Can Rudy help the football Hoosiers?
We’re about to find out.
Rudy, is Rudy Ruettiger, the under-sized, Notre Dame walk-on from the mid-1970s who finally, as a senior in his final collegiate game, got to play and recorded a sack. That inspired the movie “Rudy,” written by Angelo Pizzo, who now lives in Bloomington.
Rudy is now a motivational speaker. He was in town on Monday and spoke to the team, as did Pizzo, who also wrote the movie, “Hoosiers.” Rudy later talked briefly on IU coach Kevin Wilson’s weekly radio show.
Rudy pounded the underdog theme to the players, saying on Wilson’s show that, “Don’t go back to where you were. Fight for where you’re at. Stay there.”
Rudy watched the Hoosiers’ 44-29 loss to Northwestern. He pushed a bunch of motivational buttons when he said, “A good thing’s happening here. This is going to happen. This is not a I-hope-it-happens. This is happening, and it will happen because of this attitude they’re bringing here.”
It would be nice if it happened Saturday against Michigan State. The Spartans, a preseason favorite to at least reach the Big Ten title game, have struggled to a 3-2 start, mostly because of a weak offense still trying to find a passing game.
This could be huge for a Hoosier defense that continues to struggle -– 85 points allowed in its last two games. It was particularly shaky against Northwestern, giving up 44 points, 704 total yards and nearly 400 rushing yards. It never figured out how to contain do-it-all Kain Colter, who ran, threw and caught his way to nearly 300 yards of total offense.
Wilson found a few good things to say about the defense on his radio show. There’s no reason, after all, to beat up a group getting beat up enough on the field.
“We can point out some things,” Wilson said. “But again, they’re creating some thing in the second half with turnovers. They’re fighting their tails off. You watch the tape and you don’t see guys not giving you effort. We gotta get off the block. We gotta make a tackle, we gotta scheme it better, we gotta put ‘em in better positions, we gotta make some plays. But you look at the kids and say, ‘I like your effort.’ We’re not giving up the ghost. There’s a lot of fight in these kids. There’s some things to build with as we move forward.”
If the Sporting News is right, IU sophomore forward Cody Zeller will be the best basketball player in the nation this season. The national publication picked him as its preseason player of the year. He’s on its preseason first-team All-America squad along with Ohio State’s DeShaun Thomas (the former Indiana Mr. Basketball out of Fort Wayne), North Carolina’s James Michael McAdoo, Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum.
If you follow the football Hoosiers, you know how good senior defensive tackle Adam Replogle (photo above) is on and off the field. Now he’s getting some national acclaim. He’s a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy.
Basically it recognizes the best football scholar athlete in the nation. Candidates have to be seniors or graduate students with at least a 3.2 grade point averge, be a strong player, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. It’s run by the National Football Foundation.
Replogle is a team captain for IU. He’s a two-time academic All-Big Ten pick, and has recorded 131 tackles and 11.5 sacks in his career.
He’s positioned to become one of 16 finalists and receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. The overall winner will receive a $25,000 scholarship, plus a 25-pound trophy.
Why the fascination with 25?
That, for now, is a mystery.