____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>As news of Gunner Kiel still swirls around Bloomington, the Hoosiers trail Iowa 35-14 at the close of the first half in Iowa City.True freshman Tre Roberson started, becoming the third person to start under center for IU this season and the first true freshman to ever start at quarterback in IU history.Roberson is 7-7 passing for 62 yards and a touchdown pass. He has also shown off his athleticism at times, avoiding defenders and running for 30 yards.Sophomore Stephen Houston started at running back and has run for 47 yards and a touchdown.Iowa's offense has been efficient, scoring a touchdown on its first five possessions. Junior quarterback James Vandenberg has completed eight passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns.Junior wide receiver Marvin McNutt has caught five of those passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. McNutt's first touchdown, which went for 80 yards, made him the Iowa record holder for touchdown receptions.Sophomore running back Marcus Coker has rushed for the other two touchdowns for Iowa. Coker has 109 yards rushing at halftime.
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____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>As news of Gunner Kiel still swirls around Bloomington, the Hoosiers trail Iowa 14-7 at the close of the first quarter in Iowa City.True freshman Tre Roberson started, becoming the third person to start under center for IU this season and the first true freshman to ever start at quarterback in IU history.The opening quarter consisted of two long drives and a very quick one.The Hawkeyes received the opening kickoff and maintained possession for the first 7:10 of the game, scoring on a short run from sophomore running back Marcus Coker to go up 7-0.Roberson and the rest of the Hoosier offense then took the field and put together a drive for the next 6:16. With 1:34 remaining in the quarter, Roberson completed a three-yard touchdown pass to fellow true freshman Cody Latimer to tie the score at seven.The Hawkeyes responded with a quick, two-play drive that ended with an 80-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Marvin McNutt to put Iowa up 14-7. McNutt now has more touchdown receptions than any player in Iowa football history (22).
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Prior to last week’s 59-7 loss to Wisconsin, Hoosier football coaches and players stressed they needed to play without being scared of the Badgers. From the effort he saw on the field, Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Ekeler said it looked like fear still found a way to creep into his players’ heads.“Last week, we just laid an egg,” Ekeler said. “Guys played uninspired. They played undisciplined. It was like we were a little bit scared out there, and that’s disappointing as a coach. Believe me, we addressed it.”While amassing a lackluster 64 yards through the air, players like sophomore quarterback Edward Wright-Baker said they weren’t satisfied with their performance.“We’ve got to get better as a whole team, as a whole offense,” Wright-Baker said. “That was unacceptable, what we showed out there. We’ve got to get better.”IU (1-6, 0-3) converted just two of its 14 third-down chances, which players said they look to change when they take on the Iowa team that beat IU in a closely contested 18-13 game last year.IU Coach Kevin Wilson stressed one of the problems that led to a lack of success on third downs was ineffectiveness on first and second downs that left the team in third-and-long situations. Both he and sophomore tight end Ted Bolser said the play from the receiving corps needs to be much better, regardless of down.“We’re not playing with any sense of speed and urgency out there,” Wilson said. “If you watch our receivers play, we play very fast on routes and then, when it’s a run play, we jog off the ball.”Even though Iowa lost some talent on both sides of the ball during the off-season, they have a 4-2 (1-1) start, defeating Northwestern 41-31 last week. First team all-Big Ten defensive end Adrian Clayborn and efficient quarterback Ricky Stanzi are now in the NFL, but players like junior quarterback James Vandenberg have started well.Vandenberg, who ranks second in the Big Ten in passing yardage (248 yards per game), is at the helm of an Iowa offense that has scored at least 31 points in five of its first six games for the first time since 2002. If he completes a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Marvin McNutt on Saturday, McNutt will break the Iowa record for most touchdown receptions.IU’s senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher is also on the cusp of breaking a school record, but he will most likely not dress for Saturday’s game because of a knee injury. He is just three receptions short of James Hardy’s receptions record at IU.On the defensive side for Iowa, the sophomore linebackers James Morris and Christian Kirksey rank first and second, respectively, in the Big Ten in tackles. IU senior linebacker Jeff Thomas ranks seventh.“They’re a different team than last year,” Wright-Baker said. “Some of those players aren’t the same. They don’t have Clayborn out there. Clayborn was a difference maker when we played. Some of that is the difference. They still have a good defense ... but any defense can be beaten.”IU will face the Hawkeye defense at noon Saturday, participating in Iowa’s 100th homecoming game. To do so, Bolser said receivers need to make some changes to help Wright-Baker and possibly true freshman quarterback Tre Roberson.“We just need to run faster and get open,” Bolser said. “If we’re jogging, any team in the Big Ten is going to jog with us. It’s easy. We need to sprint, we need to break off routes, we need to break away from defenders and we need to catch the ball.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>When former quarterback Ben Chappell took the opening snap of the 2009 season against Eastern Kentucky, then-freshman Will Matte played center.When sophomore quarterbacks Edward Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel made their first career starts this season, they received the opening snap from Matte.For the first time in the last 30 games, since the opening of the 2009 season, Matte will not start Saturday against Iowa.A knee injury he suffered during Saturday’s 59-7 loss to Wisconsin will relegate Matte to the sidelines. Redshirt freshman Collin Rahrig will start in Matte’s place, IU Coach Kevin Wilson said.“We’ve been kind of erratic as a line, so I don’t know if it’s that big a deal,” Wilson said. “(Matte) has always been reasonably steady with the snap, and you trust that Collin would come in. He’s done a great job in practice.“We’ve really worked (senior Justin) Pagan and (true freshman) Peyton Eckert as much, so if there’s an issue with Collin, the next guy would be Steady Eddie.”Wilson said he expects Pagan to play right guard and Eckert at right tackle Saturday.Redshirt freshman Cody Evers will back Eckert at tackle, and junior Marc Damisch can fill in at guard if necessary.Wilson said he isn’t worried about the position change for Rahrig, as playing the center position is very similar to playing guard.“I would not anticipate having a center issue unless there’s a problem with Collin physically,” Wilson said.Matte won’t be the only regular starter on the sideline at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday.Senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher will likely not dress for the game. Like Matte, his knee is keeping him out.Belcher has participated in practice this week but hasn’t been able to run hard or get up to game speed yet.Wilson said sophomore wide receivers Kofi Hughes and Duwyce Wilson have been practicing much better this week after recovering from nagging injuries of their own that have limited them in several games this season.“When a guy hasn’t timed up reps and we’ve got enough other guys, I’d probably say he’s out of the mix,” Wilson said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The potent Wisconsin offense came out strong against IU, jumping to a 28-0 lead halfway through the second quarter. But when sophomore running back Stephen Houston received the ball on his 10th carry of the day, he saw a hole and ran through it.“I just run,” Houston said. “After I got past the safety, I just had tunnel vision. It was like a dog chasing me. I wasn’t planning on getting caught.”The Badgers couldn’t catch Houston, and he rumbled 67 yards to what would be IU’s lone score in its 59-7 loss in Madison, Wis. Houston finished the game with 135 rushing yards, the most of any IU running back this season.Houston said he had been frequently missing holes prior to that run, but it was clear to teammates, such as Kofi Hughes, Houston was running hard all game. Hughes said Houston has made strides in the last two weeks of practice.“I was kind of the same way,” Hughes said. “We couldn’t really get Stephen to really practice hard, and I wasn’t really practicing hard. In the past two weeks, we’ve been practicing hard, and I think you see in the game that Stephen is obviously taking over.”Houston was the standout on the offensive side of the ball, but the running game as a whole showed progress in front of 80,732 fans on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.Helped by Houston’s big run, the Hoosiers ran for 163 yards in the first half, more yards than they had amassed in the first two games of Big Ten season combined.The final total was 223 yards on the ground, the most IU has had against a Division I-A opponent this season. The Hoosiers ran for 257 against South Carolina State.They played against a Wisconsin defense that allowed just 103.2 rushing yards per game this season prior to the IU game.“By far, this was the offensive line’s best week,” Houston said. “I give the offensive line all the credit, because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have even gotten to the linebackers.”Along with the play of the offensive line, the offensive coaching staff threw a bit of everything at Wisconsin. IU Coach Kevin Wilson has had the offense practicing a diamond formation in which there are four players in the backfield.“We probably caught them a little off guard as far as lining up,” Wilson said. “Houston ran really well and followed his pads. I thought the line came off the ball a little bit better.”Even though using the formation again might not catch future opponents by surprise, Houston said to look for it in coming weeks.“Coach Wilson put it in, and we just ran with it,” Houston said. “It works, for the most part. We’ve just got to trust it more and critique it more. After that, it will become part of our regular run game.”Another new aspect of the run game was Hughes coming onto the field as a quarterback in a Wildcat-type formation. Hughes, who played quarterback for Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, ran the ball seven times for 31 yards Saturday.Improvement might have occurred in terms of the rushing attack, but players and coaches said they aren’t satisfied, especially after a 52-point loss.“My standards are very high as an individual, and I have standards high as a teammate,” Houston said. “I’m nowhere near where I want to be, and I know the team is nowhere near where we want to be.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Senior linebacker Jeff Thomas offered a diagnosis for defensive breakdowns that resulted in big plays and points for the opposition, like Illinois’ long touchdown pass, in a 41-20 loss to the Illini last week.“It’s just communication across the board,” Thomas said. “I put full blame on myself for that. I should communicate a little better to the nickel back who blitzed on that play.”Defensive Tackles Coach Mark Hagen said success on the defensive side of the ball can’t be pinned on just one player.“As cliché as it is, they’ve got to stay within the system,” Hagen said. “We have 11 guys out there and everybody’s got a job to do. A lot of it’s technique driven, and we’ve got to rely on that and what they’re supposed to do within the scheme and execute.”IU has a daunting task ahead in the fourth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers, who infamously trounced IU 83-20 last season.The Badgers have won the past six matchups with the Hoosiers by an average of 30.5 points per game, averaging 312.2 rushing yards per game in the past five meetings.While Wisconsin hasn’t lost a regular-season game since last year’s matchup with IU, the Hoosiers have continued to struggle and now sit at 1-5 halfway through 2011.Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Ekeler said he has trouble sleeping as a result of the losses and sees similar frustration in the players.“They’re not having fun losing, believe me,” Ekeler said. “It’s killing them, but it should. They feel like they’re getting better and they’re coming together as a unit and they’re learning, and each day, you see improvements.”The lack of communication Hagen spoke of is a problem that has yet to work itself entirely out of the defense.IU has been prone to giving up big plays, surrendering four touchdowns of at least 67 yards in the past three games.Hagen and IU Coach Kevin Wilson both said trust is the issue constricting the communication on the field.“Coach Wilson talked about it this afternoon,” Hagen said. “It’s still trusting in each other and when we operate outside the system, we’re not trusting the system or we’re not trusting everybody within the system. That’s the gap that we need to close still.”Hagen said all of the defensive players must look to the sideline to hear the play call.Wilson echoed his sentiments saying when a defender understands the play, it is his responsibility to make sure everyone around him also understands.Hagen said listening is equally as important as talking on the field and has noticed some players struggling to hear the play call and understand it.“There’s times I sit back as a coach and hear the checks,” Hagen said. “My guys might say, ‘Coach, I didn’t get it.’ Well, I did. You’re not listening. It’s not just the talking. It’s being a good listener, too.”On some of the larger plays, players have been caught out of position by getting excited or wanting to make the play themselves, instead of allowing for the system to take effect and another player to make the play. Ekeler said blame shouldn’t be put on the players for many of the miscommunications, though.“We’ve got to do a better job of coaching them,” Ekeler said. “We’ve got to do a better job of putting them in better positions and not ask a guy to do something that he physically might not be able to do.”Wilson said he doesn’t want to overcoach the players, and his team shouldn’t be overwhelmed by traveling to the hostile environment in Madison. “You can’t be scared of anything and say you’ve got no chance,” Wilson said. “We have no chance to win this game if our kids don’t believe we’re going to, and as coaches, we’re not going to go out there and shelter anything back. We’re going to go right at them.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Following what multiple players and coaches called the team’s best week of practice, IU’s 41-20 loss to Illinois on Saturday frustrated Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Ekeler.“Coach Ekeler said that today is the worst feeling he’s had because he thought it was our best practice week, and he hadn’t seen us practice like that,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said. “They actually battled pretty well.”Junior center Will Matte also expressed his frustration after the Hoosiers jumped out to a 10-0 lead before being outscored 41-10 the rest of the game.“This one hurts, but at this point, you can’t do anything but go on,” Matte said. “Each loss hurts equally. It’s just a matter of getting kind of frustrated that we’re not turning the corner.”Against the undefeated Fighting Illini, IU’s offense was outgained by its junior punter, Adam Pines. The offense totaled 302 yards while Pines’s seven punts added up to 303 yards. Sophomore Dusty Kiel started at quarterback, but after he hurt his ankle while completing a 48-yard pass to sophomore Stephen Houston, true freshman Tre Roberson saw a great deal of time under center. After freshman Shane Wynn returned the opening kickoff 99 yards to put the Hoosiers up 7-0, IU scored on two field goals from sophomore kicker Mitch Ewald. Roberson scored the only offensive touchdown with 5:29 left in the game when he ran it in from two yards out. Matte and the rest of the offensive line had a tough time taming the Illini defensive line that leads the Big Ten in sacks with 22, racking up five against IU.“We weren’t focused in all the way, I’d say,” Matte said. “I had a couple of snap issues, and that’s disgusting as a junior. We’ve got to go back to the film room and fix our issues.”The IU defensive line improved its pass rush, getting to Illinois’s quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase three times after totaling two sacks in the first five games.The sacks couldn’t stop Scheelhaase from throwing three touchdowns and running for another. He found his top target — senior wide receiver A.J. Jenkins — six times for 182 of his 210 passing yards. One of those catches resulted in a 77-yard touchdown and another in a 67-yard score.Senior middle linebacker Jeff Thomas and the defense were on the field for more than half the game while the offense sputtered at times. Thomas said the loss was “a tough pill to swallow,” but he still has faith in the offense.“We love being on the field, so we embrace it,” Thomas said. “We’re not going to say anything bad about our offense. We know what they can do.” “They’ve had a rough couple of weeks. We’re fully behind them, and we know they’re behind us.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Following a 99-yard kickoff return from freshman Shane Wynn, IU led for the first 13 minutes of Saturday's game against Illinois. The Illini grabbed a 14-10 lead with 1:34 remaining in the first quarter and never looked back, eventually defeating IU 41-20.IU gave time at quarterback to sophomore starter Dusty Kiel and true freshman Tre Roberson. Roberson led a late touchdown drive that brought the Hoosiers within two scores but for the majority of the game, the offense struggled with both under center. IU managed just 291 total yards compared to 518 from Illinois.Illinois got on the scoreboard with a 77-yard touchdown completion from sophomore quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase to senior wide receiver A.J. Jenkins and senior Illinois defensive back Tavon Wilson returned an IU fumble 66 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Scheelhaase again found Jenkins late in the second quarter for a 67-yard strike and threw his third touchdown of the first half three yards to freshman tight end Jon Davis. Scheelhaase ran for another score in the third quarter and totaled 298 total yards and three total touchdowns.Sophomore IU kicker Mitch Ewald made both of his field goal attempts from 44 and 20 yards for the Hoosiers.The IU defensive line played very well at times. Junior defensive tackle Adam Replogle sacked Scheelhaase twice and true freshman Bobby Richardson collected another sack, which brought IU's season sack total from two to five.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Senior middle linebacker Jeff Thomas remembers last year’s 43-13 loss to Illinois well. Though the IU defense held the Illini to 289 total yards, Illinois nabbed four interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns.“I remember that game pretty vividly,” Thomas said. “I think that was one of our best defensive games, even though they scored all those points.”That storyline might sound familiar. Last week against Penn State, the defense forced three turnovers and held the Nittany Lions to three field goals in five trips into the red zone, but the offense’s lack of production spelled doom for the Hoosiers as they lost 16-10.“We focus on that we lost,” Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Ekeler said. “I don’t care how many yards we give up, I don’t care how many points we give up. As a team, you just want to score one more point (than the opposition), and that’s our biggest focus.”Quarterback play has been a factor in the last two clashes between Indiana and Illinois, which might not bode well for the Hoosiers when they square off against Illinois at 2:30 Saturday at home. While IU’s Ben Chappell had 333 yards and three touchdowns in the 2009 contest, the quarterback situation for both schools has gone in opposite directions.Chappell and current sophomore quarterback Dusty Kiel combined for four interceptions during the 2010 loss, and in the past two seasons, Illinois’ sophomore quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has developed to the point of being on the watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award, which is given to the country’s best quarterback.While at Oklahoma, IU Coach Kevin Wilson recruited Scheelhaase, and he said with his skill set, he won’t be easy to defend.“He’s got some great qualities and he’s well coached by (Illinois Offensive Coordinator) Paul Petrino,” Wilson said. “He’s developing into being a quality quarterback. He’s very athletic. He can make plays with his feet. He can make plays on the run. He’s going into being a very solid quarterback. He’s got a great future.”Scheelhaase ranks eighth in the country in passing efficiency and has thrown 20 touchdowns with four interceptions over his last 12 games. His career-best 391 passing yards last week helped Illinois defeat Northwestern and maintain a 5-0 record. It’s the best start for Illinois since a 7-0 start in 1951.While IU ranks fourth in the Big Ten in passing yardage, consistency has been an issue for the Hoosiers at quarterback. Sophomores Edward Wright-Baker and Kiel have exchanged chances under center following Chappell’s graduation.Wilson said that as of Wednesday, Kiel will be the starter, but nothing is set in stone. Whoever plays will face an Illinois defense that leads the Big Ten with 17 sacks.“They don’t just line up in one vanilla look,” Wilson said. “They make you mentally work as an offensive lineman, and they make you mentally work as a quarterback to understand where your protection is and how to kick your protection and how to get rid of the ball.”Both Wilson and Ekeler said the Hoosiers have had a good week of practice and have stayed positive despite a 1-4 start going into the matchup, which will be televised on Big Ten Network.“If you come to our practice right now, you would think that we’re undefeated,” Ekeler said. “Our guys have kept a tremendous attitude. They’re working hard. They believe in what we’re doing, and they know that we haven’t even scratched the surface.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Prior to his first collegiate start Saturday, redshirt freshman safety Drew Hardin had an idea of what to expect from the Penn State offense.“They turn over the ball a lot in the red zone,” Hardin said. “That’s when the defense comes together, and we play harder.”The Nittany Lions lived up to Hardin’s expectations, turning the ball over twice in the red zone and having to settle for three field goals in five trips inside IU’s 20-yard line. Even though Penn State eventually defeated IU 16-10, sophomore cornerback Lawrence Barnett said the defense fought to the end.“Our coaches have instilled it in us all year, whenever we get our backs against the wall, to fight,” Barnett said.Hardin’s younger brother, Forisse Hardin, a true freshman safety, intercepted a Rob Bolden pass near IU’s goal line to end Penn State’s first drive. Senior defensive end Darius Johnson recovered a fumble inside IU’s five-yard line later. The 16 points were the fewest IU has given up since Oct. 17, 2009, when the Hoosiers held Illinois to 14 points.The Hardin brothers’ performance at safety helped fill the void left by senior safety Jarrell Drane, who sat out with a sprained ankle. The Hardins and true freshman defensive end Bobby Richardson helped bolster the defense. The three combined for 22 total tackles and an interception.Unfortunately for IU’s defense, the offense took a long time to get into a rhythm. The offense ended only five drives in Penn State territory, punted from inside its own 25-yard line three times and turned the ball over twice inside its own 25.“We can’t put our defense consistently in those positions (and) expect them to hang in there, because they battled for us today,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said. “We need the offense — and I’m an offensive guy — to hold the rope and pull their end of the bargain here.”Nine times the IU offense failed to get a first down and was forced to punt after only three plays. Barnett and the rest of the defense spent 37:27 of the game on the field.“When they go three and out, we know we’re back on the field, and we’ve just got to play hard so we can get another three and out for them,” Barnett said. Senior linebacker Jeff Thomas, who had five tackles and a sack, said the team is in good physical shape, but the amount of time the defense spent on the field took a toll on the players.“Mentally, you make mistakes, and you forget about plays and forget about your coverage,” Thomas said. “We had a couple of those breakdowns.”The most costly mistake in coverage resulted in a 74-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Matt McGloin to senior wide receiver Derek Moye to put Penn State ahead 13-3 in the third quarter.Part of IU’s game plan was to play well on first and second downs to force Penn State into third-and-long situations, Wilson said last week. When the Hoosiers forced a long third down attempt, McGloin and Bolden (who split time at quarterback for Penn State) found ways to reach the sticks.“We had a couple of third and longs where we let them off,” Wilson said. “A couple times, (we had) chances to get to the quarterback and didn’t quite get there for some reason. But at the same time, they have good players, and they’re going to work you.”Pass rush was an issue for the defense, but the overall performance against a Big Ten opponent signaled progress for the team. “We were close,” Wilson said. “We played a pretty good defensive game, had a chance to even play better than we played. We’ll use that as a building block and keep those guys moving forward because they need to play better as we go into next week.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>In last year’s season and the one before, the IU football team was undefeated entering Big Ten conference play.While that was the aim this year for Co-Defensive Coordinator Doug Mallory and the Hoosiers, this season has begun differently.“We hoped we would be 4-0 heading into conference play here, but the reality is that we’re not,” Mallory said. “We’re 1-3 right now, but again, the only way I know how to get it fixed is to continue to work, keep a positive attitude. Eventually, we’ll get it going.”IU Coach Kevin Wilson said despite the record, the Hoosiers will prepare for the Penn State game as they always have.“Everything we want is still in front of us and we can accomplish things that haven’t been accomplished here in quite a while,” Wilson said, “Even though we’re struggling and don’t have the results we want, there’s a lot of things to play for. Do we have the fiber, the wherewithal, the passion? Will our seniors go after it?”IU’s Big Ten schedule has been marked by futility in the recent past. Since their last bowl appearance in 2007, the Hoosiers have won three Big Ten games and been outscored 898-463. The last time they had a .500 record against Big Ten competition was the 2001-02 season.Senior left tackle Andrew McDonald, a member of the 2009 and 2010 teams that were 3-0 before Big Ten season, said confidence isn’t an issue with this year’s squad, despite recent events and a rough start.“I think it’s just a whole feel around here that we’re a Big Ten school about to go to play a Big Ten game,” McDonald said. “You just expect you’re going against bigger guys, more athletic. We know it’s a tough league. We prepare for it. It’s just a mental kind of thing.”McDonald said although Wilson and his staff usually maintain the same practice regimen, some aspects of practice are different.The changes were made to introduce a change from what had almost become a lethargic pattern of practicing, Wilson said.“The thought we had was just changing up some of the drill work or the way some things are going so practice doesn’t become stagnant,” Wilson said. “It’s almost like you become so mundane, routine it almost gets a little boring. It’s like you’re the old blue-collar worker just punching the clock, getting his 40 hours in and out, so our change was to try to find some positive ways to create some energy, some drill work, some competition. That’s gone well.”When Penn State comes to Bloomington for its noon game Saturday, it will be the sixth time the two have met in Bloomington.IU has never defeated coach Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions, home or away, in 14 games. Wilson said he doesn’t view Penn State any differently than other Big Ten programs.“Here’s the first one of many really good teams. Let’s look forward to see if we can start stepping up, delivering — playing like a Big Ten team,” Wilson said, “We’ve got to get used to it because we’re going to play that every year, and it’s time we start holding our end of the bargain and getting some wins.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>For more than 120 years, Indiana football has been stuck in a constant state of mediocrity. Only one coach, Bo McMillin, has had both a winning overall record (63-48-11) and a .500 record in the Big Ten (34-34-6).Since his retirement in 1947, IU has claimed a 240-422-9 overall record through former coach Bill Lynch’s tenure. When Coach Kevin Wilson was hired in December 2010, he said he planned to win and to do so immediately. How did he plan to immediately pump life into a program that had looked dead for so long?In July, Wilson said a culture change needed to begin with himself and people on his staff, such as Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Ekeler. Wilson said he believes Ekeler is one of the most positive people he has worked with.“Every day is the greatest day ever, and every place is the best place ever (to Ekeler), and the kids love the guy,” Wilson said. “He’s a heck of a coach. We have a scheme that we believe in. The players have embraced it.”As Wilson said, players quickly bought into the coaching staff’s optimistic approach. From freshman arrivals to experienced players such as senior tight end Max Dedmond, players developed a trust with coaches upon arrival and in spring practice.“From minute one, he showed that he had confidence in us, and we definitely have confidence back in him,” Dedmond said.As the long, hot summer months began, most of the coaches were not allowed to be on the field with the players, so Mark Hill, the strength and conditioning coach, had a notable amount of responsibility. His job was not only to get them back into shape after the offseason but to turn them into better athletes than they had ever been.The slogan for the summer was “nutrition and condition,” which both Hill and the administration took very seriously. In March, IU hired Amy Freel as the first full-time director of sports performance nutrition at IU and in the Big Ten. “As far as the slogan — ‘nutrition and condition’ — you can’t have one without the other,” Hill said. “And guys carrying around excess body fat, excess body weight is only going to slow them down, especially at the tempo at which we play.”Significant changes were apparent throughout the team. Hill noticed a difference in reactions to spring and fall practice, saying spring practice was a shock to the players’ systems.“Guys were a little in awe, if you will,” Hill said. “But coming into this fall camp practice, when you’re in the best shape of your life — you’ve been running, you’ve been doing the things you need to do — there’s no longer a shock.” The team as a whole has undergone a major transition from 2010 to 2011, but a couple players have made significant changes individually. Two years ago, then-sophomore Greg Heban was a pitcher for the IU baseball team; now he is the starting cornerback for the Hoosiers, leading the team with two interceptions. After baseball Coach Tracy Smith noticed Heban’s talent during a flag football game, he contacted former IU football Coach Bill Lynch. Heban ended up playing safety for Lynch’s 2010 squad and moved to cornerback for 2011.Co-Defensive Coordinator Doug Mallory said he was surprised that nobody else found Heban first.“It’s hard to believe that a young man like that got overlooked,” Mallory said. “We’re glad he’s here, but you would think someone out there would have found an athlete like that in high school.”Players such as senior linebacker Jeff Thomas said changes in physique and attitude don’t matter unless the Hoosiers make one big change: adjust from being a losing team to a winning one.“You measure success by whatever you want, but when it comes down to it, you’ve got to get wins,” Thomas said. “The expectation to win and the expectations are so much higher with everything that we’ve got no other option.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Only one team in IU’s football history has ever been to the Rose Bowl, and linebacker James Sniadecki was literally in the middle of that team’s defense, which never allowed more than 20 points.Sniadecki was a junior on the 1967 team that shared a Big Ten title with Minnesota and Purdue and faced off against USC in the Rose Bowl. Fourty-four years after that season began, Sniadecki will be inducted into the Indiana Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday.A three-year starter at IU, Sniadecki garnered All-Big Ten, AP All-America and UPI All-America honors.Before he was an All-American at IU, the South Bend native was a big Notre Dame fan. He made the Notre Dame football stadium his personal gym, like another famous Notre Dame figure.“I used to run up and down the steps in the Notre Dame stadium,” Sniadecki said. “Once I could go up and down all the steps all the way around the stadium, I felt like I was in pretty good shape. When that movie, ‘Rudy,’ came out, I was like, ‘Hey, I did that.’”His training in high school paid off, as his high school team at South Bend St. Joseph’s High School went undefeated in 1964 and was voted state champion.Sniadecki said he received offers from Indiana, Notre Dame, Ball State and Wisconsin, among others. When he visited IU, he found the factor that would influence his decision the most: new coach John Pont.“After meeting him and his charisma, his energy and his plans for the program for the future, he just was exciting,” Sniadecki said. “You just knew that he was the type of coach that you wanted to play for and that IU could possibly be a really good team.”Even though the Hoosiers went 1-8-1 in 1966, the potential Sniadecki said he saw in the team became a reality in 1967 when they beat Purdue — after being a two-touchdown underdog at home — to advance to the Rose Bowl.Sniadecki and the rest of the IU team traveled to southern California to face USC. Behind the large Trojan line was O.J. Simpson, a member of both the college football and National Football League halls of fame.“We were like little gnats all over him,” Sniadecki said. “We were fast. We couldn’t put up with their bigness and power, but we were fast and sparky and enthusiastic about being there and we wanted to show that we were a good team, too.”In spite of the Hoosiers’ effort, Simpson ran for 125 yards and scored both touchdowns in the game, as the Trojans defeated the Hoosiers 14-3.Sniadecki later graduated from IU with a business marketing degree and was drafted in the fourth round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played five years in the NFL. He said it was a big change from Big Ten football.“Everything is so much quicker there,” Sniadecki said. “When you go out there as a rookie, it’s like a blur almost.”After his NFL career ended, he stayed in the San Francisco area, with a brief stay in Hawaii while playing for the Hawaiians in the World Football League. He has since had a number of careers from steakhouse owner to prosthetic salesman.He still lives in California and has worked for 15 years in the security business, working with cameras and alarm systems. He said tries to keep up with IU football, but he said the lack of nationally televised games makes it difficult. So Sniadecki reads news about the team and calls his sister, who lives in Camby, Ind. He also comes to Indiana for Thanksgiving almost every year and tries to visit campus. He said he likes seeing the way campus has changed and usually visits his former fraternity, Beta Theta Pi.When Athletics Director Fred Glass called him two months ago to congratulate him on earning a spot in this year’s Hall of Fame class, Sniadecki said he felt proud.“It was an honor to be picked amongst all these people,” Sniadecki said. “They have choices of a lot of different people. It’s nice to get recognition sometimes for the things you do in life.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>In IU’s last three games, the team has had a quarter that it scored 21 points. Two of those three times, it wasn’t enough.A 21-point rally in the fourth quarter Saturday couldn’t win the game for the Hoosiers (1-3), and they fell to North Texas (1-3), 24-21. They also scored 21 in the fourth quarter against Virginia on Sept. 10 and lost 34-31.From the opening quarter, the Mean Green rushing attack stymied the Hoosier defense. North Texas, led by senior running back Lance Dunbar, totaled 371 yards in the first half, already eclipsing their 253.3 average yards per game. In the first half, Dunbar totaled 229 total yards.“This win is so meaningful to so many people,” North Texas Coach Dan McCarney said in a press release. “It’s a reward for the hard work done by a lot of people. This is about as good as it gets on game day.”For the Hoosiers, it was about as bad as it could have been for three quarters. IU was unsuccessful on its first 12 possessions and was unable to effectively run the ball. With just 50 yards on the ground, IU was forced to pass 52 times. It was the most passing attempts in a game since the season-ending win against Purdue last season.Sophomore quarterback Edward Wright-Baker completed 23 of his 40 passes for 209 yards and threw an interception. For the final two drives of the game, IU Coach Kevin Wilson and his staff decided to go with sophomore Dusty Kiel as quarterback.“We just went for a change,” Wilson said in the press conference. “We played three quarters, hadn’t gotten to the end zone, and we were just looking for a little bit of a spark.”On his first series since playing against Virginia, Kiel found freshman wide receiver Cody Latimer for a 44-yard score, and when a North Texas defender lost his shoe and sat down to put it back on, he found a wide open sophomore Kofi Hughes for a 67-yard score.“Bottom line, they didn’t get lined up,” Wilson said. “They kind of messed up and we got lucky, maybe had the right call on. Our kid saw it and took advantage. (It was) a little bit of them helping us as much as anything.”Just as it was against Virginia, the Saturday rally — which began with a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown from freshman safety Mark Murphy — came too late for IU.When the Mean Green recovered an onside kick with a minute remaining, IU was unable to stop them from taking a knee and watching the clock expire.During the second half, IU’s defense allowed just 56 total yards, while the IU offense tallied 241 of its own. During the course of the game, IU forced three turnovers. Senior defensive end Darius Johnson forced and recovered one fumble. IU’s starting lineup was dotted with true freshman, like running back D’Angelo Roberts, who won Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his performance last week against South Carolina State. Latimer and offensive guard Bernard Taylor also started.North Texas avoided a 0-4 start for the first time since 2008 and won against a BCS automatic qualifying school for the first time since Baylor in 2003. IU fell to 1-3 going into Big Ten season. Wilson said it was mostly because of the first half Saturday. “We did battle in the second half, but maybe they relaxed and didn’t play like they needed to, so we gave ourselves a chance,” Wilson said. “I think defensively, we only gave up three points in the second half ... but bad start, not very good defense early and a horrible offense.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Since they ended the first quarter of their season down 28-0 to Florida International, the Mean Green of North Texas — IU’s next opponent — have had a tough season.They are the only Division 1 football team to have played three undefeated opponents — FIU, Houston and Alabama — and have given up more than 40 points to all three.Despite the rough start, a number of changes have given North Texas fans a reason to watch, a new coach, Dan McCarney and a $78 million new stadium. When Hoosiers like redshirt freshman running back Matt Perez step onto the new field in Denton, Texas, on Saturday, they will look to get on top early and send a message to fans.“Personally, I like going in somewhere and shutting up the loud home crowd and making it quiet,” Perez said. “Beating a team in front of their home fans personally brings me a lot of joy and I think if we did that, it would be a lot of fun.”IU scored on South Carolina State early last week, owning the ball for 11 of the first 15 minutes and grabbing a 21-7 lead. Sophomore quarterback Edward Wright-Baker passed for 273 yards and two long touchdowns, adding 41 yards on the ground.Even though North Texas has given up an average of 559 yards per game on defense, Wright-Baker said they shouldn’t be underestimated.“We’re definitely not overlooking North Texas,” Wright-Baker said. “They’ve played three quality opponents ... I think they’re a good team, (they) have a fast defense, have players who play hard and fly around.”North Texas, like IU, had very little experience from the quarterback position before the season began, with only one career start from five quarterbacks on the roster. The one start was from sophomore Derek Thompson, who has been the main quarterback for the Mean Green this season.Thompson has thrown for 419 yards and a touchdown in his first full season under center, but the focus of the North Texas offense is the run game, led by senior running back Lance Dunbar.Currently third among active players in Division 1 in career rushing yardage, Dunbar has struggled to get momentum this season, managing just 16 yards on the ground against Alabama.“I know Alabama played great defense against him last week, but they do that against most folks, so I’m sure he’ll be ... ready to answer the bell,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said.Dunbar trails Oregon’s LaMichael James and Boston College’s Montel Harris in career rushing yardage for active players. If he runs for the same amount of yardage this year as he did last season (1,437), he will be the all-time rushing leader in the Sun Belt Conference.Although Wilson said most keys to the game are on defense, many eyes will be drawn to the performance of the offensive line, which underwent several changes between weeks two and three. Last week, true freshmen Bernard Taylor and Peyton Eckert started their first games as Hoosiers.They are two examples of a trend of younger players seeing a significant amount of action in games for IU this season. Wilson said he likes what he has seen from many of the younger players in terms of taking techniques in practice and using them in games.“I think that’s where the old guys are still kind of not where I think they ought to be,” Wilson said. “Maybe it’s just going to take a little time and maybe it won’t. Maybe it will never come. The young guys have got it.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Senior safety Chris Adkins received a call from Co-Defensive Coordinator Doug Mallory after South Carolina State wide receiver Tyler McDonald scampered 69 yards for a touchdown Saturday.Since his Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Ekeler is on the field, Mallory has to ring the field to speak to his players after such plays. This sometimes allows him to control the way he speaks to players a bit more.“A lot of times, you try to vent your frustration before you get (him) on the phone,” Mallory said. “Other times, you feel like he needs to be spoken to with a certain tone, and sometimes you’re going to let him hear it.”Mallory said he knew that although the Bulldogs called a perfect play for the scheme IU was running, he still wanted his players to win the play.“He realized he put me in a tough situation,” Adkins said, “but he expects more out of me to be able to make that kind of play regardless.”IU’s defense was in a Cover 0, which is more or less man-to-man coverage. When the Hoosiers brought players on a blitz, Bulldogs quarterback Derrick Wiley hit his number one receiver for a huge gain.“It was a Cover 0, and they ran a play to our blitz, which is one of the perfect calls you can make to any blitz scheme,” Adkins said. “He just ran a nice screen and got out on us before we knew what happened.”The play against South Carolina State was the longest play against IU since Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis caught a 74-yard touchdown on Nov. 13, 2010.Mallory pointed out that 130 of the Bulldogs’ 216 passing yards came on three plays (of 69, 23 and 38 yards) — all of which were to McDonald, a stat that Mallory said “just kills you.”Both Adkins and sophomore cornerback Lawrence Barnett said as members of the secondary, the duty oftentimes falls on them to prevent big plays from occurring.“Especially as a cornerback and defensive back, coaches always teach us to have a short-term memory, so it’s just in the past,” Barnett said.Mallory said he understands the mentality of defensive backs — he played the position at the University of Michigan from 1984 to 1987.“A lot of times, there’s no one who feels worse than the kid who got beat,” Mallory said. “Having been a fellow defensive back, I kind of know where they come from. (If) you give up a big play, the last thing you want to do is have your butt ripped.”For nearly his whole playing career, Adkins has had to deal with offenses making big plays, and he said recovering from them is a very important part of his game as a safety.“Obviously, there are going to be big plays,” Adkins said. “After you’ve been playing for so long, even playing in high school.“You realize that everybody’s going to have big plays here and there, it’s just not getting so negative that you take a play off and think that you’re done for.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Nearly 300 days since their last win, the Hoosiers hardly remembered how to react. “We almost forgot to sing the fight song to the fans, it’s been so long,” junior defensive tackle Mick Mentzer said.After losses to Ball State and Virginia, IU Coach Kevin Wilson and the Hoosiers defeated Football Championship Subdivision opponent South Carolina State 38-21 Saturday. It was the first win of Wilson’s head coaching career, which helped lessen doubts he had about the coaching transition.“You keep trying to go to the well and ask them to keep working hard and have a great attitude and coming to work,” Wilson said. “When you have a couple hiccups and end on the wrong side of the ledger, you worry about that in the coaching transition, who are the true leaders.”Wilson said the victory helped prove to the players and coaches that the team is moving in the correct direction. Players such as senior wide receiver Dre Muhammad said they are excited about that direction after the win.“It’s a great feeling,” Muhammad said. “You play the game to win, so just to get that first win is a great feeling to get the season rolling.”The approach Wilson and his staff brought to the team characterized the first quarter of Saturday’s game as IU scored on its first two possessions. The two drives only took a combined 3:49, and IU ended the first quarter on top, 21-7.Players such as senior strong safety Jarrell Drane came away from the game optimistic despite IU’s team-record 20 penalties.“We did play with mistakes,” Drane said. “We had penalties on both sides of the ball, and we still came out with the win. What could we do if we played perfectly?”Although practices had been going well, games hadn’t yielded the results they wanted until Saturday’s game, Wilson said.“The kids have been doing a lot of things that we like as far as their practice habits or commitments,” Wilson said. “To have some Saturday reward is something deeply needed, so hopefully that will continue.”Sophomore wide receiver Duwyce Wilson, who led the team in receiving yardage for the second straight week, echoed his coach’s sentiments. He said the win has only made the team hungrier for future victories.North Texas is next for IU, and Drane, who paced the defense in tackles with 11, said he has high hopes going into not only that game, but the opening game of the Big Ten season against Penn State.“Everybody was happy when we got that first win and got that snowball going,” Drane said. “We’re going to get rolling from now on. Go to North Texas, beat them and then come back (against) Penn State, beat them.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Even before redshirt sophomore wide receiver Duwyce Wilson made a leaping touchdown grab to give IU a 31-23 lead against Virginia last Saturday, it was clear to many that No. 81 was a valuable asset to the team.When Wilson played for Coach Bob Gaddis at Columbus (Ind.) East High School, he was named Mr. Indiana at wide receiver in 2008, and Scout.com ranked him as No. 38 wide receiver in the country.After former IU Coach Bill Lynch’s staff recruited him, Wilson then stood out in his redshirt freshman campaign, finishing in the top three in catches, yards and touchdowns by a rookie wide receiver in IU history.At Big Ten Media Days in July, senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher said the situation in 2011 was going to help Wilson reach even greater heights as a receiver.“I expect a lot of double coverage since Tandon (Doss)’s gone,” Belcher said. “That’s why I think Duwyce Wilson is going to have a breakout season this year.”Those expectations were somewhat tempered when Wilson was hurt during fall camp. He quickly fell behind and began the season absent from the depth chart.He wasn’t the only sophomore to follow a breakout freshman season with an injury-plagued preseason. Redshirt sophomore tight end Ted Bolser missed more than two weeks of practices due to nagging health problems.“He missed a boatload — about 18 — practices, so he’s kind of playing his way back in,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said. “He’s got some catching skills if we can protect and deliver it to him. He’ll be in our one tight end set and (senior tight end) Max (Dedmond) will complement him.”Both Duwyce Wilson and Bolser played in extremely limited roles in the season opener against Ball State, but both made increasingly significant contributions during the Virginia game. Wilson led the team with 60 receiving yards and a touchdown.Although Bolser’s impact wasn’t seen on the box score, Coach Wilson noticed his effort.“(Bolser) did well last game,” Kevin Wilson said. “He didn’t have catches, but he did, from a blocking perspective, (play) extremely hard. I think he had about half a dozen ... knockdowns and whatnot.”Coach Wilson stressed the importance that tight ends are going to play as the season moves along and said they are often an overlooked part of the offense by fans.“The line gets all the credit and blame. The quarterback gets all the credit and blame,” Coach Wilson said. “But those complementary pieces really help them or hurt them, and we need our tight end group to keep coming along.”As they both return to the lineup, the pair of sophomore receiving threats look to make the IU offense — headed in part by Co-offensive Coordinator Rod Smith — more potent.“We’re starting to get a mix of guys healthy again,” Smith said. “Hopefully we can get a little bit more pop to our offense.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>At the pregame meeting before IU’s loss to Virginia Saturday, Co-Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Mike Ekeler reserved the last question for injured senior linebacker Leon Beckum.“Leon, your teammates voted you as a team captain,” Ekeler said. “Now that you’re dinged up a little bit, what would you give to go out tonight on that field?”Beckum responded he would give his soul.His words prior to the Virginia game spoke volumes to his fellow linebackers, like redshirt freshman Chase Hoobler.“It gave us more motivation to play for him,” Hoobler said, “because he knows how bad he wanted to be out there, and it’s his senior year.”With Beckum unable to go onto the field with a knee injury, he has become a new assistant coach for the defense, Ekeler said. Redshirt junior Lee Rose, who plays weakside linebacker like Beckum, said he has looked up to Beckum since he transferred from the University of Richmond in 2009.“Leon’s one of our smartest linebackers to begin with. We watch him to see how to do things right,” Rose said. “Now that he’s not (on the field) when we are practicing, he’s there still to help us with technique and some of the stuff that he would do.”Beckum serves as an example of how close the linebackers are as a unit. Senior middle linebacker Jeff Thomas and Beckum have been good friends for a while, but younger players like Hoobler became fast friends with the older players.Each Thursday, the linebackers make an excursion to a local place like Buffalo Wild Wings or Yogi’s Grill & Bar for dinner. They usually find something to talk about other than IU football, taking a break to eat and relax before they check into a hotel Friday night before a game.The tradition started last season, but things are a bit different this season. Along with the new coaching staff, Amy Freel, director of sports performance nutrition, came to IU — changing the way the team eats and fuels for games, Rose said.“It’s changed since last year ... Now that we have a nutritionist, you’ll see guys eating salads, where last year, no one would get a salad,” Rose said. “When we went to Buffalo Wild Wings, yeah, we got a lot of wings and stuff, but guys are actually watching what we eat.”Ekeler said the linebackers are close, but the defense as a whole grows closer as the season progresses. He said they bought into the selfless mentality IU Coach Kevin Wilson’s staff has stressed over and over again.“It’s not about making a big play and pounding your chest,” Ekeler said. “It’s about making a play and having 10 of your teammates come and tackle you, and that’s what Coach Wilson has been coaching since day one: it’s a family and you play for the guy next to you.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Last week, sophomore quarterback Edward Wright-Baker said the first hit he took in his collegiate career against Ball State made him wake up and feel good.The last hit he took in the home opener against Virginia, however, didn’t have the same effect.Virginia’s senior defensive end Cam Johnson sacked Wright-Baker and forced a fumble with 1:13 remaining in the game. The Cavaliers recovered at the IU 14-yard line.They ran down the clock and kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired to secure a 34-31 victory, spoiling a 21-point fourth-quarter IU comeback.“It’s just hard to put in that much effort and not have things go our way toward the end,” sophomore cornerback Greg Heban said.In a wild game of turnovers and momentum changes, Heban and the rest of the IU defense played a huge role. Heban grabbed two interceptions and fellow sophomore cornerback Lawrence Barnett returned a fumble 54 yards for a score.After a rough week one outing against Ball State, IU senior safety Jarrell Drane said he saw improvement from the defensive side of the ball for IU.“We kind of found our identity this game,” Drane said. “The emphasis this week was enthusiasm: Have more enthusiasm, play harder, have fun, play together. We found ourself this week.”Virginia condensed the vast majority of its scoring into four minutes and eight seconds Saturday. The team scored 17 points in a 2:33 period that spanned from the end of the first half to the beginning of the second half. Then they scored the final 11 points in a 1:36 span to end the game.Virginia turned a 6-3 lead into a 16-3 lead in the final 32 seconds of the first half, which could have deflated the Hoosiers’ spirits. Barnett said that wasn’t the case.“We kept our heads high that whole time,” Barnett said. “We came in the locker room, and we just knew that we had to come out and stick it to them next time. We knew we just had to come back and bounce back and take it to them.”Freshman running back Matt Perez saw halftime as a turning point in the game, saying that as the second half wore on, he saw Virginia’s defensive line begin to grow tired. He gave credit to the offseason workouts and said IU players were in great physical shape.“We came out, and the offense was struggling the whole time,” Perez said. “Then, after halftime, the coaches made the right adjustments, and we came out, kept the intensity up, kind of wore them down a little bit.”After Virginia scored with 12:59 remaining in the third quarter, IU pieced together a 10-play, 68-yard drive that culminated in an eight-yard Perez touchdown run. It was the beginning of a 28-0 IU run that left the Hoosiers clinging to a 31-23 lead with 6:34 left in the game.The game didn’t end as planned for IU. The Cavaliers used their run game to keep time ticking off the clock and eventually won it when time ran out.Wright-Baker said after he threw an interception early in the second half, he had to refrain from remembering the turnover and direct his attention to the next drive. Drane said the team needs to do something similar as it moves to its next game.“It’s going to hurt tonight,” Drane said. “But tomorrow, (we’ll) watch the film, and then on to the next week.”