Live chat transcript

QUESTION: MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat with Mike, Andy and Jeremy. We appreciate you being there.

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

JEREMY: Seems the weather is officially turning from summer to fall, and not so coincidentally, it’s the first day for IU men’s basketball practice. So with that in mind, let’s chat.

MIKE: Good morning, everyone. Posted up on my couch, where I’m finishing some IU football stuff for Saturday’s paper and getting ready to flip on Game 2 of the ALDS. Not a fan of these early start times, but I don’t want to complain. I’m simply happy to have meaningful October baseball in my life for the second time in, oh, 17 years. Let’s chat.

ANDY: Mike is undoubtedly still basking in last night’s Oriole performance. My Cardinals start playoff play tonight against some dude named Kershaw. To maintain dignity and decorum, I shall refrain from any reference regarding Jeremy’s team. And we now have other things to chat about, anyhow …

QUESTION: Here me out on this please and I know this is an interesting week to write this in wake of big win over SLU yesterday and the team play fairly well:

I know I have been critical of the soccer team but my next paragraph will some up why.

I am not advocated firing Todd Yeagley at all. However, IU does need to evaluate where its soccer program is at. It has gotten to the level of IU Basketball at the end of the Knight era from 93-00 save for the 2012 national championship run with a mediocre season with it and a great tourney run (without that we’re really having this conversation). As many IU basketball fans will tell you they would kill to go back to 93-00 in light of what happened post 2000 so we need to be careful moving forward with IU Soccer. However, IU does need to evaluate everything this off season because we have been caught and passed by a good number of team’s talent wise and are not the elite program we were from 1971-2004. We need to make sure though in this evaluation if changes are made they are for the better to go back to the 30 years of Jerry Yeagley and NOT sink to IU basketball the last 15 years. Program is at a critical crossroads and this is why I am criticizing because basketball is so far beyond help and soccer is really the last remaining program that can truly field top notch moving forward.

On a different note it seems the women’s team is back to being not great unfortunately. Saw a little bit of game for 1st time Sunday (Saw them a few times last year) before men and it appears they have lost there goal scoring ability (down almost a goal a game losing, so many seniors who could score) and they don’t have anywhere near the defense the men do to make up for a fairly limited offense hence the drop off. Both teams are similar in that they lack a go to scorer but one has the defense to compensate (not to mention Colin Webb is a much better goalie than Sarah Stone) and one doesn’t hence the difference in the 2 teams. What will it take to get women to sustained success and not have a good year ever so often followed by 5 bad ones?

IU Soccer Fan, Bloomfield

JEREMY: IU Soccer Fan,

Let me start with this: Indiana did just what you are asking in 2009 when it opted not to renew Mike Freitag’s contract. It evaluated the program, determined that five years of mediocrity and a declining trend were not good enough. Hence the hiring of Todd Yeagley.

In the four seasons since, Yeagley has won a Big Ten regular season title, NCAA title and Big Ten Tournament title. This is the first team whose seniors have played all four years for Yeagley, and don’t forget that Eriq Zavaleta and Tommy Thompson would be on this team if not for jumping to the MLS early.

Look, Indiana isn’t what it was 20 years ago, but neither is the college soccer landscape. It’s far more competitive and balanced. There was a time when that wasn’t the case, and IU certainly had elite level talent. However, if you look at almost any Indiana championship team, it was the team that was greater than the sum of the parts, as was the case for the 2012 title team. Now, if there’s one area where IU has been lacking, it’s having enough dynamic players offensively, but I think with the exception of an elite forward, the current team is as good as any in recent years in that regard and should only get better given the youth of the team.

Bascially, Jerry Yeagley and Bob Knight aren’t walking through that door, and even if they did, it might not matter. They brought their unique talents to their respective programs at the right time in the right circumstances to produce success. Judging every future team in light of the past is a recipe for guaranteed disappointment.

As for the IU women’s soccer team, I suggest a good deal of patience. IU said as much when it gave Amy Berbary a five-year contract extension after last season. Again, that’s another young team which is really missing that dynamic, creative player in the middle of the pitch to replace the graduated Lisa Nounasengsy, and having one of its most creative players in Kayleigh Steigerwalt sidelined for the season to a knee injury doesn’t help either. Berbary really doesn’t yet have a team with the ability to play the kind of attacking system she ultimately wants to put in place, and it will probably take a couple recruiting classes to get there. The big thing is that even though they are struggling, the Hoosiers aren’t getting blown out game in and game out.

MIKE: I’ll leave this for the soccer experts. Still hoping to make it to a game or two this season, by the way.

ANDY: IUSF:

You’ve made this case, repeatedly, for a while now. Bringing up again in the immediate wake of the SLU game seems curious timing, though.

There are no direct analogies here, for one thing. Here is my take. Bob Knight was the greatest coach of his generation, bar none. Jerry Yeagley was the greatest college soccer coach ever. Nobody, no athletic department anywhere, can just replicate guys like that or automatically perpetuate their programs. It seems unfair to expect that. The key is to sustain some degree of success and tradition.

Things don’t automatically proceed from, say, the level Bear Bryant attained to the level Nick Saban has attained. But there were good coaches and some good success at Alabama in the interim, along with some difficult times. Alabama football may have seemed irrelevant on the national stage for brief periods, but not for very long. UCLA basketball spent more time in the wilderness, but seems back on the national stage. The tradition never completely eroded, and the chance to attain elite status remained.

What happened to Indiana basketball was unprecedented for a major and historic hoops program, with the probation and complete lack of scholarship-recruited players on the roster, and Tom Crean deserves real credit for building it back up as quickly as he did. IU soccer never stopped being a competitive program. Both IU basketball and IU soccer have enjoyed nationally elite status very recently (No. 1 rankings, a national title …) I’d say both programs are maintaining reasonably well right now. And soccer has no Kelvin Sampson lurking. The soccer Hoosiers should proceed apace, just fine. They just beat the nation’s No. 5-ranked team like a drum, too. That seems a reasonably elite result to me.

Did the Packers replace Lombardi? No. Did I really enjoy watching my Packers last night? You betcha. Is Mike McCarthy a pretty doggone good coach? Yep. Do they have a shot at a ring? They do. Do I expect the dominance of the Lombardi Packers to be replicated? I don’t. My suggestion is that you enjoy watching the Hoosiers and quit worrying.

QUESTION: Good morning guys, I hope all is well. As always, thanks for your coverage and for this chat. The loss to Maryland was disappointing but it was a whole week ago and I don’t feel like thinking about that frustrating performance again. I’ll be optimistic…IU still plays in the B1G, they can still make a bowl game and Tevin Coleman is still awesome.

1. North Texas won’t be an easy game (it’s easy to forget but the Hoosiers were beaten the last time these two played) and IU is going to need a much cleaner performance than they had against the Terps to get a win. What changes (if any) do you think the coaching staff is going to implement on Saturday to prevent another disappointing outing (play-calling strategy, depth chart changes)?

2. I like Nate Sudfeld and I think he is very capable of having big games. I also like Shane Wynn, Nick Stoner and the potential of Harris (he’s going to be really, really good), Cobbs and Booth. However, I think IU’s offensive strength is clearly the running game. The Hoosiers appear to be after a roughly 50/50 run/pass balance but I think it makes sense for IU to be more run-heavy than they have been thus far. I’m in favor of pounding the ball with Coleman, Roberts, Redding and that very good O-Line and dropping the passing game from roughly 50% to somewhere around 30-35% (obviously, this would be adjusted as score/game flow dictates). Do you think this makes sense and do you think we could see it from IU in coming games?

Basketball practice begins today and I’m pretty excited and generally much more optimistic than the national preseason previews seem to be. I’ve seen IU picked as low as 10th and I just don’t see that happening. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll have some excellent coverage coming out of practice and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be at the game Memorial Stadium and it looks like I’m bringing some cold weather with me. Hope to see one of you and thank you in person for your hard work. Have a good one, God bless and go Hoosiers.

TJ, Noblesville

JEREMY: TJ,

Good to hear from you as usual, and you are correct, North Texas won’t be easy. My guess is Indiana finally separates late for a double-digit win.

As for basketball, I think there’s some reason for optimism with a healthy dose of skepticism. I wish we could give you a first-day update, but the media has not been invited to practice. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to learn more before Hoosier Hysteria in three weeks.

MIKE: TJ,

Thanks for stopping by, as always. I thought if IU had beaten Maryland there would have been a potential for the Hoosiers to overlook North Texas with a trip to Iowa looming. That, obviously, is not and should not be the case. You’re right, North Texas looks like a pretty good team — certainly one that demands IU’s attention. Outside of injuries (Spriggs and Murphy), I’m not sure that there are many personnel changes on the horizon. It does seem, however, as if some of the young receivers like Simmie Cobbs and maybe even Jordan Fuchs are disappearing a bit. Kevin Johns admitted the playcalling wasn’t good against Maryland and Kevin Wilson said on his radio show that the entire offensive plan was poor in retrospect. I thought Andy brought up a good point in last week’s Scoop Talk when he said that he’d move Shane Wynn back to the slot. Wynn has been OK, but far from great since moving to the outside. It’s not his natural role. By bringing him back to the slot you allow him to rekindle some familiarity in the passing game and allow him to do what he does best — make plays in space. Wilson didn’t give a whole lot to that thought, for whatever reason, and noted that he had Wynn in the slot for at least one play against Maryland. Don’t be surprised, however, if you see more of that this weekend. You’d also think that there would be an effort to really put the load on Coleman, but it’ll be interesting to see how he manages against North Texas’ rush defense, which is pretty darn good on paper. I suppose that sort of leads into your second question, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea. As we saw against Maryland, IU just needs Sudfeld to be better when teams bring eight in the box. It’s going to happen quite often until the passing game gets going.

We have a couple periods of access coming up with the basketball team in the next couple weeks, but not sure if there will be anything today or early next week or what. But it’s that time of year and, like you, I’m looking forward to getting in there. Thanks again, TJ. Perhaps we’ll cross this weekend (just hold the cold weather).

ANDY: TJ:

Every time you post, you remind me that there are a lot of Indiana fans out there who are reasonable, and who remain loyal to their team even while undergoing the natural ups and downs rendered by results. In this day and age of instant gratification and entitlement, it is refreshing to observe that some fans haven’t lost sight of the basic concept: supporting one’s team. I think more fans, and the teams they favor, would benefit from the concept that adversity and times of need should sometimes engender more support rather than less, to help build things back up. I think we saw that from IU’s fan base when the men’s basketball program went through its Sampson-induced nadir. We see it from you every week in this chat. But too often, especially in this age of anonymous social-media posuring, we seem to have become a nation of scolds and brats and bullies. Kudos to you, and folks like you, who avoid that.

1. North Texas scored 77 points in a ballgame. I don’t care who you’re playing, you get my attention if you do that. And I think Dan McCarney can coach. So, yes, I think Indiana will have to play well to win Saturday. Defensively, the Hoosiers have to take the sort of approach that can handle a dual-threat quarterback. Offensively, It’s easy enough to say it’d be nice to see variety and creativity in IU play-calling, but mostly IU just needs to see precision in the passing game. We saw it at Bowling Green (ironically in a loss) and at times at Mizzou. Need to see it at home Saturday. I don’t think you’ll see many changes in the way of the depth chart or the approach, nor do I think that is necessary. Winning the battle in the trenches, along with proper execution, seems the key to me.

2. Don’t disagree, though I don’t think I’d want the ratio to drop below 60-40, and I’d certainly want to maintain lack of predictability in play-calling. Bear in mind, however, IU had issues running the ball consistently in the first half against Bowling Green and for most of the day against Maryland. The Hoosiers need to show they can be more consistent with that before I’d hang my hat more permanently on it. Agree about Sudfeld, too. He didn’t have a good day against Maryland, but was under pretty constant duress and often bereft of open receivers.

Yes, it’s gonna feel something like basketball season Saturday, with the temps.

Thanks, TJ. Would be honored to meet you sometime. Same goes for other chatters on here.

QUESTION: 1. I remember saying after ISU game I thought receiver could be a problem this year and it appears I’m right. Nate Sudfeld is not Peyton Manning who can make you and me great. He’s a decent QB that when given good receivers like last year can make it happen but can’t make mediocre receivers great. This offense either needs a Tre Roberson who is a dual threat or a couple of good receivers like last year who can maximize a pocket passer like Sudfeld. It appears IU should have done a lot more to keep Roberson because he is what you need with these type of young and still learning receivers. Now teams know they can load the box to stop Coleman and make mediocre receivers beat them which could be fatal rest of season.

2. 20 scouts for IU baseball in fall? I know Effross, Hart, Morris, Halstead, Harrison are all potential pro’s but wow. Can IU compete for Big Ten title for this coming season? Also here’s the problem Chris Lemonis. We won’t know how good he is right now as a coach. At this moment Tracy Smith left a fairly loaded team so either Lemonis does well with them and will need to prove in a couple years what he can do with his own players or he struggles out of the gate and there is trouble. That’s the problem in general when a coach takes over a golden situation is the first couple years you can only be looked at negatively and not positively since you are “winning with someone else’s talent. Also did any players transfer with coaching change or is team still in tact minus seniors and early draft picks that left after season?

Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY: Darren,

1. I have heard people blame Roberson for not being committed to IU, and I’ve heard the criticism that IU wasn’t committed enough to Roberson. Maybe it could just be called an amicable divorce. While Sudfeld is no Roberson running the ball, he’s been surprisingly effective that way. The bigger issue is that Cody Latimer and Kofi Hughes had a knack for making plays that has yet to emerge with the current group, which is also smaller and maybe more easily muscled off their routes or off the ball in the air. The other thing is that teams don’t necessarily have to load the box, because the IU offensive line is losing the battle at the line of scrimmage too often.

2. Baseball dudes …

MIKE: Hey Darren,

I understand why folks are down on Sudfeld because he hasn’t been great. But, as you rightfully note, it’s not all on Sudfeld. The receivers need to do a better job of creating separation, as we saw against Maryland. Sure, they occasionally did and Sudfeld just missed them, but there hasn’t been a lot to like from that group so far. I’m disappointed in Simmie Cobbs’ disappearance, and I thought Dominique Booth might be further along at this point. I think, with Cobbs especially, it would behoove Indiana to use his size to mimic some of the concepts that worked last year with Latimer and Hughes. No, Cobbs isn’t on their level, but he’s probably the best option they have in that regard, as far as getting back to what worked over the last couple years. We’re not yet at the midway mark of the season, so we’ll see how quickly that group can come along in time for the second half.

Yes, Tracy Smith left IU in a good spot, but the early indications are that Lemonis has kept Indiana on the same level in recruiting for the ’15 and ’16 classes, which is key. Of course it’s high school baseball, so we really don’t know exactly how good these kids are. But, again, there are no indications of any drop off there. As far as transfers, I believe OF Tim O’Conner is the only one right now. He’s at Xavier as a grad student.

ANDY: Darren:

1. Agree that the receiving corps appears to have some issues — periodic inability to get open and gain separation, periodic lack of timing and precision on routes, the sort of stuff that often comes with youth. Disagree that Roberson would make much difference, one way or another. Sudfeld has actually tucked the ball and has gained yards when opportunity has arisen, and Coleman et al represent plenty of running threat for opposing defenses to honor. If Sudfeld has time and open guys, he’ll be effective through the air.

2. I don’t see any reason why Indiana baseball won’t be competitive at the upper levels of the league this season. As you say, Coach Lemonis will have to establish his own rep as the head of the program, but he seems to be off to a nice start (attracting scouts, as you note, but also in recruiting) and if IU has a successful spring, there is no reason to think he can’t maintain a good level of success. He has experience with maintaining a potential national-status program in this area of the country, given the years he spent as an assistant at Louisville.

QUESTION: I saw on twitter last night that Jackie Young committed to Notre Dame. How close was Indiana to getting a player of her caliber??

Steve B, Bloomington

JEREMY: Steve B,

I don’t know how close Indiana was, but the Hoosiers were at least in the conversation, which is saying something for a player that is ranked No. 20 in the nation for the 2016 class and made the final 46 for the USA 17-and-under squad. The Hoosiers joined Notre Dame, Purdue, Connecticut, UCLA, Tennessee and Butler in getting an in-home visit with Young, according to her hometown paper. The paper also reported that she actually made up her in mind in July, which would’ve been before Curt Miller resigned.

Young knows current IU freshmen Tyra Buss and Maura Muensterman quite well, and Muensterman tweeted this last night: “Would’ve loved to see her in the crimson but regardless, congrats to @JackieYoung3 on the commitment to Notre Dame. Love ya jacks. So proud.”

MIKE: Not sure how close, Steve, because it’s certainly difficult to close against programs like Notre Dame and Tennessee. Young visited Bloomington for Hoosier Hysteria last October and I know she was high on the IU radar. Curt Miller’s staff demonstrated an ability to get into the homes of the best players in the state and beyond, as evidenced on a near-miss with UConn commit Kia Nurse, Canada’s No. 1 prospect. With the current roster, IU should be in decent shape on the court moving forward. It remains to be seen, however, if Teri Moren and her staff can maintain the same high-level recruiting.

ANDY: Steve:

I know Ms. Young was definitely on the Hoosier radar when Coach Miller was still in place, but couldn’t say much beyond that. Mike or Jeremy might have more details about what IU’s chances actually were with her. Notre Dame, obviously, is the sort of program that is tough to beat for recruits, whatever the circumstances.

QUESTION: Who is rumored to host Hoosier Hysteria?

Clark, Bloomington

JEREMY: Clark,

I have no idea. Can’t say as I’ve heard much about that this year.

MIKE: Clark,

That’s a great question. I honestly haven’t heard any rumors of a potential host, but I do know we’ll have a schedule/itinerary for the night released to us soon. In the meantime, I nominate the Scoop Crew for hosting duties.

ANDY: Clark:

Don’t know. Can’t say the future of humanity hinges upon the answer, either. But, hey, I’m sure there will be fun to be had, regardless.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Thanks for being here and joining us. Remember you can follow IU sports action on the Hoosier Scoop blog and app.

Anything else we should know before we say goodbye?

JEREMY: Soccer has the weekend off, so all eyes on football against North Texas. The Scoop will have you covered. Thanks for joining us.

MIKE: Indiana will be halfway through the home football schedule after this weekend. We’ll have everything covered from Memorial Stadium on Saturday, so definitely be sure to check the Scoop often this weekend. We’ll be there. Meantime, go Birds — Andy’s and mine. We’ll see you next week, everybody.

ANDY: There is still a lot of IU football to be played. That’ll still be true after Saturday, too. Will be interesting to see how this team progresses. It is obviously capable of beating just about anybody and getting beaten by just about anybody. Should make for an intriguing ride. And with men’s basketball practice starting up, I think that is shaping up for a fascinating and not overly conventional campaign. And I’m looking forward to making the trip to Louisville for the IU men’s soccer match there Tuesday evening. So far this season, I’ve been the goal-scoring jinx. The Hoosier offense only seems to get into gear when Jeremy is in the press box. Maybe things will be different on the road. Thanks, as always, to those who chatted and/or checked in.

2 comments

  1. What is with this soccer fan guy? For one, we’re 6-1-3 coming off a win over St. Louis. Two, I enjoy how he always throws out the National Title year. Bizarre.

  2. IU Soccer Fan in Bloomfield- It took nearly half-a-century 40 years for soccer (futbol, football) to become an accepted and popular part of American culture. You are ruining that and we real fans resent it. If you love soccer, please curb your comments on this blog. If your purpose is to insure popular opinion see soccer fans as weirdo and reject the game, continue to post and abuse readers through your personal attacks on the Yeagleys.

    Already you’ve convinced me I never want to visit or stop in Bloomfield, Indiana.

    (Moderator- the use of this blog for directed personal attacks from this individual is becoming old, tiresome and, I am sure, as much a waste of productive work-time for those whose job requires they respond as it is a waste of time to read far enough into it to realize it is the same old-same old. Perhaps some editing is called for)

Comments are closed.