Tuesday, March 22, 2011
IU Football Goes Thud In A Good Way; Hoosier Deep Throat Missing, But Not Hollowell
Indiana didn’t hire football coach Kevin Wilson to be a knucklehead. He wants the Hoosiers tough and physical and relentless, but he doesn’t want them knocking each other into the training room, or worse.
So in Practice No. 3 on Tuesday afternoon, under a gun-metal gray overcast sky, the Hoosiers put on the pads for the first time under Wilson and thudded, but didn’t thump. They hit, but didn’t destroy.
“You have to learn how to strike, how to hit,” Wilson said. “You’re not trying to beat your team up. We’re trying to stay off the ground. You try to get a lot of work, but the rolling of ankles, the rolling of knees, is how you get injuries.
“You’ve got to learn how to practice. You’ve got to learn how to practice hard, practice fast, practice physical, but you’ve got to be smart.”
On Memorial Stadium’s artificial turf, Wilson practiced what he preached. So did his coaches. Doug Mallory, the safties coach and co-defensive coordinator, pulled safty Chris Adkins when the player got a little too enthusiastic with his hitting.
“You don’t take a cheap shot on a guy because the quarterback is late with a throw,” Wilson said. “You don’t dive to make a block because you’re gonna roll on somebody’s ankle. We’re learning how to play with effort and toughness, but also learning how to be an intelligent practice player. There’s a little give and take. Three practices in we’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s going well.”
Wilson spoke in a raspy voice that sounded as if someone had taken sandpaper to his vocal cords. He doesn’t coach with soft words. He’s animated and has no time for half speed.
So when players were doing agility drills (high stepping through a rope ladder lying on the ground) his favorite expressions were -- “Let’s go!” and “Faster.”
“I yell a lot,” he said. “Positive encouragement.”
And if his voice breaks, well, there’s always sign language. One way or the other, Wilson will get his message delivered.
Is Tom Crean about to do it again? Is the Indiana basketball coach’s recruiting mastery in the Class of 2012 about to land him another in-state standout?
All signs point to Lawrence Central swingman Jeremy Hollowell picking the Hoosiers. A press conference is set for Thursday afternoon at the high school.
Hollowell is a top-40 player nationally. The 6-7 junior averaged 18.9 points and 7.1 rebounds this past season. He’s narrowed his list to the Hoosiers, Purdue, Ohio State and Cincinnati.
We tried to get confirmation from Hoosier Deep Throat, but just got a message saying he was practicing driving Indy Cars with Donald Trump, who has been invited to drive the Indy 500 pace car for May’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing. So we’ll just have to go with instinct and say Hollowell will be a Hoosier.
That means he’ll join what will be one of the nation’s best classes -- shooting guard Ron Patterson, power forward Hanner Perea, point guard Yogi Ferrell and center Peter Jurkin.
Go ahead and forget about the last three years. It’s all about the future.
IU’s most pressing basketball need right now is getting another inside player for the Class of 2011, somebody big and strong and capable of rebounding and defending the paint. Somebody like, say, IMG Academy’s Jamari Traylor.
He is 6-7 and 230 pounds and extremely athletic. He is not an offensive whiz, but that’s okay. He can jump, block shots, rebound and defend.
Indiana has a lot of stiff recruiting competition, which is what you’d expect given there aren’t a lot of uncommitted quality big men left. Kansas, Oklahoma State, VCU, Mississippi State and St. John’s also are in the running.
IU also is taking a look at 6-9 power forward Demario Hines out of a Texas junior college, 6-9 forward Ibrahima Djinde out of Huntington Prep in West Virginia and guard Maurice Aniefiok, also out of Huntington Prep.
None of these guys are considered among the nation’s top-10 remaining players in the Class of 2011, but as long as one of them can provide what the Hoosiers need, who cares.
In case you've forgotten because you're too absorbed with the Bruce Pearl firing, Cody Zeller and Austin Etherington are signed for the Class of 2011.