Live Chat Transcript

QUESTION: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat. Thanks for joining us and being loyal Thursday chatters with us — and for any first-time folks, welcome.

Gentlemen: How are you doing today? Should we get started?

DUSTIN: I like the change up on the Moddy opening. Doing well. Let’s get to it.

ANDY: Still wincing that the Cardinals didn’t get to Grienke early when they had the chance yesterday (bases loaded, none out in the first, didn’t score), but am ready to chat.

QUESTION: What is going on with Dante Exum? And, Do we still have a legitimate chance of James Blackmon, Jr. recommitting to Indiana University?

indianavelt, Fort Wayne

DUSTIN: Haven’t heard a lot on the Exum front in some time, which would indicate to me that Indiana expects him to go straight to the NBA. He graduates in December or January I believe (which isn’t surprising considering that’s summer in Australia) and he will be eligible for the draft if he wants to go there. He has every reason to go straight there, because just about every projection I’ve seen has him as a top five pick. Considering how heavily the Hoosiers have been going after guards in this class, that doesn’t suggest to me that they have any confidence in Exum. There is a legitimate chance Blackmon still commits to Indiana, although there’s nothing certain about that. The main competitors are obviously Kentucky and Michigan, and they might be favorites over the Hoosiers right now, but Indiana has stayed with Blackmon the whole way and by all accounts, they’re still in good shape there. I wouldn’t call it likely, but it’s still very possible.

ANDY: indianavelt:

Most folks presume Exum is heading straight to the NBA, though I haven’t seen anything definitive on that. And I don’t think there is any doubt IU has remained in the running for Blackmon, though I don’t know that the Hoosiers are favored in that particular situation. Kentucky and Michigan are rumored to be likely choices, but the rumor-mill hasn’t had a great track record lately (see Robert Johnson.)

QUESTION: OSD as arrived from scenic NW Indiana or as some call it “The place where it smells real bad.” Well Andy’s Cards are dong well. I would like to say congrats but I hate the Cards. But glad for Andy. Also just for Andy a football comment. IU went to MSU and got their lunch handed to them again, just like old times. Man I hope we do not have to pay this coach off. Now onto the questions.

First Evan Daniel or someone else (at my age my memory is not too good) said that Devin Robinson (put whole name as Dustin did not appreciate my attempt at brevity with initials) might declare this week? What say you?

In the Sporting News web site they had a quote from Jacquan Lyle that he was still talking to IU. Is this true or news to you guys? I thought we gave up on him way before he decommitted.

Any time table on when Peter Jurkin will return? Feel sorry for the kid.

What is the status of all the injured guys (Troy, Noah, Stanford)?

Is Austin at full strength yet according to the coaches?

Inside the Hall had a story on Max Hoetzel. First I heard of him and I keep my ear pretty close to the ground (guess that is how it got dirt in it). Is he a possibility and if so is he worth it? Looks very young and thin.

Well good news the OSD has gotten new employment and starts next week. No need to fear I am still on the food safety watch but will be at a candy company now. I will be making sure all those gummy bears are safe to eat. It is a tough job but someone has to do it and I am just the someone. You boys keep living my dream.

OSD is like that ball David Ortiz hit the other night, I am out of here!

Old Sports Dude, Crown Point

DUSTIN: OSD,

I think it was Jeff Borzello, actually. I don’t have a great in on the Devin Robinson recruitment, but it certainly sounds possible. I think he’s opted to skip his visit to Connecticut and he sounds close to a decision.

I was under the impression that IU wouldn’t get back involved with Lyle, but there’s apparently contact there. Lyle actually posted on his Twitter account a text he got from Crean the other night when Crean was giving a speech in Evansville. Most players don’t post their texts with coaches on Twitter, but Jaquan is Jaquan. So I guess there’s contact. Now, what does that actually mean? I have no idea. Crean and Lyle have had a very back and forth but also very personal relationship. I’d say this, I don’t know if Crean still wants Lyle as a player, but I think he does care about him as a person, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they stay in touch on some level regardless of where Lyle ends up playing.

Jurkin is back in practice as far as the injury is concern. I’m not sure when he’s going to leave town to visit with his ailing father or if he’s already left. Feel very bad for him on that one.

Based on the time-table originally put out, Robinson should be either back to practice or close by now. Vonleh is back, Williams should be back as well. Austin says he’s at full strength. Don’t know too much about Hoetzel, but the Hoosiers are obviously interested. Don’t know a whole lot about him.

Good to know I can have faith in my Crunch bars. Thanks OSD.

ANDY: Dude:

Cards still have to face Kershaw and Ryu. Had thought all along the Dodgers should win the NL playoffs with that 1-2-3 pitching punch. And Cards ran into a hot Giants staff last season in the same sitaution. Still have to like my team’s chances at this point, though, and happen to have World Series tickets if they make it.

Kevin Wilson is going to be at IU for a long while yet. But it would help, currently, if the offensive line was even remotely healthy (it ain’t.)

Florida is making a pretty strong late run for Robinson, apparently, but at least Robert Johnson still seems pretty optimistic Devin will join him at IU. Notre Dame has always been pretty strong in that mix, too, reportedly.

QUESTION: Dustin and guys: hope you are well. What does your gut tell you about who will be the next basketball verbal? Also, do you see any way the football team wins 6 this year? Lastly, with the athletes we have currently do you see 7 or 8 wins each season in the future and if not… how do we change that other than obviously getting good recruits?

J Pat, Bloomington

DUSTIN: I think they get Devin Robinson. That’s pretty much a hunch and I don’t have any better clue than you do on that one, but that’s my guess. I think IU has a very good chance of getting six. I really do. I think the Wisconsin and Ohio State games are the only ones that are out of reach. I don’t see them winning those games. I think Michigan is actually beatable for them, and I certainly think Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue are all in play.

Each season in the future? Well no. I mean I guess it’s possible, but I’m not going to go so far as to call it likely. Maryland and Rutgers will be on the schedule going forward, and it’s not out of the question that they’ll be able to beat those teams, but it’s no guarantee either. Penn State is going to get better as they get their scholarships and bowl opportunities back. They’re going to have to deal with Ohio State and the Michigan teams in perpetuity and Illinois and Minnesota come off the schedule. There isn’t going to be a I-AA opponent to kick around anymore pretty soon. So it’s not out of the question, but it’s no lock. How do you change that? It depends. But obviously talent’s going to make a difference. At the end of this season, some questions are going to have to be asked about the defensive staff. If there’s marked improvement between now and the end of the season, maybe you don’t have to make any changes. If there isn’t, maybe you do. Maturity is going to make a difference as will some other things. I think they’re going to be competitive going forward, but they’re still doing with teams with much more established brands. That doesn’t win games, but it does attract players who do win games. At some point, Indiana has to make a big leap and be able to sustain it. They still haven’t made the leap yet, so it’s hard to tell how they could go about sustaining something they don’t yet have.

ANDY: J Pat:

Gut says Robinson. Gut is large and frequently wrong, however.

Football team still obviously has a shot to potentially beat Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue at home to get to six wins. Of the remaining road games, none seem overly likely, though I wouldn’t completely count the Hoosiers out in Saturday’s game at Michigan.

Getting seven or eight wins each season will prove challenging now that IU is heading into what figures to be a very rugged Big Ten East. But there is no reason IU can’t build itself into a program akin to where, say, Northwestern is now. It’s always that old Catch 22. Gotta win to get the recruits. Gotta get the recruits to win.

It would help recruiting if fans would pack the stadium for each home games but, again, winning seems a prerequisite for that. Getting more talent is crucial, especially on defense. I think if the talent level is upgraded a bit, Wilson and his staff are capable of fielding winning teams, though the defensive staff will obviously remain under some scrutiny until IU starts playing more consistently on that side of the ball.

QUESTION: Good morning guys, I hope all is well. Thanks again for your hard work covering IU and for sharing your knowledge on this chat every week. I appreciate it.

I thought tempo/time of possession would end up being a big deal in last week’s game in East Lansing and I guess I ended up being a little bit right. The time of possession stat doesn’t matter that much because of how fast IU’s offense plays but when the opponent continues to convert 3rd down after 3rd down and ends up scoring over and over….there’s obviously going to be negative results and in this case, a loss. To me, that’s what the game came down to, MSU’s 3rd down conversions. Anyway, on to the Big House.

1. I have seen Michigan play against Penn State, Akron and Notre Dame and I must say, the Spartans are better than the Wolverines. The defenses aren’t even close and I would expect Indiana to put up quite a few points on Saturday. The biggest concern for me (and probably for the IU coaches) is the mobility of Devin Gardner. What adjustments do you think will be made to prevent Gardner from hammering us with his legs the way James Franklin did a few weeks back?

2. I know Nate Sudfeld was bit a off (particularly on deep balls) against Michigan State but I have no concerns about the ability or legitimacy of our offense, it’s for real and it’s very good. My only concern would the continued attrition on the offensive line. Who do you think the starting five linemen will be on Saturday and do you think they can protect against a fairly average Michigan pass rush?

3. Generally speaking, how has football recruiting been going for the 2014 class? I know the class of 2014 in the state of Indiana didn’t have as many high-level guys as the previous class but is the momentum from our last class carrying over at all?

4. I can’t believe the first exhibition basketball is about a week away. I won’t be complaining though! Do you think any of the following guys will be missing any game time at the beginning of the season due to injury: Williams, Etherington, Fischer, Robinson…or will they all be good to go for the opener?

As always, thanks for all your coverage, have a great week, God bless and go Hoosiers.

TJ, Noblesville

DUSTIN: TJ

1. I don’t know if it’s an adjustment so much as it’s trying to achieve something they didn’t achieve against Franklin. They have to keep him contained, keep him hemmed in the pocket and not let him get outside of contain where he can make plays on the perimeter. That’s easier said than done, of course, and Michigan has one of the best offensive tackle’s in the country trying to keep IU’s rushers away from Gardner. I would think a spy might be in order, though I’m not sure how often that was used and how often it worked against Franklin, but that could be something they’d consider if they haven’t already. Basically, there just has to be a good but disciplined pass rush.

2.Starting five will be Spriggs, Taylor, Rahrig, Reed and Evans left to right. It sounds like Reed and Evans are healthy. There’s certainly a lot more depth there than there was in the past and in previous years, three season-ending injuries on the offensive line would be much more devastating. I don’t think they’ll get overrun, but I don’t think they’ll be dominant either. I don’t know that Sudfeld will be running for his life, but he does have to get better against pressure than he was against Missouri and Michigan State.

3. It seems to be going well. Delroy Baker the offensive lineman seems to be a big get. Alexander Diamont, the quarterback from LA sounds like a really good get and J-Shun Harris seems like a good replacement for Shane Wynn at the slot. I guess the best way you could put it would be steady, but like you said, there isn’t that core of four-star talent in the state that there was a year ago that Indiana could go after like they did with Kenney, Latham and Allen. But if IU wants consistent four-star talent, they have to win some games.

4. I think Fischer is the only possibility to miss time. The shoulder sprain sounds like it’s a thing that could hang around for a while. But the timetables that came out from Goodman’s article suggest that Williams and Robinson should be back by now. Etherington was fine before the beginning of practice. He says he’s stronger than ever.

Thanks as always, TJ.

ANDY: TJ:

Agree. MSU getting 10 straight third-down conversions was the be-all, end-all up at East Lansing.

1. Gardner is, among other things, Michigan’s leading rusher. I’m not sure exactly what IU will try to do, but everybody who plays Michigan tries to make Gardner pass and then hopes to pick some of those aerials off (Gardner has thrown almost as many picks, 10, as TDs, 11.) But I think Gardner is a good passer, overall, and has really good targets in Gallon and Funchess. Michigan is averaging 39 points per game, and Gardner is the biggest reason why.

2. Agree on Sudfeld. Also agree that, offensively, the key will IU’s banged-up offensive line dealing with Michigan’s defensive front. I think UM’s pass rush is a bit better than average, actually, with Larry Black’s younger brother foremost in that thought. If Sudfeld and Roberson have time to operate, they can get some things done. But virtually every IU offensive lineman is playing hurt. Heard Evans was back at practice Monday and they were hopeful about getting Reed back. So I’ll say, LT Spriggs, LG Taylor, C Rahrig, RG Reed, RT Evans. Rahrig is the only guy among them, I think, who is dealing with only normal bumps and bruises. If Reed can’t go, I’d look for Jake Bailey from up near your neck of the woods.

3. It won’t be rated as high as the 2013 class, but I think the results so far are very solid. And if IU manages to finish 6-6 and get a bowl bit, I would expect that might pay some further recruiting dividends.

4. Dustin and Jeremy are probably more up on that. Think they are all expected back by the time the ball is tipped for-real.

Thanks, TJ.

QUESTION: How long Does Yeagley get? ‘

If next season goes as bad as this one is that the end of him? I�ll say at the time of the search I thought Todd Yeagley is an all right choice but when you�re IU soccer you can do a lot better. How about Ken Lolla, Tim Lenahan, Bobby Clark or Mike McGinty just to name a few? Any of these coaches have turned mediocre programs into perennial powers and I think could make IU Soccer REALLY elite again. I believe with the right offer we could get any of them and they are the kind of coach IU deserves. I am very grateful to Yeagley for having won a national championship but outside of the run in the tourney last year team has been mediocre (better than Freitag but still WAY below where team needs to be) and let�s face it, if that Notre Dame game goes the other way and IU is out in Sweet 16 again last year he is long gone after this year�s mess. Team has gagged away Big Ten titles the last 2 years they should have won easily and still taking a lot of bad losses. Last year�!

��s championship made what has been otherwise all right and not great years go unnoticed by fans.

Overall I want you to comment on my thoughts and if Todd Yeagley really is a great coach and if IU could have done better and how long he gets if team keeps playing like this?

Also is the issue talent and recruiting or in game coaching for Yeagley because clearly one of the 2 two has lacked big time this year.

IU Soccer Fan, Bloomfield

DUSTIN: I don’t even cover soccer at all, but “how long does Yeagley get,” is fascinating question to me. Usually the context there is “how long does he get to build the program? By what point does he have to make progress and actually win?” Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t he win a Big Ten title and a national title in his first two years? And isn’t he also the son of the patriarch of the IU soccer program?

Again, I’m not even watching these games, so I’m not sure exactly why you’re freaking out and you probably have more reason to be concerned than I’m giving you credit for. But let’s put it this way, Fred Glass is an athletic director who realizes he doesn’t know everything about every sport he oversees. This is something he openly admits. He talks to people who know more than he does and he surrounds himself with advisors whose opinions he trusts. The man he listens to more than anyone else on IU soccer is Jerry Yeagley, which probably explains why he fired Frietag and hired Todd in the first place. And last year he won a national title which reinforced the idea. If you think he’s going to turn tail on that in one or two years, you’re insane. You can argue that there’s too much of a conflict there, but if you’re Glass, why WOULDN’T you listen to the Yeagley’s? Why WOULDN’T you put a family that seems to know these things in charge of the program? Before this is even a discussion at all, I’d say Yeagley has to have three horrendous years at the very least. I don’t think he’ll have two.

ANDY: Let’s face it? If you think IU had lost in that Sweet 16 game at Notre Dame (which IU pretty much dominated, by the way) and then had a season like the current one that Yeagley would be “llong gone,” you are simply delusional. Fred Glass has a far less hair-trigger perspective than you seem to think he has.

And if you are “very grateful” for last year’s title run (which Todd won with his own recruited players, unlike Freitag, by the way), you have a strange way of showing it.

Nobody is saying this year’s season hasn’t been a major disaster. The question is whether it turns out to be an anomaly. I would guess that to be the case.

Sometimes seasons and teams just go south, for any number of reasons, and soccer can be an especially fickle game. For a program that has never experienced a losing season, it is obviously a real punch in the nose. But I don’t see lack of talent out there. This is a talented Indiana team. I do see uncertain play in goal and some unsound structure in the back third at times. And a lack of finish up front. But in most of the matches I’ve watched, Indiana has out-played the opposition only to end up on the short end. And that sort of thing can (and has, in this case) snowball, psychologically and emotionally.

Sometimes even good pieces don’t fit together well, and even a good coach can struggle with that.

But as for coaching, let me ask you something. Jerry Yeagley coached this program to glory. Do you really think IU has deviated significantly from his overall approach, now that his son is coaching? Todd Yeagley and Brian Maisonneuve are very obviously Jerry Yeagley guys, and Jerry is still very much around for consultation (in contrast, perhaps, to some of Freitag’s later years). So are you saying that Jerry Yeagley’s approach to the game is obsolete?

QUESTION: 1, Wouldn’t it be very IU Football like for them to go into the Big House pull a huge upset over Michigan and get everyone really excited and fill the stadium for Minnesota on homecoming only to suffer a huge let down loss in that game?

2. I am worried about IU Basketball in the sense that Don Fisher who is usually Mr. positive on everything on the Dan Dakich show has basically said that the team is not looking great right now in practice. What do you make of this?

3. Is IU Baseball in the spring the only sure thing this year in athletics with everything else struggling mightily?

Darren, Martinsville

DUSTIN: Darren,

1. Ha! Yeah it would, but even then, they’d only be two wins away from a bowl game. But I don’t see a win over Michigan as anything anywhere near impossible.

2. It’s a really, really young team, and Crean is very much tempering expectations for them. I think you’ll see them get a lot better as the year goes on because they are hard working kids with a lot of talent, but I have very little indication that anyone outside of Ferrell, Sheehey and Vonleh really know what they’re doing right now. There’s going to be some growing pains, but I still think there’s a high ceiling.

3. Eh, I guess. Soccer’s been an unfortunate surprise. I think swimming will be good, track will be OK, basketball will have it’s ups and downs. But baseball should be really good. Not sure if they can repeat a College World Series trip, but there’s a chance.

ANDY: Darren:

1. I’ve said all season that this IU football team was one that might well lose a couple people didn’t expect it to lose and win a couple folks didn’t expect it to win. That’s already happened (Navy, Penn State) and might well again. So what you say isn’t totally far-fetched.

2. I wouldn’t expect this IU basketball team to “look great” all the time, in practice or in games. I would expect this is going to be an exciting, maddening team to watch. It’s so young. It’s very talented. It can really run. It can’t really shoot. It’s just going to be up and down pretty much all season long, I would think, and conference play will be rugged. The veteran Big Ten is an unforgiving league right now. And you just can’t see the amount of veteran firepower, talent and overall capacity IU saw depart and not really feel it the following season.

And you’re right about Don Fischer accentuating the positive regarding IU, which is only appropriate given his gig, but he’s honest. I’m sure he was honest in his assessment with Dakich.

3. Could be. There are no guarantees. But if the football team manages to finish 6-6, that’d be a shot in the arm for the whole department.

QUESTION: Gentlemen,

Do you often wonder if only 10 people or so read the chat? Seems the same core of about 3-4 send in Qs. Perhaps I’ll become a regular (that would go over well with my wife…..). IU is clearly back on the map in the world of hoops. Do you have a feeling as to how well received/respected Crean is among his peers, and the media? I think he’s great for IU and has done an amazing job. He clearly has a level of energy that goes through the roof, and that seems to translate fairly well to his team. He obviously loves to talk at length, and seems very gracious to fans. I just wonder what the pundits and coaching community think about his coaching prowess. IU pulled off awesome road wins last year, but Bo Ryan owns Crean and I couldn’t believe how poor they looked against Syracuse. Seems when he’s up against a non-typical system, he has difficulty with it.

PacNW Hoosier, Olympia, WA

DUSTIN: I do often wonder, Pac. We’ll take another regular.

Crean’s coaching prowess… I’d say this. He’s better respected for his x’s and o’s than most people think. He’s tireless and he’s a total basketball nerd. If you actually sit down and talk basketball with him � which isn’t easy during the season actually because he’s very protective and probably overprotective about strategy to the point that he sounds ridiculous when he’s talking about it � you find out that he really does know his stuff. He’s truly obsessive. He’ll sit around watching tape of European league games in the summer just to see if he can find something he can use. And most people he’s worked with or known know this. His playbook is humongous. Now, like you said, Ryan does own him and Syracuse was a disaster, but I’m not sure how much the latter was a product of strategic failure and how much it was just lack of execution. I’d say no one thinks he’s the best x’s and o’s guy out there, but no one thinks he’s deficient either. I saw a listing where he was somewhere in the top 20 and that sounds about right for me. There might be 10 or 15 guys that are ahead of him, but that’s still pretty good. Now, I think Crean’s got a lot of bluster and that wears on people, media and coaches alike. The blow-by handshakes, the long waits post-game for press conferences and such. He’s not the most popular coach in the Big Ten by any means, but he’s certainly respected by just about everybody.

ANDY: PacNW Hoosier:

While only a few folks regularly submit questions, I do think the chat is a bit more widely-read than that. I get comments from other people regarding the chat when I’m out and about. But I’d be curious to know just how wide the audience is, and how many page-hits are generated. Since we are essentially a pay website, I think a lot of people remain unaware that we provide a lot of free stuff (the chat included) on the site, which doubtless limits its dissemination. But by all means please do become a regular (spousal relations permitting.)

It seems to me CTC’s relations with his peers and the media are generally positive, but still quite mixed. I believe there are at least a couple of Big Ten peers with whom he doesn’t share especially cordial relations, and his uber-hyper approach probably strikes some folks as more prickly than cuddly. Personally speaking, he’s always been enjoyable to work with, but I don’t work around him nearly as regularly as do Dustin and Jeremy. I do think there are some issues with consistent access to both players and the program. And as you note, he is consistently great with fans. He is a terrific ambassador for the program in that regard. Overall, he clearly deserves tremendous kudos for the job he’s done at Indiana so far. I don’t see how anybody would argue much with that.

As to how other coaches gauge his actual coaching acumen, I really have no real clue about that, other than he seems reasonably well-respected in that regard at least on the surface.

Sometimes teams or coaches just seem to have somebody’s number. And the Syracuse zone has, at times, foiled many a good coach and team over the years. I think people fixate on that game too much, actually. It was a terrific season. And that outright Big Ten title was wrapped up on the road in East Lansing and Ann Arbor, where no other visiting team won all season long. Maybe I’m a bit old fashioned, but the first outright Big Ten title in 20 years would mean more to me were I an IU fan than would one bad Sweet 16 game.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s show. Thanks so much for joining us. You can follow the guys and all IU sports new on The Hoosier Scoop blog and free app.

Gentlemen: Thanks for the time. What else should we know on the IU sports scene as we inch closer to the weekend?

DUSTIN: Well, I’m actually not going to be at Saturday’s game against Michigan. I’m going to a wedding on Saturday back home, so Mike Miller is going to do the beat work from Ann Arbor along with Andy. But stick with them, we’ll have coverage leading up to it and through it. Thanks everybody.

ANDY: Thanks, and apologies to the Dude. I was dragging my cursor down to answer more of his inquiries and accidently hit “submit” instead, so only my truncated response was posted, before I could get to most of his questions. Sorry.