Thursday, August 18, 2011

IU Quarterback Alert – Will Somebody Please Win the Job

Kevin Wilson pulled no punches. Did you expect anything less?

The Indiana football coach is honest and blunt. He seems incapable of sugar coating anything, especially when it comes to quarterback play.

IU needs to find a capable quarterback. There is no way Wilson’s “Win-Today” plan can work without one. But the problem is, nobody has emerged. Yes, that is a problem, but still a manageable one. Come Sept. 3, when the Hoosiers open their season against Ball State at Lucas Oil Stadium, that has to change.

“We’re a long way from having a good (quarterback),” Wilson said.

Dusty Kiel, Edward Wright-Baker and Tre Roberson have separated themselves, with no takers yet. After nearly two weeks of practice, Wilson still waits to be impressed.

“Either our defense is really good, or our quarterbacks really are not very good. It’s one or the other. We don’t get open and we don’t throw it to them, so we’re just okay. We’re not good enough. None of them are. It’s not negative. It’s not worried. They’re not close to what they ought to be yet.”

This might sound like coach using the media to fire up his guys. Not so, Wilson insisted.

“They don’t read the paper, so I ain’t trying to motivate them. I’ve already talked to them. They’ve already been motivated. We just need to be better there.”

At times, Roberson has looked the best (he’s the best playmaker of the bunch), which is a problem given he’s a true freshman still trying to grasp the complexities of the college game. Kiel and Wright-Baker are redshirt sophomores. They’ve played a little and experienced a lot. They should be doing better, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said.

“I expect more out of Dusty and Ed because they’ve had a spring here,” Smith said. “I want them to be further along from an execution standpoint. It’s frustrating because my expectations are higher, maybe more than what theirs are.”

Smith said if a quarterback isn't named until the day before the season opener, they'll handle it.

"We've been doing this a long time. (Needing to name a starter now) is way overblown. It's who gives the team the best chance to win. That's who you go with."


Remember Darius Willis, the often injured running back who just can’t stay healthy. Wilson said Willis, “Still hasn’t run any plays yet” because of an unspecified injury. He also said he doesn’t know when Willis will serve his one-game suspension because he hasn't practiced enough to be able to play a game yet.

Also, three walk-ons got some big news –- they are now on scholarship. Receiver Dre Muhammad, linebacker Brandon McGhee and kicker Nick Freeland got the news this week. Defensive back Greg Heban had earlier been put on a scholarship.


It’s official. IU will have a new $19.8 million baseball/softball complex. No, this does not mean that baseball coach Tracy Smith is doing cartwheels across campus in celebration, although if he did, few could blame him. He’s waited a long time for this moment.

It will come courtesy of the IU Board of Trustees, which approved construction on what now serves as intramural fields just north of the IU Tennis Center and Mellencamp Pavilion. Yes, it still has to be approved by a few other committees and commissions, but those are just formalities. Construction is set to begin in 2012 and the facility should be ready for the 2013 season.

The project is fully funded through private donations and athletic department funds. Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects of Indianapolis will design the complex.

Sembower Field, the Hoosiers’ current baseball facility, was fine when it was built in 1951, but it had long ago become outdated. Former coach Bob Morgan had spent years pushing for a new stadium. Smith arrived in 2005 after being promised a new stadium was in the works, only to run into delay after delay. Softball coach Michelle Gardner ran into the same problem after she was hired in 2008.

The delays are over.

“Given all the effort by those well before me and those I’ve had the good fortune to work with side by side the past few years, I am beyond grateful to be part of a the group that gets to usher in a ‘new era’ of Indiana baseball,” Smith said in a university release.

“This stadium not only represents the future of our program, but it also represents the dedication of those who worked so hard for so many years to make this stadium a reality. I can’t thank Fred Glass, President McRobbie and the IU Board of Trustees enough for their commitment to our program.”

Glass, IU’s athletic director, had worked to come up with the money to pay for the project after funds originally allocated for it were used up to complete renovations to Memorial Stadium and the building of Cook Hall.

To keep costs down, the complex was set to be built where Sembower Field and the softball field are now. However, officials liked the idea of putting it by the by-pass to create a striking entrance to IU’s entire sports complex that includes Memorial Stadium and Assembly Hall. The cost was still to high, so Smith and Gardner agreed to keep their offices in Assembly Hall rather than have new, elaborate ones built into the new facility. That cut enough costs to make the move to the intramural field site possible.

“The new baseball/softball facility will allow both teams to compete at the highest level, further demonstrating IU athletics’ commitment to enhancing the experience of our student-athletes, and delivering on a promise made to both programs several years ago,” Glass said in the release.

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