IU sports chat transcript

QUESTION: Good morning, and welcome to today’s IU sports chat. Thanks for joining us. Happy to see a break in the weather here in Bloomington.
Let’s get started.
Gentlemen, how are you today? What can you tell us on this Friday?

JEREMY: Good morning, moddy, and everyone else joining us today. I’m enjoying the sunshine as long as it lasts, so let’s get to the chat.

MIKE: I can tell you that I have Taste of India on my mind for lunch today. That buffet is just fantastic. But first, let’s chat.

QUESTION: My man crush on Kyle Schwarber is growing by the day. I decided to go to the “Schwarber game” Tuesday and he delivered big with those game tying and winning Home Runs. I debated leaving early but so glad I didn’t. His catching needs some work but with his bat wow. As a cubs fan thats one of the better games I have ever been to and fortunately I could take the next day off from work (which I raely do). This might be a stupid question but what is his ceiling?
Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY: Darren,
I think Schwarber’s ceiling is tied largely to his position. Not to say he doesn’t have an All-Star capable bat regardless of position, but he stands to be an elite hitter/commodity as a catcher as opposed to a left fielder.
Hopefully, Devin Mesoraco can get healthy again next year for my Reds and make for some fierce, young catcher competition in the NL Central.

MIKE: Hey Darren,
Sounds like a nice evening. I stood behind the cage at the Futures Game to watch Schwarber take batting practice, which just sort of reminds you what kind of special bat that guy brings to the table. There are no stupid questions in the live chat, Darren. C’mon, you know that. It is sort of tough to peg someone’s ceiling with any certainty in baseball, but I think he’s an all-star caliber talent, especially if he sticks at catcher. He seems to have the drive, work ethic and smarts to do just that, so we’ll see. His bat will play for a long time, and if he doesn’t stick behind the plate he’s athletic enough to find a home as a corner outfielder or at first base. He’s built for the American League — especially as a catcher who could probably benefit from an off-day spent as a designated hitter. But he’s one hell of a talent and a nice guy, too. A long career seems to be in order for him, one that will surely make IU fans proud for years to come.

QUESTION: I’m not sure if you want to jump into this debate, but in your opinion, did Dan Dakich cross a line when he named Tim Priller in a tweet to criticize IU’s spending in recruiting? I like Dakich a lot, especially how he’s not afraid to provide his honest opinions, but naming specific IU players that have nothing to do with this controversy is too for me. Dakich’s tweet implies that IU spent $700K only to get Tim Priller and Jeremiah April last year, which is not true. It also somewhat implies that Tim Priller isn’t worthy of being a scholarship player on the team. That’s where I really have an issue because its clear Tim Priller brings value to the team other than his limited production on the court. He appears to be a great teammate and I believe he really helps build team chemistry. College basketball teams have 13 available scholarships; just about every team is going to have a player or two on the roster that doesn’t play very much. As a former player and current talk show host, Dakich is certainly within his right to question IU Basketball, but he can do it without embarrassing specific players.
Brian F., Chicago

JEREMY: Brian F.,
Just for starters, here’s the Dakich tweet regarding the Indy Star’s report on IU’s spending on recruiting ($673,708/$716,888 depending on your point of view) for 2013-14: “There are enough good players in Indiana to win the Big 10 by spending 5 tanks of gas. Priller April et al cost 700k+??”
I don’t have a problem with that tweet, and I don’t think it’s meant to be a personal slam. The fact is that Tim Priller and Jeremiah April were big men both offered scholarships on a size-deficient team and were unable to help fill the need for which they were signed. And then to find out the amount of money spent on recruiting makes you question the wisdom of the money spent. That said, by all appearances Tim Priller is a good fit into the chemistry of this IU basketball team, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he contributed in a small role on the court before all was said and done with his career. We also don’t know how much was actually spent on his recruitment, and I’d guess it was a relatively small drop in the bucket compared to some other players.
I also think Dakich’s follow-up tweet is important for context as well: “Robinson Albrecht Dawson Harris Irvin Ferrell = 5 tanks.”
In other words, it’s not just about who IU brings in, but who it doesn’t that creates some of those expenses. And as the Hoosiers’ recruiting net has been cast more widely, the costs inevitably increase. Now, I wouldn’t also be surprised if IU is a little more meticulous in its expense reporting than some schools, particularly given Crean’s attention to detail, but that doesn’t quite provide much comfort when Wisconsin is only spending $62,000 on the way to the national title game.

MIKE: Hey Brian,
To me it’s fair game to question the return on investment. How one goes about it — including a decision to call out individual players — is up to them. I’d be disingenuous of me to criticize Dakich for this. I know that on at least one chat occasion last season I flat out said that I don’t believe Priller is a Big Ten-caliber player. It may be apples and oranges comparing that with the instance you mention, but I’m not going to pretend to get high and mighty over his comment. I get what Dakich was aiming to say with his succession of tweets. I think the crux of his argument was that IU doesn’t have to go far to get quality players — whether they be blue chippers or late-signing role players like Priller and April. The bottom line is that the perception is IU seemed to panic last spring with the gaping hole in the frontcourt and went all the way to the southwest United States to fill two scholarships with guys who weren’t ready or able to contribute at a level Indiana needed. It’s fair to point that out. From my limited interactions with Priller, he seems to be a good guy who’s well-liked. I think he understands his role and goes about his business as well as he can. Whether he ever contributes at a high level is questionable.

QUESTION: Seems like running back is one of the positions we wont’ need to worry about this fall. That said, how much do you think we see guys like Devine Redding, Tommy Mister and Devonte Williams? I know Ricky Brookins and others stood out in the spring too. I almost feel like IU would’ve been fine even without landing Jordan Howard but having him just makes it even better!
Geoff, Bloomington

JEREMY: Geoff,
I would generally agree that Indiana was not going to be without running back depth, but Howard adds both talent and a more experienced back, as Redding was the one returnee who saw significant time last year. The real question might be how much better the running game can be with an effective passing game backing it up upon Nate Sudfeld’s return to the lineup.

MIKE: Hey Geoff,
Good question, and I agree regarding Redding. I like him a lot. There was a healthy amount of rotation among running backs last season, due in part to Coleman’s semi-regular spells on the sideline. But I believe we’ll see a good amount of Redding as the No. 2. I also believe that they would have been comfortable starting Redding had Howard not transferred to IU. We’re on the same page there. Howard, of course, gives you a guy who’s battle tested and ready to go. Mister is going to be a guy to watch next month during practice. He had some good days during the spring, but he’s also very clearly shaking off the ACL surgery. It’s probably a mental thing as much as it is physical. I think he’ll get some carries, too, and he complements the duo of Howard and Redding well with his speed. There’s a lot of potential there so long as there aren’t any lingering injury concerns. As for Williams, I don’t know exactly how much he’ll be a factor, per se, but I can see him getting a few opprotunities to diversify things.

QUESTION: Next year is here. As always, I’m hoping for a bowl game for the Hoosiers. When do IU football official practices begin? What have you heard about the informal workouts?
Mike, Bloomington

JEREMY: Football dudes …

MIKE: Hey Mike,
Preseason practice begins on Thursday, Aug. 6, so we’re just under two weeks away. Hearing a lot of optimism, but that seems to be par for the course this time of year. Certainly, there is reason to hold hope. A healthy Nate Sudfeld, a competitive offensive line, a deep stable of running backs and a defense that took some steps in the right direction last season. Still remains to be seen if Sudfeld and the receivers are on the same page, if the front seven can generate any sort of push and whether or not the secondary can keep opposing teams in front. Reasons for hope, reasons to worry, but it all adds up to a lot of intrigue. I’m excited to see what happens. I believe I went on record during last week’s chat predicting a 6-6 finish. That should be enough.

QUESTION: Hello guys, What are your predictions for the Big Ten regular season football standings in each division? I’m trying to see if I can believe a scenario where IU cracks the top four in the East. I’m struggling, but not without total hope. By the Way, the West Division appears like it’ll be a total joke from 3 or 4 through 7.
Chris Williams, Bloomington

JEREMY: Chris,
I certainly understand the skepticism, although I’m not sure you couldn’t throw Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Penn State under the same blanket. All have question marks and potential. That said, IU could finish sixth in the division and still find a way to a bowl by winning the four non-conference games, then beating Rutgers and Purdue.
As for the West, it’s Wisconsin and Nebraska, then we’ll find out if Minnesota has any staying power and if Iowa can return to elite status, as it seems to do every few years. The Hawkeyes would certainly make a nice bonus in the win column for the Hoosiers in Bloomington.

MIKE: Hey Chris,
A timely question, for sure. Spent some time prior to the chat working on my preseason predictions for the annual Big Ten media poll, the results of which will be revealed in full on Monday. Anyway, I see Ohio State and Michigan State at the top of the East. I think Penn State is the closest thing the conference has to a sleeper and probably finishes third, with Michigan just behind. From there, I have IU, Maryland and Rutgers rounding out the division in that order. Wouldn’t be shocked to see IU find a way into the top four, but for now I’m going to lean more to the side of “I’ll believe it when I see it.” The West is — to paraphrase the great Dennis Green — what we thought it is. Give me Wisconsin, Nebraska and Minnesota up top and, yeah, the rest can fight amongst themselves.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Thanks for joining us. Be sure to follow IU sports on The Hoosier Scoop blog and app.
Thanks for the time, Jeremy and Mike. What’s on your agenda for the weekend and next week?

JEREMY: I mostly have some desk shifts in the immediate future, but I should have some IU basketball coverage to fill in the gap as Mike and Andy gear up for Big Ten Football Media Day next week. Thanks for joining us.

MIKE: Spoke with Troy Williams and Collin Hartman on Thursday to catch up with their respective summers and look ahead to their roles next season. My story on Williams is online now, and the Hartman piece is scheduled to run later this weekend. From there, it’s time to jump head first into football for the next few months. Big Ten Media Day is next week, so Andy and I will be bringing you all the pertinent updates from Chicago. We’ll check in on the newcomers, expectations, projections, discipline and the latest on the Antonio Allen saga. Also, Nate Sudfeld will be giving his speech at the Kickoff Luncheon next Friday, so Andy will bring you the latest from that. We’re in the lull of summer at the moment, but things will pick up around here in the next couple weeks. Thanks for checking in, everybody. See you next week.