Player-led meeting aims to get Hoosiers back on track

Indiana players have Sundays off this season, giving them time to rest and reflect upon the week that was.

By Monday morning, left guard Wes Martin and defensive tackle Jacob Robinson were eager to share their thoughts with the rest of the team. The two seniors approached IU coach Tom Allen and asked to take control of the day’s meeting. Coming off an ugly 42-16 homecoming loss to Iowa, there was plenty to be said.

Less than 48 hours after the team’s second straight loss — and third in four Big Ten contests — frustration festered among even the most veteran Hoosiers. So Martin, Robinson and a smattering of other upperclassmen led the team’s first meeting of the new week and both addressed the lingering disappointment and mapped a course to overcome it.

“We had to look Saturday in the face and call it what it was,” Martin said. “We got our butts whooped on Saturday. We had to face that and just move on. You watch the film, you see what happens, you go over all the things that need to be corrected and then you flush that and get ready to go. We have five games, a lot of football left to play. We got a lot of winning to do.”

The Hoosiers have come to recognize October as an especially brutal month, both in terms of the physical nature of conference play and the toll it can take on the psyche.

Since 2014, Indiana is 4-14 in October, with only two of those victories coming against Big Ten opposition (Michigan State and Maryland in 2016). Emerging from the wreckage with morale intact was part of what helped the Hoosiers clinch bowl eligibility in back-to-back campaigns, beginning in 2015.

This week, with IU coming off a dispiriting home defeat, the program’s most veteran members drove their player-led meeting by asking their teammates to stay focused on fixing mistakes and finding ways to win.

“They just, more than anything, wanted to challenge our guys to react,” Allen said. “We got a lot of new guys, young guys that haven’t been through the grind of a Big Ten season. We’ve had no bye week yet. It’s week after week after week. It can be draining on you physically and emotionally, mentally. I think they needed to remind the guys that it’s part of the process. You have to own things on film when you get challenged by coaches, you have to own your play, your practice habits, everything that you do. It’s the little things. Focus on those little things.”

Whether they were little things or big things, Indiana didn’t do nearly any of them well enough Saturday to so much as challenge Iowa.

Senior receiver Luke Timian admitted that something felt off about Saturday’s effort. The vibe on the sideline, he said, wasn’t good.

Following Sunday’s day off, Timian said he wasn’t sure what Monday would look like.

“I don’t think a lot of the young guys, and most of the team, really, didn’t know how to come in today,” Timian said. “… There’s no secret formula to get over that. You just kind of remind them that there are five games left in the season and we can still accomplish so many things. I think that’s kind of the way you have to approach it.

“You have to stay positive. As hard as it is — and it really is hard — you have to stay positive because we have a really good football team coming in this week and we have to put together a really good week to try and beat these guys.”

That effort started Monday in a player-led meeting.

“Bottom line is you have to respond,” Allen said. “It’s a tough league, tough schedule. You got to be a tough guy. I thought those guys stood up and really said some good things that needed to be said.”

38 comments

  1. Where’s Jimmy Butler when you need him…?

    I find the Hoosiers situation very similar to the New York Giants.

    QB with fading confidence who can’t get the ball downfield.

    Weak coach who holds onto loyalty and fraternal order of things. Fear of change …and fear of taking risk.

    Player meeting won’t change much. It’s simply a sign that the coach is soft. Players want to see their buddies play. They want the safety of any fraternity intact. Winning and necessary change isn’t always at the forefront. Talk becomes just as cheap….while those kept off the field gag on the locker room nepotism.

  2. This team talks a good game but the offense is very basic and the defense can’t really stop anyone. It’s not the greatest recipe for winning football. When they audible and everyone looks to the sideline, who are they fooling. I have seen better scheming on Friday night. This is going to get ugly. Allen is more like Bill Lynch just with better talent but same schemes. Wilson was actually changing results and culture.

    1. Jeff H I concur totally with your opinion on offense. WR’s 6’2″+ and only 1 game have we targeted them consistently. I’ve watched each game twice this year with the exception of Iowa. I do not remember seeing 1 pancake block by an overachieving IU OLman. That’s not scheme it’s coaching. Hiller fails to instill the fight to dominate. We’re now 19 cumulative games into 2 seasons and for the OL every game has been been the same refrain. Adding that and the vanilla offense DeBord prefers to call with few exceptions simply cannot provide enough points in B1G competition. NOTE again, 19 games of proof. Except for so much youth playing every game I’ve come to nearly the same views of the D. For this year no IU tackler(Ball at times has)plants ball carriers and receivers. When Wilson left a physical game from the IU offense left too. Other than being a defensive coach I don’t think Allen is a lot different than Wilson except he’s a little nicer in how he puts it to you F to F but he has to be damn disappointed in the lack of fight to dominate. I hope the player only meeting has as much impact on some of the coaching staff as it does the players. But I’m afraid the cake is baked.

  3. A players meeting only has the impact of the players in that group. I had a group that following several very successful seasons went 2-7 and finished last in the conference [we had been in the top three for several years] but winning 2 in the play-offs making the secitional finals. I had two seniors come to me that next summer wanting to know if they could take charge of the team’s motivation. These weren’t our best players but good players. We had a team the year before with sophomores manning most positions. These seniors made the pledge they wouldn’t go out as the class that lost another season. We started 2-2 after breaking in a talented sophomore QB that was learning as he went. From that point on they won 12 games with no losses finishing with the state championship. This is a long winded way to say how this team handles the young players will determine how this team finishes and how next year’s team plays.

    IU has some issues to deal with but my big concern is Ramsey at QB. He gets a pass by many because he is courageous and tough but he hurts too much of the team. Our experienced and talented WR aren’t utilized enough down the field. Ramsey too often destroys pass blocking by bailing out of the pocket when there is no need to do so. Due to a lack of deep threat defenses crowd the LOS making the running game very difficult to execute. The idea that Ramsey is good for this offense defies real evaluation of the offense. Looking at the OL blocking either the scheme is no good or Hiller isn’t doing the job – my guess is it is more the offensive scheme.

    It isn’t time to bail out but time to dig deep and decide who this team is. We know they won’t overwhelm opponents with talent but can play teams close and win. I really wonder how much of the Iowa game came as a result of the OSU game. IU played hard and stayed in the game until the 4th quarter. It was clear the entire 2nd half OSU was much better than IU and it could have shaken the confidence of the team. Let’s face it, Ramsey isn’t talented enough to put the offense on his back and if Penix isn’t able to play yet this season will finish as a struggle.

    1. 19 games is enough to prove DeBord and Hiller are failures. Nothing, nothing at all his changed in 19 games. Allen needs to start now looking for replacements. No heart, no aggressiveness, no resolve offered by either 1 of these “Coaches”. This ain’t High School.

      1. The dysfunction at qb (the refusal to play a more talented qb who can get the ball downfield), could take the heart, resolve, and aggressiveness out of the strongest of constitutions. It tells members of your team that “winning today” is less than important.

        Wonder what happened to ‘thinkaboutit’….? Guess he got tired of the weighted down old stubborn mules allowing Indiana Football to stay in perpetual reruns.

  4. The idea that Ramsey is good for this offense defies real evaluation of the offense.

    The premier Scoop football expert has spoken….Now can the rest of you just shudup and concede the point?

  5. My comments for v-13 completely sincere. No sarcasm whatsoever. He is the Scoop football expert. Some of you should listen to his opinions concerning the quarterback situation.
    The buck stopping at assistant coaches is such weak sauce. The head coach decides who plays. The head coach and the AD are accountable for a program once again in reruns. Glass is a disaster for IU Football…..and was a disaster for the last nine years of IU hoops until forced into a corner to make a change (the fans could simply take no more of the dysfunction on McCracken).

  6. Here’s a thought about the QB position and the team in general; who on this team, on either side of the ball and players who play a lot, has played better this year than Peyton Ramsey?

  7. He’s last in B1G in yards per attempt, grades out as 12 of 14 starting quarterbacks for % of positive plays and is tied for second to last in interceptions. I believe IU is also 12 or 13th in number of 3 and outs? And IU’s inability to throw downfield allows defenses to put more guys closer to the line of scrimmage and take away the run. Don’t be fooled by a high percentage of short completions or a lot of short runs that improve his totals but don’t end in points. If you are a defense, you want the ball in Ramsey’s hand because running or throwing, he’s not going to beat you. He’s the equivalent of a basketball player that can’t shoot so the defense allows to always be open. That guy might score some but he’ll shoot a lousy % and his team will lose.

  8. If you got wowed by Dan Dakich when he played college ball, you probably can’t get enough of Ramsey.
    Dan did everything right….but he never dropped a jaw in his life (until radio).

  9. If stats are so important to you then please also list the ones that do not support your narrative. It would give you a hint of credibility.
    PR in the B1G:
    4th passing yards
    8th QBR
    4th completion %
    3rd TD passes
    His accumulated stats put him easily in this group of B1G signal callers; McSorley
    Thorson
    Lewerke
    Hornibrook.
    Now the Q I asked above which you wish you could avoid is ‘who on the team is playing better this year than Peyton Ramsey’?????
    Tough Q, particularly if you have to remain honest because there is not a host of candidates. Which may tell us the real story about this team and how much farther acquiring B1G talent has to advance.

    1. Well in that case, is he going to be a first or second round draft choice? Your logic is poor. Your stats are cherry-picked and your comparisons (Thorson and Lewerke?) show a desperation to make Ramsey something he clearly is not. I wish you were less of a homer and more knowledgeable. We could have a more honest and more interesting conversation.

      1. There you go again, not answering the Q. How did I know. Because if you do your bias is revealed so you change the subject. 1st or 2nd round. Pretty lame. Talk about dishonest.

        1. Homer Clarion- when I was a kid, there was a junkyard in town guarded by a pit bull on a chain. If anyone went by, that pit bull would start mindlessly barking. Homer, you are the internet version of that dog. Keep on mindlessly barking Homer, you’ll make a difference one day!

    2. Ramsey is playing great. He’s doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing. He is meeting all expectations within his limitations….It’s what IU Football does: Constantly meeting expectations within its limitations.
      It’s called BigTen Wow Factor. 10-15 yard completion rates off the charts. Few interceptions …because he has great control at 10-15 yards.

      And when IU Football has the rare opportunity to sell their product on a nationally televised game? Nothing downfield. No explosiveness. Soon overcome by talent disparities glaringly lacking in the key positions. Offense tires…Defense tires. The weight of opposing Big talent begins to smother. Our most dynamic player who could be under center is left on the sideline making out with a clipboard. Kiss me, clipboard. Kiss me again.

      Commercials have more wow factor. Ramsey? Good kid. But does IU Football move any needle of interest without wow factor? Do we have any chance at upsets without big plays(even at the risk of losing some of that wonderful dunk and dink consistency safer than a gold vault at Fort Knox?

      1. IU Football…No ‘Wow Factor.’ Only ‘Bow Factor’….always bowing to superior BigTen competition. …Or maybe Bowel Factor? Just a natural function of crappy results most of the time. Our offense…? Sort of like an irregular diet causing rabbit turds. Dunk and dink…Tiny splash.

  10. HC, fair question so I have links on players ratings from a group of NFL college evaluators that look at each play in a college game. They rate Ramsey at 62.2% for the year which is 10th in the B1G. here is the link for defensive players : https://indiana.rivals.com/news/indiana-hoosiers-football-individual-defense-grades-iowa This includes grades from Iowa and season grades to this point. I haven’t seen the offensive team grades posted yet other than QB grades for B1G teams.

    I have posted the issues Ramsey creates for the offense in other post. When you break down film you look at every play and play of each player, their role in the play, and their execution of the play. Ramsey’s negatives nearly outweighs his positive attributes. I agree with you about the lack of quality players although I think there are some on offense but they aren’t being utilized properly due to play calling that is based on Ramsey’s ability. I really haven’t read anyone say Ramsey is the only problem but that he creates many problems with his limitations.

    1. Not being utilized right or coached competently? An OL with no attitude from such poor coaching as Hiller has demonstrated for 19 straight games is a drag on any offense but particularly the QB. The 5 games remaining will just be more of the past 19 straight for the OL. No hope with Hiller in Bloomington. He’ll definitely have a different zip code next season.

  11. IUFB is what it always has been and will continue to be. When you hired another Coordinator with no college HC experience, any expectation to improve the program will not be met. Forget improving facilities, that quick decision was based on letting go of the current HC, not wanting to lose the DC to another program, and hiring someone on the cheap. That decision will continue will keep the program where it is and everything else is just lipstick.

  12. CaliHoosier only time will tell if you are correct. Coach Allen and staff are changing the type of athlete they are bringing to IU. Like every football coach at IU they are limited to the 3 and 4 star athletes willing to come to IU. Everyone wants to discount the declining rating of Wilson’s recruits over his last two years, three if you count the one he left behind when he was fired. Those athletes are now juniors and seniors on the team with a sophmore class that is weak but has a few very good players. The fact that so many freshmen are playing shows what talent is missing in the upper classes. IU is playing with 72% of the team as underclassmen which is tough in the B1G.

    I hope coach Allen proves in the coming years he can elevate IUFB and we see the team winnng 8 or more games a year. If he can’t then IU can try once again to find a coach that can move this program forward.

    1. …as if the new RS rule has nothing to do with playing Frosh…Allen stated he wanted to develop depth…1 way to do that..play younguns…nothing wrong with that as long as it’s not twisted for biased purposes…just counted 33 – 3rd, 4th and 5th year players…all either starting or part of the 2 deep…the Wilson critique of recruiting poorly doesn’t hold water…much of the Frosh exposure is on the D…that’s on Allen in year 3…

  13. V, your comments make sense. I see TA is in over his head and that is understandable given his experience. But to your points, what would have told you, look no further, TA is the guy with the proven skills, track record, and experience to fix those program level issues?

  14. A lot of valid points here. Let me point out that we have won every game we were favored in. Go Hoosiers!

  15. Juan Blanco, you are correct and people wanting IU to win games they aren’t favored in don’t realize the need for more athletes like the ones in the freshman class. There are only a few in the upper classes that can move on to the NFL as many aren’t good enough to play for other teams. The QB room was in bad shape for this coaching staff, the OL is short of talented players other than just a couple of them, the DL group didn’t have any quality depth, LBs were not very good after Scales and Covington, and even coach Shelby commented this is the first year of having B1G quality at 3 deep only because of the young players.

    People want immediate progress and that just doesn’t happen. It takes time to go from wining one or two B1G games to have a winning season in the B1G. I wish more had the balanced approach you show on this board.

  16. I just don’t understand where the lofty expectations are coming from. Yes, we played terrible against Iowa. But to get pissed over losing to MSU, OSU and Iowa is delusional. Like I’ve said before, win the games we are supposed to win and the “breakthrough” will happen naturally. Too many IU fans just focus on what went wrong. Patience people. We aren’t very good yet. Even if Penix comes in we still won’t be very good. The talent just isn’t there. And thats ok. Its coming.

    1. I just don’t understand where the lofty expectations are coming from.

      They are coming from the head coach. They came two years ago preceding the beginning of the 2016-17 season. He has mentioned/implied his team is on the cusp of such an achievement. If anything, the program has regressed since Wilson. I’m not even sure if the defense meets an eye test of being any better …and the offense is far less exciting/dynamic.

      You can sell the “have patience” model until the cows come home. Even the greatest of underdogs in college football have broken free of expectations and found ways to upset quality/highly ranked teams. IU does not. In the backdrop of not even living up to managing an upset every blue moon, we have a head coach who looks in over his head(far more than Wilson). Leaving Penix on the sideline may not have cost us winning games against non-conference opponents who could also never belong in the BigTen (or, are in and don’t belonging e.g. Rutgers), but it has cost dearly in image/hopes for something different than the usual doldrums showcasing limited talent against teams with far more ‘wow factor’.
      It’s been 10 years since Glass promised “Win Today.” How belittling and insulting to the fan base to tell them more patience is needed decade after decade. Aren’t you sick of sell jobs …and big wins over the lowest standards of competition? Dunk and dink…Clunk and stink.

  17. …Cronk, Harris, Godsil, Crawford, Hale, Wilson, Ball, Bowen, Timian, Everett, Martin, Sykes, Knight, Ramsey and the remainder of the 33 upperclassmen I mentioned yesterday are impossible to disparage since they and several others who’ve moved on have made IUFB worth following again.

  18. HC, the ones you name are good players but most aren’t good enough to play for the top B1G teams IU goes against. Several could play for those teams but to think IU should be the teams better than them isn’t realistic. For IU to beat those teams they need more players like Wilson brought in IE Feeney, Spriggs, Howard, Coleman, Sudfeld, Latimer, Wynn, and Thomas. The issue is even with those future NFL players Wilson couldn’t beat the best teams. If coach Allen can’t bring in more of those type of players then in a couple of years IU will be looking for a new football coach. This year’s freshman class seems to have players capable of moving on to the league in the future.

    1. Maybe but I think most are being played for depth. Something Allen stated pre-season and early season numerous times. That’s a good move but isn’t proof to their better quality. That’ll take another season or 2. A strong hint will be when they beat someone they’re not spose to. Like Wilson did to Mizzou. That’s why we remember some of those players.

      1. And didn’t we have a win against MSU under Wilson? I also enjoyed the hurry-up style…Even if we got our asses kicked, at least it was over sooner.

  19. The issue is even with those future NFL players Wilson couldn’t beat the best team

    But it sure appeared he was getting closer….and he never abandoned taking a little risk to, at least, try to get over the hump. He also made the product much more enjoyable to watch because he utilized the talent he did have.

    Wilson and Allen would have made a wonderful set. v-13 could have been our head coach and kept two of the better coordinators in the business. I fear our opportunity was there…and we fumbled the ball once again. Wilson being ever so slightly demeaning to a couple benchwarmers was escalated into a overblown scandal that remains miniscule in comparison to the truly horrific things apologized and covered-up in college sports(sexual assaults, pedophilia, working kids to death in the heat, etc).

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