It’s time for Indiana’s receivers to step up.
Coach Kevin Wilson and his staff have tried public criticism (at one point Wilson called the receivers the worst part of the offense) and hard coaching.
There is improvement, he said, but it remains a work in progress.
“We’ve had too many competitive or casual drops,” he said. “The other day we had one of the times we didn’t score, we had a wide open pass for 7 yards and we dropped it.
“It’s about 80 percent of the time that you punt if there’s a dropped pass. It’s not that much different than a penalty or a negative play. It’s like, ‘Hey, everything worked. You’ve got everybody blocked. The receiver is open. The quarterback makes the right choice, but you don’t make the play.'”
Still, there’s plenty of potential at the position with juniors Duwyce Wilson (still recovering from last year’s knee surgery) and Kofi Hughes (suspended for a game), sophomores Shane Wynn, Nick Stone and Cody Latimer, and freshman Ricky Jones.
Hughes led IU last year with 35 catches for 536 yards and three touchdowns. Shane Wynn had 19 catches for 197 yards. Wilson had 17 catches for 217 yards and three TDs.
Kevin Wilson said he’s seeing a lot from sophomore Tre Roberson at quarterback, but Roberson can only do so much. He has to be in synch with the receivers, and that needs a lot of work. It needs consistency.
Time grows short. We’re about 10 days from the season opener against Indiana State. If the Hoosiers are to show they are ready to avoid a 1-11 repeat, they have to beat the Sycamores, and beat them soundly.
The receivers will play a large role in that.
Ron Patterson made the wise decision to attend Brewster Academy in New Hampshire for this basketball season rather than try to land with a college. Prep school will give the shooting guard a chance to work on his academics, which cost him his shot at Indiana.
Beyond that, a year should boost his maturity, both on and off the court. That will better prepare him for what he’ll face in college.
Brewster Academy, by the way, is a national prep school power. It won the national prep school title this past season with a 33-1 record.
All of this means Patterson is now part of the Class of 2013. It also means he’s unlikely to ever join the IU program. The Hoosiers already have a more heralded player at the shooting guard position for the Class of 2013 in Stanford Robinson, and don’t need Patterson. They also are over-signed for the Class of 2013 (haven’t we seen that before?) and are still recruiting other players in that class.
Sure, scholarship space could open if players leave early for the NBA draft (can you say sophomore Cody Zeller?) or transfer, but the bottom line is Patterson is no longer in Hoosier plans. And, really, the Hoosiers are no longer in his.
We can say, with absolute certainty, that cornerback Lawrence Barnett, receiver Kofi Hughes, and reserve safety Forisse Hardin will be suspended for one game for violation of an unspecified team rule. It likely will be the Sept. 1 season opener against Indiana State, but there are no guarantees.
Why? Because Wilson wants to hedge his bet in case there are injuries or other glitches and he needs them against the Sycamores. He did say he wanted to keep Indiana State coach Trent Miles in the dark about what the Hoosiers might do.
Suspended or not, Barnett, Hardin and Hughes are getting practice reps to prepare them for when they do play.
“There’s a point where if you’re going to have a role (for the season) we need to keep you into it because if we put you on a shelf, it takes forever to get you back,” Wilson said. “So (next week) we’ll have them do a little bit more work to get them polished up, but at the same time, they’ll be doing more with the scout team.”
Indiana is picked to share the Big Ten soccer championship with Northwestern. That’s based on a preseason poll by conference coaches.
The Hoosiers are ranked No. 12 in preseason polls while the Wildcats are at No. 20.
IU is used to thriving in conference play. It has won 14 Big Ten regular season championships, plus 11 conference tourney titles.
If ESPN is right, Indiana is looking at a long football season. ESPN writers Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett took a long look at each Big Ten team and evaluated every position.
The Hoosiers came in last with 85 points. Their best positions, according to Rittenberg and Bennett, were running back and tight end. They rank eighth out of 12 teams at those positions. The offensive line, linebackers and the secondary were IU’s weak links. Each position was ranked last in the Big Ten.
Nebraska, by the way, was No. 1 with 29 points.