IU defensive coaches still seek full-throttle football hustle. They don’t want excuses; they want results because you never know which play could be the game-deciding one.
The Hoosiers basically had the same number of loafs (no-hustle plays) and missed tackles against Penn State they had against North Texas. Here’s what co-defensive coordinator Doug Mallory had to say.
“Sometimes, when you’re out there for 91 plays, when you’re not rolling guys through, there’s a point where fatigue will set in. We’re still not getting the effort we want, the way we want it.”
That’s why the coaches continue to play younger guys. Sixteen true freshman have played this season, twice as many as played in the three previous seasons combined. Are they all ready? Absolutely not, but if the veteran players are messing up, and they are, Kevin Wilson and company would rather go with young guys.
“Effort is the fist thing we talk about from a defensive standpoint,” Mallory said. “We’ve set a standard and we’re going to make sure we uphold that standard. We won’t come down to their expectations. They have to come up to our expectations. It’s still a process.”
That process would be helped by playing a few more guys. For instance, safety Drew Hardin had 91 plays on defense, plus was on three of IU’s four special teams. His brother, safety Forisse Hardin, had 81 plays and also played on three special teams.
“I’ve got to be able to roll some other guys through to keep them fresh,” Mallory said.
He’ll get a chance Saturday when IU (1-4) hosts No. 19 Illinois (5-0).
Indiana senior safety Jarrell Drane will likely miss two to three more weeks with a sprained ankle, but that hasn’t affected his attitude. He missed the Penn State game, a big blow considering he’s hardly played in his career because of injuries, but spent his sideline time working closely with the Hardin brothers to ensure they knew their assignments.
Yes, the coaches noticed.
“That says a lot about him that he’s injured and out, but he’s still locked into the game trying to help the younger guys out,” co-defensive coordinator Doug Mallory said.
My NBA dream died today.
Indiana’s media challenge/fantasy camp -- a great idea by IU assistant athletic director-media J.D. Campbell and coach Tom Crean -- proved that basketball is not in my DNA, or my shoes or my elbow brace. And I was SO set on buying a Ferrari with the check sure to come as a NBA replacement player if the league decides to go that route in the wake of its lock-out shutdown.
Anyway, we had eight people on our Brian Evans-Chris Reynolds-coached team and I ranked 88th. Yeah, it’s a downer.
For the record, Ross Kinsey of WANE-TV in Fort Wayne and Scott Agness, an IU freelance broadcaster, were huge in our getting third place. Both can shoot, handle the ball and play defense. The Bloomington Herald Times’ Dustin Dopirak came up big, as did Inside Indiana’s Zach Osterman, Sports Journalism Institute’s Lara Overton and Gary Post-Tribune’s Andy Proffett. By the way, we finished third out of four teams, but let’s not downplay the significance of a performance that set standards that might never be equalled.
By the way, any video of the media performance should never be shown, much like a Nancy Grace dancing clip.
Also for the record, for one moment I entered the Dane Fife never-fouled-in-my-life zone after being called for fouling IU assistant athletic director Jeremy Gray on a three-point attempt. One person’s foul is another’s legally aggressive play. Video evidence would show I got all ball, and if I also got shoulder, chest, arm, elbow, wrist, knee and foot, well, what makes contact such a dirty word.
Did I mention my NBA dream has died?
If you’d like to know who’s going to win the Heisman, or at least who are the favorites, consider the weekly poll put out by StiffArmTrophy.com. It polls as many of the Heisman voters as it can (this week that means 49 voters from 29 states), and that includes us.
The poll shows Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson top the list. Behind them are Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III and Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones.