Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hoosier Basketball Recruit Commits, IU Football Rules

The signs are unmistakable. Tom Crean is showing he really is a recruiting dynamo. Indiana is headed for a football season to remember.

And was that REALLY Cody Zeller at the IU-Towson football game?


Welcome to the compelling drama that is, and forever shall be, Hoosier sports.

First, Crean got his first commitment for the Class of 2014 (yes, that IS four years away) when Bishop Luers freshman guard James Blackmon orally committed. It’s not binding until he signs, which can’t happen until November of 2013, but it shows Crean's emphasis on youth is paying off.

The high-scoring Blackmon, the son of the former Kentucky basketball standout who is now the head coach of Bishop Luers, is considered one of the nation’s best freshmen. He isn’t the only REALLY young guy to get an offer from Crean. Trey Lyles, a 6-8 freshman forward from Indianapolis Tech, also got an offer from IU, but hasn’t accepted it.

The 6-11 Zeller, meanwhile, is ranked 20th nationally by, a national recruiting service. His other two finalists are Butler and North Carolina. He’ll visit all three schools in October and will then make a decision.

Blackmon, Zeller and Class of 2012 standout point guard Yogi Ferrell were at Thursday’s Indiana win over Towson. They fact Zeller and Ferrell were there (so was Crean, who continues to do a great job supporting other sports) guarantees nothing, but does keep alive Hoosier hopes something will, perhaps soon.

When it comes to football, IU has apparently met the five criteria necessary against Towson to suggest a special season. It found out how the Alabamas of the college football world live with its 52-17 victory.

Those criteria were, as determined by an absolutely accurate earlier blog, 1) win by at least 25 points, 2) rush for at least 150 yards, 3) quarterback Ben Chappell completes at least 60 percent of his passes for at least 200 yards, 4) hold Towson to less than 100 rushing and 150 yards passing, and 5) get accused of running up the score.

Okay, the Hoosiers didn’t quite make those numbers, but that was because they basically played the entire roster in the second half. It’s hard to hold intensity when you dominate so thoroughly.

Chappell was 16-for-23 for 182 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. A couple of drops kept him under 200 yards

Perhaps the best thing was that the Hoosiers messed up enough to provide plenty of practice coaching points. The biggest sin was allowing Towson quarterback Chris Hart to go all Antwaan Randle El on the defense for 123 rushing yards and 165 passing yards. Towson rushed for 227 yards overall and that can’t happen. The defense has to be stouter than that. If it isn't, all those winning record hopes and bowl qualifying opportunities will be smashed.

Its next shot at getting it right comes Sept. 18 at Western Kentucky.

Hey, at least we answered the biggest question of the month -- who’s the backup quarterback? That would be Dusty Kiel, who got in early in the third quarter and went 1-for-5 for 21 yards.

Two of the biggest off-season points of emphasis were third-down performance and red zone efficiency. IU held Towson to just 4 of 16 on third downs (25 percent), about half of what it allowed last year. The Hoosiers were 6-for-6 in red zone scoring chances, although a couple of those were field goals and that has to improve. Still, it gives coach Bill Lynch plenty to be optimistic about.

“They want to be a good team. They know they made some mistakes (against Towson). They want to get better and get after it.”

Wanting is great. Doing is better.

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