Notes From Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium – Hoosiers Go To The Air For Big Results by jwmindysports

By John Miller

The Hoosiers continued their weak non-conference schedule tonight against the lowly Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.  Western Kentucky had lost their previous 22 games heading into this evening’s affair, and things did not improve for them as they dropped number 23 against the Hoosiers 38-21.  Indiana showed a solid passing attack in today’s game but still needs to work on their rush offense and overall defense.  The game did not pose much danger but in order to make it a worry free game Indiana needed to do two things, stop early momentum and contain star running back Bobby Rainey.

Tandon Doss made his presence felt in his first game this season.

Things appeared to get off to a great start when Tandon Doss touched the ball for the first time this season on the opening kickoff.  Doss exploded down the field before getting knocked out of bounds deep in Hilltopper territory. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, their game plan went south from there as Ben Chappell and Darius Willis got crossed up on a handoff just a few plays later and gave WKU the ball and the momentum.  On the following drive the Hilltoppers marched down the field and punched one in riding the running game from Bobby Rainey.  Indiana stepped up nicely after this, shutting down the Western Kentucky’s running game and moving the ball down the field possession after possession.

The Hoosiers continued to do what they do best, throw the football.  Ben Chappell overcame some early high balls (many of which were still caught by the IU wideouts) and found a nice rhythm as the game progressed.  He finished 32-42 for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns.  He spread the ball around the field and hit many receivers.  Damarlo Belcher (9 catches for 118 yards and a TD), Tandon Doss (5 catches for 62 yards and a TD), and Terrance Turner (8 catches for 55 yards) showed why they are the top 1-2-3 punch in the Big 10, but two new names, freshmen WR Duwyce Wilson and TE Ted Bolser, continue to look sharp and add more weapons for Chappell to throw to.  Bolser caught his second touchdown in as many games and gives IU something they have missed for as long as I can remember, a TE than can catch the ball in the end zone.  Darius Willis did not look great running the ball (13 carries for only 30 yards) but he was not the one to blame. The offensive line is built to pass block and holes were just not there tonight.  He looked good in the open field as he caught a few balls and broke a few runs late to the outside.  IU needs to find some balance as they start to play better competition or teams will load defensive backs and create problems for Chappell. The key for this game was Indiana’s ability to convert third downs (10-12), large in part to the protection given to Chappell by the offensive line.

The defense looked dreadful in WKU’s first offensive possession but settled in nicely after regrouping.  Their primary focus was to stop Bobby Rainey and for the most part kept him in line.  He finished with 105 yards on 21 attempts and 2 touchdowns, but after the first possession never really got much going.  QB Kawaun Jakes provides very little throwing the football and the Hoosiers were able to load men up in the box.  The Hilltoppers moved the ball better in the fourth quarter once the game got out of hand as it appeared IU relaxed a bit.  The most impressive thing to me was the way the D looked at the start of the second half.  They came out of the locker room with great intensity and finally flew around and made solid tackles.  As long as this unit continues to improve week after week, they should be able limit opponents points and leave the game in the hands of the offense.

Overall, this was just another tune-up game for the Hoosiers.  We have yet to see the wildcat offense from Edward Wright-Baker and game plans have been basic.  Next week will be their final game to get things right before heading into the conference schedule.  Akron will visit Memorial Stadium and it will mark the third time in four years the two have played each other.  Akron is a nice transition game for the Hoosiers as it is a game they should win but will offer much more competition than Towson and Western Kentucky.  Check back during the middle of next week for a preview of the Hoosiers vs. Zips game.

Boomer’s Prediction:        Hoosiers – 51    Western Kentucky – 27

Actual Score:     Hoosiers – 38   Western Kentucky – 21

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Breaking Down The Hoosier Opponents – Indiana Travels To Face The Hilltoppers by jwmindysports

By John Miller

The Western Kentucky Mascot, Big Red

After a week off, Indiana (1-0, 0-0) will travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky to take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (0-2, 0-0). Western Kentucky was once a very good Division 1-AA team as they won the National Championship in 2002.  In 2006, they made the move to the Division 1 Bowl Subdivision and is now part of the Sun Belt Conference.  They will host the Hoosiers at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium which for the size of the school holds a respectable 22,223 fans.  This will be the first time in history Western Kentucky will host a Big 10 opponent.

The Hilltoppers have started off their 2010 season playing two solid opponents in Nebraska and Kentucky and did not fair well in either game as they lost by 39 and 35 respectively.  In fact, the Hilltoppers have not won a game in their last 22 attempts dating back to September 20, 2008 when they beat Murray State.  They will hope to change that against an Indiana team who looked shaky at times in their opening game against Towson.  Western Kentucky is coached by Willie Taggert, who is coaching his alma mater in first season.  He was an offensive coordinator on the team that won the Division 1-AA National Championship and likes to run an NFL style West Coast Offense.  He spent last season coaching the offensive at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh.  A West Coast attack is usually balanced but look for the Hilltoppers to favor the run because of their star player, Bobby Rainey.

Bobby Rainey is currently ranked fourth in the nation in rushing yards and has rushed for at least 150 yards and a touchdown in both of Western Kentucky’s first two games.  In week one he shred a Nebraska defense that was ranked in the top 10 in rushing defense last season, however, the departure of Ndamukong Suh will make a large difference for them this season.  Rainey will get many attempts against IU and the Hoosier defense better be ready.  He could be primed for a huge game because the run defense looked lackluster at best against Towson. The starting quarterback for Western Kentucky is Kawaun Jakes who has had a mild season so far, mostly because of the strong running attack. In all, the Hilltoppers return nine starters from their 2009 season.

Much like the offense, Western Kentucky is returning nine starters on the defensive side of the ball.  The defensive unit has been extremely disappointing so far and has had 112 points scored on them in just two games.  We know Indiana can move the ball, so things most likely won’t improve for them this week.  However, things cannot get much worse and if they can build some momentum early, they may be able to ride the home crowd as a twelfth man.

Overall, this is another game in which the Hoosiers should win by a large margin.  The keys to this game will be their ability to stop Bobby Rainey and overcome an early rowdy home crowd who has never hosted an opponent the size of the Hoosiers.  If IU can build an early lead, look for this game to get ugly.  Indiana will get star wide out Tandon Doss back which will make their passing attack even better.  Darius Willis should also be able to continue his solid week one performance and rack up some rushing yards of his own.  Indiana should bounce off their bye week and head into their home matchup against Akron at 2-0.

Boomer’s Prediction:        Hoosiers – 51    Western Kentucky – 27

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Notes From Memorial Stadium – Hoosiers Roll Over Towson by jwmindysports

By John Miller

The college football season officially began for the Hoosiers on Thursday night as they dismantled Towson 51-17.  Indiana came into the game looking to work on fundamentals and let the players work for their positions on the depth chart.  There was much to like from this game and also many questions that need to be answered.  As predicted, the offense looked sharp and the defense showed some holes.

Ben Chappell and Darius Willis looked great and are poised to lead a potent Indiana offensive attack all year long.  Chappell

Damarlo Belcher

finished the game 16-23 for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns and did it without his top weapon, Tandon Doss.  Indiana has great depth at WR and it showed in this game. Damarlo Belcher had 7 catches for 72 yards and a TD, but also dropped a few passes that need to be caught later in the year.  Surprise of the game was redshirt freshman Ted Bolser, a TE who caught 4 balls for 68 yards and a TD.  He showed great route running and soft hands, something that has been missing from the TE position in recent years.  Willis had a great game rushing the ball.  He ran for 102 yards on 14 carries and scored 2 touchdowns.  He consistently shed defenders and ran hard all night.  If he can get holes and stay healthy, he is primed to be one of the top RB’s in the conference.

The defensive side of the ball came in with a lot of question marks, and this game did very little to reassure those thoughts.  Indiana’s starting secondary consisted of two players who played WR last year, a safety playing corner, and a corner coming off knee surgery. This unit is going to need players to step up and make plays if they are going to have a chance.  JUCO cornerback transfer Andre Kates came into the game being knows as a speedster who could be relied upon to make plays.  Well, in a few words, he looked dreadful.  I was excited to watch him play as much as anyone and I left thoroughly disappointed.  The Hoosiers rarely blitzed, and for a team with problems in coverage pressure will be very important if they hope to stop people.  Another worrisome aspect of this game was IU’s inability to contain a scrambling QB.  There will be many quarterbacks in the Big 10 this year that like to run the ball and will have much better blocking in front of them.  Terrelle Pryor, Denard Robinson, and Robert Mavre will be running wild if things don’t improve.  The defensive line looked solid and the linebackers as well.  The front seven will be required all year to put pressure on the QB and make plays.  Keep in mind, however, that it’s hard to get an accurate evaluation of a team in a game like this where the coaches are trying to hide their best defensive packages.

The dominating win is exciting, not matter who the opponent is.  This was a good game to be able to evaluate players and see how they look at game speed.  Hopefully Indiana can continue to build on this victory and improve every week.  After a week off, the Hoosiers will head to Western Kentucky.  Indiana shouldn’t have many problems in this game and should be able to put up a lot of points again.  Indiana is now 1-0, the best record in college football!

Boomer’s Prediction – 41-10

Actual Score – 51-17

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Cody Zeller Sets Up His Official Visits by jwmindysports

By John Miller

Today, Cody Zeller stated his schedule on making official visits.  A high-school student athlete is allowed to make up to five official visits, but he had already trimmed his list to Indiana, Butler, and North Carolina earlier in the recruiting process, and these are the schools that will get to host him.  Hoosier fans are keeping close eye on Cody and are hoping that he will eventually choose Indiana.  IU will have a lot of work to do, however, if they hope to lure him away from both North Carolina and Butler.

Zeller’s first visit will be to Butler.  He will visit the local campus in Indiana the weekend of October 9-11.  Butler has been dominant the past few years and are growing into the new Gonzaga.  The Bulldogs are a mid-major program with the ability to compete and recruit with the high-major programs.  Brad Stevens is the best young coach in the country and with a contract that goes through the 2022 season, Zeller knows he will be there with him for his entire college career. The past season was the top in Butler basketball history, and they will look to continue their recent success by replenishing their roster with top local talent.  Indiana is a hotbed for high school hoops, and if Butler can keep some of these kids in Indianapolis, they will continue to have success year after year.

Cody will then make his second visit to North Carolina on the weekend of October 15-17.  This is the weekend of the Tar

Brother, Tyler Zeller

Heel’s Midnight Madness.  Cody has an older brother at North Carolina, Tyler Zeller, and he will get to spend a large amount of time hearing the family pitch to join him for a year under Roy Williams.  Carolina has a solid foundation for recruiting, a program with tradition and one that is winning now (which is plus one on Indiana).  Carolina receives commitments from top talents every year and will always be in or around the top-25 with coach Williams.  It will be interesting to see his he wants to play with his brother, or form his own path and choose either Butler or Indiana.

Zeller’s last visit will be to Bloomington where Tom Crean and crew will do everything they can to get a commitment.  He will visit the weekend of October 29-31.  Indiana has a home football game against Northwestern on Saturday so he will get to enjoy tailgating with his potential teammates and hopefully (from an Indiana student’s perspective) experience Halloween parties later in the evening.  Choosing a school is mainly about the basketball program, but feeling comfortable and having fun on campus is a very important aspect of a student athlete’s decision.  Having the Hoosiers as his last visit is a good initial indicator that IU may be the slight leader at the moment.  If Indiana can wow him he has the potential to make a commitment the weekend of his visit as he will have already been to the other schools.  Crean needs to save his best work and leave a good final impression with Cody.  This will be his freshest memory and hopefully will be left thinking that Indiana is too strong a college option to choose elsewhere.

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Breaking Down the Hoosier Opponents – Towson Stepping Into the Rock by jwmindysports

By: John Miller

Jermon Bushrod, the pride of Towson football

The Hoosiers officially kick off the season September 2 when the mighty Towson Tigers (0-0) step into Memorial Stadium for the first time in history.  The Tigers made the jump to Division 1-AA for the 1987 season and before that spent ten years as a Division III team (1969-1978) and eight years as a Division II team (1979-1986).  The Tigers, located in Towson, Maryland, are a part of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).  Towson has produced one player currently in the NFL, Jermon Bushrod, who to the dismay to many Colts fans was a starting tackle for the Superbowl winning New Orleans Saints.

Towson finished their 2009 campaign with a 2-9 record and was 1-7 within their conference.  The Tigers are coached by Rob Ambrose, who was hired prior to the 2009 season.  Ambrose was the offensive coordinator at UCONN for seven years before being hired by his Alma Mater.  He coached players such as Donald Brown, who led the nation in rushing at UCONN in 2008 before being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.  Ambrose loves to run the ball, so look for Towson to limit possessions by pounding the rock.

The Tiger offense is led by RB Tremayne Dameron.  “TD” led Towson in 2009 with eight touchdowns.  Look for him to get a bulk of the carries early and then share the load with sophomore Dominique Booker and others down the stretch.  Speedy WR HaKeem Moore is the Tiger’s all everything.  Moore has compiled over 1,000 all purpose yards in each of the past two seasons.  He will return both kickoffs and punts for Towson.

The Towson defense comes into Memorial Stadium with returning cornerback starters Jeremy Gardner and Ollie Thomas. The two players head a unit that is returning eight starters in all. Sophomore Romale Tucker is a transfer from Syracuse who is making the transition from linebacker to defensive end and will be relied upon for pressure on the outside.  This defensive side of the ball should be much improved after a year of experience under their belt in the new system.

Overall, the Towson game will be a glorified scrimmage for the Hoosiers.  Look for them to run a few new sets to see how effective they work against an unknowing opponent.  There will be nothing flashy in this game and IU will not expose anything that they may need towards the end of the season.  There will be a lot of rushes and a lot of playing time from players who may not see the field much later in the season.  Edward Wright Baker will most likely get some looks in the wild cat and the Hoosiers will continue to work on their Pistol Offense.  Look for star in the making Darius Willis to have a huge day.  Lastly, look for new WR addition Duwyce Wilson to get a lot of passes thrown his way.  Hoosier fans, get ready to march!

Boomer’s Prediction:     Towson – 10    Hoosiers – 41

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Indiana 2011 Targets Cody Zeller and B.J. Young Upgraded to Rivals 5-Stars by jwmindysports

By: John Miller

The new top 150 from the class of 2011 came out today with some potential good news for Hoosier fans.  Indiana’s two most involved recruits  were both upgraded to 5-star status.  Cody Zeller has become a household name for Hoosier fans but the other potential target people should be really excited about it B.J. Young, a 6’4″ combo guard from Florissant, MO.  Coach Tom Crean has stated recently that he is looking to oversign in every recruiting class.  Indiana currently has one open spot in the class of 2011 but could oversign by one, meaning both Zeller and Young could become Hoosiers.

Cody Zeller

There is no secret that Indiana is lacking a talented big man.  Tom Pritchard and Bobby Capobianco are solid bodies who take up space but neither score the basketball well and both are shorter than desired with no athletic ability.  The addition of Juco transfer Guy-Marc Michel adds some size and bulk (7″1), but his skill won’t wow anyone.  Cody Zeller would add a dimension that the Hoosiers desperately need, a big man who can score the basketball, rebound, and defend taller players.  Cody was upgraded to the #20 overall recruit by Rivals and is the #7 ranked power forward.  He stands 6’10 with a huge wingspan.  He can shoot the basketball, finish around the rim, and make solid passes.  His blend of size and skill is very rare, especially for a kid his age.  Cody has his list narrowed to three: Indiana, Butler, and North Carolina.

B.J. Young

B.J. Young is a recruit that has flown under the radar for many IU fans.  Young has really shot up the recruiting rankings over the past year and would be a real prize if the Hoosiers can land him.  He is a nice combo guard but plays mainly the point, a perfect fit for Tom Creans system.  Coach Crean loves athletic and versatile players who push the pace of the game.  Young came in as the #18 ranked overall recruit and the #4 ranked PG.  He is being recruited by Indiana, Arkansas, Baylor, Cincinnati, Marquette, and North Carolina State with the Hoosiers being rumored as the leader.

I recently posted an article on the potential of the 2012 class and landing one or both of these kids would only speed up the rebuilding process and make the Hoosiers a contender in the Big 10 again.  Combine these two with a few in the 2012 class and the Hoosiers have a top 15 team in the country.  Hopefully coach Crean can make the correct pitch to these young players and lure them to Bloomington.  Hoosier fans are anxiously waiting to have a team that can compete with the Elite in college basketball, mainly Kentucky.

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Memorial Stadium – The Rock Becoming One of College Football’s Finest by jwmindysports

By: John Miller

Indiana football has long been regarded as an afterthought from the national media to the students/alumni at IU.  It is seen as a

Terry Hoeppner shows his revered status amongst his former players,

tailgating school.  A “we may get our ass kicked on the field, but at least we had more fun than you” school.  Indiana University athletic director Fred Glass wants this image to change.  He has continued the late Terry Hoeppner’s dream of making Indiana football relevant again.  The changes he has implemented to the stadium and towards the fans have been a huge step in the right direction.

Step one was to get talent to Memorial Stadium.  Glass wanted to improve the facilities and make IU a place where young players wanted to play football.  To do this he added the biggest and top weight room in the country.  In adding the weight room, the stadium got a nice facelift by the east/west stands being connected to form a horseshoe.  If you did not make it to a game last year, you need to.  Memorial Stadium is a beautiful stadium now and a great place to watch a game.  His dividends have already paid off as the Hoosiers landed a good recruiting class last season and look to have their top class ever coming next season.

Step two was to attract more fans into the game.  Glass did many commercials that aired promoting a family atmosphere and a great place to watch a game.  He also communicated with the students during games by walking up and down the student section

The newly added weight room. The biggest in the country.

and thanking them for coming out to support the Hoosiers.  The new stadium additions were exciting and for many a trip was made just to see the changes.  He also kept Terry Hoeppner’s “The Rock” theme and placed a limestone rock where the football players come out of the locker room to touch before entering the field.

Step three is to continue his progress and mold Memorial Stadium into one of the premier atmospheres in the Big 10.  This season Glass has reduced ticket prices.  Children’s tickets (18 and under), student tickets (from IU), and alumni within the past three years can buy tickets for $5 a game. Glass has stated that the Hoosiers have already seen a 1,400% increase in ticket sales among new alums, a 35% increase in

The new scoreboard that is one of the top 10 biggest in the country.

children’s tickets, and an 800% increase in overall ticket sales compared to 2009.  He has named the student section “The Quarry”, a name that fits well with “The Rock” tradition.  Glass does not stop there.  This season he has also created a “green atmosphere” by adding recycling bins throughout the stadium and by using Indiana grown popcorn and biodegradable corn based utensils at the concession stands.  He has also worked with police on trying to improve traffic conditions before and after games as well as adding one of the nation’s top ten biggest scoreboards.  Lastly, the Hoosiers will wear new uniforms this year.  His point is this, the stadium that seats 52,692 needs to be filled with rowdy fans to create a home atmosphere.

As a diehard Hoosier fan, these changes are all exciting and much-needed.  There is no reason IU football shouldn’t be able to compete in the Big 10 year after year.  I’m looking forward to seeing improvements on the field and especially in the win/loss column.  When push comes to shove, wins will accumulate more fans.

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