Saturday, April 9, 2011

IU Football – Push And Relax; Basketball Recruits Shine

Kevin Wilson might talk tough and have no time for idle chit-chat, at least not yet with the media, but he does understand the demands his players are facing with the transition to a new staff with new expectations.

Check that. It is the same expectations, which are to win, just doing it with a different approach.

Anyway, Wilson has called the Hoosiers mentally weak, which doesn’t mean they are lazy or losers. It does mean they have a ways to go to meet Wilson’s demands that IU win now, not later.

He talks about guys trying so hard to succeed that they have to battle their bodies as well as opponents.

“You have guys pressing and that’s a lot of stress in your body and you lose your wind. You don’t look like you’re in shape, but it’s just because you’re trying too hard.

“It’s hard to teach guys who really want to do well how to go as hard as they can and relax in their body.”

Track coaches tell their sprinters this all the time. To go your fastest you have to relax rather than tense up. It’s the same in football.

“You want them on edge,” Wilson said, “but not wound so tight they’re fighting their bodies.

“It’s the way you teach. You’ve got to go through it. We’re going through it in practice now. We’ll go through it in games. The freshmen will go through it when they get here.

“As the games get bigger, our guys will go through that. It affects your conditioning from a mental side.”

IU’s physical condition was tested during Saturday’s scrimmage. After dealing with heavy morning showers, the weather cleared and the Hoosiers took advantage at Memorial Stadium.

IU worked on red-zone plays along with goal-line, special teams and clock situations.

Wilson said the Hooisers had a strong practice Thursday and followed it with a good scrimmage.

“Our defense has been real strong all spring, but our offense made a few more plays and had the upper hand (in the scrimmage).”

All this was preparation for next Saturday’s spring game at Memorial Stadium. It will start at 11 a.m. after the annual Pigskin and Pancakes event. That is also the same weekend as the Little 500 bicycle race.


Okay, so the basketball world didn’t stop with all the high school talent assembled at Indianapolis North Central High School this weekend, but there was plenty to notice.

College coaches couldn’t notice because NCAA rules keep them away from April AAU events like the IndyBall Shootout, although you can bet the house they know what’s going on.

Take, for instance, the Indiana Elite/Team Indiana 17s that smashed its way past the overmatched Hancock County All-Stars 103-63. Indianapolis Park Tudor point guard Yogi Ferrell, perhaps the most important member of IU’s heralded Class of 2012, hit 8 of 9 three-pointers and scored 29 points. Granted, Hancock County will never be confused with, say, Ohio State, but the performance did showcase Ferrell’s ability to score as well as pass and run the offense.

Once upon a time, a point guard ran the show without dominating the scoring. In today’s game a point guard has to do it all. Ferrell, it seems, can do that.

Ferrell joined with Indianapolis Broad Ripple’s Ron Patterson, Lawrence Central’s Jeremy Hollowell and LaPorte’s Hanner Perea on the Indiana Elite/Team Indiana 17 squad. Missing was center Peter Jurkin, who is dealing with an injury.

Then there’s the Class of 2013 that features Indianapolis Cathedral’s Collin Hartman and Indianapolis Warren Central’s Devin Davis. Both play on the Eric Gordon 16s team. Both are IU recruits.

Finally, it looks like Kentucky, which seems to scoop up every top player it recruits, is interested in Hamilton Southeastern’s Gary Harris. Yes, that’s the same Harris who has received offers from Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State and most of the rest of the free world.

The 6-4 Harris is still intrigued by football. He’ll play it again this fall and, perhaps, decide that is his game over basketball. Or, he can try to do both in college.

For IU, James Hardy and Antwaan Randle El tried doubling up in the last decade, although neither lasted very long before sticking with football.

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