Notebook: Rehab work pays off for Jones

Leading up to the Ohio State game, sophomore Cam Jones spent as many as 10 hours a day in the training room, listening to his favorite Memphis rappers as he worked to rehab his ankle.

Ten hours of monotony — but time well spent if Jones could reduce the swelling that came on after a last-second injury in the win over Ball State.

“I knew how important it was to the team, to be back on the field,” Jones said. “They look at me, and I have to show them I’m working, and they’ll work hard for me, as well.”

In the days before and immediately after the OSU loss, IU coach Tom Allen held up Jones as a model of dedication to the rehab process. On Saturday, his play was a direct reflection of the passion and focus he brought to the training room.

Not only did Jones come away with a 44-yard pick-six, but he made one of the biggest hits of the game, flattening a UConn running back as defensive end Michael Ziemba corralled quarterback Jack Zergiotis for a four-yard loss.

“It carries over into his preparation, because you don’t just turn it on, turn it off. That’s who he is,” Allen said. “Whatever he’s doing, that’s how he’s going to attack it. That’s how he was raised. That’s the kind of young man we brought here. He’s the same way about academics.

“He’s just an awesome young man that does everything we ask him to do, and he’s also very gifted. So it’s a great combination.”

When Jones was initially hurt versus Ball State, Allen figured the sophomore would be lost for several weeks. But he only missed the Eastern Illinois game, pushing to be available for Ohio State.

Jones’ effort didn’t get him back for a win last Saturday, but he was more than impactful in the Hoosiers’ 38-3 win over the Huskies. He had four tackles, a tackle for loss, the interception and a pass breakup.

That breakup maybe should have been another pick, but his teammates weren’t complaining, especially Ziemba. Jones saw one of his coaches mouth the word “Go” on that option play, and he barreled into the backfield.

“If Cam didn’t make that play, then he wouldn’t have pulled the ball and I wouldn’t have made that TFL,” Ziemba said. “Cam Jones is amazing, you saw the plays he makes. He just makes me better.”

For Jones, it was rewarding to see his work in the training room paying off on the football field.

“It feels good,” Jones said. “We got a lot of young guys on this team. I’m a young guy, as well, but a lot of them look up to me and other guys on the team. Just to see the hard work I put in to get back, it goes a long way.”

Taking your Hendershot

Peyton Hendershot did not get off to a good start on Saturday. On the game’s second play, a 10-yard reception ended with a fumble, which UConn recovered and turned into a 3-0 lead.

His teammates quickly picked up the redshirt sophomore tight end.

“One big thing is he was hanging his head after that fumble,” senior wide receiver Nick Westbrook said, “and the first thing I saw was (Donavan) Hale was the first person to say, ‘Don’t hang your head, it’s only the first possession. We’ve got so much more of the game to go.’”

Hale was right on the money, because Hendershot finished with five catches for 43 yards and is the Hoosiers’ leading receiver on the season in catches (18), yards (234) and touchdowns (3).

But what Allen likes the most is what Hendershot is doing when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.

“I thought his blocking has been excellent the last few weeks,” Allen said, “and even going through the reps that I watched (in practice) that’s one thing that stuck out to me this week, his blocking.”

Westbrook sees a teammate growing up.

“Just another year of maturity,” he said. “(Peyton) understands he’s a leader now, too. He has a lot more will to him now than the past.”

Non-conference domination

Indiana finished non-conference play with a perfect 3-0 record, running it’s non-conference winning streak to nine games, the longest since 16 straight from 1909-15.

The Hoosiers have won 17 of their last 18 non-conference games in the regular season and 12 of the last 13 at Memorial Stadium.

The lone blemish came in a 33-28 loss to Wake Forest on Sept. 24, 2016.

Bedford’s time Offensive lineman Matthew Bedford became the 10th true freshman to see action in 2019 on Saturday, entering the game in the fourth quarter at left tackle, the position formerly occupied by Coy Cronk before his injury.

Indiana has tried to bring the Cordova, Tenn., product along slowly, but Cronk’s injury likely means Bedford will be seeing the field on a regular basis from here on out.

“He played, and so now he’s obviously going to have to play,” Allen said. “To me, the redshirt is gone, OK, because basically if Coy can’t come back, the redshirt has to be gone. To me, that’s the mindset I would have. I’m not bashful to say that, because we’ve got to have our guys ready to go, and we’ve got to have depth there, and guys have got to play and all that kind of thing.”

Hall of Fame captains

Honorary captains for the Hoosiers were former kicker Chris Gartner, who was inducted into the IU Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night with linebacker Donnie Thomas (posthumously), along with Thomas’ wife, Peggy, and previous Hall of Fame inductee Ken Kaczmarek.

8 comments

  1. I have to wonder why our junior and sophomore OL men aren’t ready to step in. I know Bedford is talented but we have brought in other talented OL men from Chicago, NJ, etc and they should be developed now to play.

    Jones and Ziemba seem to be improving can help out the defense, now lets get Head going again along with Miller at LB and a number of other players that shined last season giving promise to this year.

    It was good for the defense to shut down Connecticut so well and I hope it carries over to MSU. We need to see more explosiveness from the offense but that will depend if Penix is back or not. Otherwise the offense needs to be so error free to keep scoring points. Hendershot is having a good year but I would like to see him be more of a play maker in the open field. Whop is playing well and I hope the WR get a better chance to be play makers. I am not sure our OL will get a running game a viable part of our offense. I want to see how we attack MSU this week and how our defense plays.

  2. Just listened to the PEEG’s podcast. Allen said that Bedford is having trouble picking up blocking schemes but now also has to play. Do you think MSU is going to prepare some exotic blitzes for the right side of their defensive line? For Allen to say that Bedford has to play and also can’t pickup changes in blocking schemes was really, really dumb. Proof positive yet again that the guy is too much of a simpleton to be a Power 5 head coach.

    1. Well 123,
      You might be right, but if per chance, the ball is being thrown by a left handed QB, might not be as big a deal. If it is being thrown by a right handed QB, you’ve got a bigger problems than you already have.

  3. V13 – I have to agree with you totally, by now the RS FR, SO and JR offensive lineman should be ready to fill the void…Indiana has over 20 offensive lineman on this roster and there is not at least one offensive lineman ready to fill the void. Maybe that lineman is not as good as Coy Cronk, but they should be serviceable. Indiana went from an excellent offensive line 4 to 6 years ago, to now not having a replacement. Greg Frye and Kevin Wilson knew the importance of an offensive line (not that Tom Allen does not) in the Big Ten, to the point that I believe they concentrated on it so much they forgot other areas of the rosters (ie – they made tight ends into offensive lineman). How does Wisconsin do it….they lost 4 starting offensive lineman from last year team and yet this years their offensive line looks better. don’t hand me that crap about Wisconsin depth….either you know how to develop offensive lineman are you don’t. Wisconsin has about 10 to 12 offensive lineman from the state of Wisconsin on the team….is it something in the water…if so recruit some from Wisconsin (maybe take a 2 or 3 star recruit lineman just to open the Wisconsin door).

  4. I do believe that TA needs to work on what comes out of his mouth when he’s talking to the press. He’s a bit too forthright and honest in front of the media, and that creates the impression that he’s not the brightest bulb on the tree. He’s not a simpleton, but he needs to be coached on what to say and what not to say in front of the media. He’s lucky he has such an accommodating media in a small market.

  5. PO- I don’t use the term lightly or to be mean. Look at his childish outbursts, his almost exclusive use of cliches or incomplete sentences, his inability to withhold information that gives his opponents advantages and his poor clock management on multiple occasions. Taken in totality, he just doesn’t seem very bright. Again, has there been a Big Ten game where you felt his scheme or gameplan gave IU a clear advantage over their opponent? I don’t remember any. I don’t think you can account for him having the worst record of any Power 5 school as an underdog without acknowledging his inability to gameplan for opponents. If IU doesn’t have superior talent, they don’t win. That’s not hyperbole, that’s his record.

  6. 123,
    That is a bit of an extreme viewpoint, especially considering TA has not had a B1G caliber starting QB for 26 out of the 28 regular season games he has coached for IUFB. Not even sure yet about the only 2 where he did. Trying to win at the level you are calling for is kind of difficult when you are playing with out such a key component.

    On a side note, I’ve been following to see how our favorite example of a potential recruit throwing away years of playing time to sit on the bench at a blue blood school, Tommy Stevens, has fared since his move down south to Mississippi State. Other than taking a vicious hit in a game against an in-state rival, he was doing fair until the injury. Funny thing is, that while looking at how Stevens was doing, I saw virtually the same type criticisms of the coach as I have seen of TA. Here is the really interesting part as related to the criticisms you, and others, level at TA. You have a HC at this school with a much stronger coaching pedigree than TA, at a school with a much stronger FB history than IU, playing in a much tougher conference/division than IU, which unless the wheels come off the wagon will have a better season, getting the same type criticisms as TA.

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