Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:29 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 5:30 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Indiana.
Spring Practice Starts: Saturday, March 3
Spring Game: Saturday, April 14
Returning Starters: Eight on offense, nine on defense, both specialists.
Three Things To Look For:
1. Growing pains. Indiana has more starters returning than any other school in the Big Ten this season. Now, considering the Hoosiers went 1-11 last season, there are two different ways you can look at that information. I'm inclined to believe that Kevin Wilson is hoping this is a good thing for his second year in Bloomington, and is hoping that the experience gained last season will lead to better performances this season. Of course, it's important to realize that this is still an extremely young team. Even with so many returning starters, there are still only three seniors projected to start in 2012. So the growing pains are still going to be there.
2. The development of Tre Roberson. Roberson was an intriguing player last season. He received a lot more time at quarterback over the final half of the year as Wilson looked to get his quarterback of the future some experience, and he was just as inconsistent as you'd expect. What will truly be interesting this spring, though, is to see what kind of improvements Roberson can make under new offensive coordinator Seth Littrell. Littrell comes to Indiana from Arizona, where he was in charge of one of the most prolific passing attacks in the country last season.
3. A deeper defense. While Indiana has nine returning starters on defense, that doesn't mean all of them will be starting in 2012. It will be interesting to see the battles that take place this spring as the Hoosiers welcome five new players from the juco ranks on the defensive side of the ball. While we can't be sure which players will lay claim to the starting positions, at the very least it gives Indiana some depth on the defensive side of the ball. Something a unit that gave up 37.3 points a game last year desperately needs.
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Posted on: October 31, 2011 6:51 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Just days after being suspended for the Northwestern game following an unspecified violation of team rules, Indiana WR Damarlo Belcher's absence from the team has just been made permanent by head coach Kevin Wilson. In a statement released Monday afternoon, Wilson announced that Belcher had been dismissed from the team.
Belcher surprised Wilson and the Indiana faithful last spring by announcing he would return for his senior season, despite leading the Big Ten in receiving last year and the inevitable flux a brand new coaching staff brings. And while Belcher's production this season was far off of his 2010 pace, as of Monday, he was still leading the Hoosiers in receptions even though he'd missed three games before his dismissal.
Belcher was just two catches away from meeting James Hardy's career mark for receptions at Indiana. That record, clearly, will continue to stand.
Sophomore Kofi Hughes will likely assume the mantle of Indiana's top wide receiver for the rest of the season and beyond.
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Posted on: October 15, 2011 3:49 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
WISCONSIN WON. The fourth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers rolled to an easy 59-7 win over hapless Indiana on Saturday. Montee Ball rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries, and the Badgers as a whole rushed for 332 yards on the day. Oh, and Ball also threw a 25-yard touchdown... to Russell Wilson. It was that kind of a day.
WHY WISCONSIN WON: Wisconsin is hands-down the best team in the Big Ten, and Indiana is arguably the worst team in the Big Ten. Put the two together, and a blowout is sure to ensue. Indiana just couldn't do anything to stop Wisconsin, and the Badgers knew it. Russell Wilson was 12-17 through the air for 166 yards and one score, and between that and the aforementioned TD catch, he looked like a front-runner for the Big Ten offensive MVP yet again.
WHEN WISCONSIN WON: When they took the field. There's just no way Indiana was ever going to keep this game close, much less even think about a victory.
WHAT WISCONSIN WON: Another week, another victory, another step closer to the Big Ten Championship for the Badgers. Wisconsin just needed nothing to go heinously wrong during this game, and that's exactly what it got. The Russell Wilson Heisman Train keeps chugging along.
WHAT INDIANA LOST: It's hard to come off a 52-point loss with heads held high, but considering the Badgers hung 83 points on the Hoosiers just last year, this result is downright palatable. At least Indiana coach Kevin Wilson can look his players in the eye and tell them, "we will never face a team that good for the rest of the year."
THAT WAS CRAZY: In a perfect summation of the challenges facing the Hoosiers, Indiana punter Adam Pines had his punt blocked... by the back of one of his teammates. Seriously. The punt would net exactly one yard, with Wisconsin taking over at the Indiana 26, and the Badgers turned the play into a touchdown two snaps later.
Posted on: October 10, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 5:41 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Illinois scored six touchdowns in its 41-20 victory over Indiana last week, and the math majors among us know that typically, six TDs is 42 points. But Illinois didn't biff an extra point; it went for two with a 20-13 lead, and the attempt failed. We predicted at the time that Ron Zook's decision to go for two would be "scrutinized," which is really just code for "elicit swear-word filled Tweets from bewildered Illini fans," and that's what happened.
Zook was asked about the conversion attempt, and his response was certainly honest, because it's never the type of response you'd want to make up: according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Zook plain lost track of the score.
"We were down five, right? Up five, I mean," Zook said. "It was 20-13? Up seven? Maybe I didn’t know what the score was. That’s happened to me before. It’s usually when we’re behind. [This will] give you something to pound us about.’’
First of all: WHAT.
Second of all: Okay, the score was 14-13 before Illinois scored its touchdown, so perhaps Zook had a momentary fit of senility and thought his team had been the one with 13 points. That happens, even to very smart people. Except, here's the thing: Zook also has an entire staff of assistant coaches, and unless they were all mistaken about the score, those guys missed two opportunities to tell him the Illini were up by seven, not five.
After Illinois scored its touchdown, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson sent out his kick block team, because, well, duh. So when Zook trotted out his offense, Wilson was forced to call his last timeout of the half. It seemed like a brilliant ploy by Zook to get Indiana out of timeouts before the end of the half even came into play. And yet, on went that two-point team again, after the timeout when everybody on the Illinois sideline could reevaluate the situation -- or, at the very least, glance at the scoreboard.
Anyway, the conversion attempt obviously failed* and Illinois had only a seven-point lead. That didn't end up affecting the endgame, but if it did, hoo boy; mental errors are a great way for a coach to get right back on the hot seat.
*I'd love to see data on how often two-point conversions succeed in the first three quarters as opposed to the fourth. My hypothesis is that they're wildly unsuccessful early in the game, but that's just a guess. Get on that data right away, SCIENCE.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 6:46 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Indiana Hoosiers don't have a whole lot going for them on offense, personnel-wise, so health and continuity are going to be critical for the Hoosiers' attack in the first year of the Kevin Wilson regime.
That mission to keep the offense healthy is off to a rocky start, however, as starting tailback Darius Willis is officially out for the Hoosiers' season opener against Ball State this Saturday. Here's more from The Hoosier Scoop:
It's likely that Willis would have missed this game anyhow, as he was facing a one-game suspension from Wilson after being involved in a domestic incident during the offseason. Willis was never charged with a crime, but Wilson deemed the incident "conduct detrimental to the team."
Redshirt freshman Matt Perez, who missed last season with a torn ACL, has made his way to the top of the depth chart at tailback, and incoming juco back Stephen Houston will back Perez up for the time being. Don't be surprised to see Willis back in the mix pretty soon, however.
Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:46 pm
Posted by Tom FornelliWhile Indiana hasn't played a game with Kevin Wilson serving as head coach, the team has lost quite a bit since Wilson left Oklahoma for the head coach gig in Bloomington. Numerous assistants have moved on to other jobs, and now Wilson is having one of his starting offensive lineman retire on him. Aaron Price started ten games for the Hoosiers at left guard during his freshman season in 2010, and was expected to fill the same role in 2011.
Unfortunately for Price and Indiana, a degenerative back condition has forced Price to give up playing football. Wilson made the announcement on Tuesday.
“He’s got some degeneration medically in the back where it just couldn’t hold up,” Wilson told the Herald Times. “It was a concern through winter, but he did a great job in the winter. He actually came out in the first week in spring, but it started going south on him. Just long-term health, it’s not in his best interest… He was doing well, but he does have a major issue with a major part of his body. He tried. Local kid. No issues from us. It just health-wise couldn’t hold up. It’s unfortunate for him.”
While it's incredibly unfortunate for Price to have his football career end so early, there is some good news for the 6'4 288-pound lineman from Bloomington. Though he won't be playing football, he will be keeping his scholarship at Indiana.
Posted on: March 22, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2011 4:25 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Oklahoma , who started spring practice on Monday .
Spring Practice Question: Will Oklahoma replace DeMarco Murray with a committee of backs, or will one man emerge with the job?
There are going to be a lot of expectations on the Oklahoma Sooners heading into 2011. Though we're a long time away from the first preseason polls of the year, and we all know that preseason polls are utterly useless, a lot of folks seem to think that Oklahoma will begin the season as the top-ranked team in the country. Which makes sense.
The Sooners are coming off another Big 12 title and a win in the Fiesta Bowl, and they're also getting back two of the best offensive players in the country in quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Ryan Broyles.
A nice duo for new co-offensive coordinators Josh Huepel and Jay Norvell to have at their disposal as the replace Kevin Wilson, who took the head coaching job at Indiana. What won't be so easy for them to do is find a replacement for running back DeMarco Murray.
In his four years with the Sooners, Murray produced 5,256 yards and 63 touchdowns rushing and receiving. That's not the kind of production you can just replace. So who will be the man to pick up where Murray left off?
Well, odds are that it won't be just one back doing so, but rather a committee. Roy Finch did a nice job backing Murray up in 2010 as a freshman, but also had to miss the Fiesta Bowl with a stress fracture. Considering he's only 5'8 and 180 pounds, durability has to be a concern for Finch. Odds are that he won't be able to carry the load by himself, which will open the door for one of Oklahoma's other backs.
Going in to camp Brennan Clay is listed at number one on the running back depth chart, but he only carried the ball 36 times for 127 yards as a freshman. There's also Jermie Calhoun, Jonathan Miller and Iowa transfer Brandon Wegher who could take some carries this season.
Williams, a 6'1 188-pound running back out of Royal High School in Brookshire, Texas, may have been the crown jewel of Oklahoma's 2011 recruiting class. He'll also get a chance to win the starting job this spring, which is why he enrolled early.
During his junior and senior seasons at Royal, Williams rushed for 4,253 yards and 47 touchdowns. He also caught 47 passes for 656 yards and 6 more touchdowns. That's some DeMarco Murray-like production right there.
Of course, there's a difference between the Big 12 and high school football, even in the state of Texas, so whether or not Williams is able to handle the job at Oklahoma remains to be seen. Especially when you consider that it's national title or bust in Norman.
Whether or not he'll be able to handle it we'll begin to learn this spring. So while there are plenty of things to keep an eye on with the Sooners this spring, I have a feeling that most eyes will be on Williams.
Posted on: February 18, 2011 12:16 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
To say there has usually been a talent disparity among the triumverate of military academy football programs is, to say the least, an understatement. If the outcomes of football games were random events, then the odds of the three teams splitting their series at 1-1 apiece would be one in four. In practice, only four times since the inception of the trophy 39 years ago has that happened. Which program is superior changes, of course -- Air Force leads the series, but with only a plurality of trophy wins instead of a majority -- but rarely is it the case that all three teams are on equal footing coming into a season.
We may be at such a situation, though. 2010 marked the first instance in college football history that Army, Navy, and the Air Force all reached bowl games in the same season. Will the trio repeat the feat in 2011? It's quite possible.
Air Force comes into the 2011 (pardon the expression) flying high, and it's easy to see why: the Falcons beat took the C-i-C trophy for the first time in eight years last season, besting Navy 14-6 and walloping Army 42-22. Better yet, QB Tim Jefferson is back for his senior season after rushing for 15 touchdowns and throwing for 10 more. He's the linchpin of the offense and one of the best option quarterbacks in the nation.
The Air Force offense is hardly a one-man show, of course, and it's no surprise that four different players notched over 100 carries on the season in 2010. Tailback and human/waterbug hybrid Asher Clark is also back; Clark led the Falcons in rushing yardage and added five more rushing TDs.
Still, it'll be interesting to see how Air Force's ground game changes with the addition of Des Kitchings as running backs coach and running game coordinator. Kitchings was most recently at Vanderbilt for three seasons, and he was brought in to replace Jamel Singleton, the longtime Air Force assistant who recently joined the staff of incoming Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson this offseason. There probably won't be sweeping changes or anything -- this is still Troy Calhoun's team, after all -- but this is our first opportunity to see how Kitchings addresses the Falcons' ground game and what changes he might implement.
While the current Commander-in-Chief's Trophy holder is Air Force, this rivalry has belonged to Navy for the majority of the decade; the Midshipmen swept the three-pronged rivalry for the seven prior seasons, and even despite losing to the Falcons in 2010, Navy still went 9-4 and earned a bowl bid. This is still a very strong program, in other words.
Unfortunately for Navy, the impossible task of replacing Ricky Dobbs begins this week. Dobbs was arguably Navy's best quarterback since the days of Roger Staubach ('63), and though Dobbs didn't live up to his preseason Heisman hype as a senior, for crying out loud, the man had Heisman hype. Senior-to-be Kriss Proctor appears to be the best bet to replace Dobbs, but if Navy sees a solid spring from Trey Miller, there could be some drama at the QB position.
Where Navy really needs to excel this spring is on defense, however. The Midshipmen struggled at times in 2010, giving up 23 points and almost 400 yards per game, and now that defense needs to replace six starters. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo recently restructured some of his defensive assistants' responsibilities; perhaps that will help the Middies' middling D.
As for Army, for once, the Black Knights are no slouch, having reached their first bowl in 13 years last season: a stirring (if sloppy) 16-14 upset of SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Cadets return starting quarterback Trent Steelman... sort of. Steelman will miss spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery last month. It's on his non-throwing shoulder --the left -- so even if rehabilitation goes slowly, it shouldn't drastically affect his throwing motion.
That said, in 2010, Steelman ran the ball 197 times (which isn't even counting the option plays where he pitched the ball and absorbed contact) to 133 pass attempts, so it's not like he can hide a bum shoulder by hanging out in the pocket all afternoon. The Black Knights will look to depend on Steelman in the fall, so it will be extremely interesting to see how the offense handles not having its leader in the saddle during these spring sessions.
The Black Knights' new team captain is linebacker Steven Erzinger, replacing graduating linebacker Stephen Anderson (so many linebackers; so many Steves) who held the title for the last two seasons. Army technically ranked 29th in total defense in 2010, but a closer look at the yards given up per play actually puts Army down at 84th in the nation, so the defense wasn't so much "good" as "not on the field very much." Erzinger's first task, without doubt, is to get his guys into that "good" category if the Cadets want a shot at the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.