____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Indiana's home opener was a game of runs, with Virginia scoring 20 unanswered at onepoint and IU scoring 28 unanswered, but it was three points at the end that decided it.Virginia’s senior kicker Robert Randolph made a short field goal in the final seconds to secure a 34-31 win for the Cavaliers.Clinging to an eight-point lead with two minutes left, the Hoosiers surrendered a touchdown and a two-point conversion with 1:36 remaining. When IU got the ball and began to drive for a possibly dramatic win, sophomore quarterback Edward Wright-Baker was sacked and fumbled, giving UVA the ball with just over a minute to play.All the Cavaliers had to do was run the clock down and kick the chip shot. The Hoosiers fall to 0-2, while the Cavaliers sit at 2-0.
138 items found for your search. If no results were found please broaden your search.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>IU’s loss to Ball State ended at about 10 p.m. last Saturday, but Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler, co-defensive coordinators, didn’t go home until seven hours later.“I came up, and Doug and I watched the game. We went home at about 5 a.m.,” Ekeler said. “I don’t know if I’ve slept since then. We take it very personally.”IU’s performance Saturday gave Ekeler quite a bit to think about. The Cardinals rushed for 210 yards while the Hoosiers ran for 103 yards. That’s a result they hope to avoid when Virginia visits Memorial Stadium to kick off IU’s home schedule at 7 p.m. Saturday.En route to a 40-3 trampling of William & Mary last Saturday, the Cavaliers rode their large offensive and defensive lines and outrushed the Tribe by nearly 200 yards (240-48).Like IU, Virginia played a number of very young players, from redshirt freshman running back Kevin Parks (who ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns) to freshman cornerback Demetrious Nicholson to sophomore quarterback Michael Rocco.“As their running game got going and the quarterback got in rhythm ... they were kind of playing on their terms,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said. “And that’s the sign of a good team.”Rocco, like IU’s sophomore quarterback Edward Wright-Baker, made his first collegiate start last week. Rocco threw for 174 yards compared to Wright-Baker’s Big Ten-leading 272 yards.Looking back, Wright-Baker said he felt he could have passed for significantly more yardage.“I missed a lot of easy throws,” Wright-Baker said. “I left like 300, 400 yards on the field, where I could have gotten the ball to playmakers like Kofi Hughes and Damarlo Belcher, and that’s hopefully what I can do this week: not leave yards on the field.”For Wright-Baker to have time to get the ball to his receivers, the offensive line will have to fend off Virginia’s experienced defensive line.Co-Offensive Coordinator Rod Smith said in order for the Hoosiers to win the battle at the offensive and defensive lines, coaches must set an example for players with increased fervor.“The kids have to understand the enthusiasm and the passion that we have in our jobs ... I think that’s where it starts,” Smith said. “I think once they see that and feel that, then hopefully that becomes contagious and trickles down and now, all of a sudden, they want to have success for not just themselves but for their teammate as well.”Belcher will also face a test against Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield, who was named a Preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference player.Belcher said he is excited to line up against such a talented opponent.“He’s one of the best cornerbacks in the nation, and as a receiver, can’t nothing be wrong with that,” Belcher said. “I’m ready for that challenge, and I can’t wait.”Offensive Line Coach Greg Frey said his squad needs to remember there is more to the Cavaliers’ defense than a couple of big names.“Well, you watch them all,” Frey said. “There are 11 guys on defense and they’re a very good defense ... they fly around, they play physical. They’ve done a great job, and so it will be a challenge.”Wilson and his staff have been directing attention to increasing the team’s intensity and enthusiasm in order to meet that challenge.“We just looked like we were at a golf match or something,” Wilson said. “They’re challenging their team and trust me, we’ve been challenging ours. So it will be interesting to see if we’ve got some fight or we’ve got some pride. Are we going to stand up and answer the call? We’ll see.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>IU Coach Kevin Wilson remained positive about many aspects of Saturday’s loss against Ball State. The battle at the line was not one of them.“We’ve got to run the ball and stop the run,” Wilson said. “If not, you’re going to die a slow death in college football. And so, if we have to put twelve people out there with butcher knives and run the wishbone, you’ve got to run the football, and you’ve got to stop the run.”IU’s experienced offensive line struggled to defend sophomore quarterback Edward Wright-Baker, allowing four sacks. But the Hoosiers’ attitude is that they are done dwelling and are considering the next task — a Virginia team that won its season opener against William & Mary, 40-3.“We’re focused on Virginia right now and what they do,” Offensive Line Coach Greg Frey said. “They’re a great defense. They’ve got a couple of All-American candidates there, and they play real sound football and bring a lot of pressure.”Cavalier senior defensive linemen Matt Conrath, Nick Jenkins and Cam Johnson will provide a difficult test for the IU offensive line. They combine for 87 starts, and Johnson is on the watch lists for the Ted Hendricks and Lombardi awards.Wilson, who played on the offensive line at North Carolina from 1980-1983, said he understands success on the field usually stems from excitement and passion for the game. “It’s a game, so you need to have some fun,” Wilson said. “It’s a passionate game. It’s a game of energy and enthusiasm, and we didn’t have it — and that starts with me. ”IU’s mentality on protection will not be the only different aspect of the line — the starting lineup will change. Senior Josh Hager, the starting right tackle, injured his knee against Ball State and will require surgery. The surgery could sideline Hager for the entire season, Wilson said.The injury resulted in senior right guard Justin Pagan moving to right tackle and redshirt freshman right guard Cody Evers coming into the game. Evers said he is excited to potentially start again. He described his entrance into the third quarter in Indianapolis as “a shock to the system” and said it will be easier to play from the start of Saturday’s game.Pagan could also potentially start Saturday, as well as the rest of the offensive line since Frey and the other offensive coaches don’t have the players earning their positions each week. This includes players like junior center Will Matte, who has started 25 consecutive games, and senior left tackle Andrew McDonald, who started 11 games last season.“As far as o-line, Coach really just picks whoever’s doing the best,” McDonald said. “He’ll move guys around and find the best five, really. My spot’s not even guaranteed.”McDonald and other upperclassmen on the line are competing with freshmen like Peyton Eckert and Bernard Taylor. They didn’t play last week, but Wilson wants to see them get involved in the offense as soon as possible.“We’ll look this week as we move to try and get Peyton Eckert and Bernard Taylor in the mix,” Wilson said. “They were two guys we didn’t play, and we’ve got to keep playing some of our young guys, keep developing our depth in that way and keep competition and all that deal.”Even if Hager was healthy, he would still have to earn his starting spot again, McDonald said. “Each week is the same thing,” Frey said. “You’ve got a group of guys who are working hard (and) you find the five best, ready to play on Saturday, and those five play. ”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>With the least rushing yards and the most sacks allowed in the Big Ten in week one, the IU offensive line was already ailing. Then IU Coach Kevin Wilson delivered news that injuries have exacerbated the situation on the line.After leaving Saturday’s loss against Ball State with a knee injury, senior offensive tackle Josh Hager learned that the knee needs surgery, which Wilson said could possibly end his season.Senior linebacker Leon Beckum joins Hager on the sidelines this week with his own knee injury suffered in the same game. His injury looks less serious, as it does not require surgery, but will still keep him inactive for a few games, Wilson said.“They’re both out for this week,” Wilson said. “Of course, with Josh, if it happens to be long-term, it would be his senior year, which is kind of just disappointing for him, and we’ll see how it goes with Leon.”Athletics Director Fred Glass also spoke to the media Tuesday about various situations surrounding Saturday’s game.Traffic is usually a hindrance to IU football fans, but this season should be especially difficult, Glass said, due to local construction and anticipated congestion on highways throughout the state.The athletics department has planned many alternate routes to the stadium and has posted them on the IU athletics website.Glass repeated two words of advice to fans — arrive early.His words of advice for Bloomington residents driving places other than Memorial Stadium is to stay away from the stadium at all costs for risk of getting “sucked into this traffic vortex.”The parking lots will open at the same time as the gates open — 2 p.m. — to encourage fans to get to the stadium early and tailgate.On the positive side, Glass said that season ticket sales stood at 21,058 as of Tuesday, compared to barely more than 20,000 sold last season. The athletics department also spruced up the concourse with 1,000 gallons of paint and stain.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The night before his head coaching debut against Ball State, Kevin Wilson had to decide whether or not to eat chicken noodle soup with his dinner. At the beginning of the fourth quarter against Ball State, he was faced with a much more difficult decision.Down 24-17, IU faced a fourth-and-3 at the Ball State 9-yard line. Wilson and his staff decided to go for the first down instead of attempting a short field goal.“We need to be aggressive . . . We can’t go out and play afraid. We can’t go out playing scared, can’t worry about worst-case scenarios,” Wilson said. “We’ve got to be aggressive. We’ve got to be smart.”That approach paid off during the team’s first drive when freshman running back Matt Perez scampered nine yards on fourth down for a touchdown, but this decision didn’t turn out as well. Sophomore quarterback Edward Wright-Baker’s pass fell incomplete on the fourth-down attempt, and the offense left the field without any points. Though his team lost its season opener 27-20, Wilson wasn’t disappointed. He said he was “concerned” with problems — the offensive and defensive line play, time of possession and his own play calling. Both Wilson and players like senior wide receiver Dre Muhammad acknowledged that aspects of their game need improvement before the Hoosiers take on Virginia next Saturday.“I think offensively and defensively, we can be a lot better, and we will get better,” Muhammad said. “We’re still confident in what we’ve got and what we’ve been working for, so it’s just a matter of improving constantly week in and week out.”It was the first opening-game loss for IU since falling to Connecticut 34-10 in 2003.From the time he was hired last December, Wilson brought a mentality to the team that the time to win is now.Minutes after his head-coaching career began with a loss, Wilson remained positive at his postgame press conference.“I think, (during) the preseason, we’ve been awfully good,” Wilson said. “The guys have worked hard, and we’re not going to panic and change what we do. We’re going to do what we do, believe in what we do.”Many of the changes Wilson implemented during fall camp were evident during Saturday’s game, especially the increased pace on offense. During the first couple of drives, it was difficult to show a replay on the big screens at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis between plays because of how quickly Wright-Baker led the offense down the field.Since Big Ten Media Days, Wilson repeatedly declared one of the team’s biggest priorities was to win the turnover battle. The hard work on limiting turnovers was apparent on the offensive side of the ball, where IU committed zero turnovers.After IU’s second-straight loss to its in-state Mid-American Conference opponent — Ball State won 42-20 in 2008 — the upbeat attitude Wilson exudes still came out in players’ comments after the game.“It obviously hurts, but one game doesn’t make a season,” Perez said, “I think we can build off that, improve in the areas we need to and come back, and I think we can beat Virginia.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Everyone from country singer Kenny Chesney to Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday to AMA Supercross racer James Stewart has performed at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, but a Division 1 collegiate football team has never played there.That will change Saturday.IU and Ball State will meet at 7 p.m. Saturday on Lucas Oil Stadium’s artificial turf in each team’s season-opening game. Each program has undergone large changes since the construction of the stadium in 2008, and both have new coaches: Kevin Wilson for IU and Pete Lembo for Ball State.“They’re both opening on the road, so to speak,” Stadium Director Mike Fox said, “and they’re both brand new coaches, so everything is new for everyone.”However, Lucas Oil Stadium isn’t completely new to hosting any college football, as it is the site of an annual game between two historically black colleges the first weekend of October, known as the Circle City Classic.Saturday’s game, Fox said, will be much different.One of the most visible changes taking place will be the atmosphere outside the stadium, he said.For most games, parking is reserved for suite owners and employees who don’t usually spend much time in the parking lot. Fox expects a large amount of tailgating for the game, however, as much of the parking has been devoted to RVs and alumni buses, among other vehicles likely to tailgate.Certain elements of the game will be different, but the current IU team is no stranger to lacing up cleats in an NFL locker room.Last season, it traveled to FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins, for a game that senior linebacker Jeff Thomas sees as much more of a road game than Saturday’s will be.“It’s like a hometown crowd,” Thomas said. “Last year, when we played at Washington, D.C., it was like going to Penn State, you know. It was like, 80,000 (people) and 75,000 were Penn State (fans), so it’s going to be great.”In attendance for the game will be also employees from the Big Ten Conference. They will attend this game and Colts home games in order to assess how everything will work when Lucas Oil Stadium hosts the first Big Ten championship game Dec. 3.Though Saturday will mark his first game as Indiana’s head football coach, Wilson understands the importance of the Big Ten championship game for the state.“With our fan base in the Big Ten, that’s going to be like the Super Bowl the first week of December,” Wilson said.Coincidentally, Lucas Oil Stadium is also set to host Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5, 2012.Wilson and the Hoosiers have been preparing more for the new opponent than for the new venue. Based on his time spent in the Big Ten with Northwestern, Wilson remembers Mid-American Conference opponents as tough tests.Wilson is doing what he can to encourage fans to attend, but he is aware that to earn steady attendance his team needs to be a worthwhile on-field product.Fox said while the atmosphere outside of the stadium will definitely be hot and filled with the scent of charcoal and gasoline, the feel inside the stadium will depend largely on student turnout.“So much of it depends on how many students show up to support both Ball State and Indiana, because ... each student section is in the end zones, and that could be pretty crazy,” Fox said. “It just depends on if they decide to show up or not.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Saturday’s matchup with Ball State became much easier to picture Monday, as 27 of the 28 starting spots on offense, defense and special teams were revealed. The small word “or” stood between the names of sophomore quarterbacks Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker on the depth chart, revealing that only the quarterback position is in doubt for the Hoosier football team.“These guys have played so little,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said. “They all have a chance. They’re all doing reasonably well. (When) we get in a game setting, maybe a guy takes off, maybe he doesn’t.”Wilson also said there’s a possibility that freshman Tre Roberson will continue as a candidate for the job. He said whomever the quarterback is, he will be receiving snaps from junior center Will Matte on Saturday.Redshirt freshman Matt Perez, who missed last season with a knee injury, will start at running back, but Wilson said two or three running backs could spend time in the backfield, depending on who is playing well. Redshirt sophomore and transfer Stephen Houston looks to be next in line after Perez.“Right now, I think we’re still at the point where we’re still evaluating, so I don’t know if we’ve settled on one guy,” Co-offensive Coordinator Kevin Johns said last week. “I think right now, we’re going to roll guys and see what happens, and see who gets the hot hand, and who can squeeze it, and who can run fast, and run hard and lead us to victories.”As expected, senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher is the No. 1 receiver, but there were notable changes from the 2010 squad. Backing up the starting three of Belcher, senior Dre Muhammad and sophomore Kofi Hughes were three freshmen: Cody Latimer, Shane Wynn — who will also return kicks — and Jay McCants.Redshirt sophomores Ted Bolser and Duwyce Wilson were absent from the tight end and wide receiver spots, respectively. Wilson said injuries have limited them, and even though they may not be far behind physically, they have missed substantial practice time and are still catching up mentally.“One of my comments is, ‘It’s not about getting healthy. It’s about getting better,’” Wilson said. “And ‘better’ doesn’t mean healthy. It means you’re being a better football player, too, and when you miss work, that’s hard to do.”Even though Wilson said as many as seven or eight players could play in the secondary and a number of players will be used on the defensive line, a couple of young players have grabbed starting jobs on defense. Redshirt freshman Ryan Phillis will start at right defensive end after beating out senior Fred Jones. Phillis has impressed teammates like senior defensive end Darius Johnson throughout camp.“He had a good camp,” Johnson said. “He definitely made a name (for himself) to be one of the top competitors for that starting spot at defensive end. Right now, he’s just got to keep it going, coming into Saturday’s game.”At the beginning of camp, Wilson and his staff knew they had a solid duo of linebackers in seniors — and close friends — Jeff Thomas and Leon Beckum, but it was unclear who would join them as the strong side linebacker.It is now clear to both Thomas and the coaching staff that the right man for the job is redshirt freshman Chase Hoobler. Thomas has developed a close trust with Beckum in their playing days together, and he has a similar confidence in Hoobler’s ability.“Just to have another person like Leon next to me — like Chase — is a real good feeling,” Thomas said. “I know he knows what he’s doing. He’s out there. He’s busting his butt, and from where he’s come to today is a great feeling to have him next to me.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>This year’s defensive lineup is returning to normal after a season when many players were forced out of their natural positions.Injuries to senior safeties Jarrell Drane and Chris Adkins in 2010 forced senior Lenyatta Kiles and sophomore Lawrence Barnett to move to safety last season. The healthy return of Drane and Adkins has allowed both Barnett and Kiles to return to cornerback.“Naturally, I figured I would come back to corner anyway,” Kiles said. “It’s a comfortable fit. I’m able to make better plays at corner. I feel like it’s just like riding a bike: getting back to where I’m comfortable.”Drane and Adkins, good friends since coming to IU together in 2007, are making a return to playing form after years plagued by injury.Adkins missed nine games of his junior season in 2010 after suffering an ankle injury in preseason camp. He also injured his elbow during his sophomore season.Knee and ankle injuries have prevented Drane from playing a full season since high school, and he said he is impatiently waiting for an opportunity to finally play a full season.“Every year, I get real close, and then something happens and I go back down,” Drane said. “I’m hungry. I’ve got a chip on my shoulder — more like a block on my shoulder. I’m ready to play.”A scar on Drane’s forearm from a broken arm in high school marks the first of his major injuries. During the summer of his redshirt freshman season, he tore his left meniscus. In the last days of preseason camp during his redshirt sophomore campaign, he tore a ligament in his thumb while blocking a punt. A repeat tear of his right meniscus last season sidelined him yet again.His injuries have limited him to 12 games during his IU career. He could double that number this season.Sophomore cornerback Greg Heban underwent a much different position change during his IU career. Initially a pitcher for the Hoosier baseball team, Heban’s talents became apparent to IU Baseball Coach Tracy Smith during a flag football game the team played.Smith talked with both Heban and former IU Football Coach Bill Lynch, and Heban ended up playing safety. This season, Wilson and his staff re-evaluated Heban’s talent and moved him to cornerback after they noticed his natural talent and strong work ethic.“Just trying to transition from baseball to football took a lot of time, took a lot of energy,” Heban said. “But if you love the game, you’ve got to make the commitment to switch.”The defensive backs has rededicated themselves this season, and it was clear in the first all-out practice when the defense stymied the offense, not allowing a first down.“We didn’t let up at all,” Drane said. “We weren’t about to have them get a first down that day.”Drane described the defensive backs as fearless, relentless and hungry this season, knowing that he and his teammates have all returned to their natural positions.“Just having everybody right where they need to be...feeling comfortable with each other, not having to learn a new position because somebody else got hurt, just means you have to be calm and do what you do,” he said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>After working with current players and strength and conditioning coach Je’Nay Jackson for eight weeks, the 2011 freshman basketball players are already beginning to feel at home.When freshmen Remy Abell, Austin Etherington and Cody Zeller addressed the media Wednesday, it was clear they have enjoyed the relaxed feel of a lightly-populated campus and the less stressful class load this summer.However, they have been working hard to prepare for the upcoming season. Zeller knows that life will be much different once the school year begins.“It’s going to be a lot different once the real season starts because none of the coaches can be at any of the workouts right now, so that’s going to change,” Zeller said. “There aren’t a whole lot of students here for the summer. “I think it’s just kind of a taste of what it’s going to be like once it really comes around in the fall.”Although head coach Tom Crean and many of the other coaches aren’t allowed to be working with the players during the summer, players like junior Jordan Hulls have taken on the role of coach during the workouts, Etherington said. “The other guys are getting a lot better, so it makes us work harder, too and be ready at that level,” Etherington said. “They’re definitely working hard to make us be the best players we can be.”Etherington added that a large difference between preparing for collegiate basketball and preparing for high school basketball was working out on his own, without coaches to push him. Abell said as a result of the increased level of competition, working hard is a necessity.“In high school, you’re the star of your team,” Abell said, “but coming into college, you’re a freshman, so you’re kind of at the bottom. You have to boot yourself to work even harder and stay up with the team.”The competition and time spent with other players has helped the freshmen find motivation, and they are beginning to see results. Zeller has added ten pounds over the summer and estimates that he is a little over 225 pounds. He hopes to be at 235 pounds by the time the season starts.The trio of newcomers have begun to figure out what their respective roles may be once the season gets going, and they are all very aware of both their own and each other’s talents.“I definitely feel like I can go in and help be the guy that hits the open shot, be the guy they need to hit the shot,” Etherington said. “I think all of us are going to be able to fit in pretty well.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>While new head IU football coach Kevin Wilson was not allowed to have any on-field contact with players during the summer months, his influence still reverberated through the summer program run by strength and conditioning coach Mark Hill.To prepare the players for Wilson’s upbeat style of offense, Hill increased the amount of running and decreased the amount of resting time. Players ran up and down hills, ramps and stadium steps repeatedly to get leaner.“You’ve got to get guys in shape, you’ve got to lean them out,” Hill said. “But you’ve also got to get them strong, faster, bigger and able to withstand the position.”The slogan for the summer was “nutrition and condition,” which both Hill and the administration took very seriously. In March, IU hired Amy Freel to become 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.”Freel has supplied athletes on all teams with more nutritious options like fruit and leaner meats to help fuel athletes and help them recover after exercising. Freel, who held the same position at Virginia Tech for 13 years, makes individual plans for athletes and gives cooking demonstrations.She also takes players grocery shopping and visits local restaurants from chains like Subway or Jimmy John’s to local places like Scholar’s Inn Bakehouse. Whenever she hears a multitude of players commonly mentioning a local restaurant, she then goes to visit the restaurant. She examines the menu and figures out nutritional values of various dishes.“As far as nutrition goes,” Freel said, “I think it’s a component that a lot of athletes do not consider as part of their training. And it really can be a competitive edge when it comes down to fueling and recovering.”The nutrition and conditioning efforts of Hill and Freel paid dividends as the summer progressed when many players showed noticeable changes in physique. Hill pointed out that although all of the players have shown a great deal of improvement, some stood out.On defense, Hill said even though senior linebacker Leon Beckum only lost four pounds over the summer, his body fat decreased from 16 percent to 11.8 percent. Junior defensive tackle Mick Mentzer actually gained 12 pounds, but decreased his body fat by 3 percent.On the offensive side of the ball, Hill noticed senior left tackle Andrew McDonald dropped 10 pounds and 6.5 percent body fat.The offensive line as a whole lost between 4 and 5 percent body fat and junior quarterback Adam Follett slimmed down 20 pounds and lost 5.5 percent body fat, Hill said.Hill noticed a difference between the way players reacted to spring practice and fall practice. Hill believed that spring practice was a bit of a shock to the players’ systems, but saw improvement in their physical condition.“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.”Co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Kevin Johns stressed that the coaching staff wants the Hoosiers to be as focused in practice as they are during the games.“We want to play as fast as we can and we need to be in great, great shape or else we won’t make it through practice,” Johns said. “Coach Wilson has said a bunch of times that if we’re not going to be a great practice team, then we’re not going to play well on Saturdays. We’re trying to push to those guys how important you body is, and your nutrition, and your rest and your condition is to help us go practice.”
The upcoming season has several changes in the works for the Big Ten Conference.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>As a group of reporters massed around IU head football coach Kevin Wilson at Big Ten Media Days on Thursday in Chicago, he posed a question to them.“When’s the last time Indiana won a 10-7 ballgame?” he said. “When’s the last time it was 17-14?”The answer was a 17-14 victory over the University of Illinois Nov. 8, 2003, but Wilson’s intention was to bring attention to the defense.IU surrendered 40 or more points four times last year, giving up an average of 34 points per game. Wilson, along with co-defensive coordinators Mike Ekeler and Doug Mallory, seeks to change that.“Coaching wise, we have a great staff that understands what they’re doing schematically,” Wilson said. “They will challenge. We’re not going to play vanilla and soft.”Senior linebacker Jeff Thomas said he and the rest of the defense have put hard work into practice and have faith in the new coaching staff.“With all this hard work we’ve put in and all this camaraderie, we feel like we can’t fail,” Thomas said. “We’ve invested so much time and effort believing in these coaches, and they believe in us as well.”Ekeler, who coached linebackers at the University of Nebraska from 2008 to 2010, has already begun to push the defense.Thomas said that upon arrival, Ekeler told the players that he was a great “packer.” The players were all confused and asked him what he meant.Ekeler, who has coached at five schools since 1999, explained that he was very good at packing and moving.He said if any of the players didn’t want to be on this IU squad, he would gladly come to their home, pack their bags and send them off.Ekeler was integral in recruiting Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David, who said that Ekeler coached well, but also made an impression off the field.“He was a great guy and also a great friend,” David said. “He looks out for his guys and he’s in it for you.”Both Wilson and Thomas stressed that Ekeler and Mallory will have plenty of weapons to use on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the middle of the field.Thomas and senior linebacker Leon Beckum work together well as a unit, Thomas said.“I can’t say enough about my ‘Will’ linebacker Leon,” Thomas said. “He’s been doing great things. I feel like we have our own wavelength out there.“We’re passing stuff off to each other, communicating well, so I can’t say enough about him — one of my good friends.”Thomas and Wilson also agreed defensive tackles such as juniors Adam Replogle and Mick Mentzer will be tough on offensive lines all season.Thomas said the whole defense has adopted a much more aggressive and active approach.“We’re not sitting around in zones and trying to matchup and what not,” Thomas said. “We’re going after teams and we’re pressing and we’re doing stuff that we haven’t done before.”Wilson’s offenses in the past have moved very quickly, often leaving the defense on the field for long periods of time. Wilson claimed that as long as his offense puts points on the board, it will be helping out the defense. Thomas agreed.“As a defensive person, I have no problem with Coach Wilson lighting up the scoreboard,” Thomas said. “I’d rather be on the field anyway.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>IU head coach Kevin Wilson’s offense at Oklahoma ran 20 percent more plays than any other team in the country.Wilson said he believes one of the main reasons for this was the confidence his players had in themselves to correctly execute plays.“You play fast when you know what you’re doing,” Wilson said. “You also play fast when you’re confident, so if you know what you’re doing, knowledge is power and power is speed.”Wilson said he believes a confident team begins with confident coaches. He said he has learned over the years that if coaches call a great deal of meetings and cram sessions before games, that sends a message to the players that coaches lack confidence in the team.Wilson pointed to co-defensive Mike Ekeler as a good example of a very positive and upbeat coach who has faith in his players.“Every day is the greatest day ever and every place is the best place ever, 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. He’s got a couple of really good linebackers, so those guys will do well for us.”Players like senior tight end Max Dedmond immediately adopted the confidence and positivity of the coaches.“We definitely walk around the complex with a different swagger,” Dedmond said. “From minute one, he showed that he had confidence in us and we definitely have confidence back in him.”In spring practice, Wilson used past results to instill confidence in the squad. He showed film clips of plays and moments from 2010 during breaks in practice, focusing on current players making plays against Big Ten opponents.During practices, he also used past games to set up fourth quarter simulations. On March 22, the Memorial Stadium scoreboard read: Indiana 24, Iowa 14 — 4th Quarter. While some may see this as highlighting what was eventually a fourth-quarter loss, Wilson used it in a positive way. He said he put his players in that situation to give them a bit of mental fourth quarter experience.“Instead of saying we’ve lost those games,” Wilson said, “I was just saying, ‘Look, it’s the fourth quarter now and we’re not going to play well in the fourth quarter next year if we don’t do it now.’”Senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher said he believes an important change Wilson needs to make is in the mental game in the fourth quarter.“A lot of times that we lost in the fourth quarter, it was because of our mindset,” Belcher said. “He definitely changed our mindset, so we’re thinking ‘winning,’ instead of ‘oh, we don’t know about it.’”With five quarterbacks competing to start, Wilson said he wants to make sure that whoever earns the starting job is sure of his job security and confident that his coach has faith in him.While Purdue coach Danny Hope said the rival Boilermakers are “very likely” to run a system with two quarterbacks, Wilson will not use a quarterback platoon.“We don’t plan on playing two,” Wilson said. “I don’t want a quarterback looking over his shoulder.”Along with the new mindset, the new staff has brought high expectations, which senior linebacker Jeff Thomas said he takes very seriously.“You measure success by whatever you want, but when it comes down to it, you’ve got to get wins,” Thomas said. “The expectations are so much higher with everything that we’ve got no other option. We’ve just got to go forward.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>In the minds of many, the IU football program has taken a backseat to basketball for as long as most can remember. At the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago on Thursday and Friday, both Athletic Director Fred Glass and new head football coach Kevin Wilson made it clear that Hoosier football is not to be overlooked.“I think the stakes are really big for football,” Glass said. “Football is a big deal and I think we recognize that with really unprecedented commitment to the football program.”Wilson said he appreciates the commitment from the athletics department and has confidence that it won’t take much to make IU a more competitive program.“The administration’s got everything in place for us,” Wilson said. “We’re not climbing Mount Everest, so I think everything’s in place for our program to take off.” Every time Wilson spoke, whether it was at a podium on Thursday or at a crowded table on Friday, it was clear that he expected to compete immediately and win immediately. Wilson kept the 2011 Hoosier team as the focus of his responses, saying that he and his staff were extremely excited about the team they will put on the field when they begin the season at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis against Ball State Sept. 3.“The number one job our staff has done and our strength staff has done is recruiting the current Indiana football team, giving these seniors a chance to have a great year,” Wilson said. “The only thing we haven’t done yet is put our product on the field.”The players, like senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher, said they are impressed with Wilson’s track record and found immediate respect for him and his staff. Wilson was previously the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. During his time there, the Sooners went to seven BCS bowl games, made three National Championship game appearances and had 22 of his Sooner players drafted into the NFL.“He’s been around,” Belcher said. “He’s a winner. He’s coached great players. He had a lot of first-rounders that he’s sent to the NFL, so when a guy like that walks into our door, you have no choice but to listen to him and follow his lead.”The Big Ten has undergone some coaching changes since Wilson coached under Randy Walker at Northwestern from 1999-2001. Despite these changes, though, Wilson believes the core of the Big Ten has remained the same.“Coaches have changed, so there’s some structures of offense and defense that are different,” Wilson said. “Again, what you have in the Big Ten is tradition, value, great football every Saturday.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The Big Ten Media Days begin Thursday in Chicago and signal that another season of Big Ten football is not far off. Below are potential storylines for each team, as well as a question where the answer could be vital to the team’s fortunes this year.IllinoisThe Illinis’ eight home games and sophomore quarterback Nathan Scheelchaase make Illinois a possibility to surprise in the Leaders Division and go bowling for the second straight year.The big question: Will Scheelchaase and senior running back Jason Ford be able to fill the shoes of second-round NFL draft pick and First Team All-Big Ten running back Mikel Leshoure?IndianaAfter churning out Heisman-winning quarterbacks at Oklahoma, new head coach Kevin Wilson will be working with sophomore quarterbacks Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker.The big question: How can co-defensive coordinators Mike Ekeler and Doug Mallory improve a defense that allowed over 34 points per game in 2010?IowaThe Hawkeyes lost both quarterback Ricky Stanzi and defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Kirk Ferentz will have to lead the team through transitions this team from losses on both offense and defense.The big question: Iowa’s five losses came by a combined 18 points, so what changes can they make to ensure that they finish games and hold onto leads?MichiganNew coach Brady Hoke will implement a different offenseive system in Ann Arbor from the spread option of Rich Rodriguez.The big question: Will Hoke be able to transform 2010 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Denard Robinson into an effective pocket passer while still utilizing his athleticism?Michigan StateWith quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Edwin Baker, Mark Dantonio’s Spartan squad looks to build on an 11-2 season. The offensive and defensive lines look to be improved, though they must replenish the linebacker core that lost Greg Jones and Eric Gordon.The big question: Will a tough road schedule and only 12 returning starters be too much for the Spartans to overcome or will they cement themselves as one of the elite teams in the Big Ten?MinnesotaNew head coach Jerry Kill has had a history of helping struggling teams like Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois. He will try to turn around the Minnesota program that went 3-9 last year.The big question: Will a tougher mindset and a flood of returning players be enough to improve the defense?NebraskaThe Cornhuskers will immediately be a contender in the Legends Division, as they bring sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez and senior defensive tackle Jared Crick to the Big Ten.The big question: Now that Nebraska has shifted to the Big Ten, will the Huskers develop a de facto rivalry with the Iowa Hawkeyes that could rival the intensity of recent Nebraska-Oklahoma games?NorthwesternSenior quarterback Dan Persa set the team record for completion percentage (73.5%) of the team’s offense when healthy. Northwestern returns 16 starters, but all eyes are on their returning quarterback.The big question: Will Persa be able to stay healthy for an entire season, and if so, will he be able to continue his statistical dominance on the field?Ohio StateAlong with a mess of NCAA violations, the Buckeyes lost their starting quarterback in Terrelle Pryor and defensive end Cameron Heyward to name a few. Even with these losses and a new head coach, the Buckeyes are still talented enough to compete for the Big Ten Championship.The big question: With four of their best players suspended for the first five games, will the Buckeyes be able to get past early tests Miami (FL) and Michigan State to make a run for a Big Ten title?Penn StateBoth starting quarterback candidates sophomore Rob Bolden and junior Matt McGloin showed flashes of brilliance last year, making the decision tough for Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions. Either Bolden or McGloin will have one of the best targets available in the Big Ten in senior WR Derek Moye, but will miss the presence of Penn State career rushing leader Evan Royster in the backfield.The big question: Will the Nittany Lions be able to settle on one starting quarterback for the season and find some consistency on offense?PurdueThe Boilermakers found almost no consistency from the quarterback position, as injuries plagued the unit. Mobile sophomore quarterback Rob Henry showed a great deal of promise during his freshman campaign before suffering a cut on his finger. On the defensive side of the ball, Purdue loses Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, but are optimistic in head coach Danny Hope’s third season.The big question: If Henry and junior running back Ralph Bolden remain healthy, will they prove to be the difference the Boilermakers are looking for on offense?WisconsinBret Bielema’s squad is deep enough that many still view the Badgers as the class of the Leaders Division, especially with the arrival of transfer Russell Wilson.The big question: Are the Badgers deep enough to fill the spots left vacant by five All-Americans and overtake Ohio State and win the Leaders Division title?
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>After working hard all year long, IU athletes got to dress up and have some fun at the first-ever Spirit of Indiana Showcase awards ceremony Monday night.Dozens of athletes received awards ranging from academic honors to leadership awards. In the past, they received their accolades in much smaller ceremonies that usually involved just one team. This year, however, Athletics Director Fred Glass and the rest of the athletics department decided to make the award process a bit more glamorous, including an opening act that featured Daniel Weber and Brice Fox performing “This is Indiana” and a closing act that involved the singing talents of freshman basketball player Victor Oladipo.Many of the athletes in attendance amused players and coaches alike with their stylish attire.“It’s fun having a formal thing like this,” senior basketball player Matt Roth said. “You don’t normally see all your teammates and your fellow athletes dressed up. It’s kind of humorous. It’s fun. ... It’s different from anything we’ve had as athletes here.”The formal atmosphere was no accident, as Glass wanted to draw inspiration not from other Big Ten schools, but from the Academy Awards. The ceremony was complete with a red carpet and receptions before and after the ceremony. At the pre-party, camera flashes and laughter filled the room.“I am in heaven with all these beautiful athletes dressed so elegantly and behaving so well,” IU women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. “I think I’m more excited than the kids are.”Interspersed between the awards were performances from athletes, from baseball player Jonny Hoffman playing the IU fight song on bassoon to cross country runner Ben Bizuneh delivering a comedy show that had some audience members howling with laughter. Sportscaster and award presenter Don Fischer brought a little more wit to the show by delivering little comments as athletes came to the stage to accept awards.The newest award, which Glass created this winter, was the Spirit of Indiana Director’s Award. The award honored one senior male and one senior female athlete for displaying the true essence of what it means to be a Hoosier. Football player Ben Chappell and softball player Sara Olson received the respective awards, ending what may have been the first of many Spirit of Indiana Showcase awards ceremonies.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>While thousands watch the racing action on the grand stage of the Little 500, two men will be watching the stage itself — the one-of-a-kind cinder track that circles inside Bill Armstrong Stadium. These two men, Wally Hansford and Steve McCutchen, make up the entire staff of track caretakers.“Our job’s to worry about the integrity of the track,” Hansford said. “Steve and I, our part is track surface. There are many, many, many people involved with safety programs, riders, events. This is what we do.”Starting in February, these two come to Bill Armstrong at least five days a week and go through the same process every day. “We drag, roll, water, blow and paint every day,” Hansford said. “It’s in that order.”What does that mean, exactly? It’s a fairly repetitive and weather-reliant process that involves a great deal of large machinery and on-the-go decision making.THE PROCESS1. Hansford and McCutchen arrive early in the morning, sometimes having to wait for the track to thaw before going to work. After it thaws, the first step is to drag the track with a large brush-like device that smooths out the track and prepares it for the next step: being packed down.2. One of the two, usually McCutchen, climbs aboard the rubber tire compactor and drives around the track. The 10,000-pound machine rolls slowly across the cinders, packing them down tightly and making the track harder and less gravel-like. 3. Gerald Freeman then brings his water truck and waters down the track with 4,000 gallons of water per day, sometimes more. The cinder surface is very porous, so only enormous amounts of water will keep it in good shape for the riders.4. One of the two, usually Hansford, then boards the Toro “blower,” as the two refer to it. This sends excess cinders and dirt flying away from the middle of the track. This machine was instrumental in allowing the men’s Little 500 to continue last year, as Wally blew the collected rainwater that forced the delay off the track, allowing the show to go on.5. Finally, the pair paints the lines on the track. They paint the starting lines and median lines. They’ve had plenty of practice, as they’ve painted soccer, football, baseball and just about any other athletic field on campus for years. They’ve studied mathematical formulas to improve their accuracy, and it has paid off, resulting in almost perfectly straight lines.Then they’re done for the day. The whole process usually takes about four hours to complete. Little details about the process, like how many laps to do on the rubber tire compactor or how much water to pour on the track, are made in accordance with the weather.“I try not to get too carried away, but this track, because of the nature of it, being cinders and everything, it’s an entity in and of itself,” McCutchen said. “What worked last week may not work this week. You’ve just got to stay on top of it.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Like diamonds and snowflakes, no two Little 500 Riders are exactly alike, especially when it comes to equipment. Some wear jackets, leg warmers or arm warmers to fend off the cold. Others may wear their road ID — a bracelet that identifies the rider in case he or she is riding alone on the road and gets in an accident. Some teams wear matching socks or hot pink shoes. All riders, however, wear the basics: helmet, eyewear, gloves, jersey, shorts and shoes. Wing It Cycling’s junior Abigail Legg reveals a bit of her track fashion.HELMET“We don’t put a ton of stock in our helmet,” Legg said. “On race day, they all kind of do the same thing.”She wears: Hot-pink GiroPopular brands among riders: Bell, Trek, GiroCost: Anything from $35-$135EYEWEAR“If it’s sunny out, obviously you want to wear them just because it’s hot and you’re squinting and everything else,” Legg said. “Even on a rainy or overcast day, you want to wear them because the cinders will kick up.”She wears: Tifosi Glasses with changeable lensesPopular brands among riders: Tifosi, PolartecCost: $30-$130SHORTS“Usually most upper-tier teams match, so all of them have the same (brand). A lot of teams will have their greek letters screen-printed on them,” Legg said. “We didn’t last year. We just had plain black shorts that all matched.”She wears: EtxeondoPopular brands among riders: Pearl Izumi, EtxeondoCost: $125-$280SHOES“When you have varying heights on a team, you’ll see teams with lifts, so they’ll get a tennis shoe, and they’ll take it to the shoe doctor or some other place, and they’ll take out the sole, and they’ll build stacks on them,” Legg said.What she wears: Pearl Izumi X-Alp SeekPopular brands among riders: Pearl Izumi, ordinary gym shoesCost: $40-$120GLOVES“Some teams will wear $15 or $10 (gloves) just to have gloves on their fingers,” Legg said. “It depends. Again, it can be as expensive or as little as you want to make that purchase.”She wears: Pearl IzumiPopular brands among riders: Cannondale, Pearl Izumi, TrekCost: $10-$35
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>While the Little 500 races this weekend are for the biggest bragging rights, the teams have been competing against each other for weeks leading up to this weekend in the 2011 Spring Series. The best performing men’s and women’s teams across all events win the honor of wearing the white jersey during the actual race. However, this year’s winners, the Cutters for the men and Teter for the women, also have the option of wearing yellow jerseys as the defending champions.QUALIFICATIONSThe Spring Series started with an underdog qualifying first in the men’s competition and a perennial powerhouse taking the pole for the women. The sun had barely risen when the Cutters set the bar at 2:26.46. It was not until the sun was high in the sky that Sigma Nu, the team that finished eighth in the 2010 Little 500 after qualifying 21st, took this year’s pole position with a time of 2:25.91.Delta Gamma, which is paired with Sigma Nu, also qualified first, beating out defending champ Teter by three seconds with a time of 2:44.76. Delta Gamma qualified and finished third in last year’s Little 500 and won the race in 2008.INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIALSIn 2010, the two top finishers in the ITTs were Teter’s Caitlin Van Kooten on the women’s side and Eric Young of the Cutters on the men’s side. The same two riders occupied the top spots in their respective races again in 2011 in a slightly more impressive fashion. Young improved his time by .09 of a second and Van Kooten finished .62 of a second faster than she did in 2010. Both winners had teammates in the top 10 as well: Emma Caughlin of Teter finished ninth and Kevin Depasse of the Cutters was fourth. Top qualifier Delta Gamma had two finishers, Kayce Doogs and Kelsey Kent, in the top ten, while Sigma Chi tied the Cutters with the most top-ten finishers with two, Adam Fish and Andrew Morrow.MISS-N-OUTThe top spots in the 2011 Miss-N-Out competition looked similar to those of the ITTs. Van Kooten rolled to victory, as did Young. It was Young’s first Miss-N-Out title, while Van Kooten successfully defended her 2010 victory. Both riders won by significant margins, though for a time, it looked as if the men’s race was going to come down to the final stretch. Coming around the penultimate turn, Phi Delta Theta’s Steve Sharp and Black Key Bulls’ Jordan Bailey were neck-and-neck with Young. With a burst, Young took the drama away from the finish and won easily.TEAM PURSUITRain delayed the start of the final event of the Spring Series before the Little 500, but it could not slow down Teter and Delta Tau Delta. The two teams each won the event Saturday, but in different ways. Teter qualified for the finals with a time that was 25 seconds faster than the second-place Delta Gamma team and went on to win the final race by a convincing 10-second margin. Sigma Chi qualified two seconds faster than Delta Tau Delta to lose in the finals by a slim three-second margin.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>When sophomore Eric Ress won six of his first eight races of the 2010-2011 season and Big Ten Swimmer of the Week, he erased any doubt that he wasn’t ready to claim a spot as one of the premier swimmers in the conference.On Tuesday, the Big Ten decided that not only had Ress earned distinction as one of the best in the conference, but he also had earned the title of Big Ten Swimmer of the Year.“I think he’s one of the better swimmers in the NCAA, and hopefully people are going to get to know who he is by the end of this season,” said IU coach Ray Looze before the Purdue meet Feb. 5. “I think he’s a very well-kept secret, and he’s a super, super swimmer.”The secret is out.Ress capped off a successful dual meet season with impressive performances in the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships. When he won the 100-yard backstroke at Big Tens, he smacked his hand on the wall of the pool, breaking a bone. The next day, Ress swam the 200-yard backstroke with the hand injury and still finished second, earning 17 points for the Hoosiers.After a few weeks of healing and somewhat compromised training, Ress returned to the pool at NCAAs, placing second in both the 100 and 200-yard backstroke competitions, despite his ailing hand.Ress tore his ACL prior to the 2009 season, forcing him to redshirt. That year, IU was at a disadvantage without Ress, Cody Weik, Nick Cordes and Ress’ roommate and teammate Jim Barbiere. The 2009-10 Hoosiers finished fifth at Big Tens and 31st at NCAAs. With the return of all four, the Hoosiers cruised to second at Big Tens and 18th at NCAAs this season.Ress’ honor makes him the second Hoosier in four years to win the award, joining Ben Hesen, who was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year after winning the 100-yard backstroke NCAA Championship in 2008. Hesen was the first Hoosier to win the men’s award.Ress looks to continue the tradition of Big Ten Swimmer of the Year recipients competing overseas. He said he will attempt to follow the path of athletes like Hesen, who set the U.S. record for 50-meter backstroke in the 2008 Olympic trials, or 2007 Big Ten Swimmer of the Year Matt Grevers, who earned a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Ress grabbed another award this week when he, Barbiere and six others on the men’s team were named Academic All-Big Ten athletes. The men’s swimming squad had the second-most Academic All-Big Ten athletes behind the women’s team, which had 15 swimmers and divers honored.“I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of an IU team right now,” Ress said. “There’s a certain prestige associated with it, and at the end of the day, it just embodies everything it is to be a Hoosier.”