Monday, January 10, 2011

Hoosier Happenings -- Crean Up, Belcher In, Pease Out

The buck stops with Tom Crean. He understands. He doesn’t dodge it. He knows his Indiana Hoosiers are not playing to their potential -- the record of 9-8, 0-4 in the Big Ten should be 11-6, 1-3 -- and the solution can only come from work, effort and attention to detail.


That’s a luxury for coaches whose teams are on winning streakes. Except, when you’re a coach, sleep is never guaranteed because there’s always something to worry about.

Crean and his staff got back late from the Northwestern loss, IU’s sixth straight, and went to right work. You watch film and look for ways to help players perform better. It’s not quantum physics, but if it was easy, a lot of guys would be making $2.3 million a year, as Crean is.

Crean spends a lot of time devising game plans that can work if the players carry them out, if they’re where they are supposed to be on defense and offense and, oh yes, on defense.

Apparently the players make it work during practice. We say apparently because practices are closed. Things get more complicated during games when opposing talent, pressure and fatigue all become factors.

During Monday’s Big Ten teleconference Crean was asked if the players are getting the message, if they are understanding what he wants them to do.

“I don’t think we’re playing consistently yet in this stretch of games,” he said. “Of course it’s going to fall back on me with that. I totally get that part of it. It’s not like we’re not doing these things in practice. It’s not like I would go back and change many of these game plans for how we want to attack. I’m not sure where you’re coming from on the question, but that’s how I view it in the sense that we have guys who want to win. We have guys who have very good attitudes.We’re just not carrying it out on the court for 40 minutes.”

On Saturday night IU will get its next shot at 40-minute execution against Michigan (11-5 overall, 1-2 in the Big Ten). Yes, the Wolverines almost upset No. 3 Kansas, but that was at Crisler Arena. This is at Assembly Hall and it is a winnable game so, as we’ve said before, win it.


Kevin Wilson gets to start all over again with his offensive coordinator. Given all the coaching changes going on around the country, he might have to wait to make sure the next guy really, really wants to be at Indiana.

Some people will take shots at Brent Pease for leaving after less than two weeks as a Hoosier, but sometimes life throws you unexpected curves. Pease got a chance to return to Boise State with a raise and a promotion (from wide receiver coach to offensive coordinator). His family doesn’t have to move. He gets to be part of a program that is a nation’s-best 61-5 over the last five seasons.

All this because Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, who had been with the Broncos for 10 years and seemed happy where he was at, decided to take the co-offensive coordinator job at Texas.

Pease was set to work with Wilson on what certainly would have been a wide-open, diverse attack. That’s still likely Wilson’s plan, so he’ll bring in somebody with a similar background.

Psst. Rich Rodriguez is available.

Sorry. Only kidding, although given the twists and turns of of 21st Century sports (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Heat; Seattle upsetting New Orleans; Urban Meyer retiring while Joe Paterno continues), anything is possible.

Anyway, the Hoosiers got some good football news with Damarlo Belcher’s decision to pass on the NFL Draft and stay for his senior year. Belcher led IU in receiving last year (78 catches for 832 yards). His catches also led the Big Ten. He has a chance to pass James Hardy as the school record holder for career catches and receiving yards.

Hardy has the record with 191 catches for 2,740 yards. Belcher has 164 catches for 1,939 yards. At 6-5 and 215 pounds, Belcher has NFL size, but needs another year of seasoning. He seems likely to get it under Wilson’s pass-friendly system.

“I believe it is in my best interest to return for my senior year,” Belcher said in a university release. “One of my goals is to earn my degree. This gives me the opportunity to accomplish that. I’m also excited about what we can achieve as a team. I look forward to playing for Coach Wilson and getting back to work with the rest of my teammates.”


  1. Well... Crean has good players. He doesn't get them to play. If they do it in practice, but they don't do it in games -- it is his fault.

    Time to move on from Crean...he is a great recruiter...but that doesn't make the coach.

    It is time to bring in Brad Stevens.

  2. Brad Stevens?? give me a break. IU can't get rid of Crean already, that would be a death sentence to the program. Besides, Glass has gone on record as saying IU is not cutting coaches lose anymore without giving them a chance to succeed. Crean hasn't been given that chance yet. Now, if they look this bad after 2014, then Tom will be in trouble.

  3. Yes and when Brad Stevens didn't meet your instant gratification needs, you would be calling for another new coach. Rebuilding a totally gutted program is not a three year process. That is why Tom Crean got a ten-year contract. Patience, an uncommon idea these days, is required.

  4. Oh please, give the man a chance. Let's say it again...REBUILDING FROM SCRATCH. One Top 10 recruiting class does not make a program. Show some patience before you run the man out of town.

  5. Recruiters are NOT coaches. Too bad for us Hoosiers, Crean has proven this to be all too true.

  6. It is the lack of passion and effort that concerns me the most. Many shortcomings in ability can be overcome with effort and passion but some important players on this team play without force or passion. They are not good enough to play this way!

    They also seem lost on both ends of the court far to often.

  7. Anybody who thinks its time to fire Coach Crean is clueless. This program was dead; no heartbeat, no players left after Sampson. This was easy a five year rebuilding project. IU has decent players, but the rest of the conference is still ahead.

  8. They need to pick up the tempo. Every game that they get behind and have to pick it up for a comeback, they do it. Let them get out and run a little. Then with Jones and company nettin some 3's along the way we will see some victories.

  9. Who on the Hoosiers is a Big Ten caliber center. Until the middle is covered, he doesn't have the players.

  10. What about the Elston trip? Nothing is said or done about the dirtiest play in recent memory in the Big Ten?

  11. It sounds like to me Crean needs to get his players attention. He needs to be harder on those guys. Make them pay for their mistakes in the games carry over to practice or sit the ones who just don't get it and play the bench. Crean needs to look at what players he has and try to figure out who's getting it and who's not.

  12. Brad Steven will not come to IU

  13. oo shut up. Are you busting your ass trying to play for a historical basketball program? no you are sitting your lazy ass self on the couch watching it. I don't know if you've noticed, but every team in the big ten is at least decent this year. Its very hard to win and IU doesn't even have a four year player on the court yet. I know they don't want to lose either but they are trying and win or lose I'm proud that they are competing.
    Coach Crean is doing a great job and is working his ass 10 times harder than you obviously. So either support the hoosiers or watch something else.

  14. I read these posts on a daily basis and every time the comments are from individuals who have no clue what it is like to be immersed in a high-profile college program in a tough conference with players that are young and not yet having a full gamut of the high-level recruits playing, I roll my eyes as to the lack of insite we as the public have regarding the scope of athletics.

    I am not a coach and have never been, simply an IU basketball fan since birth in the early 80s and graduated from IU.

    Everyone needs to pipe down, be FEASIBLY patient, and good things are likely going to come, and then when things start rolling well, all of these who are making negative, uneducated-in-basketball comments will be saying, "I always knew that Crean was going to get things turned around".

    If you know how to watch basketball rather than just fixate on the final result and blame it on something else, the bottom line at this point is that IU has no size and is getting killed in the pait with rebounds and with dribble-drive penetration with no one big available to help alter the shot and get the rebound. This has happened in every game and wears on a team. It's more than just being "in position" and "defending better", though the guards need to work harder defending and Crean acknowledges this has been a struggle to get the point across for 40 minutes.

  15. Crean should hire Dane Fife to be an assistant. He is ready to make the move. Crean is a pretty good offensive minded coach but needs someone on his staff to preach and teach better defense. I think someone like Fife could be that missing piece. I don't think we need to fire Crean though, he is a good coach and is doing things the right way.