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Tag:Indiana
Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Indiana OL retires due to back issues

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While 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: February 18, 2011 12:16 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: Army, Navy, Air Force

Posted by Adam Jacobi

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 the service academies -- Army, Navy, and the Air Force Academy -- who all began spring practice yesterday.

Spring Practice Question: Who's going to take the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy in 2011? 

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.

Posted on: February 16, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Auburn DL coach Tracy Rocker jumps to NFL

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The problem with trying to create a dynasty in college football is the sheer impermanence of it all. Not only are the players gone after four (or sometimes fewer) seasons of eligibility, but college football isn't the highest level of the sport; that, of course, is the NFL, and the NFL is a much more attractive destination for coaches than the NCAA.

To that end, Auburn had been surprisingly lucky to keep its entire staff intact* after winning the national championship this season. Oh, you see that asterisk? That usually means bad news, and it does here, as Auburn DL coach Tracy Rocker has accepted an offer to coach defensive line with the Tennessee Titans.

Now, the loss of DT Nick Fairley is probably more consequential to the defensive line in the short term than is the loss of Rocker; Fairley was dominant all season long in 2010, especially in the National Championship against Oregon, and he has well earned his inevitable Top 3 Pick status in the upcoming NFL Draft. At the same time, Fairley is especially cognizant of how much Rocker meant to his success, and for good reason; Fairley wasn't even on the radar for top defensive tackles coming into the season, to the point that prognosticator nonpareil Phil Steele didn't have Fairley in his top four preseason All-SEC teams.

The good news for Auburn is that unlike 2009, when Gene Chizik first came abord fresh off a 5-19 stint at Iowa State, the school is now a bona fide destination again, rather than a mere stepping stone. Chizik should probably be able to pluck a fine coach from any number of schools. Perhaps from Indiana? That seems to be en vogue these days, anyway.

 

*Up until now, anyway.

Posted on: February 10, 2011 3:29 pm
 

Indiana loses fourth assistant coach in a month

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When last we checked on Indiana, new head coach Kevin Wilson was having some problems retaining his even-newer assistants. His offensive coordinator had gone back to Boise State, his defensive line coach had defected to Michigan, his secondary coach has fled for Nebraska. The one bright spot was that he'd stopped some of the bleeding by hiring a bright up-and-comer to handle the running backs, Air Force running game coordinator Jemal Singleton.

Consider the bleeding officially resumed :
Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy has completed his coaching staff, adding Jemal Singleton to the staff ...

“I'm very excited about the opportunity to work at Oklahoma State and with Coach Gundy,” Singleton said. “It's a phenomenal program. It's a school I knew a lot about while growing up in Texas and I'm excited to now be a Cowboy myself.”
Though Singleton's exact role in Stillwater is still to be determined, it's expected he'll coach either receivers or running backs.

Also to be determined is why so many coaches seem so eager to leave Bloomington the moment they step into it. On the one hand, all four of the programs who have swooped in the for the new Hooiser assistants have been much larger, more established programs than Wilson's, and all four departed assistants have probably received not-insignificant raises to make the move.

On the other, wouldn't we expect one of these coaches to show some level of loyalty to Wilson and their new employer by sticking it out with the Hoosiers for longer than it takes to unpack the moving van? Is there something about Wilson or the program so toxic that one good look is all it takes to send them fleeing?

We're not likely to get answers to that anytime soon, but unfortunately for Wilson and the Hoosiers, at this rate it looks like the Indiana coaching staff isn't going to be settled anytime soon, either.

Posted on: February 5, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Bo Pelini knows of no job opening

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There's been quite a bit of speculation about coaching changes in the works at Nebraska in the last few days. During Nebraska's post-signing day dinner, three assistant coaches were all absent. Secondary coach Marvin Sanders was one, and he's already announced his resignation and been replaced by Indiana's Corey Raymond. The other two coaches were offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and receivers coach Ted Gilmore, so naturally, people are now wondering what the future of those two is in Lincoln, or whether they even have any.

Especially when job postings for an assistant football coach are popping up on Nebraska's website. One's asking for somebody who would be "responsible for offensive game preparation, on-field strategies and game tactics. Conduct student-athlete recruiting, monitor academic progress of current student athletes and provide instruction to team in the execution of offensive schemes and techniques."

Of course, when asked about this job posting on Friday, Bo Pelini told the Omaha World-Herald that he had no idea what it was talking about.

“What job posting?” Pelini told the paper.  ”That could be for an internship or it could be that (Jeff) Jamrog (assistant AD for football) put that up there. Sometimes when we have lower-level openings, we do that.”

Yes, a lower-level opening or internship that will involve game preparation and recruiting.  Something tells me that Pelini isn't exactly being truthful. Especially when you take into consideration the fact that Larry Frost has also told the Omaha World-Herald that his son Scott Frost, the former Nebraska quarterback, has interviewed with Nebraska about a job. Scott Frost is currently receivers coach at Oregon, and according to his father, while he'd love to coach at Nebraska, he wouldn't leave for anything other than a coordinator position.

Which means that Bo Pelini is interviewing a lot of coaches for a job opening he doesn't even know exists.


Posted on: February 4, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Unhappy Husker signee: 'They broke the guy code'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When we last discussed the Nebraska coaching situation, Huskers secondary coach Marvin Sanders was expected to be on his way out. Expectation became reality later in the afternoon as Sanders officially resigned . With Indiana coach Kevin Wilson having told the world on Signing Day that one of his coaches had already been hired as Sanders' replacement, the timing of Sanders' departure looks curious: why wait until the day after Signing Day to make public information that's clearly been available for some time?

The easy answer is "because Bo Pelini didn't want to risk scaring off any of the Huskers' commitments," and that's why one of those commitments -- Spring (Tx.) cornerback Charles Jackson -- isn't pleased at all about having been kept in the dark , per the Omaha World-Herald:
“I'm not in the happiest mood right now ... I was pretty close with [Sanders]. He was there one day, and then he just left. It was like, OK, Coach Sanders isn't going to be coaching me. Who's going to be coaching me?" ...

Thursday night at 8, Jackson still hadn't heard from Sanders, Bo Pelini or anyone else at Nebraska.

“I think they should've told me before I signed,” Jackson said. “I didn't have any idea. They broke the guy code" ...

Did Jackson feel like Nebraska waited to make the Sanders announcement in order to secure his commitment?

“Maybe just a little bit. Yeah, probably. But you never know, he probably resigned the day of signing day. I really don't know what went on. It's just been on my mind all day.

“I'm just trying to figure out why I wasn't notified about the situation.”

Ironically, Pelini had been asked about the impact of staff changes on recruits the day before and had said that "as long as you're honest with them every step of the way ... you develop trust." From Jackson's perspective, at least, it appears the Huskers have not been that honest and that trust has not been developed.

Even that won't be enough to keep Jackson out of Lincoln, though; he said he remains "excited" to honor his NLI signature and play for new coach Corey Raymond, and added he would have made the same decision even if he'd been informed of Sanders' plans beforehand. But with rumors of further changes to the staff swirling, Jackson may not wind up the only 2011 Husker signee whom arrives on campus less than entirely thrilled with how his new head coach has handled an increasingly awkward-looking situation.

Posted on: February 3, 2011 5:04 pm
 

Indiana struggling to hang onto coaches

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Here's some good news for the beleagured Indiana fans out there: your highly-respected new coach, Kevin Wilson, has shown a keen eye in assembling his first Hoosier coaching staff, hiring the kinds of hot up-and-coming coaches that bigger-name programs would be happy to have.

Here's the bad news: those bigger-name programs didn't even wait for the ink to dry on the new Hoosier coaches' contracts before proving exactly how happy to have them they'd be. Wilson was forced to spend part of his Signing Day press conference announcing that two more assistant coaches have taken other jobs, bringing the total up to three after new offensive coordinator Brent Pease returned to Boise State to take the same position following Bryan Harsin's departure to Texas.

One of the two new ex-Hoosiers we mentioned already today : cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond, who appears all but set to coach the secondary at Nebraska. The other is defensive tackles coach Jerry Montgomery, who will now coach the defensive line at Michigan instead.

Both are young coaches that appear to have bright futures, with Raymond a former LSU star and NFL veteran who'd coached the corners at Utah State the past two seasons; Montgomery is a former Iowa player who's gone from Northern Iowa to Wyoming to Indiana and now the Wolverines in just three seasons. But Wilson isn't wasting time mourning his losses, having already filled one of his vacancies with Air Force running backs coach Jemal Singleton, another with Nebraska program intern Brett Dierson, and not exactly shedding tears over the departures:
Wilson explained that he initially wanted Dierson from the beginning, while co-defensive coordinators Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler liked Raymond.

“We’re kind of flip-flopping, one of the guys I wanted they didn’t get and vice-versa. Of guys we went after, we’re going to land on our feet in great shape,” Wilson said.

He concluded that he would rather have a coach at Indiana who wants to be here.

“If it’s better for a guy to be somewhere else, it’s better for his family, better for his career, it’s better he go there than be here,” Wilson said. “I only want guys who really want to be here, are excited about being here.”
That's the right thing for Wilson to say. But more helpful than anything he says will be just keeping the likes of Michigan, Boise, and Nebraska away from what's left of his staff.
Posted on: February 3, 2011 5:04 pm
 

Indiana struggling to hang onto coaches

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Here's some good news for the beleagured Indiana fans out there: your highly-respected new coach, Kevin Wilson, has shown a keen eye in assembling his first Hoosier coaching staff, hiring the kinds of hot up-and-coming coaches that bigger-name programs would be happy to have.

Here's the bad news: those bigger-name programs didn't even wait for the ink to dry on the new Hoosier coaches' contracts before proving exactly how happy to have them they'd be. Wilson was forced to spend part of his Signing Day press conference announcing that two more assistant coaches have taken other jobs, bringing the total up to three after new offensive coordinator Brent Pease returned to Boise State to take the same position following Bryan Harsin's departure to Texas.

One of the two new ex-Hoosiers we mentioned already today : cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond, who appears all but set to coach the secondary at Nebraska. The other is defensive tackles coach Jerry Montgomery, who will now coach the defensive line at Michigan instead.

Both are young coaches that appear to have bright futures, with Raymond a former LSU star and NFL veteran who'd coached the corners at Utah State the past two seasons; Montgomery is a former Iowa player who's gone from Northern Iowa to Wyoming to Indiana and now the Wolverines in just three seasons. But Wilson isn't wasting time mourning his losses, having already filled one of his vacancies with Air Force running backs coach Jemal Singleton, another with Nebraska program intern Brett Dierson, and not exactly shedding tears over the departures:
Wilson explained that he initially wanted Dierson from the beginning, while co-defensive coordinators Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler liked Raymond.

“We’re kind of flip-flopping, one of the guys I wanted they didn’t get and vice-versa. Of guys we went after, we’re going to land on our feet in great shape,” Wilson said.

He concluded that he would rather have a coach at Indiana who wants to be here.

“If it’s better for a guy to be somewhere else, it’s better for his family, better for his career, it’s better he go there than be here,” Wilson said. “I only want guys who really want to be here, are excited about being here.”
That's the right thing for Wilson to say. But more helpful than anything he says will be just keeping the likes of Michigan, Boise, and Nebraska away from what's left of his staff.
 
 
 
 
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