Sports From the Couch–Does Fred Glass Have the Onions to Fire Bill Lynch by jshowal2

By Jeff Showalter

Bill Lynch doing his Bob Knight impression

Face it Hoosier fans, Football is still a three or four week season until basketball practice starts. Even though the basketball program is still pretty sad, it is in far better shape then the misguided mess that is IU football. IU football, except for one Rose Bowl and a few mediocre years under Bill Mallory, has been a disaster for as long as they have played the sport. Today, as Ohio State laughs at the current cream and crimson squad, Athletic Director Fred Glass has to decide the future of the football program. Continue to be losers, under Bill Lynch, or wipe the slate clean and pony up some real cash and get a qualified football coach to come to Bloomington.

Bill Lynch may be a great guy. Don’t know the man. I do know this, he can’t game plan. IU can not make necessary changes at halftime to win games.  Lynch isn’t smart enough to figure out that you can’t start a bunch of slow guys on defense and expect to hold good teams under forty.  The current IU head coach thinks some offense called “the pistol” should be the choice of offense because Western Kentucky and Indian State can’t stop it. Obviously he doesn’t care traditionally good football programs with ample talent (not yet Michigan) cant crush the offense by pressuring the QB and playing man to man on the wide receivers. I know Lynch choked away numerous games last year by making poor adjustments at halftime and letting offensive coordinator Matt Canada make some really poor play call choices late in those games.  I know Lynch has “co defensive coordinators” and neither of those coaches can coach up mediocre talent to be any better then the worst defensive team in the Big 10.

As bad as IU football, in it’s current state is, does AD Glass have the onions to change it. Sure IU may have new facilities and new scoreboards and the largest weight room in the country, but if you don’t have a good head coach then none of that matters.  That’s where IU is. The hangover from former IU coach Terry Hoeppner’s untimely demise is over. That happened A LONG time ago. It’s ok to fire Lynch.  Every year Lynch stays. that is four extra years to stay mediocre. You have the facilities, now go get the coach. Can Glass “sack up” and make the call?  I’m betting against it but he needs to. If Glass is committed to build IU football to a level of respectability, then it is time to get started.

IU hasn’t beat OSU since 1988 (I was there). The following is a list of the other Big 10 schools and the last time they beat the Buckeyes.

Purdue 2009, PSU 2008, NU-UW-Iowa 2004, Mich 2003, Minny 2000 and MSU 1999.  IU is 1988 folks. That is pathetic. IU is pathetic. Is Fred Glass going to fix it? Does he have the balls?

 



Indiana Basketball Keeps Coming Back by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

Rolling a boulder up a hill everyday with the only reward being another trip up the hill the following day with an additional six-inch head start is tough sledding, but it’s Tom Crean’s job.

Those little half-foot gains don’t seem like much at first, especially when you started at the bottom of a very tall hill, as Crean did two years ago.  The once proud Indiana University basketball program began its erosion a couple of years prior to Bob Knight’s self-immolation, but was virtually destroyed by the inattentiveness Mike Davis displayed followed by Kelvin Sampson’s grotesque amorality.

Crean took the job because IU is IU and very few schools are in a very exclusive pantheon of basketball programs, although he was stunned enough by the state of total disrepair that he requested and received a two-year extension before he was completely unpacked.

The Bob Knight roast last night to raise money for St. Joseph’s High School in Chicago brought to mind the former glory of Indiana University, but also Knight’s arrogance and pettiness.  To guess that what has happened over the course of the past 12 years at Assembly Hall would happen would have been inconceivable.  The trip from arrogance to incompetence to corruption to a complete rebuild was impossible to predict.

But those chunks of ground are beginning to add up, and if the Hoosiers haven’t quite turned the corner, they’re close enough to it for Crean to hit his turn signal.

His timing couldn’t be better as the high schools in the state of Indiana is so chock full of basketball talent right now that it makes the 2006 and 2007 classes look average.  IU is doggedly recruiting a dozen of those kids, and if they can get a couple more commitments, all of a sudden the skies will brighten in Monroe County.

Park Tudor HS Yogi Ferrell

Yogi Ferrell, Cody Zeller, Jeremy Hollowell, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Hanner Perea, Collin Hartman, and former Louisville commitment Michael Chandler all are looking very seriously at Indiana.  Add three or four of those kids to current commits Austin Etherington and Peter Jurkin and players already wearing Indiana jerseys, and you have a team that is going to be competitive on a national level.

Cook Hall is a beautiful facility for basketball recruits, but athletic director Fred Glass has taken a much quieter but much bigger step in the right direction with the unveiling of the Indiana University Excellence Academy.  While the Excellence Academy right now little more than a very fancy plan, it could be a game-changer for IU.

There are parents who confidently look coaches in the eye at the schools recruiting their kids and hold their hands out for all the goodies that accompany one-and-done talent.  Others are sincerely interested in sending their sons to a place where they can be nurtured, educated, and graduated not only with meaningful degrees, but with a maturity and self-awareness that will allow them to both be successful and enjoy it.

Inch by inch, the rock is moving up the hill.  The culture is being built.  The players are doing the work.  The mature version of the product of that work won’t be on display for a couple of years, but it’s getting closer and closer.



Indiana University Establishing Culture of Success by kentsterling
September 16, 2010, 10:43 am
Filed under: Indiana Basketball, Indiana University, Kent Sterling | Tags: , ,

by Kent Sterling

The question of whether new athletics director Fred Glass is a guy intent only upon appearing in TV commercials and championing wacky Bill Veeck like spectacles at football games has been asked by some very smart people.

An answer is contained in the Indiana Athletics Excellence Academy – an initiative spearheaded by Glass to build champions on and off the field and court. What some will dismiss as a polyannic attempt to build a student-athletic nirvana, is what should be offered by every school with an athletic department.

Whether or not kids in revenue generating programs should be paid or share in the revenue from the sale of gear bearing their numbers or likeness is a debate that polarizes fans, but the responsibility of the schools to give the student-athletes more than a simple education and degree is beyond argument.

Maximizing the opportunities afforded in colleges as student-athletes work for the glory of ol’ IU, or any other school is a moral imperative for those who run the programs and department. The NCAA rules don’t allow for schools to compensate athletes with cash, but the schools can make damn sure the kids are given everything they need to leave school as well-rounded employable men and women.

That seems to be what Glass is trying to do with the Excellence Academy. The language in the kit is very aggressive about outlining the methodology for making the four or five years athletes spend in Bloomington as fruitful as possible. As with any plan, no matter how well-intentioned, the actions that follow the writing are what matter. Ultimately, it will be the quality of life enjoyed by IU graduates who played sports that will be the ultimate judge of Glass’s expansive and ambitious plan.

With so many athletic programs dancing around the rules, or flat out cheating, it’s great to see an AD move in the direction of viewing the students as something more than cattle. Indiana has a chance with this comprehensive plan to attract student-athletes whose families are interested in a great educational experience.

I’m not aware of anything like this plan at any other school, and it should be a difference maker for families looking for more than the quick buck.

Again though, what looks great on paper needs to be passionately executed, or the pretty package is little more than just that.



Indiana Opens Against Towson Tomorrow – Traffic Update by kentsterling
September 1, 2010, 10:27 am
Filed under: College Basketball, Indiana University, Kent Sterling | Tags: , ,

by Kent Sterling

Indiana football fans have to hope they don’t learn too much about the Hoosiers tomorrow night at Memorial Stadium (I still feel a little silly calling it “The Rock”).  The game should be over before it starts.  IU needs to romp here as expected, or fans, coaches, and players will learn plenty about the continuing rebuild underway in Bloomington.

Two things are sure to be on display – the traffic snarls that have made traveling to a game in Bloomington a challenge, and the new scoreboard along with other game day fooferah championed by impetuous and fun AD Fred Glass.

The advice offered by the athletic department for avoiding the traffic is on the fatherly side – leave early, expect delays.  INDOT and IU are working to keep delay resulting from the construction on the 45/46 Bypass to a minimum by routing traffic a little bit differently around the stadium.

IU will utilize Twitter as a communication portal for those coming into town.  Sign up at @IUTraffic, or go to IUHoosiers.com if you haven’t yet pledged your allegiance to Twitter.

The email from the athletic department encouraged Bloomington residents to avoid 45/46 on game days, which is like telling a fugitive to avoid the cops.

The rest of the germane information is, “The traffic plan calls for a clockwise traffic pattern to take effect a minimum of two hours prior to kickoff on the roadways surrounding IU’s athletic complex. Law enforcement officials will turn Fee Lane, 17th Street and Dunn Street into one-way streets surrounding the stadium. The 45/46 Bypass will remain two-way. However, only eastbound traffic will be allowed to enter the game-day traffic pattern. Westbound traffic will be restricted to through traffic.

“The post-game traffic plan will also focus on one-way traffic patterns to allow vehicles quicker access to highways and main thoroughfares. Dunn Street and Fee Lane will both be one-way northbound to the 45/46 Bypass. The 45/46 Bypass will be one-way westbound from Fee Lane to Walnut Street.”

In other words; follow the signs, don’t be in a hurry, and leave home early.  The weather forecast is a little dicey with a 50/50 chance of storms, so plan accordingly.

The second, and infinitely more fun issue to evaluate tomorrow night is the improvement in game-day atmosphere.  Glass is truly not an impulsive guy, but he is not afraid to throw fun at a wall to see what sticks.  Last year, he brought fans the playground in the south end zone for the kids as well as other improvements.  He also turned up the music.  It blasted the elderly fans into submission, and it was quickly turned down.  That’s the way growth works – it’s never perfect.

This year, there is a huge new scoreboard that will give IU many options in enhancing the fun and information fans receive throughout the game.  It’s the second largest in the Big Ten, which begs the question, whose is bigger and how much more would it have cost to be the biggest.  Knowing Glass’s desire for the biggest, I would guess he asked that question himself, and the cost was prohibitive.  Maybe it wouldn’t have fit on the existing standards – I don’t know.  What I do know is that it’s a goddamned big scoreboard that no one will have trouble seeing.

The most interesting and frankly odd thing Glass has decided to do this year is bring some sort of derrick into the stadium immediately in front of the student section.  On top will be a student with access to a giant horn, like the one that signaled the end of the day at the quarry where Fred Flintstone worked.  Whenever there is a big play, the student will blow the horn.  Glass looks forward to seeing the student section, renamed “the Quarry”, demanding that horn when they feel a big play warrants, and even hopes the players will call for the horn after big hits, runs, catches, and turnovers.

It’s different – the kind of different that will either be very cool or a disaster.  I love it because it shows where Glass’s heart is.  He’s right there in the middle of the mess, taking chances, and standing in front of them.  That takes balls and requisite fearlessness.

Greatness requires risk, and I can only imagine the looks on the faces of the people in the meeting where this ideas was either hatched or unveiled.  There were doubtless furtive glances and a look of abject concern on many faces.  In a department where risk has been a four-letter word for generations, Glass has opened the door to fun, excitement, and occasional silliness.  Nothing is more freeing to a group of employees than a boss who rolls the dice and is willing to stand there to take the fire if they come up snake eyes.

Tomorrow night, the dice roll and the stakes are raised.  We’ll see if it pays off.  Don’t expect perfection, but definitely expect Glass to recognize a mistake quickly and move forward with something else.

The onfield product needs to be worth the investment of time and energy, especially on a school night, and especially against Towson.



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.

Just a reminder, join these pick’em leagues through Yahoo!:

NFL Pick’Em-    ID# 6219      PW – football   http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/pickem

NFL Pick’Em Against The Spread-    ID# 6222    PW – football     http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/pickem

Big 10/BCS Pick’Em-   ID# 2547    PW – football    http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/college

Follow me on twitter @JWM_IndySports or shoot me an email at jwmiller.fantasysports@yahoo.com.



Crossroads Classic – Great Idea Long Overdue by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

All these Indiana basketball teams and fans, and so little inclination to play one another.  It never made any sense to me.  Good sense now seems to be a common denominator in the A.D. chairs of the top four programs in Indiana as they came together yesterday to announce the initial two-year deal to come together for a day of great college hoops at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Butler, Indiana, Notre Dame, and Purdue will play in a one-day two-game event to celebrate the rich history of college basketball in Indiana.

It didn’t hurt that Indiana AD Fred Glass and ND AD Jack Swarbrick are former longtime colleagues, and that Purdue AD Morgan Burke led the charge for the event from idea to signatures on the contract.  How could Butler not be on board?

Indiana has a great tradition of basketball, and this event will allow kids from Indiana to come together for an afternoon of competition among old friends.  Indiana All-Stars are being recruited well by the four Indiana teams, and bring them together extends those AAU and high school rivalries/friendships in a way should make for a fun afternoon of hoops action.

The former reluctance of in-state schools to play each other has always been baffling.  Why travel to UMKC or Providence when a bus trip to Terre Haute, Evansville, Fort Wayne, or Indianapolis is all that’s necessary to play a quality opponent and extend a brand into other communities.

This is the second piece of evidence in two weeks that Glass and IU coach Tom Crean understand that playing in-state teams is the way to go for a team representing the entire state.  Last week, they announce a three-year deal to play the University of Evansville (Bloomington/Evansville/Bloomington).

Purdue has understood this for years – and will play IPFW, Indiana State, Valpo, and the University of Indianapolis during their non-conference schedule this year.

With all this talent, and all these communities that love basketball it’s silly to travel all over to play teams from across the country.

A rising tide lifts all boats, and playing in-state teams regularly lifts the level of competition and brand awareness across Indiana.



Truth’s Tuesday Top Five: Excited About Indiana Football by The Truth

By Kyle Miller

Including today, Indiana University students have 63 days until the first day of classes.  One of the biggest, most distinct differences that separate high school from college is that students dread the thought of class, whereas the start of college is a sight for sore eyes.  With all that said, I’m most excited about what happens in 66 days, the start of the 2010-2011 Indiana football season.

I’ve always been a huge IU football supporter and done what most students don’t-attend the actually game itself.  Tailgating is a blast, but what’s the point in tailgating if you don’t attend the game?  That issue, however, is for a different time.

This summer I am directing my efforts at attempting to understand Indiana football more as I truly think IU is on the rise.  Fred Glass is outstanding and is turning both the basketball and football programs in the right direction.  Fall is unquestionably my favorite season of the year and football certainly plays a critical role in that.

Therefore, today’s Truth’s Tuesday Top Five is centered around IU football and as an IU student I have the top five reasons on why to be excited about this upcoming season:

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