Friday, September 30, 2011

IU Film Watching -- How Much Is Enough? Zeller, Cookies and Contest

If you’re IU quarterbacks Edward Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel, and even Tre Roberson, you need to be watching a ton of film.

A ton.

How much is that?

That is the million-dollar question.

You know they are watching film, but during football sessions and on their own, but are they watching enough? Do their views on what a lot is match what coach Kevin Wilson thinks?

It doesn’t sound like it.

Wilson has expressed disappointment in the amount of film his quarterbacks watch in preparation for games (today IU hosts Penn State). He talked about seeing a quarterback watching TV (maybe it was Dancing with the Stars, Housewives of New Jersey, whatever) in the players lounge complex rather than film.

“I guess that’s OK,” Wilson said, “but (the quarterback) was 50 yards away from watching tape and seeing what the coverage was, seeing what their third-down tendencies are.”

Film watching is one of the Holy Grail attributes of good quarterbacks. Peyton Manning watches a lot, which is among the reasons why he’s so good when he’s healthy. NCAA rules limit how much time IU coaches can demand players spend on football.

Still, if you spend your fall Saturday’s performing in front of 40,000 or so people, and a lot more thanks to TV, you’d think you’d want to make absolutely sure you have it down.

Wilson had a pair of quarterbacks -– Sam Bradford at Oklahoma and Zak Kustok at Northwestern -– who watched a lot more take than what the IU quarterbacks are.

“There’s a commitment,” Wilson said. “When you’re balancing your academic load, your social life, when you play quarterback at the collegiate level, there’s a lot of stress. These young men have so much going on, it’s hard to play quarterback. They have a lot on their plate. But the more you work, the less that’s on your plate.”

Figure that the IU quarterbacks will lincrease their film watching. How will we know? Let’s just say the results will be very, very public each Saturday.


Can you eat more chocolate chip cookies than Cody Zeller?

Do you want to try?

We here at Hoosier Hoopla think you should, which is why, as a Cream ‘n Crimson community service, we are pushing for a cookie eating contest at the upcoming Hoosier Hysteria basketball event (Saturday, Oct. 15, Assembly Hall).

Every school has some kind of three-point shooting, dunking contest as part of its Midnight Madness event that the average person can’t do, at least not so they’d want to do it in front of 10,000 or so fans.

But EVERYBODY can eat a cookie. And thanks to Zeller, the ultra-heralded freshman who first tossed out the idea, why not give everybody a chance.

Figure out a way to chose one fan under the age of 10 -– or maybe two, one boy and one girl -– and have them take on Zeller. Maybe toss in an adult to stop any age discrimination griping. Then get a bunch of cookies and have them go at it in Assembly Hall.

So what would the contest be? Maybe how many cookies they can eat in 30 seconds. Or put a cookie on top of a basket and have contestants jump for them, recognizing that the 6-11 Zeller MIGHT have a SLIGHT advantage.

Sure, IU’s new nutrionist Amy Freel might balk at this kind of diet. Yes, Tom Crean and his staff might not want Zeller fueling himself up on this kind of stuff given the intense practices they’ll have, but let’s not quibble over basketball details.

This is a chance to be on the cutting cookie edge, a place where no program has gone before.

What do you think?


If Zeller is to play to all the hype surrounding him, and there’s a bunch of it given he’s considered one of the top freshman in America, he’s got to be physically ready for what he’ll face. He has a pretty good idea what that is.

“The biggest thing has been getting ready for the college level -– it’s so much faster and stronger,” Zeller said. “That’s work in the weight room. That’s getting lower on all my moves, being more explosive. It’s definitely a big step for all of us freshmen going from high school to college.”


IU might be struggling on the football field, but it is still finding recruiting success. The Hoosiers got their 19th commitment for the Class of 2012 with defensive end-linebacker Jacarri Alexander choosing IU over Kansas State and Pitt.

Alexander comes from Iowa Central Community College and Winter Haven, Fla. He’s set to enroll in January, so he’ll be able to participate in spring practice and get a big jump on his preparation for next season. He’s listed at 6-1 and 238 pounds, and if you believe the stories, he runs a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash.

With that size and speed, he’d likely be a linebacker for the Hoosiers. And you can never have enough good, athletic, fast linebackers in this spread-offense era.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

IU Football – Clearing Up Veteran Issue; Willis As Pro Wrestler

As you probably know, IU coach Kevin Wilson isn’t happy with the leadership and effort of some of his veteran players. As a result, some of them have been benched in favor of freshmen, some of whom aren’t ready for major college football yet.

Wilson did it for motivation, to get the veterans to play to the necessary level and intensity. He wanted to clear up a few things after Wednesday’s practice. He said wasn’t talking about the seniors. Those guys are doing okay. Not great, but okay. He WAS talking about the sophomore and junior class. Some of those players haven’t stepped up.

“The old guys (seniors) are going pretty well,” Wilson said, “but I think they can do more. The young guys are a talented group, but they’re not my (recruited) group (former coach Bill Lynch and his staff recruited them).

“The disappointing group is the middle group, some of the second- and third-year guys. We’re not getting much out of those guys. If you look at it, we’re playing seniors and young guys. How many juniors and sophomores do you see out there? What are you giving us in kickoff coverage, kickoff return? What ae you giving us at back-up receiver? That’s the group that has some negativity.

“The seniors have not been phenomenal, but they’re not bad. They’re good kids. I think there’s more. They need to set a more vibrant example. They can give us stronger and better.

“The (sophomore and juniors) need to fight through, bust through the wall and start contributing better on both sides of the ball.

“When you’re not winning and performing well, it’s hard to be a great senior leader. I’m encouraging those guys to pick it up. It will be interesting to see some of those second- and third-year cats. That’s the intriguing group to me.”

That should clear everything up and lead to the obvious question -- did Wilson REALLY cally his players “cats,” a term once used during the 1950s’ beatnick era? It’s something that Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who will be in Memorial Stadium on Saturday when the Nittany Lions (3-1) take on the Hoosiers (1-3), and who has been coaching since the Egyptians built the pyramids, might be more familiar with.

What does that mean for IU? How old is Wilson really?

The answers are yes, and we don’t know.


Yes, participating in a pro wrestling match when you’re supposedly injured, as Darius Willis reportedly did last Saturday, does not do much in perception circles.

The junior tailback hasn’t played football in a year, never will again according to Wilson, yet launched himself into a flying tackle of some pro wrestler called Manix, which was sort of the name of a 1960s TV detective show (it was actually “Mannix”) starring Mike Conners, who once played basketball at UCLA and who …

Sorry. We got carried away.

Anyway, Willis tackled Manix to help his friend and pro wrestler, PJB, beat Manix in an absolutely not-staged event in Bloomington because, as we all know, nothing is truer and more realistic than pro wrestling.

Willis was healthy enough to do this while IU was losing at North Texas.

For all the details, check out the IDS story by Stephanie Kuzydym.

Wilson said Willis never got permission from anyone on the football team to participate in the pro wrestling event. Willis apparently wasn’t paid for his appearance, so it likely didn’t break any NCAA rules.

Even if it did, or even if he was paid, it doesn’t matter. Wilson said Willis’ college career, at least at Indiana, anyway, is over because Willis re-injured his surgically repaired knee. He hasn’t played in a game this season. He will try for a medical hardship scholarship which will pay for the rest of his school.

This wasn’t the smoothest public relations move, but Willis is now just a college student, and likely will be from now on, wanting to have some fun on a weekend.

And, of course, what better way to do that than in a Bloomington pro wrestling event.

So, now you know.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wilson Shaking Things; QB Message – Prepare Better, Vets Message – Lead Better

Losing stinks and no one knows that better than followers of Indiana football. This season’s 1-3 debut is yet another grim reminder of how far the Hoosiers have to go to become football relevant.

How do they get there?

Hard work, coach Kevin Wilson said. Also a few surprises as IU prepares for Penn State (3-1) on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

“We’ll look to shake some things up in practice in the way we’re doing things to not lose our kids physically, emotionally and mentally,” he said. “We’ve got to keep building, got to give ourselves a great opportunity to win Saturday, a great opportunity to win each and every Saturday.

“We need the seniors to have a great experience down the stretch.”

Wilson has shaken up the lineup and benched some veteran players while playing some freshmen, particularly on the offensive line, who aren’t ready for the physical nature of Big Ten ball. No matter. The veterans have to lead by action as well as word, and if they won’t practice and play with the necessary passion, effort and efficiency, he’ll go with the younger guys.

“On the offensive line we’re playing some young guys and they’ve got to keep battling and playing through it. Some of them lack a little size, girth and strength.

“We need to create some velocity and force coming off the ball. Our older guys need to get a loving feeling back into the way they’re going about their business instead of going through the motions because as they go through the motions, the young guy by evaluation is just as good as the young guy. I’ve got more value playing the young guy and that’s not slamming the old guy. The old guy has got to earn his right. Everything we want is still in front of us and we can still accomplish things that haven’t been accomplished here in quite a while.”

Can they? Absolutely. Will they? Tradition, history and performance scream no.

Wilson has little patience with tradition. He’s a “Win-today” now and if that better resembles “Win-Tomorrow,” well, you can’t control everything. He sees encouragement in the close losses.

“I think we’re close,” he said. “I don’t think there is doubt. I don’t think there is give up. I think that during a course of a game we’re not strong enough, mature enough, good enough and tough enough of a team to go at it for 60 minutes. We’re doing it in spurts.”


For those wondering if there is a quarterback controversy at IU because Dusty Kiel hit some big passes at North Texas to lead a late comeback, forget it. Edward Wright-Baker is still the starter.


In part because Kiel turns the ball over too much, Wilson said. He did it in preseason camp and nearly did it in the South Carolina State victory.

Wilson wants both quarterbacks to spend more of their free time watching film. Because of NCAA rules, he can only suggest that, not mandate that.


Tom Crean is excited about Hoosier Hysteria. Does that shock you? The guy lives for basketball. It’s not just a job, it’s a passion for him, and Hoosier Hysteria is the first public chance of the season to see that passion and whether the Hoosiers really could be a NCAA tourney team.

Yes, the event is mostly about hype, getting a bunch of canned food items for the Hoosier Hills Food Bank and generating fan interest for what looms as a break-through season after three years of misery.

Oh, yes. Showing stud recruit Gary Harris what Cream & Crimson excitement is all about.

The event is set for Oct. 15 at Assembly Hall. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the women’s team taking the floor at 7:30. The men will arrive at 8.

“Our players look forward to this event each year,” Crean said in a university release. “Any time we can go out and play in front of a packed house at Assembly Hall, it makes a lasting impression on everyone involved.”

Events such as a dunk contest and three-point shooting contest are being finalized. Men’s and women’s players will be available for autographs afterward.

“We have a group of young ladies who are going to work hard and give everything they have for this program and this institution,” women’s coach Felisha Legette-Jack said.

Crean hopes the move to Saturday night will lead to more first-time visitors to Assembly Hall and Cook Hall.

“One of the things I enjoy most is to meet families who come to a game or this event with their children and expose them to IU basketball for the first time,” he said. “Our hope is that we will have a lot of first-time visitors who when they experience this event with all the long-time loyal students and fans, become Hoosier fans for life.”


Yes, we had a few brain-dead moments (since corrected) in the previous blog. IU plays AT Wisconsin on Oct. 15, the same day as Hoosier Hysteria is set for Assembly Hall. IU also did commit 20 penalties against South Carolina State, not Virginia. We will run Memorial Stadium stairs as punishment while listening to Justin Bieber’s greatest hits.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's Up With IU Football? Hoosier Hysteria Announced

Big Ten football is set to begin and here’s what we know:

It will not go well for Indiana.

Here’s what we suspect: the Hoosiers will not win a conference game and will finish 1-11, which will blast away the honeymoon feelings toward coach Kevin Wilson.

Year One of the Wilson era finds IU football the worst it’s been in a long, long time. Getting manhandled up front by Ball State and North Texas, neither of which reminds anyone of, say, Wisconsin, is a really, really bad sign.

Unless a Big Ten team has seven turnovers, there seems no way it can lose to the Hoosiers.

Yeah, it wasn’t supposed to be this bad. IU under Bill Lynch lost a lot, but not this much and at least it was competitive. This 1-3 stuff is a whole new unwanted level. It hasn’t started this poorly since 2003, when it finished 2-10. It hasn’t had a winless conference season since 1995.

The inability to run or stop the run is disaster in football at any level, and if you’ve seen the Hoosiers play, you know what a disaster it’s been. Defensive coaches have basically opened up every position again. If you don’t practice well, you ain’t playing. They actually started that a couple of weeks ago with the offensive line, benching some veterans and playing freshmen.

The result -- a school-record 20 penalties against South Carolina State.

IU has played 16 true freshmen this season, twice as many as before. If they were all five-star standouts, that might be a good idea. They’re not and, to be frank, some just aren’t ready.

It shows.

So what’s going on? It seems to boil down to three key areas – lack of strength, technique and attitude. Defensive tackles coach Mark Hagen added poor communication.

Wilson made a big effort to change the strength and conditioning approach. He wanted fitter, faster athletes to better handle his uptempo style. He’s gotten it, but at the reduction in size and, apparently, strength. There’s a reason why NFL linemen are not svelte figures, but can bench press buildings.

So the Hoosiers spent this year leaning up. It likely they will need another year to build muscle up to the point where they can handle the power game.

Technique and attitude can be controlled and improved. Linebacker Jeff Thomas said the Hoosiers have bought into the new coaching style and are determined to get things right, starting Saturday against Penn State (1-3).

We shall see.

Tom Crean has picked the Hoosier Hysteria date and time, and it’s Saturday, Oct. 15. Why is that significant? Because it allows stud recruit Gary Harris of Hamilton Southeastern to attend.

Harris is too good a prospect for the Class of 2012 (he’s a five-star prospect) not to go after with full-bore effort. That includes all the, well, hysteria, that an Assembly Hall crowd of 10,000 or so can muster.

Harris also plays football and has a game that Friday night, Oct. 14. So for the first time, Hoosier Hysteria won’t be held on the first official day of basketball practice, but the next day.

It also will be held after IU plays Wisconsin earlier in the day. If you’ve seen the Hoosiers and the top-10 Badgers play football this season, if you remember what Wisconsin did last year (and that was without a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback), well, some basketball excitement might be just what Cream ‘n Crimson fans need.

Crean tweeted the announcement: “Hoosier Hysteria is Saturday, Oct. 15. Door opens at 6:30 p.m., women at 7:30 p.m. and we are taking the floor at 8.”

Admission is free, but IU officials ask fans to bring a non-perishable food item.

Harris should have recruiting company when he attends. A pair of Class of 2013 prospects -- R.J. Curington and Derek Wills (the No. 23 player in the class) -- are set to be there, as well.


Sorry for the delay in posting. Had a major writing project involving Ancient Sparta -- yes, Ancient Sparta -- to finish. Maybe IU should use some of the Spartan training techniques. It couldn't hurt. Well, actually, it would, but that's a topic for another day.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

NCAA or Bust? IU Seeks Special Basketball Season

Christian Watford spoke from the heart, which is what you want but don’t always get in these sanitized media times. He said if the Hoosiers don’t make the NCAA tourney this season, it would be a failure.

“With what we’ve got,” he said, “the time is now.”

In so many ways, he’s right.

Sure, you can point out that Indiana has won just 28 games in the last three seasons, so how does that translate into a NCAA tourney team. A more realistic goal would be a winning season and a NIT berth, with NCAA Tournament opportunity coming next season.

But this is a veteran team that has the pieces in place for a special season. Yes, it would use another big guy or two, but that’s true for a lot of teams that will make the NCAA tourney field. Watford has All-Big Ten ability after leading the team in scoring (16.0) and finishing second with 37 three-pointers. The 6-9, 230-pound junior shot 38.1 percent from three-point range, which is what you’d expect from a guard rather than a forward.

Freshman Cody Zeller is primed for a major impact college debut season, and while it almost certainly won’t be as dominant as the one turned in by Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger last year, it should be a good one.

If forward Derek Elston is healthy, he could be a big inside contributor. The Hoosiers look solid at guard with Jordan Hulls, Verdell Jones, Maurice Creek (if he successfully recovers from two major knee injuries), Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey.

Defense has been a major emphasis during individual workouts this fall, for good reason -- it’s been a major liability these last few seasons. Figure that will change, and if it does, look out.

“We realize the time is now,” Watford said. “We don’t have time to wait. We have some senior guys who want to get something done while they’re at Indiana. We don’t want to send them out with a losing record. The sense of urgency is definitely there.”

That urgency has helped develop strong veteran leadership, which is crucial if IU is to turn the program around.

“I feel it’s more player driven now more than anything,” Watford said. ‘Because we’re a veteran team, we hold each other accountable more than anything. We kind of embrace the hard work. We know the workouts are going to be hard going into it. We just try to attack it.”

Memo to IU Cornerbacks – Be Prepared, Confident; Willis Uncertainty

To play defensive back in the Big Ten in general, and to play it at Indiana, you’d better be prepared and confident.

Don’t take our word for it. Here’s what cornerback coach Brandon Shelby has to say about it. He was, after all, an All-Big 12 cornerback while at Oklahoma

“You’ve got to keep pushing. Sometimes guys get lulled to sleep a little bit and say, ‘Hey I had a great game last week.’ That’s over. What have you done for me lately? It’s a new challenge, new scheme, new receiver. Have I prepared myself to be 100 percent?’”

Shelby didn’t think his cornerbacks could say that after previously pass struggling South Carolina State totaled more than 200 passing yards against IU last weekend. That has to change Saturday, when Indiana (1-2) plays at North Texas (0-3)

“I called out the corners (Sunday). I said, I don’t think we were quite as prepared as we needed to be. A lot of that is my fault. I’ll point the thumb first. This week we have to get those guys honed in on what we need to do. Be prepared and not play on our heels.

“We have to continue to get confident. Confidence takes a long time to build and is quick to shatter. A corner has got to have confidence to say -– this is what they did the last play, how can I adust to the next series. They’re scheeming us like we scheme them. They’ll have wrinkles. Just be confident in what you’ve been taught. That’s the key to the whole team. Be confident that the coaches know what they’re talking about. You’ve got to play it and perform it.”


So it looks like Darius Willis might be done as a football player. Is this a surprise? Not really. The Indiana tailback has been an injury magnet almost from the day he arrived on campus. A guy whose talent compared favorably with Anthony Thompson can’t get healthy enough to show what he can do.

A torn patella tendon that was surgically repaired last year either never fully healed or was damaged again. Willis sat out the spring and basically never practiced in preseason camp or since the season has started.

Now that the knee problem has resurfaced, coach Kevin Wilson said, “It could be the end of his career. It’s a recurring deal. He’s far enough alone. That’s for the doctors and his family to decide.”

Willis was talented enough to total 885 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in less than two full seasons.

Wilson said he doesn’t know if Willis is out for the season, but “he hasn’t practiced but a couple of times, three times, all year.”

One possibility is that Willis could get a medical hardship waiver. That means he could remain on scholarship and finish school, but he couldn’t play and his scholarship wouldn’t count toward the team’s 85.


Wasn’t it just a short while ago that Nick Turner looked like the Hoosiers’ top tailback? He did, after all, get most of the work in the spring. He did rush for 157 yards and a touchdown last year, plus added 54 more on seven catches.

That was before everybody began practicing in preseason camp. Once they did, Matt Perez, Stephen Houston and D’Angelo Roberts rose to the forefront.

Turner suddenly was a running back with no place to go. After some thought, he’s been moved to safety. Turner is very fast and might be able to quickly adapt to a tough situation.

“We’re trying to find him a spot on the field,” Wilson said. “With some seniors at safety, maybe it’s a year-away move, but why do you wait? If you’re not playing, let’s escalate it.

“I don’t know if he can play over there. He’s fast, but there’s a lot of fast guys who can’t play football. He wasn’t doing well at running bck. The young guys went past him. We’re just trying to find him a spot.”

Turner, a 6-foot-187-pounder, rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries last season, typically working as a change-of-pace scatback. He also had seven receptions for 54 yards

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

IU Coach in the Mirror – Penalties Have To Stop ASAP; Hall of Fame Inductees

Kevin Wilson is still ticked about those record-setting 20 penalties Indiana had in Saturday’s win over South Carolina State.

It reflects a lot of things, and while lack of player concentration is part of it, you can’t ignore the possibility of poor coaching.

Here’s what Wilson had to say:

“When you’re making a bunch of mistakes, to me it’s a couple of things. What’s the guy’s confidence level or maturity or thought process that’s causing him to think about things where he’s missing an assignment, missing a play, having a penalty? Are you doing things where he’s thinking so much that you’re cluttering his mind? When you have errors, you have to look at the coaching format. What are you doing that’s enabling this guy to jump offsides as many times as he did? Are we getting sloppy on practice habits? Are our hands getting outside and clamping and getting cheap holding calls? A lot of times you can point fingers at your players, but you can point a thumb at yourself.”

Yes, that’s a lot of questions, and you hope the answers lead to fewer mistakes because the greatest team in college football history can’t win making that many penalties. The Hoosiers lead the Big Ten in penalties, a dubious achievement that has to end.

IU (1-2) will get a chance to show it’s found the answers when it hits the true road for the first time -- Ball State at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium wasn’t a true road game -- this Saturday to play at North Texas (0-3).


The NBA lockout might never end, but that doesn’t mean that players aren’t doing their thing. Former Hoosiers Eric Gordon and DJ White are set to participate in something called the “first ever Ball for It All Classic” in Nicoson Hall at the University of Indianapolis on Saturday, Sept. 24.

This event features NBA players with Indiana ties -- Gordon (IU and Indianapolis North Central), White (IU), Gordon Hayward (Brownsburg, Butler), JaJuan Johnson (Franklin Central, Purdue), Zach Randolph (Marion), Jeff Teague (Indianapolis Pike) and Mike Conley Jr. (Indianapolis Lawrence North). Others with Indiana ties are Paul George, Shelvin Mack and Lance Stephenson. They make up what’s called the Knox Indy Pro Am.

This group will go against Goodman League players. That includes Kevin Durant and John Wall. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Tickets cost $25 for general admission, $50 for courtside and $100 for VIP floor seating. There’s also a minimal online processing fee. How minimal? The release never said. Anway, tickets can only be purchased online at!vstc5=buy‐tickets.

A complete roster is available at


Former IU basketball players Ray Tolert and Don Ritter, plus former football standout Trent Green and former Hoosier athletic director Clarence Doninger will be inducted into the IU Athletics Hall of Fame during the annual Hall of Fame dinner on Sept. 30. They’ll be recognized at halftime of the Indiana-Penn State football game on Oct. 1.

Others being inducted include diver Kristen Kane and football player James Sniadecki.

"These individuals embody the spirit for which administrators, coaches and student-athletes are best known at Indiana University,” athletic director Fred Glass said in a university release. “IU athletics have long been a benchmark of excellence -- both in the classroom and in competition -- and these Hoosier greats certainly are responsible for helping establish that. We have great strengths and traditions because of their efforts, and it is with much gratitude that we recognize them for their service to IU.”

Here is some information on the inductees:

Clarence Doninger: The Evansville native served as athletic director from 1991-2001. During his tenure, IU athletic teams won 27 Big Ten regular season or tournament championships and participated in 52 NCAA team championships, and won two NCAA team titles. IU added 4 women’s varsity sports during his tenure as one of the leading institutions in gender equity compliance. Won a basketball letter in 1957, member of a Big Ten championship team. Won the Clevenger Award in 1990. Also served on IU’s Athletics Committee, former member of the IU Foundation Board and served as Alumni Association President.

Yes, some Bob Knight fans blamed him in part for the firing of Bob Knight.

Trent Green: A native of St. Louis who won football letters in 1990, 1991 and 1992, and was co-captain in 1992. IU’s Most Valuable Player in 1992. Was a member of three bowl teams while at IU, the Liberty Bowl, Peach Bowl, and Copper Bowl. Holds IU record with 2,627 passing yards in 1991 and ranks 4th on career list with 5,400 yards. Set total offense record in 1991 with 2,829 yards and is 4th on career list with 5,916 yards. Played quarterback in the NFL for 15 years.

Kristen Kane: A native of Kingston, Washington, she won diving letters in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994. Won Big Ten championships in the 3-meter in 1992 and 1994 and in the 10-meter in 1992. Big Ten Diver of the Year in 1992, and 1994. Placed 2nd in the NCAA in the 1-meter and 3rd on the 3-meter in 1992 and 2nd on the 3-meter in 1994. Earned All-American status four straight years. US outdoor champion on 1-meter in 1992. Two-time IU Female Athlete of the Year (1992 and 1994). Member of Pan American team in 1994.

Don Ritter: Won basketball letters in 1947, 1948 and 1949 and was captain in 1949. Won baseball letters in 1947, 1948 and 1949. First team All-Big Ten selection in baseball in 1949. First team All-American in baseball in 1949, one of only two IU players to be named first team. Recipient of the L.G. Balfour Award and the IU Gimbel Award in 1949. Ranked eighth on IU list with .382 career batting percentage. Two-year starter in basketball who led 1948 team in scoring.

James Sniadecki: Won football letters in 1966-68 and the South Bend native was co-captain in 1968. All-Big Ten in 1967 on Big Ten championship team. 2nd team All-American by UPI and Sporting News in 1968. Played in East-West and Hula Bowl games in 1968. Drafted by San Francisco 49er’s in 1969. Played five years.

Ray Tolbert: A native of Anderson, Indiana. Won basketball letters in 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981 and was co-captain in 1981. Starter on two Big Ten championship teams and the 1981 NCAA championship team. Indiana and Big Ten MVP in 1981. Averaged 12.2 points and 6.4 rebounds. Shot a league best 62.6% from the field. Had a team-high 11 rebounds in the NCAA Championship against North Carolina. Team leader in rebounds four straight seasons. Ranks 18th on career scoring list with 1,427 points and 6th on career rebound list with 874 points.
Dean Barnhart: Won basketball letters in 1909, 1910 and 1911, captain in 1910. Top player on team that won IU’s first varsity “I” in basketball in 1909. Tied IU scoring record with 21 points against DePauw in 1909 and broke the IU record with 25 points against DePauw in 1911. Six times in his career scored more points than IU’s opponent.

Fred “Fritz” Bastian: Won tennis letters in 1919, 1920 and 1921. Won Indiana’s first Big Ten singles title in 1921. Beat his brother for the state collegiate title and was also national champion, beating out a 68-man field to win the National Intercollegiate Championships.

Bryce Beecher: Won track letters in 1929, 1931 and 1932. Won Big Ten pole vault title indoors with 13-8 in 1932 and 13-10 in the NCAA outdoor championships to win 1932 title. Also won 1932 indoor title in Big Ten for sweep of conference and nationals.

Eddie Belshaw: Won wrestling letters in 1930, 1931 and 1932 and was captain in 1931. Was on Big Ten championship teams in 1930 and 1931 and was member of the NCAA championship team in 1932. Big Ten champion in 1932. IU’s first NCAA wrestling champion at 135 pounds in 1932, and first winner of the “Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA Championships.”

George Belshaw: Won wrestling letters in 1930, 1931 and 1932 and was co-captain in 1932. Was on the Big Ten championship teams in 1930 and 1931 and was co-captain of the NCAA championship team in 1932. Big Ten champion at 155 pounds in 1932. His 24-4 career record is the 10th best at IU with a .857 winning percentage.

Bob Jones: Won football letters in 1931, 1932 and 1933, honorary captain in 1933, and wrestling letters in 1932 and 1933. All-Big Ten in football as a guard in 1933. Member of the first College All-Star team to play against NFL champion in 1933. Was on Big Ten championship wrestling teams in 1930 and 1931 and NCAA championship team in 1932. Won Big Ten heavyweight wrestling championships in 1932 and 1933. Won AAU heavyweight championship as a freshman. 2nd place in NCAA championships in 1933.

Rodney Leas: Won cross country letters in 1928, 1929 and 1930 and was captain in 1929 and 1930. Won track letters in 1929, 1930 and 1931. Won Big Ten indoor two-mile championship in 1930 and Big Ten indoor mile title in 1931. Was IU’s first Big Ten individual champion in cross country in1930.

Harlan Logan: Won basketball letters in 1924 and 1925, track in 1925, and tennis in 1924. Became IU’s first tennis coach in 1930. All-Big Ten and the Big Ten’s No. 2 scorer in 1925. Earned a Rhodes Scholarship and missed his senior year in basketball. Went on to become editor of Look Magazine and speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Bill Menke: Won basketball letters in 1939, 1940 and 1941. Member of NCAA championship team in 1940. Played on teams that had combined record of 54-9.

Gene Thomas: Only four-sport letterman in IU history. Won three letters in football, three letters in basketball, two letters in baseball and two letters in track, all from 1920 to 1923. Won the Gimbel Award in 1923. Coached Marion High to their first state basketball championship in 1926 and later coached two Michigan high school teams to state championships.

Chris Traicoff: Won wrestling letters in 1937, 1938 and 1939 and was honorary captain in 1939. Big Ten Champion in 1939 at 177 pounds. Had perfect 10-0 record in that ‘39 season. Member of 1939 Big Ten championship team.

Joe Zeller: Won football letters in 1929, 1930 and 1931 and basketball letters in 1930, 1931 and 1932, co-captain in ’32. Won Balfour Awards in both football and basketball in 1931-32, when he was also senior class president. Most Valuable Player in football as a guard in 1930 and 1931. All-Big Ten in 1931. Played professional football with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Indiana Defense -- Correcting The Correctable; Roberts Honored

Doug Mallory has a cold. It’s the least of his problems.

Indiana’s co-defensive coordinator is trying to help build a defense that can stay with Big Ten offenses.

Let’s just say the Hoosiers ain’t there yet.

“We’ve got a long ways to go defensively,” he said. “There are a lot of things to work on. The good news is most are correctbable, but I feel like we need to play better. We’ve got to get that consistency there.”

The Hoosiers are consistent in their inconsistency. They rank last in the Big Ten in scoring defense and 11th in rushing defense. It’s not like they’re playing Oklahoma or Oregon or Wisconsin. Ball State, Virginia and South Carolina State do not represent a murderer’s row of college offenses.

Now comes Saturday’s trip to North Texas, which is 0-3 on the season after a brutal opening that included last Saturday’s 41-0 loss to Alabama.

If IU wants to do better than a 3-9 season record, which seems the best it can hope for after its 0-2 start, it’s gotta play better defense. What are the keys to get that?

Here’s what Mallory had to say.

“No. 1 is stop the run. We still haven’t been real efficient on that. In the run game we’re not giving up explosion plays, but nickel and dime stuff. The offense is able to stay on track -- getting four to five yards a clip. We won’t be successful if we don’t set them back, get them third and long, and get into a winnable situation. We have to be more efficient in our early down defense. If we get them to third down we’ve earned the right to rush the passer. We’ve got to do a better job on early downs and get the ball back.”

Another priority is forcing more turnovers. IU got none in the first game, three in the second and one against South Carolina State.

“There were two other times (against South Carolina State) we knocked the ball loose and had an interception and dropped it,” Mallory said. “Those are missed opportunities. But our third-down efficiency was better. They were 4-for-14, so that was good. We finally made a play in the red zone and held them to zero points.”

Still, the Hoosiers gave up three big pass plays to a team that had done nothing in the air its first three games. On the long touchdown pass, Mallory admitted exposing the secondary with a blitz that left no help deep.

Still …

“Regardless of the (defensive) call we’re expected to win on the play,” Mallory said.

As far as players’ reaction to giving up big plays, Mallory said, “I know how I’m going to react. I’m not too happy when that happens. You try to vent your frustration before you get them on the phone.”

Mallory needs a phone because he coaches from the press box. When the defense gets to the sidelines, he’ll often use a phone to coach up a player. When a player messes up, sometimes a coach tears into him, sometimes he goes gently.

“No one feels worse than the kid who just got beat,” Mallory said. “I was a defensive back. I know if you give up a big play the last thing you want is to get ripped. He probably already knows what he did wrong. You talk to him and get it corrected. That’s the main thing. Get it corrected”


Just so you know, D’Angelo Roberts has done something Anthony Thompson never did at Indiana:

Win Big Ten freshman of the week honors.

Okay, the Big Ten didn’t have that award when Thompson broke into the Cream ‘n Crimson lineup in the mid 1980s, but that misses the point, which is Roberts had a strong performance against South Carolina State.

Yes, the Bulldogs cannot match the defensive talent Indiana will face in the Big Ten, but they weren’t dogs. They likely will make the national playoffs in NCAA Division I-AA (we know it’s called FCS or FCC or whatever, but it’s too confusing for us) mostly because of defense.

Roberts had his way with them, totaling 102 yards in 19 carries, all in the second half. He also added two catches for 12 yards. He now leads IU in rushing with 150 yards. He’s the eighth Hoosier true freshman to reach 100 yards and the first since BenJarvus Green-Ellis did it against Purdue in 2003.

Only one other Hoosier has ever won this freshman award -- kicker Mitch Ewald. He did it on Nov. 29, 2010.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

For Football Hoosiers, It's Time To Man Up and Win

This much we know –- Kevin Wilson has no time or tolerance for the losing mindset that has permeated Indiana football for the last generation. He wants to change things and it starts with effort. He wants it non-stop, consistent and effectice. Specifically, it starts in practice. A lot of the veteran players have gotten it. Some, apparently, have not.

The biggest issue seems to concern the offensive line. Some starters weren’t practicing to the standards Wilson has set, and he wasn’t going to take it. The fact that it came before a game against South Carolina State, a FCS team (just think of it as NCAA Division I-AA, which is much, much easier) meant that a lesson could be learned without losing a game.

At least, that was the hope.

So Marc Damisch, Justin Pagan and Cody Evers were out. Freshmen Peyton Eckert, Bernard Taylor and Collin Rahrig were in.

Sixty football minutes later, including a school-record 20 penalties for an amazing 176 yards, the Hoosiers had a 38-21 victory and, perhaps, a kick in the you know what.

So what was Wilson thinking and what does it mean for the rest of the season?

Let’s take a look.

“I think as much as anything we are looking to shake some things up,” he said. “We are losing some games and don’t like the outcome. When you come out to practice and don’t see the energy from a starting group and you see second guys that are giving you more, it’s like, let’s go to the next guy.

“Even though we are playing an FCS team, we did run better, we did come off the ball and we did fight and battle pretty well. That’s going to creat competition.

“My deal is, if you don’t like where you’re at, work hard and change it. Don’t accept it. Don’t mope around. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, because all you’re doing is proving, Hey, you’re right, we’re not supposed to win games. We’re supposed to lose. You’re right, we’re not supposed to run the ball well.”

Wilson wants the opposite attitude. He wants his players to say, in essence, “Hey, I’m going to work hard and fix it and improve. We flounder in this viscious little circle and we keep going in circles chasing our tail and we get nowhere.”

Nowhere is not why Wilson took the IU job. He’s won everywhere he’s been and just because he’s a head coach for the first time doesn’t mean he wants that to change. So he put Taylor, Eckert and Rahrig in with the starters in practice and “We thought those guys were playing harder, so we went with them, and as we went through the week they actually practiced even better as they saw they were going to play and the other guys didn’t respond well.”

Now we’re off to a new week and a new opponent and a new challenge. IU (1-2) will travel to North Texas (0-3) on Saturday and Wilson is ready to see how the guys who were benched respond.

“It will be interesting to see … Again if a guy’s got some fiber and a guy’s got some pride, he’ll come back scratching and fighting. As coaches, that’s what we’re trying to do. We were fighting and scratching. We didn’t like being 0-2 and we’re looking for guys who want to embrace that.”

Does that sound like the Hoosiers? Are there enough of them to make a difference? North Texas will tell us a little more, but the real enlightenment won't come until Big Ten play.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Learning curve remains for IU’s Wright-Baker; Come Early to Football Game

So what do you do when you’re Kevin Wilson and you have a young quarterback who is going to make mistakes because EVERYBODY makes mistakes at that position.

Quarterback is probably the most demanding position in all of sports. They have to know all the plays. They have to know, in effect, all the plays for all the players, including all the audibles and checks, where everybody has to be all the time. They have to be able to read defenses that have grown increasingly complex, and tell when a defense is bluffing and when it’s not; whether the man coverage looks stay man or morphs into a zone at the snap of the ball. They have to be able to react when plays break down and large, powerful, swift defensive players converge on them with nasty intentions.

It takes years to master all of this. Consider Peyton Manning, probably as best prepared as any quarterback in history by the time he was a NFL rookie and he still set a league record for most interceptions.

He got better because of experience, because he was given the time and patience and resources to grow into the position.

And so we come to Edward Wright-Baker, a redshirt junior who until this year basically never played. Does he sometimes misread defenses and miss open receivers and throw to the right when he should throw to the left? Of course. Does he sometimes miss blocking adjustments and not realize that an unblocked defensive end is charging toward him with game-deciding speed? Yes, he does. But that’s part of the deal when you're young, and sometimes even when you're not.

Mistakes happen and you have to learn from them. As a coach, you have to understand that young quarterbacks will screw up. So you work and push, encourage and prod, and make sure he understands the importance of film work.

Wilson and quarterbacks coach Rod Smith are doing all of that.

They also understand that tossing backup Dusty Kiel into the mix only complicates things. You do that and you mess with a young quarterback’s confidence. Wright-Baker won the job. If Kiel was better, he’d be playing. If Kiel brought a completely different set of skill sets than Wright-Baker -- like he was an exceptional option quarterback -- to really confuse defenses, he'd be playing.

Now, if Wright-Baker self destructs or the offense grinds to a halt, you’ve got to do something. But the offense picked it up in the second half against Virginia, in large part because Wright-Baker made plays. Yeah, he took a sack and fumbled at the end to set up Virginia’s game-winning field goal, but that’s part of the learning process.

For the season, Wright-Baker is 36-for-62 for 443 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Those aren't Heisman-winning numbers, but they ain't bad.

That they aren't good enough comes with the territory.

“A great deal of responsibility goes with his spot,” Wilson said. “He’s got to learn how to handle that plate. He has to do better. He did some good things, but he also missed some things. He’s got so much room for improvement, as does our whole team.

“The best players and the best teams keep getting better each week. We’re 0-2 and we need to keep getting better. Ed is off to an okay start, but he needs to get to work.”

Wright-Baker understands that. He knows he’s far from a finished product.

“It feels like the game is getting slower,” he said. “I’m going to my second progression. It’s getting kind of easier for me.”

Today against South Carolina State (1-1), which has a good defense, will see how much easier it’s gotten.


IU officials are again urging fans to come early for today’s IU-South Carolina State game at Memorial Stadium. Parking lots open at 8 a.m.

Road construction around Memorial Stadium has led to a series of potential programs. Arriving early and using alternate routes to the stadium should relieve traffic congestion.

Should it the key word, here.

Last Saturday’s crowd of 41,549 was IU’s largest home opener since it hosted Kentucky in 1991.

“Even though we hosted the largest opening game crowd in 20 years, traffic was extremely smooth,” athletic director Fred Glass said. “We encourage fans to continue to arrive early, use alternate routes and avoid traffic jams for the rest of the season.”

Thursday, September 15, 2011

IU Football Proactive Push -- Wilson Wants Results Now

Maybe sometime at night, in the shadows of Memorial Stadium’s North End Zone addition, Kevin Wilson shouts his frustration so that it echos across the Indiana athletic complex. He would not be the first. Indiana’s football tradition has a way of reducing the smartest of coaches to numbskulls.

But Wilson has resources his predecessors never had – more money, bigger weight room, more strength coaches, a dietician, and more. Despite the 0-2 start, there is a strong sense that Wilson and his staff will get it right, although all signs point that it won’t be this season.

The Hoosiers are unlikely to match last year’s five-win total. They would need to beat South Carolina State and North Texas to finish the non-conference 2-2, then would have to win three Big Ten games to duplicate the record that got Bill Lynch fired.

Anything can happen, of course. Today’s bleak prospects could become tomorrow’s satisfying accomplishments. Wilson seeks signs in the way IU practices. Given that practices are closed, it’s hard to verify what’s going on other than Wilson wants more.

“You figure it out by the way you play,” he says.

The games will provide insight on whether the Hoosiers are finally getting the Wilson Way.

“When something is not right you don’t point fingers,” he said. “I’m busting my tail and working and scratching and clawing. I’d like to see our players do that. We have too many reactionary people instead of proactive people. That’s not my style.”

Wilson, as his fourth-down gambles have shown, does not believe in reacting. He’s aggressive and used to winning, and this lose-in-the-fourth-quarter stuff is getting old.

“I don’t like where we are. I don’t like the results and the places we’re at. We’re working hard to fix it, whether it be scheme changes or personnel changes …

“If I don’t like the way we’re playing, I’d like to see greater effort. Pick up your practice habits. Apparently what we’re doing isn’t good enough yet. We can all do better. I’m not into having excuses. We can always do better and move forward.”

Wilson doesn’t coach from the book. He refuses to play it safe, even when conventional wisdom demands it.

In each of Indiana’s two football games, the first of his head coaching career, he has passed on field goals for touchdowns, only to see both badly botched.

No matter. His offense isn’t scoring enough touchdowns and that won’t do. If the Hoosiers are to beat some of the teams they’ll face this season –- Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State are among this season’s opponents –- they’ll have to jump start the offense.

“We’re not scoring enough touchdowns,” Wilson says. “Maybe I’m trying to force it, but we’ve got to call plays and don’t worry about criticism. You make calculated plays after watching tape. You think things are there and you trust your players to do it. Sometimes they do it. Sometimes not. It’s not their fault when they don’t.”

So Wilson will take his fourth-down shots because he’s put a lot of time and thought into them. He has to call the best possible play for the situation. The players have to execute it.

“We can’t sit there and hold their hands,” Wilson said. “We’ve got to kick them out of the nest and they’ve got to fly. Sometimes they flutter a little bit. I can’t mother hen them, but I’ve got to be smart. We’re 0-2 in those deals. We needed touchdowns. If we kick a field goal we still need touchdowns.

“(The play call) imploded, but that doesn’t mean next game we automatically kick it. We might have something we feel will work.

“I’m going to be reasonably aggressive. You can’t call a game worried about getting beat. We’ve got to be sound, but have a little aggressiveness in what we’re doing. Especially on the road and in big games, you won’t win many in a field goal contest. You’ve got to score touchdowns. Maybe I’m overdoing it.”

When you’re 0-2 and trying to obliterate a losing mindset, you can’t overdo anything.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

IU Tight Ends Need To Pick Up Pace; Another Basketball Scholarship Offer

Kevin Wilson is a tight end kind of coach. It’s his coaching position, if not his coaching passion, for one thing. It’s an area he’s had a lot of success in developing players, for another.

Tight ends have a major role in Wilson’s offense, which means they have major responsibilities. Some of that involves receiving, some blocking. All of it requires attention to detail and doing what needs to be done. At the minimum, it involves doing your job based on the play that is called.

That, it seems, has been a recurring problem this week in practice, even with the return to health of tight end Ted Bolser.

How do we know this? Because on Wednesday night Wilson talked about the way his tight ends have been practicing. It is, by the way, Wilson’s last media availability until after Saturay’s game against South Carolina State.

Anyway, Wilson was asked about the tight ends. Here’s what he had to say:

“Pretty bad. About half. They ought to be about 70 to 75 percent of the time getting it right, three out of four, two out of three. We’re about half and half.

“We’re doing okay. We need to play better. Tight ends are a big part no one realizes. You think if you can’t run, it’s the line. The tight ends are always at the point of attack. If not, they’re back side in a critical cut-off block (in other words, make sure somebody doesn’t come from behind to get the running back).”

Wilson said Edward Wright-Baker’s interception against Virginia last Saturday was in part due to poor blocking by an unspecified tight end.

“Our pick the other night, the (defensive) guy was coming off a tight end and hit the quarterback or hurried the quarterback. It was a tight end guy. When you see a guy get hit and you say it’s the offensive line, it was a tight end that actually broke down there.

“The line gets all the credit and blame. The quarterback gets all the credit and blame, but the complementary pieces really help or hurt them. They have to keep coming along.”

That starts with South Carolina State.


You knew it was only a matter of time before Indiana offered Derek Willis a basketball scholarship. Look, the kid is a top-20 talent in the Class of 2013. He’s like 6-9, so he’s a big guy, and heaven knows the Hoosiers can’t get enough big guys.

The Louisville Courier-Journal's Jody Demling is reporting that IU offered Willis after coaches watched a workout at Louisville Bullitt East High School. Louisville already has offered him. Don’t be surprised if Kentucky also enters the mix.

Willis had committed to Purdue last spring, but then backed out after having a monster summer in travel ball.


You have to feel bad for kicker Nick Freeland. He blew out his knee running in practice last week, and will need surgery to repair a torn ACL. He’s likely out for the season.

This isn’t a huge blow for the Hoosiers because Mitch Ewald is the field goal kicker. Freeland was just doing kickoffs and was solid against Ball State. Then he got hurt and missed the Virginia game (Ewald did the kickoffs).

But it’s tough for Freeland. In 2009, he did all the kicking and went 34-for-34 on extra points, 14-for-25 on field goals. Last year he only played in two games because of a hip injury. This year it’s a knee.

This, too, shall pass. As a redshirt junior, he does have another year of eligibility. Heck, he might even have two left. So we shall see.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

IU Football – Beckum Leads as Quasi-Coach; No Moral Victories

Sports, as in life, ain’t always fair. Sometimes the bad guys win. Sometimes the good guys get shafted.

Take Indiana linebacker Leon Beckum. He’s a good guy, a former walk-on from Bloomington North High School who earned his way, through effort and will, to a scholarship and a starting position. He’s a co-captain and a leader and somebody the coaches were counting on to have a special senior season.

He still might, but not the way he would have liked.

A knee injury has sidelined him. Nobody knows how long, although the hope is just a couple of weeks. He got hurt in the season opening loss at Ball State after recording five tackles, including one for a loss.

He missed the Virginia game. Maybe he would have made a difference, especially in the Cavaliers crucial final drive that led to the tying touchdown and 2-point conversion, and ultimate IU loss.

Mike Ekeler was asked about Beckum. Ekeler is the straight-talking, hyper-energy linebacker coach/co-defensive coordinator. He is the Yin to fellow co-defensive coordinator Doug Mallory’s Yang in the defensive scheme of things.

Or is that Yang to Yin? We’re a little unclear about Chinese philosophy these days.

Anyway, Ekeler likes what he sees from Beckum, even when Beckum can’t play.

“He’s at every meeting,” Ekeler says. “He’s coaching up everything in practice.

“When guys come to Memorial Stadium before the game, the first thing they do is walk in the team meeting room. They have a test. Each position coach asks the players about their certain responsibilities within that game. I asked Leon one question. I said, ‘Leon, your teammates picked you as one of the team captains. Now you’re dinged up. What would you give to get out on that field (against Virginia)?’ He said, ‘I’d give my soul.’

“That’s who he is. It means everything to him. He’s a special guy.”

Without Beckum the linebacker focus has shifted. Jeff Thomas remains the main man. Brandon McGhee and Chase Hoobler flank him, with Griffen Dahlstrom and Lee Rose as backups.

“We’ve got a lot of character in there,” Ekeler says. “They work hard. They appreciate the opportunity they have right now. They’re trying, like everybody else, to make the most of it.

“I like their work ethic. They’d done what we’ve asked them to do. They’re trying to get better.”

As far as who starts and who backs up, it remains a fluid situation after Thomas and Hoobler. McGhee, for instance, is now listed as a starter. Last week, it was Rose.

“From Day 1 we’ve told these guys, they write the depth chart,” Ekeler says. “I drew up the chart for the first practice. You can take this and do whatever you want with it. You can write it yourself. They know it. The guys who are playing the best will be out there.”

Plenty of work remains, which is what you’d expect from a 0-2 team that, with just a few more plays, could be 2-0. But head coach Kevin Wilson says he’s seeing improvement, which indicates better days are coming.

Yes, we know, that’s a mantra for a program that seems forever waiting for better days, but work with us here.

“There was greater effort,” Wilson says about the improvement between the Ball State and Virginia games. “That was pleasing. It still could be so much better. We’re just going to try to keep building. We need to keep building.

“We made some strides. No moral victories. Our goal is to win it. We blew it. We had an opportunity to get it closed out. We didn’t. The deal is to win games. It’s nice we improved, but that ain’t good enough, because we still lost.”

Saturday, September 10, 2011

IU Gambler -- Kevin Wilson Shows Aggressive Side

A cynic would say, and if you’ve watched Indiana football for the last generation, cynicism becomes part of your DNA, that the Hoosiers should bag the white helmet look. There’s a reason why they haven’t had such a color scheme since 1966, when they were terrible and everybody’s favorite Homecoming opponent.

It didn’t work then and it didn’t now, although Saturday’s heart-wrenching defeat to Virginia – did the Hoosiers REALLY give up 11 points in the last 96 seconds? -- showed a major upgrade in performance.

No matter. They lost, 34-31, as they always seem to lose no matter who’s running the show.

Still, there are signs of hope in the Kevin Wilson coaching era.

IU was a better team than it was in the season-opening loss to Ball State. It was tougher to run against. It forced four turnovers and won the turnover battle. It rushed for more yards and made a ton more plays. It showed resiliency and toughness.

Still, when it absolutely had to make a stop, it didn’t. It couldn’t finish, which happens in sports. It even happens to the best, as Roger Federer proved in his gut-wrenching U.S. Open tennis semifinal five-set loss to Novak Djokovic when he lost a two sets to zero lead and two match points on his serve.

No matter. It would be nice to live in a time when the Hoosiers make the crunch-time plays and turn defeat into victory.

Instead, we live amidst Wilson’s risk-taking adventure. The guy is trying to change the mindset of the program. He’s trying to give his guys a chance to do something special. In each of the last two weeks, it meant passing on a field for a fourth-down shot at a touchdown. Both times failed, this time off a fake field goal.

In the short term, it seemed another unnecessary risk, and perhaps a game-costing one, although no one knew that when Wilson took the third-quarter shot. The Hoosiers were still getting spanked at the time and needed some spark to turn things around. So Wilson called for a fake field goal on fourth down inside the Virginia 10-yard line. These being the Hoosiers, they didn’t make it. Still, the call showed that, if nothing else, Wilson is not predictable.

“We wanted to stay aggressive,” Wilson said by way of an explanation. “Now it has been two weeks in a row where we are trying to be aggressive, but the plays have not worked yet. We will keep taking a look at it. Actually, we took the delay trying to bait Virginia into thinking we were going to kick. That was by design. Tha imploded, which cost us three points.

“As you look at game management, I have to continually look to see if I am putting us in good spots. As coaches we can do a lot better to help our players out.”

Those players, by the way, made a little history against Virginia. Okay, two of them did in freshman quarterback Tre Roberson and senior receiver Damarlo Belcher. Roberson got in for one play against Virginia and didn’t do much, but he was still the second true freshman quarterback in IU history to play behind Tim Clifford, who threw for 143 yards and a touchdown back in 1977, when real men took their dates to see the first Rocky movie and every guy wanted to be John Travolta.

Now everybody wants to be George Clooney or the Old Spice Guy, but that’s a topic for another day.

Belcher, meanwhile, caught four passes for 53 yards. He now has 172 career catches, second in school history to James Hardy, Belcher’s cousin from Fort Wayne, who had 191. Belcher passed Courtney Roby for second. He had 170 catches.

Those are just numbers. In the end, it’s about victories, so consider IU hosts South Carolina State and plays at North Texas in the next two weeks. The Hoosiers have to sweep those teams. They have to. If not, well, let’s not go there.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

For IU Football, Beat Virginia, Jump Start Season

So here we are, watching Indiana fans hope the Ball State loss doesn’t portend a disastrous season, listening to Colts fans worry that their season didn’t end the moment Peyton Manning went under the knife, and contemplating how the Hoosiers can use Saturday’s Virginia game as a catalyst for a big season.

IU football history suggests that losing to Ball State in the manner the Cream ‘n Crimson did -- getting dominated by the Cardinals’ offensive and defensive lines -- means 3-9 misery, at best. That would mean a 2-2 non-conference schedule and a fourth straight 1-7 Big Ten mark.

Oh, no.

Suggesting doesn’t mean doing. The Hoosiers can bounce back in a big way, and while Virginia will never be confused with Virginia Tech, it would be a significant victory. The Cavaliers are a program on the rise with a huge offensive line and plenty of skill players. They’re also awfully young. They played 12 true freshmen in their opening day crunching of William & Mary, the third most in college football behind Texas (18) and Auburn (13). Indiana played 10.

It’s important to note that IU didn’t stink up Lucas Oil Stadium in its Ball State loss. It didn’t have a turnover and committed only three penalties for 44 yards. Coaches push for perfection, but never get it. Still, those two stats come pretty close.

It hurt not forcing a turnover, but you can still win that way. What you can’t win with is upfront submission. There’s no way the Cardinals should have manhandled the Hoosiers, but they did. If coach Kevin Wilson is lucky, that was an aberration. If it’s the norm, well, 3-9 might be charitable.

IU has to play with passion and toughness. It would help if it could break the will of opponents through sheer nastiness (within the rules, of course).

Don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Wilson had to say.

“For us to do well in our league -- we can do all the spread, the shotgun, the no-huddle stuff -- you’ve got to have a physical presence. You’ve got to run it. To do those things, whether it be Virginia, for us to move our program forward, we can be wide open, we can throw it. Ed (Wright-Baker) did okay in his first start. We’ve got nice receivers. But we’ve gotta run the ball and stop the run. If not, you’re going to die a slow death in college football.”

Wilson does not want that kind of football death. He’s determined to build a winner, and he has the resources to do it. Do the Hoosiers have the resolve? That is the lingering question.

“Whether we have to put 12 people up there with butcher knives and run the wishbone,” he said, “we’ve got to run the ball and we’ve got to stop the run. We’ll keep working at it because we’ve got to. You can have all the excuses, all the talk about stats, but that’s what it comes down to.”

That leads us to passion. Wilson said IU lacked fire against Ball State, which is hard to believe considering it was the season opener in one of the great football facilities of all time. If you struggle to understand how that happened, imagine what the coaches think.

Take Mark Hagen, the defensive tackles coach and a former Hoosier linebacking standout. He thrived from passion, an attribute he’s carried over to his coaching. He said he saw the problem at halftime when he rejoined the team after the spending the first half coaching in the press box.

“At halftime it was quiet, unemotional. I couldn’t understand that. We had the lead, but we still had a lack of energy and juice. I don’t know what that is. I don’t know if they were still feeling their way a little bit with a new system.

“On defense you can really help your cause by being into it, being emotional, being energized. You can feed off each other. Don’t sit around waiting for somebody to make a play. Make it.”

Then Hagen offered a prediction, and if it didn’t include a victory guarantee, don’t diminish what he said.

“We all have a role. We have to be into it. You’ll see a different team on Saturday.”

One can only hope.


Here's a small adjustment to the men's basketball schedule. Savannah State is now set for Nov. 19. Gardner Webb is on Nov. 21. ESPN will carry the Kentucky game.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

IU Football Loses Hager; Basketball TV Games

The offensive line didn’t need this. Seriously, you get burned by Ball State and you need all your guys ready to rumble.

Instead, word comes that offensive tackle Josh Hager needs knee surgery. It could end his season, although coach Kevin Wilson didn’t give up hope for a return.

“We’ll wait until they do the procedure,” he said.

With Hager out until further notice, senior right guard Justin Pagan will move to right tackle. Redshirt freshman Cody Evers will take over at right guard. Also figure Wilson will tap into the freshman class yet again with Bernard Taylor, Peyton Eckert and David Kaminski.

The defense took a hit with linebacker Leon Beckum out indefinitely with his own knee injury. This one won’t require surgery, but it’s a big loss because Beckum had gone from a walk-on to a starting mainstay. He led IU in tackles for loss last season.

“We’re gonna see if it’s going to be two, four or six weeks,” Wilson said. “Some guys heal quick … Will that pertain to him, I don’t know.”

Filling the linebacker void will be a pair of juniors, Lee Rose and Griffen Dahlstrom. It might mean using more freshmen -- Zack Shaw and Mike Replogle.

The Hoosiers already have played 10 freshmen, so it’s a good thing the class was a good one. It’s the final legacy from former coach Bill Lynch.

Here’s a shocker – tailback Darius Willis will miss Saturday’s Virginia game because of an injury. Specifically it’s his ankle, which has bothered him before. Wilson indicated it might be three more weeks before coaches will know if he can play. Figure he won’t play. So maybe next next season. Maybe.

As far as defensive end Darius Johnson, who didn’t make the trip to Indy for the Ball State game, all Wilson would say was he’s back at practice. As far as why one of the key starter missed a game, it remains a mystery. It’s either and injury or some violation of team rules. Anyway, it looks like he’ll play against Virginia and IU will need him.


IU gets to open its Big Ten basketball season with Ohio State on Dec. 31. That game will be on ESPN2. The good news – it’s at Assembly Hall.

It also will host Michigan on Jan. 5. That game will be on ESPN. It returns to ESPN on Jan. 15 when it plays at Ohio State.

The Hoosiers will play at Wisconsin on Jan. 26 (televised by ESPN2) and on ESPN when they host Michigan State on Feb. 28. They will be on CBS at Iowa on Feb. 19.

We know this because the Big Ten has released the TV schedule for league games on ESPN and CBS. The rest of the schedule will be announced soon.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Beat The Traffic -- IU AD Offers Get-To-Game-Early Advice

Brace yourself. Getting to an Indiana home football game this year will not be fun. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s the price of transportation progress, or, in this case, the price of turning the two-lane bypass around IU and Memorial Stadium into a four-lane asset.

When it’s done, it will be a good thing.

When it’s done.

For now, it’s a mess that will only get worse during home football game days. The first one is this Saturday, when the determined-to-redeem-themselves Hoosiers (0-1) host Virginia (1-0).

Still, IU officials need fans to come, for a variety of obvious reasons. They can't do anything about the construction, but they are trying to improve the travel experience. They are suggesting you come early. There will be entertainment and the chance to win cool stuff. And, the hope is, a chance to watch the REAL Indiana Hoosiers kick some rump. Those pretenders who submitted against Ball State were not indicative of the program coach Kevin Wilson is building.

At least, that is the hope.

In the meantime, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass is pushing the message that going to home football games will be worth your time. He’s written a letter to the public addressing the traffic construction issues. Here it is:

Arrive Early!

Dear Hoosier Football Fan,

We are very excited to open the Kevin Wilson Era in Bloomington with our first home football game of the 2011 season against the University of Virginia on September 10th. The team has been working hard, we’ve been sprucing up Memorial Stadium, the game day atmosphere will be better than ever, and we greatly look forward to seeing you in the stands.

Road construction to and in Bloomington is making traffic a mess. It will be worse on football game days. The Bloomington 45/46 Bypass is under construction. Understanding that the Bypass is an essential traffic artery on game days, IU Athletics has been working closely for months with the Indiana Department of Transportation, local law enforcement, and the construction firm overseeing the project to address the game day traffic challenges. All of these partners have worked hard to identify creative alternative routes and traffic patterns to make the absolute best of a very challenging situation. The pregame and postgame traffic patterns have been modified this season to support seven alternative routes to and from Memorial Stadium. We strongly encourage Hoosier fans to review the alternative route map at and plan their routes carefully.

Those making their way from Indianapolis and the northern part of the state may be aware of the construction taking place at the S.R. 37 exit off of I-465. While INDOT has worked with us to try to minimize these delays, delays at this interchange are likely. We encourage fans to consider taking S.R. 67 or I-65 and S.R. 46 as alternative routes to Bloomington.

THE ONLY REAL WAY TO AVOID PROLONGED TRAFFIC DELAYS IS ARRIVE EARLY. We encourage fans to tailgate early at Memorial Stadium and experience beautiful autumn Saturdays in Bloomington. To accommodate early arrivers, parking lots will be opened five hours prior to kickoff Hoosier Village will be open three hours before kickoff. We’ve added 50 port-o-lets for a total of 140. Come to “The Walk” two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff, and children will get an opportunity to enjoy the Kid Zone and Knothole Park 90 minutes before the start of the game. Unfortunately, due to the construction there will be waiting involved going to IU football games this year. We encourage you to do that tailgating in and around the stadium or enjoying your favorite Bloomington restaurant or tavern rather than waiting in traffic.

To try to make your game day experience as enjoyable as possible, IU Athletics will email you weekly updates on construction progress, alternative routes, and potential delays. You can also find information on game day traffic by following @IUTraffic on Twitter or by visiting our website Again, we encourage fans to arrive as early as possible to enjoy the fabulous game day atmosphere in Bloomington.

We are excited about this football team. It will be worth it to ARRIVE EARLY to see the Hoosiers play. We appreciate your continued support of Indiana Athletics, and GO HOOSIERS!


G. Frederick Glass, BA’81, JD’84
Vice President & Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
Indiana University


You might wonder why Wilson gambled on fourth-and-three inside the Ball State 10-yard line, passing on a sure field goal. The bottom-line reason is mindset. Here is a look at Wilson's mindset.

"We need to be aggressive," he said. "We can't go out and play afraid. We can't play scared. We can't worry about worst-case scenario. We have to be aggressive. We have to be smart.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

No Passing the Buck -- Wright-Baker is IU’s Quarterback

Edward Wright-Baker blamed himself. Isn’t that what leaders do? It’s about accountability, being responsible for your actions and those around you. The best quarterbacks do that. Sure, they make plays, throw clutch completions, read the defense and all the technical things about their position, but in the end it’s about leading, about getting guys to believe they can do it and then go out and do it.

Wright-Baker is a work in progress. He’s coming off his first career college start, and the bottom line is IU lost, to a Ball State program in major rebuilding mode. That’s the ultimate measure of a quarterback, how many games did he win and championships did he produce. Sure, the passing touchdowns and yards are important, but more than anything else for the position, it’s about winning. It’s about making the plays that lead to victory.

So here were the Hoosiers, trailing Ball State 24-17 in the fourth quarter and coach Kevin Wilson elected to for for it on fourth-and-three at the Ball State 9-yard line. It was a risk, and we’ll get to that in a minute, but Wilson needed seven points and wanted to get it now. So he called a pass and Wright-Baker threw incomplete, although it wouldn’t have mattered because IU had a personal foul that would have wiped out a completion.

Still, Wright-Baker took the heat. He said he misread the defense.

“I should have thrown the fade to Damarlo (Belcher),” he said. “I threw the out (to Dre Muhammad). It’s over with. I can’t do anything about that now. We knew what they were going to do. I just have to make the play. I just have to throw the ball where it is supposed to go.”

It sounds easy, but it is not when the game is on the line.

“That was one of the plays where he got bluffed a little bit,” Wilson said. “It looked like they were going to blitz on the side and he kind of misread it and made a quick pass and missed our shot. It’s not a bad play, but as a young guy, he was kind of fooled right there.”

Wright-Baker was 20-for-32 for 272 yards, one touchdown (a 65-yard pass to Belcher) and no interceptions. He also rushed for 12 yards.

“I thought Ed, for the first time out, was okay,” Wilson said. “He didn’t hurt us, but at the same time, other than the long touchdown to Belcher, we didn’t make a lot of plays.”

Added Wright-Baker: “It was my first game, my first game starting. I think I did all right. I can improve. Everybody can improve. I need to get the ball to Damarlo more, work on my footwork, work on my fakes. I can improve on everything. I’m not perfect.”

Wright-Baker did nothing to lose the starting position after a six-month battle that wasn’t decided, at least publically, until Wright-Barker took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night. Despite all the talk about possibly playing three quaterbacks, Dusty Kiel and Tre Roberson never played.

What did Wright-Baker do to earn the position?

“The last couple weeks he’s probably been a bit more consistent (than Kiel and Roberson),” Wilson said, “but they all played great.

“One of the reasons to not make the decision (earlier) was there wasn’t a great deal of separation. I didn’t plan on rotating and playing a bunch of guys. The last couple of weeks, ball security, taking care of the ball and throwing it to the right place. He was just cleaner. For the most part there weren’t a lot of throws where you’d ask him, ‘Why did you’ …

“There were a couple of throws where he got blitzed and took off scrambling where he didn’t need to. It was the first true game under his belt. He’ll grow from that.”

As for Kiel and Roberson?

“Tre and Dusty have been doing awfully good,” Wilson said, “and they’ll keep plugging, keep pushing and we’ll see how it plays out.”

Does this mean that Wright-Baker is officially the starter?

“I guess he’s the starter,” Wilson said, “but I don’t know that it’s a big deal where we lose the first game. We’ve got to figure it out and he’s the guy for sure. I don’t want to disrespect him. He did okay.”

“Okay” might work if you’re, say, a tailback or receiver. It won’t work when you’re running the entire show. Still, the potential was obvious.

“I think (Wright-Baker) played great,” Belcher said. “He’s go to come back, watch film, grade himself, be hard on himself and just try to get better.”

And speaking of getting better, Wilson lumped himself in that category as far as calling plays, a duty he shares with offensive co-coordinators Kevin Johns and Rod Smith. As to that fourth-down gamble, Wilson keeps pushing an aggressive approach, and if that means tossing out the coaching book that says be conservative, so be it.

“We need to be aggressive,” he said. “We can’t go out and play afraid. We can’t go out playing scared.”

So Wright-Baker is the guy and Wilson will push the offensive envelope. It should make for plenty of offensive drama. Now all the Hoosiers need are some victories. Saturday against Virginia would be a nice place to start.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Not Again -- Kevin Wilson IU Football Debut a Dud

We’ve seen this before with Indiana football, this shaky defense, this fourth-quarter opportunity wasted, this sense that nothing ever changes in a Cream ‘n Crimson world.

Kevin Wilson results looked in so many ways like Bill Lynch football, like that of Terry Hoeppner and Gerry DiNardo and Cam Cameron, recent coaches who arrived with impressive credentials and got squashed flat by IU tradition.

It doesn’t have to last, of course. Maybe the Hoosiers bounce back next week at Memorial Stadium against Virginia. Maybe they get their offensive and defensive lines to the point that they don’t get dominated as Ball State dominated them during Saturday night’s 27-20 season-opening defeat.


For now, all we’re left with is a sense that surely things will get better, that this can’t be what IU will be about this season.


“I don’t know,” Wilson said when asked why Ball State dominated the line of scrimmages. “Whether it is strength or the ability to sustain a block or get off a block. We will keep evaluating where we are. I think the through the preseason we have been good and they guys have worked awfully hard. We aren’t going to change what we do or panic. We are going to do what we do and believe in what we do…

“We didn’t make a lot of plays. We didn’t create turnovers or make any plays in the kicking game. It was kind of a bland, boring game, other than the line of scrimmage play, which we lost.”

Figure linemen will have an intense week of practice. Figure somebody’s manhood will be challenged. Figure that, if it’s true that the most improvement comes between the first and second games, that the Hoosiers had better get a heck of a lot better fast.

They needed 32 rushes to gain 103 yards. That's just over three yards a carry against a Mid-American Conference defense that last year wasn't good. Edward Wright-Baker made his starting debut and got sacked four times. He did go 20-for-32 for 272 yards and a touchdown, a 65-yard gem to Damarlo Belcher.

Yes, IU could play Dusty Kiel next week and Trey Roberson the following week, but this wasn't a quarterback issue. Heck it wasn't even a turnover issue. Neither team had one, which for an opener was pretty good.

Unless you're the defensive coordinator.

Speaking of defense, the Hoosiers allowed Ball State to rush for 210 yards and average 4.6 yards a carry. On what was basically the victory clinching drive in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals ran 13 times during a 15-play 80-yard drive when IU knew -- ABSOLUTELY KNEW -- they were going to run and still couldn't stop them.

So much for all that talk about improved strength and fitness.

And if you love to second guess, and who doesn't in this talking-head era when everybody either has a talk show, blog or both, what was up with Wilson's fourth-down gamble to go for it on fourth-and three inside the 10-yard line in the fourth quarter with the Hoosiers trailing 24-17? Take the field goal and the resulting momentum and move on.

Instead, the fourth-down pass didn't work, giving the Cardinals an edge they never lost.

And if you like mystery, there was the absence of starting defensive end Darius Johnson from the travel roster. When asked about that, Wilson said he doesn’t talk about injuries or team rules. A cynic would suggest that means Johnson broke a team rule, which might explain a little why the Hoosiers were manhandled up front in the second half.

A little.

Finally, nine true freshmen played. Either that means IU has a really strong freshman class, or the veteran talent and depth isn’t up to the necessary standards. Figure a little bit of both.

So what does this all mean? History suggests another long, disappointing season. Look, if you can't beat Ball State, which was 4-8 last year, what are you going to do against Big Ten powers?

Yeah, we know. You've heard that question so many times before. We were just hoping, hoping, we didn't have to repeat it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Figure Harris Will Get Hoosier Hysteria Treatment

Should Indiana change its Hoosier Hysteria event to accommodate the official visit of Gary Harris?

The short answer -– yes.

The longer answer -– absolutely yes.

In a lot of ways, Hoosier Hysteria is all about recruiting. Harris, the Hamilton Southeastern superstar and nationally regarded shooting guard, tops Tom Crean’s remaining wish list for the Class of 2012.

Normally IU would hold Hoosier Hysteria, the annual kickoff to college basketball practice, on a Friday night. It’s all about pomp and circumstance, with the real work beginning the next day.

This year Friday is Oct. 14.

The problem is Harris wants to officially visit IU the weekend of Oct. 15, which is a Saturday. He can’t come on Friday because he’s a standout receiver for Hamilton Southeastern, which is set to host McCutcheon that night in its regular season finale.

The Hoosiers have not officially set a date for Hoosier Hysteria. They don’t have to do it that Friday night. They could do it Saturday night, and probably will. That way Harris gets the full recruiting treatment, including 10,000 or so fans in Assembly Hall, much like Cody Zeller did last year.

That's the same Cody Zeller who is now a freshman at Indiana.

Harris also will reportedly officially visit Purdue on Oct. 1 and Michigan State on Nov. 5. The official signing period begins a few days later.

If you’re into signs, then a lot of times the school that gets the last visit has the edge. That school gets the last chance to make a big impression.

However, that is not etched in stone and might not have anything to do with Harris’ approach. He’s allowed two more official visits and he’ll likely use one of them on Louisville.

Even without Harris, Crean has the nation’s top-rated recruiting class for 2012, highlighted by Yogie Ferrell, Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Perea. But you can never have enough talent, and Harris is quite a talent.


Crean’s recruiting roll extends to the Class of 2014. came out with its top-25 list for that class and Indianapolis Tech forward Trey Lyles, who already has committed to IU, made it at No. 18.

Other IU targets on the list include Evansville Bosse’s Jaquan Lyle at No. 8, Chicago’s Cliff Alexander at No. 9 and Louisville’s D’Angelo Roberts at No. 14.

Not on the list is the Hoosiers’ other commitment for the Class of 2014, Fort Wayne’s James Blackmon Jr.