Thursday, October 18, 2012

IU Football at Make-or-Break Brink; Replogle honored Again:P

Welcome to Indiana’s make-or-break football moment.

In the next two weeks the Hoosiers face a 3-3 Navy team and a 2-4 Illinois squad. These are, without question, winnable games. They are, potentially, season-saving games.

Win those two and you reach 4-4, two victories away from bowl eligibility.

Yes, bowl eligibility. No, we have not lost our minds. Well, maybe we have, but lets not quibble over small details.

Anyway, split these next two games and, well, it’s not high achievement, but it gives you something to work with. Lose both and you likely lose out the rest of the season to finish 2-10.

Yes, it’s that big.

The Hoosiers got a boost from playing Michigan State and Ohio State close the last two weeks. They blew a 17-point lead and lost by four to Michigan State. They had an early lead against Ohio State and wound up losing by three. Still, they showed competitiveness and fight and an ability to entertain, something that can't be overlooked in an era when there are so many entertainment options.

That momentum helps with their belief that they are close, that a turnaround is just a few tackles or big plays away.

For the record, after Navy and Illinois, IU’s final four games are against Iowa (4-2), Wisconsin (5-2), Penn State (4-2) and Purdue (3-3). A 2-2 finish won’t take Divine intervention, especially given how weak the Big Ten is this season.. It will take execution, poise, patience and an ability to stop somebody some of the time.

Is that so hard?

Anyway, the Hoosiers have reached the point where losing close isn’t good enough. They have to start winning or this season will be lost, much like it was with IU basketball a couple of years ago, when the struggling Hoosiers lost close at Michigan State (84-83) and to Iowa (64-63) and never recovered, ending the season on a nine-game losing streak for a 12-20 record.

The next year, of course, they turned it around to a Sweet 16 berth, and Cream 'n Crimson joy.

Coach Kevin Wilson continues to push the theme that it’s about winning and to heck with the close losses.

“We have to get our guys past the point of giving it the old college try,” he says. “We expect them to play hard. That’s the given. Now we’ve got to start winning. We need to figure out how to get that puppy done.

“We’re trying to address, internally, the fact that too many people around here can congratulate you for almost winning because we’ve struggled.

“At the same time, it’s a sign of confidence that you’re getting better. You should feel good about yourself, but you need to keep pushing.”

And then Wilson pushes his message just a little harder.

“I think in most people’s lives, in their careers, they’re closer to more things that they realize. Even people who are extremely successful, there’s probably a little bit more out there for them. If it’s just around the corner, keep coming.

“Even though we’re making strides, apparently it’s not enough, so we’re challenging our guys. You’ve got to dig a little deeper, practice a bit better, be committed a bit more. We’ve got to play better to get some Ws down the stretch. This one (at Navy) will be tough, but we need to get it."

It helps that the Hoosiers are down, but not out, according to offensive coordinator Seth Littrell.

“It’s disappointing not to have gotten some of the wins we felt we could have, but the energy level has been great. Coaches and players still come to work every day with a lot of enthusiasm, which is a credit to Coach Wilson and this team.

“They like each other, like playing for each other, like competing with each other. I don’t see any drop off. And I don’t expect any.”

Come Saturday at Navy, we’ll see if the Hoosiers meet those expectations.


Will Adam Replogle kick the tails of USC quarterback Matt Barkely, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and a bunch of other football studs to win the 2012 Senior CLASS Award?

Anything is possible, and if the odds don’t favor Indiana’s senior defensive tackle, well, who needs odds when you have hope.

Replogle is one of 10 finalists for the award, which goes to a student-athlete who excels on and off the field based on community, classroom, character and competition. He’s also a nominee for the 2012 Good Works Team and is a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy.

Replogle leads IU in tackles (41) and sacks (3.0), and shares the team lead with 5.5 tackles for loss. He leads all Big Ten defensive linemen by averaging 6.8 tackles per game.

CLASS, by the way, stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School.

The winner is chosen, in part, by a national fan vote along with voting by the media and Division I head coaches.


  1. Bowl eligible? That's a hoot!!

  2. Well, well. After the Navy debacle, is there any doubt about how bad IU football really is? The defense(?) is a joke, the head coach absolutely clueless when it comes to making crucial decisions and having his team focus when the game is on the line. Wilson is pathetic!