Fred Glass says he likes what he sees in Indiana football practice. Granted, a cynic would gripe, what would you expect him to say, but this isn’t the time for cynicism. We’re still two weeks away from the season opener and all things are possible, even a winning record for the Cream ‘n Crimson.
Possible doesn’t mean probable given the program’s history of struggles, but let’s not quibble about realistic outcomes when dreams are so much more enjoyable.
Anyway, Glass has been to practices. He’s been there with basketball coach Tom Crean. They’ve seen what coach Kevin Wilson and his staff have done in Year Two of this new era and the result, Glass says, has been impressive.
“I’m excited about football,” he says. “The energy seems great. The focus seems great. Coach Crean, in his description about how intense the (football) coaches are, how specific they are in instruction, their enthusiasm and teaching technique, was very enthusiastic. That was encouraging.
“I like our coaches. I feel like Kevin has grown into the role and is very effective.”
Everybody has learned from last year’s 1-11 disaster. Players are stronger and more experienced. They have a better understanding of what has to be done and how to do it. Coaches have a better feel for getting them to play to their potential.
What will that mean for the season? We’ll start getting an indication with the Sept. 1 opener against Indiana State.
Wilson says he and his staff took advantage of a preseason camp schedule that included a five-day break from summer classes. That meant players could spend more time focused on football. Of course, when you have 29 intense practices over four weeks, football can be a grind, but these players seem to be making the best of it.
“We’ve tried not to wear them out with over and over things,” Wilson says. “It was a much more teachable situation, more coachable. For the most part our kids come to practice with a good mindset.”
Coaches are demanding in practice. They coach with an intensity that is not for the sensitive or meek, which isn’t a bad thing. Football is a tough sport played by tough guys and the Dr. Phil approach ain’t gonna fly.
“Every year you have to build toughness and physicalness,” Wilson said. “You start somewhere near ground zero. You pop the pads off. It’s like a boxer. You’ve got to get in the ring, toughen body up, learn how to strike and how to take a strike. You have to build that.
“We’ve done a boat-load of hitting. The kids have responded and consistently practiced at a better level than they did before. It’s fun to go to practice. I think the kids like it. I do. Practices are enjoyable and we’re getting better.”
Like we said, all things are possible.
Assembly Hall is an impressive basketball facility. It is not, however, a fan friendly place, especially if you have to deal its steep stairs that can rattle an experienced mountain climber.
Coming to the rescue is Bloomington attorney Ken Nunn. He provided a financial gift that has enabled university officials to install 350 handrails in Assembly Hall.
“From basketball games to commencement, hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers navigate Assembly Hall steps each year,” Glass said in a university release. “As one of the largest multi-use facilities on campus, these handrails are a long overdue addition. We are thrilled that the university and Ken Nunn came together to make this happen.”
You almost certainly have seen this already, but just in case, here is the statement Ron Patterson and his family released after it was announced earlier in the week he would be transferring from IU. Summer school academic problems cost him an opportunity to play for the Hoosiers.
I’d like to thank Coach Crean and the coaching staff for their time and help this summer, especially Coach Buckley during this process, as well as the Indiana academic staff. I also truly want to thank the Indiana fan base. They have been visible since my commitment, and that type of support has been very appreciated.
As first reported by Jeff Rabjohns of peegs.com, a number of schools are interested in Patterson, including Purdue, Louisville, Illinois, Villanova, Missouri, Ohio State, Memphis, Xavier, Wright State, IUPUI, Dayton and Providence.