Hoosiers hope bye week break does the trick

No Big Ten team waited longer for its bye than Indiana. When it arrived, the Hoosiers tried to soak it in.

Defensive back Bryant Fitzgerald went home to Avon, where he watched his high school alma mater lay down a 38-0 beating on rival Brownsburg. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey sat down Saturday and watched an evening’s worth of college football, from Michigan’s runaway victory over Penn State to Alabama’s drubbing of LSU. Cornerback Raheem Layne, meanwhile, simply took a deep breath.

“Honestly,” Layne said. “I kind of forgot about the bye.”

The first week of November may not have been the ideal time for Indiana’s bye, but it provided a needed respite, nonetheless. After practicing the first three days of last week, IU coach Tom Allen gave his players the remainder of the week off.

Allen’s hope now is that the Hoosiers received the mental and physical break needed to make one last push during the final quarter of the season.

“Got them back on campus (Sunday),” Allen said. “(It was) a chance for some kids to go home if they could, get a physical, mental, emotional break for our guys. Thought it was very important for them to do that.”

Indiana enters this week’s must-win home matchup against Maryland on a four-game skid, and a loss here would all but end IU’s postseason pursuit. The Hoosiers have three games to claim the two wins needed, though this week’s contest is the most winnable of the bunch. IU closes the regular season with games against Michigan and Purdue.

So after the Hoosiers left their Oct. 26 loss at Minnesota full of frustration, they’re hoping their recent time off rejuvenates the group and provides the edge they need to alter the direction of the season.

“That was a much-needed bye week,” Ramsey said. “Sometimes, I don’t really think people understand that going nine in a row is a lot harder than what you really realize. So that was a much-needed bye week for us. The guys came back in with a good mindset. … I think guys are really understanding what’s at stake for us.”

Just as important as mental clarity is physical well-being. Allen believes the past week helped in that regard.

Injured linebacker T.D. Roof returned to practice Monday, while fellow linebacker Reakwon Jones continued his rehabilitation after suffering a “lower leg” injury at Minnesota. Allen originally indicated that it could take Jones a couple weeks before he was able to play, but said he was encouraged that the injury diagnosis was not as severe as he first feared.

Allen has also not volunteered specifics on the injury that defensive back Marcelino Ball suffered at Minnesota, but said he thought the sophomore benefitted from the downtime, too.

“I think just all of our guys that got dinged up, a lot of times those situations are the only thing to really get them healthy is rest,” Allen said. “That’s tough to do when you’re trying to get ready for another one.

“… I think that was critical, getting our receiver corps healthy. Peyton Hendershot, got to get him back. He was back out there (Monday). That was big to see him back there moving around. That bye week was huge for him, as well. Get our offensive line healthy, defensive line healthy. Reakwon is working hard to get back. His diagnosis was better than we expected, which is good. He’s, working hard to get his body back. All those guys benefited. Allowed them to heal up, be ready for a strong finish.”


  1. Did changing the strength and conditioning coach help Notre Dame or Indiana?? Keith Canton seem to be doing fairly well at Syracuse while Indiana is still suffering the same amount of injuries?? Have not heard or seen those speed increases (strength conditioning) helping out on the field anywhere?? Why are the big plays (Penn State and Minnesota) – (Rutgers and Virginia comebacks) happening at the end of each game?? Cannot wait until next year to see how this coaching staff (with their recruits) win more games?? Hopefully next year will be Tom Allen “breakthrough” season.

  2. …may be turning out to be ‘smoke and mirrors’ hoping…
    Caton’s problem at IU is a bonus to SU. Dump truck full of bad decisions and errors over past 21 games reveal few if any positives about the future. Excuses and misdirected blame for the past 21 games and whats, whens and ifs promised for the future.

  3. T.A. naively has derailed.

    Breakthrough to preaching and cheerleading to s & c to we are young save who for redshirt and development of players to we need a break and rest to get right to T.A. needs to regroup to T.A.?

  4. Coach Allen, hope is not a strategy. Tired of reading about your hopes.

    Honestly, none of us can really be surprised. In our hearts, we all had “hope” that T.A., given his turn-around of the terrible defense he inherited, would turn out to be a head coach who could lead IU to a “break through.” He’s a good and decent man with strong family values and on top of that, he’s a native Hoosier who wants to be where he’s at. But it appears that it was too much to “hope” for that a man with only two years of experience as a DC would be capable of becoming a successful head coach in the Big Ten in such short amount of time. At the very least, and as a last ditch effort to save his job, T.A. needs to fire some of his assistants and hire significant upgrades. The questions I have are 1) would better assistant coaches be willing to sign on with T.A. or do they fear they will be swept away in the near future when T.A. gets fired?; and 2) are there any good assistant football coaches out there that respect T.A. enough as a leader and who see him a the type of leader who can help them be successful and advance there careers? I often wonder, as I watch T.A. jumping around on the sidelines like a cheerleader on speed celebrating an otherwise minor successful play, if other college football coaches consider such over-the-top animated celebrations as sophomoric or so “high school.” T.A. needs to start acting like he’s been there before and save his manic celebrations for when his team actually accomplishes something significant.

  5. Good point. H.S.ish. That is where the one word that players choose to improve themselves came from.

  6. “T.A. needs to start acting like he’s been there before . . . .” Indeed. Going nutty over a minor successful play reveals low expectations. When queried about his dispassion on the sideline, Tom Landry replied that if you’re thinking about the last play, you can’t be thinking about the next play. I would also add that there is certain gravitas required of the ship’s captain. There was a politician in Illinois not so long ago who did very well for lower state offices with a “quirky personality” combined with down-to-earth persona, but flopped in the race for governor; some exit polls indicated that a lot of voters thought the wanna-be gov. lacked “seriousness” for a higher office.

  7. Has this season been written off just playing for participation ribbons or are the next 3 games a top secret strategy?

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