. He wasn’t capable of being myopic, so he was forgiving and not as demanding as he needed to be. Being a great Division I football coach sometimes means being able to make seemingly irrational demands without caring whether or not you’re viewed as rational. Lynch could be reasoned with. Guys on his teams were involved in stuff outside of the football team. That often doesn’t work at the Division I level. It is integral to the Division III model, and that’s why I think he’ll be really good there.

That’s not to say that I think Kevin Wilson is overly demanding or irrational, but the players thought he was his first year and now they have found out what they’re really capable of and believe that if they meet his standards, they can do things at Indiana that no one else has ever done. There is a much higher level of confidence and a much higher standard than they have had at the past. Now, does that mean they’re every going to be a Big Ten contender? I really don’t know. There’s a long way to go. Indiana might become a much better sell, but it will always have to deal with the Michigans, Ohio States and Penn States (when they get it back together) of the world. They can have a much better attitude and be a near perfectly run program and still have a really hard time becoming established at that level.

What’s the general media perception of Wilson. As far as the speech, I’ve kind of realized what he’s doing. His mind moves so fast that he’s considered and proven in his own mind about 10 separate points before he’s actually spit any of them out, which is impressive because he talks really fast. It’s almost like he presumes you’ve granted his point before he’s come close to completing a sentence and then he moves on to the next point before he’s actually even explained why he’s going in the next direction he’s going. He said something in his post game speech on Saturday that may or may not have had something to do with Ole Miss players heckling actors in a campus production of The Laramie Project. Or maybe it didn’t. I really have no idea. There was something about players doing something in a class that made national news last week. That’s the closest thing I can think of, but I really don’t know if that’s what he was talking about or not. I think you listen to him and know he knows exactly what he’s talking about. I could write a book on Wilson, though, and I kind of already have.

ANDY: PNW Hoosier:

 

As to your opening observations, couldn’t agree more and very well-stated.

 

Vibes are good inside the football program. Those obviously got a big boost last Saturday, but it was pretty much true before that. Expect that to continue even if victory isn’t achieved in the upcoming two road trips to Michigan. These guys are in it for the long haul this year, I beleive. Should the Hoosiers win at least one of those, however, look out. It could turn into a very strong season. Then again, this remains a very young team, and a bit of an up-and-down pattern seems predictable. It still might be a team that drops one you don’t expect it to drop and then wins one you don’t expect it to win.

 

There is absolutely no question, in my mind, that a major culture shift has been effected within the football program. I’m not at all saying that it was a bad culture under Bill Lynch or any of his predecessors. Just different. But it is very much becoming a Kevin Wilson-orchestrated culture now. These players have bought in.

 

There was a fair amount of attrition that first year but, if you look at CKW’s three recruiting classes, very few of those guys have left or haven’t worked out. The attitude, work-ethic and practice performance of this current bunch seems terrific. Wilson was a bit worried that rewards on Saturday weren’t coming often enough or consistently enough, but last Saturday was a statement game. I don’t know how good Penn State really is, but I think it’s good enough. Good enough to say that last Saturday’s result demonstrated a certain capacity for this Indiana team. That was a needed reward, a reinforcement of the belief that approaching things the right way — or the way Wilson wants, let’s say — does indeed pack a payoff at some point.

 

Wilson wants to play big-boy football here. He has his own vision about what that entails. And I don’t think there is any doubt that the players now share that vision.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: Looks like that will do it for this week’s chat. Dustin and Andy are headed to East Lansing this weekend, keep up with them on the Hoosier Scoop. Anything else before you go, guys?

JEREMY: That’s all for me. Taking a mini-vacation next week, so see you chat folks in a couple of weeks.

DUSTIN: That’s about it. Stick with us, we’ll be doing the live chat thing and etc. from East Lansing. Lots of stuff going on. Stick with us.

ANDY: Many thank to all who chatted/and or checked in. Looking forward to what could be an interesting game Saturday up in East Lansing. The Spartans specialize in making even good opposing offenses look bad. It’s a big challenge for the Hoosiers. If IU shows well, that would be a very good sign moving forward.

 

One comment

  1. Dustin, If you write that book I’ll need to buy several copies(I’ll prefer them autographed by the subject and the author)as I want to give them to people I target as needing to learn about leadership.

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