Friday, April 15, 2011

IU Football – It’s Time To Hit; Bill Cook Will Be Missed

For Damarlo Belcher and the rest of the Indiana football Hoosiers, it’s time to smack somebody.

Sure, IU has hit some in spring football practice, but the concern of getting guys injured often means curbing the impact.

Not today. The Hoosiers will have their annual spring game, following the return of the pancake breakfast, and with the exception of the quarterbacks (as usually, they are off limits to contact), full contact has arrived.

“A scrimmage is better than practice,” Belcher said. “We look forward to this. We’re ready to hit. A lot of times in practice we’re not hitting Guys want to make a little contact and play real football.”

Reality won’t arrive in all its glory until the fall, but for now, this will have to do. Coach Kevin Wilson will match his No. 1 offense against his No. 1 defense, then the No. 2 offense against the No. 2 defense, and see who wins. He’ll mix in guys to give them more of a chance to prove they belong with the starters.

“It’s a fun thing,” said Belcher, IU’s returning All-Big Ten receiver. “It’s also a test to see where we’re at before summer camp. We want to have fun, play hard and see where we’re at.”

All during the spring the Hoosiers have been learning Wilson’s new system. There are different plays, different terminology and a far faster pace to master.

“We’re putting in new stuff every day,” Belcher said. “It takes a lot of extra studying. We do a couple of study sessions to make sure we know the plays before practice. It’s more work to do, but we should be ready for (August) camp.”

Ready is great, but winning is Priority No. 1. Are the Hoosiers up for it? The spring game will be the first public chance to see.


For those who follow IU and Bloomington, Friday’s death of Bill Cook will be a blow. Cook, 80, founded Cook Group Inc, a Bloomington-based medical equipment manufacturing company that became an international giant in the field.

He was a major contributor to Indiana University and the name-sake donor (courtesy of a $15 million gift) to Cook Hall, the university’s new state-of-the-art basketball practice facility.

Cook, who had battled congestive heart failure for a number of years, ranked among the wealthiest people in America. Forbes Magazine listed him at No. 101 with a net worth of $3.1 billion.

He impacted countless people through his company and his generosity toward the university, Bloomington and beyond. If you’ve ever seen the major improvements he spearheaded at West Baden and French Lick in southern Indiana, you’ll understand. If you haven’t seen them, you need to.

IU posted comments from athletic director Fred Glass and basketball coach Tom Crean on its website. Here’s what they had to say:

Fred Glass: “The coolest thing for me was just to get a chance to meet him. Even after the gift was complete, we had a few conversations. Not a lot, but it was an acquaintanceship that I really treasured. He and his wife's gift to the athletic department really helped kick start the Tom Crean era, making Cook Hall what it is today and showing confidence that we were going the right way. His gift led to many other significant gifts. They weren't as big as Bill's, but it was obviously that people realized that if Bill Cook thinks this is something he ought to invest in, maybe we ought to as well. When you're dealing with a guy like that, what can you say? He was something else. I feel lucky just to have known him.”

Tom Crean: “I am stunned and saddened. It's hard to do justice to what he meant to not only this University, community and state but even the world. He was literally a life-changing giant of a man and leader. Not many people can say they made the world a better place because of work they did, but Mr. Cook sure can. The contributions he made will continue to impact lives forever.”

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