Live chat transcript

MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat. Busy weekend with Homecoming set for tomorrow at Memorial Stadium against Michigan State. And Jeremy and Mike were up in Chicago for Big Ten Basketball Media Day. So enough from me, let’s get to the chat. How is everyone today? Should we get to it?

JEREMY: Glad to be out of the car and even more excited to see the sun again. Let’s get right to this chat.
MIKE: Hey, everyone. A big thanks to Jeremy for doing the driving to and from Chicago the last couple days, while I popped Dramamine and poked at my keyboard for a couple hours. Anyway, yes, a busy weekend indeed. Let’s talk about it.
ANDY: What is that I see outside? Could it be? Sunshine?
But I’ll pledge to stay inside long enough to complete the chat.

QUESTION: I got nothing bad to say and just hope team keeps this up so ill ask something else.
What are the chances IU keeps the no. 1 RPI and gets a number 1 overall seed or at the very least a top 4 seed to host all the way to college cup if they stay alive? The one difference between this year and previous years is we are beating some really good teams. In 2010 despite a mediocre record we got a 13 seed because we beat some really good teams (namely Creighton and UCLA). In 2011 and 2012 we got a slightly worse 16 seed with a very good record because we didnt beat a single high ranked rpi team until tourney. This year we finally have beaten very good teams AND have a good record so if we keep this up hopefully we can get at least a top 8 seed to host 1st 2 rounds (if not better) for 1st time since 2008.
IU SOCCER FAN, Bloomfield

JEREMY: IU Soccer Fan,
I think there’s a very good chance IU gets a top four seed at this point, although the remaining schedule still isn’t easy — Maryland and Notre Dame being the next two games, for starters. That being said, the remaining schedule is such that even with a couple of losses, IU isn’t going to fall very far, if at all, in the RPI. I’d say short of a complete collapse, the Hoosiers have a top 8 seed in hand.
There’s no doubt playing at home in the postseason is a boost, not to mention much easier on the media for coverage, but it’s no guarantee of success either.

MIKE: IUSF, glad to see a more even approach this week. Cheers.

ANDY: IUSF:
I’d say the Hoosiers’ chance to say in the top 4 seems reasonably good providing they maintain the same sort of stride, given that the Big Ten has some reasonably high-ranked foes and a fairly good conference RPI. IU has won some of the key non-league games, and if the Hoosiers continue to do well — and, say, manage to avenge the loss to Penn State (RPI No. 11) or the tie to Northwestern (RPI No. 16) during Big Ten tournament play — I’d say they’d stand a good chance of landing a top 4 seed. I’m no mathematician (believe me) and the vagaries of RPI remain mysterious to me in many respects, but that would be my best guess.

QUESTION: Soccer questions….assuming that IU doesn’t fire Todd Yeagley at the end of the year *snicker*, do you think this is his final destination, in his mind? By that I mean, is coaching IU the pinnacle for him? Or if he’s successful enough hear, does he have any aspirations of joining Caleb Porter in MLS? It hadn’t occurred to me until recently. I know he’s got sons who he may someday want to coach at IU, so that would probably put him here another decade and a half, at least (assuming they’re good enough and assuming he succeeds between now and then).
Also, Kerel Bradford was hurt at the beginning of the year but has really only been used as a sub this season. Safe to assume he’s been passed up despite being fit? I thought he was one of our few steady defenders last year, so having him come in as an extra DM when we’re trying to protect a lead isn’t so bad, I just wondered if you knew if there was more to the Kerel Bradford story.
Looking forward to a clash with Maryland Sunday. But oh to have those extra 2 points from the Northwestern match right now. Ugh.
Snarky Hoosier, Hoo-Hoo-Hoo-Hooville

JEREMY: Snarky,
Well, I don’t want to speak for Yeagley, so I’d just say you never say never. So long as he continues to have a measure of success at Indiana, I think the MLS door will be open largely as a result of the connections he built over his playing career and another year in the Columbus Crew front office before migrating to coaching full-time. I suppose that how college soccer does or does not adapt in coming years could be a factor, too, as there seem to be increasing developmental options, while the proposal of a full-year college schedule is also on the table. Yeagley’s oldest son is a high school freshman this year, so you are correct, that throws an additional interesting dynamic into the mix.
In the fits and starts I’ve been able to cover soccer in recent weeks, I think it’s more a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” with Kerel Bradford. The Hoosiers have been getting excellent play from Derek Creviston and Grant Lillard at center back, so Bradford is now a luxury in that he could fill in for either of them or in the defensive midfield as he has been doing.
Maryland should be a fun match. The Terps have won three straight to right the ship a bit, but they are also 0-3-1 on the road this season. As it stands, that tie with Northwestern may be the difference in catching Penn State for first or not.

MIKE: I’ll leave this to the soccer fellas.

ANDY: SH:
Just saw a youthful Yeagley (Ben) playing as a freshman for Bloomington South as the Panthers beat Richmond in the regional semifinals last night over in Columbus. So, as you note, the family’s local soccer legacy continues apace in more ways than one. I’ve never heard anything that would indicate Todd wouldn’t want to stay here for a good, long while and perhaps permanently. I do think a guy such as Brian Maisonneuve may want (and deserves) a head coaching gig, so I could see him moving on at some point.
I’ve had the same thought about Bradford but, as you suggest, I think right now it is perhaps just the fact that the defense functioned well in his absence and continues to play well. Kerel seems to be playing fine when he gets in there (I saw him in a reserve role down at Louisville and he seemed as solid as ever.) And, yes, I’m sure that Northwestern tie still rankles a bit.

QUESTION: Good morning guys, I hope all is well. As always, thanks for your terrific coverage and hard work, I truly appreciate it. I’ll start by giving a special thanks to Mike and Jeremy for their great B1G Media Day coverage and a special “condolence” to Andy as his Cards were knocked out by the Giants. The two best-run franchises in the NL met and the Giants made a few more plays at the right time. On to the questions….
1. I thought about asking about O.G. Anunoby’s commitment and Thomas Bryant’s recruitment and where everyone fits in for 2015-2016 but I’m ready to focus on this year’s team. In the time you guys have had watching practice, listening to the players and coaches and picking up other tidbits around the program, have your expectations or outlook for any players raised or lowered? By the way, I completely agree with your projected starting lineup of Ferrell, Blackmon, Zeisloft, Williams and Hanner (with Robinson, Johnson and Davis being the primary bench options).
2. The moment Tre Roberson transferred and turned QB depth into a question mark, I think most long-time IU football fans had visions of Nate Sudfeld getting injured. It has happened (and it was even worse because it occurred right after IU should have been off the field following a Shane Wynn TD…alas, he dropped it and Sudfeld got crunched on the next play) and it appears that Alexander Diamont is taking over as the starter. The coaches have been fairly emphatic throughout the preseason and season that he’s “not ready” but now he’s going to be thrust in the starting spotlight in an ESPN game against a fairly ferocious (but not as stout as last season) MSU defense. Multiple questions with this one but I’ll simplify it: How do you think Diamont performs moving forward (I loved his tape but that tells us very little) and do you think Copeland will still be rotating in (a return to the Sudfeld/Roberson platoon)?
Thanks for everything, have a great week, God bless and go Hoosiers!
TJ, Noblesville

JEREMY: TJ,
Thanks for the kind words and also for paying attention to us.
1. You’ve got the right thought, I believe, because what this year’s team does will shape just how next year’s team ends up looking. For me, I don’t think anything has changed during these initial glimpses at the team on and off the court, mainly because I’m not ready to make a lot of snap judgments until we see this team play somebody besides themselves. The Hoosiers unquestionably have enough talent to make the NCAA Tournament and win a game, maybe two. They also have enough question marks to wind up .500 and out of the postseason picture … again. Right now, we’re in spring training mode where hope springs eternal. How that talent specifically plays out, who steps up when the pressure is on and who folds like a tent, remains to be seen. And to add one more thing, with the youth of this team, you’d like to believe that they will be better in December than November, better in January than December and so on.
2. I’ll leave the breakdown to the football dudes, but barring a significant injury, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Covington this year by any means.

MIKE: Hey TJ. Yes, I echo your sentiments toward Andy and his Cards. Tough way to go down.
Good question. We’ve touched on this before, but Nick Zeisloft looks like a very nice pickup for Indiana. I understand people questioned that move at the time, but trust us on this. He has a savvy about him — a bright, veteran player who can hit shots. Not sure what, if anything, he’ll bring to some defensive matchups, but offensively and in the locker room Zeisloft adds a ton of things this team didn’t have. And he has two years of eligibility. Really like that pickup. Beyond James Blackmon and Robert Johnson, I’m not sure what IU gets out of freshmen Emmitt Holt, Jeremiah April and Tim Priller. Holt is probably a little too fresh, but could provide more help and tangible production down the line. Of course, he’ll be needed at times this year so we’ll see. April is still too far behind because of his nagging ankle injury and hasn’t practiced much. That could hurt. And Priller is an interesting case. Right now, or at least based mostly off what I saw in Montreal, I think he’s just too one dimensional at the moment. He seems like a bit of a project. I don’t want to forget Hoetzel either. He’s a tough read. He’ll play, I think, just not sure how he’ll be used.
I was with the basketball team when Kevin Wilson opened practices for the only time this summer, so I still haven’t seen Diamont in any type of live action. I have absolutely no idea what to expect, and it’s kind of fun. I’m not expecting tomorrow’s game to go well, but I’m looking forward to watching Diamont. He’s going to make a bunch of mistakes, I’m sure, and he’ll be under duress against the Spartans, but there’s some intrigue there. His high school coach told me the other day that he’s got a little California swagger to him, which just adds to the profile. Who knows what the deal is with Covington. I realize there are some out there who would like to see what Covington could do with a full week of preparation, but I think Diamont presents the best option for IU at this point. I also think that this was the doomsday scenario all along. If Sudfeld were to miss a play or a little more time in a game, we’d see either Covington or Boudreau. But the staff likely realizes that, looking long term, Diamont gives them a better chance over the next six games. I’m actually looking forward to seeing what he can do.

ANDY: TJ:
I know everybody else is sick of the Cardinals, but not any more sick than I am of the Giants these days. At one point during the playoffs, San Francisco had scored 11 runs over four games without benefit of a hit. Egad. It’s one thing if the Giants win it. It’s another if it just gets handed to them. Not that San Francisco wasn’t the deserving winner. But … go Royals.
1. I’ll let Mike and Jeremy handle that one, as they’ve already watched practice and, as you note, just returned from Chicago (and Mike also got a pretty good gander at this team up in Canada.) (And no jokes about Canadian Ganders, please.) I do think IU will have to play bigger lineups against some teams (especially during Big Ten play), along the lines of Ferrell, Blackmon, Williams, Davis, Hanner.
2. I believe it was actually two snaps after the Wynn drop, but why quibble? I think Diamont has a lot of moxie, can both run and throw, and can be very elusive and opportunistic, but obviously Michigan State is the last Big Ten team against which I’d want to start a freshman who has yet to take a college snap. It’s pretty much worst-case scenaio stuff. If he does anything other than struggle, it’ll be quite an achievement. If he does struggle, that doesn’t mean he can’t play. If he stays healthy and gets two full weeks to prepare for Michigan, then I think we’ll have a better chance to evaluate how he might work out for the balance of the season. And I don’t think Covington is going to play at all, although I could be wrong about that. Nothing is confirmed about Covington’s status at this point from those with absolute knowledge.
Thanks, TJ. And we Cardinal fans remain spoiled. And, I reiterate, the Cubs are coming.

QUESTION: 1. I dont blame Kevin WIlson for Tre Roberson transferring at all but to me it shows why the ncaa needs to crack down a bit on transfers. For me I would like to see a policy that besides a family emergency you cannot transfer schools for reasons of playing time after term ends the year before. Basically if Roberson wanted to transfer he needs to make that decision by last May of 2014 for Sep 2014. Its not fair to fans or to the coach to have a player transfer 2 weeks before the season and be insufficent at a postion because of it. If you know by May at least you can dip into JUCO ranks and get another Cam Coffman type over summer.
2. In terms of basketball I will continue to say Crean needs to pick up his recruiting. We may do all right this year but for the next few years if Crean is going to recruit at the level he is (3 star unranked players mostly) eventually the talent wont be enough to compete in BIg Ten. Not at all advocating firing him but the level of player he is getting right now is not enough. Also is it possible kids are turned away by all the transfers for playing time? Even JMV and Dakich have basically eluded to players being run off the team. With the new bill of rights Crean is going to have to stop this. Whether its completely untrue, perception is out there which cant help recruiting.
Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY: Darren,
1. It’s certainly an interesting debate, not limited to football by any means. But in Roberson’s case, he’s transferring down a level so as to not have to sit out a year. Are you going to then block all transfers down, such as a D-I player going D-II or even NAIA? The other half of the discussion is that if kids can’t transfer in the summer, then what about coaches? And for what it’s worth, Roberson only missed your cutoff by 11 days. Not sure that would change a whole lot in terms of what was available to IU.
2. I wouldn’t get too angst-ridden over recruiting just yet. Clearly Crean did just fine with a roster of 3-stars along with Cody Zeller, so you can find the right mix of talent, development and an elite talent or two. Now, two or three years of 3-stars only would probably be more concerning. And there is probably valid concern over how the frontcourt is currently looking, considering the unknown that is Jeremiah April and no other available center except Hanner Mosquera-Perea. But for me that concern is more than both Morgan and Anunoby are 6-7, 6-8 than that they don’t have talent.
I don’t know about players being run off. That terminology is always difficult, because if a coach tells a player that the playing time desired is unlikely to happen and another place might be a better option, is that running them off or just being honest and looking out for the player’s best interest? Maybe both.
The bill of rights certainly might make coaches less cavalier about managing the roster, but until Crean actually finds himself with too many players, not sure he’s going to back off the oversignings. He actually talked again yesterday in Chicago about how you have to be prepared for any eventuality. Is it the most savory approach? Not from the outside looking in, but it’s also worked out one way or another so far.

MIKE: Hey Darren,
Ehhhh. The timing certainly wasn’t great, but I don’t think I’d add any additional transfer rules to the ones in place. Just an unfortunate set of circumstances. Maybe in hindsight the staff could have done more to convince Coffman to stay. That’s to say maybe they could have done more to anticipate one of Roberson or Sudfeld deciding they’d be better off transferring.
I’d say Juwan Morgan was a pretty nice get for Crean, and James Blackmon and Rob Johnson were also pretty highly regarded. So, we’ll see what comes down the road. I definitely wouldn’t be sounding the alarms right now.

ANDY: Darren:
1. There is no doubt the timing of Roberson’s transfer was less than optimal for IU’s program. And had he been compelled to make it earlier, we might well be seeing Cam Coffman trotting out there Saturday to quarterback IU. But Roberson was already limited in his choices via NCAA rules (he’s still have had to sit out a year if he hadn’t chosen to attend a FCS school.) I don’t know that he NCAA can or should really penalize kids for transfering beyond the rules already in place. As a separate observation, I do think the NCAA could look at relaxing or changing some of the recruiting periods for football. Coach Wilson has long advocated for a November signing period for football, and I agree.
2. Meh. Juwan Morgan can really play, by the way, and I think Anunoby has definite upside. Players being run off? I’d say Jeremy Hollowell ran himself off. And I don’t think what JMV and Dakich might allude is necessarily what you should infer. And I don’t agree that “the perception is out there” except maybe among fans who listen to radio shows. There is sometimes a misconception about a mutual parting of the ways. I do think IU’s Bill of Rights might affect how some Hoosier coaches handle their rosters a bit, which is fine by me. The situation has always seemed to work out for Coach Crean’s program, regarding numbers.

QUESTION: Fine gentlemen of the Hoosier Scoop.
Tempted to go down and unleash some justice, Kill Bill-style, on this group of workers sawing a tree down the street, shattering the early-morning tranquility of the first nice day we’ve had in ages. And their crimes extend further – I had a dream where I pretty clearly saw IU ahead of Iowa by 3; the Hawkeyes’ last-second field goal turned out to be a fake, but the would-be TD pass landed hard on the turf.
I jumped out of my chair and yelled “That’s four wins! That’s four!” which leads to an interesting question – was that a clairvoyant glimpse of last week’s game if Shane Wynn catches that pass? Was it a revelation on how the Michigan State game will end, and my subconscious just got the teams wrong? Am I suffering Indianensis Octoberitis?
Anyway, I’m sure you guys are tired of predicting how Zander Diamont might respond against this and that, so I’ll shake it up. It’s Homecoming weekend. What has been the most notable and/or enjoyable each of you have experienced at your respective alma maters?
Thanks for all the hard work, gentlemen. Old colleagues Dustin and Hugh get to meet in Oxford tomorrow. Do you think the Vols get whitewashed even more than the Hoosiers do?
Peace 🙂
Son of Andrew, Minas Tirith

JEREMY: Son of Andrew,
Word of advice: avoid attacks on people with chainsaws in their hands, Kill Bill or not.
I think you just had a bad case of indigestion based on that dream.
I’ll go status quo with the Rebel Kellenbergers over the Volunteer Dopiraks, but also go on record as saying Tennessee makes this a little closer than you might think.

MIKE: Hey Son of Andrew,
I think Indiana is right there with a chance to win if Sudfeld is healthy, I really do. Actually, not tired at all about talking about Diamont’s prospects tomorrow. As mentioned earlier, the intrigue surrounding this guy has me looking forward to tomorrow. It’ll likely get ugly at some points and he’s going to make some mistakes, but we’ve heard about Diamont for a couple years now so I’m excited to see what he looks like. Just hope he doesn’t get broken in half.
Good luck with those tree dudes.

ANDY: SOA-MT
Hmmmmm, that’s strange. There were guys sawing a tree down the street from my house this morning, too.
I think if Shane Wynn catches that ball to get IU within a TD and Sudfeld doesn’t get hurt, the Hoosiers are right in that game with a chance to win it in the end, even after that disastrous first quarter.
Butler isn’t my alma mater, since I subsequently transferred to and graduated from IU, but I remember a Homecoming dance once at the Holcomb Gardens on campus there once that was great fun (though I bought new shoes on the way to the dance and my feet paid the price.)
I thought about Dustin and Hugh when I saw that game on the schedule earlier this week. I would presume they will find time in their busy schedules for some pre- or post-game merry-making. Dustin and I hooked up with Hugh in Cincinnati once before an IU game there when Ole Miss was simultaneously playing in Lexington. And I would have to think the Vols have about the same sort of chance the Hoosiers have Saturday.
Peace 🙂 backatcha.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Thanks for being here. The chat may be over, but you can follow IU sports news and join the conversation onThe Hoosier Scoop blog and app.
Thanks for being here. What else should we know before we wrap up?

JEREMY: Aside from football, big home game for IU soccer on Sunday afternoon against Maryland. I believe the deal is that your football ticket from Saturday gets you into the soccer game free on Sunday. We’ll have all the details on both. Have a great weekend, everybody!

MIKE: Plenty of football stuff to come over the next couple days and a pretty good soccer match at Armstrong on tap for Sunday. We’ll be on the Scoop and elsewhere, so stick with us. Thanks everybody. See you next week.

ANDY: Thanks to all who chatted (with a special shout-out to SOF-MT, of course) or checked in. And now, despite having contracted a nasty cold, I vow to go out and enjoy some sunshine.

One comment

  1. A little addendum to the question regarding Kerel Bradford’s role on the IU soccer team. I asked coach Todd Yeagley about Bradford Friday afternoon, and here’s what he said: “That’s like you have an ace sitting right there. And Kerel’s been fantastic in knowing where his role is and also doing whatever is asked. When I look and see Kerel about to hit the field, I know from a staff standpoint and the team, we’ve got a guy coming on the field that’s going to get what we need to get done, whether it’s locking a game down or filling in. …

    “Having Kerel a starter in his abilities, to have him come in whatever role is asked and embrace it and do what’s best for the team, that’s a win-win in the end.”

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