Indiana defense working through injuries


Indiana’s spring practice sessions have already claimed a few casualties, and the Hoosiers already vulnerable defense has taken the brunt of those losses.

Safety Mark Murphy, the Hoosiers’ fourth-leading tackler last season, was already out after surgery to repair a torn labrum. Safety Drew Hardin, a backup safety, was removed from the team at the beginning of the spring for a violation of team rules. Now, IU coach Kevin Wilson said, middle linebacker David Cooper and outside linebacker Chase Hoobler are both out. Cooper suffered an ankle injury in a scrimmage and Hoobler has broken his foot and will miss the rest of the spring.

Wilson said the Hoosiers are still trying to find the correct balance of intensity and intelligence in practice. He said one of the injuries happened because another player was “out of control.”

“We lost one guy in a set that I call friendly fire,” Wilson said. “We’re in a full-go setting and a player’s out of control and falls into a guy. It’s teaching your guys how to be physical, how to play fast, but how to stay on your feet. That’s tough. If you’re not careful, they don’t play fast enough or physical enough. If you complain too much about it, you don’t get after it.  But if you turn it into a free-for-all, you get friendly fire, and you get good players getting chipped up. When you’ve got good players missing practice, that’s a bad formula too. There’s a balance. We need to build this physical toughness, but we have to build this physical toughness, the physicality, but we’ve got to have respect and intelligence.”

There are some silver linings to the injuries for the defense, but it also causes some problems. It does mean more repetitions for newcomers, such as junior college transfer linebacker Steven Funderburke and early-enrollee linebacker T.J. Simmons. But of course, it also means the Hoosiers are running first-team reps in a spring with a group that may not bear much resemblance to the first team when the season starts.

“You’ve got two of your starting linebackers missing the first practices,” IU co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Doug Mallory said. “They got a little nicked up. You lose those kids. It’s whatever, the next guy’s gotta step up. Those guys gotta take it as an opportunity. They’re gonna get more reps. If you’re a second-team guy, you move up and get more reps, the third team guy moves up and gets more reps. Hopefully in the long run, it gives us better competition and more depth.”

Despite the injuries and the incidents of friendly fire, Mallory said he still wants the team to play tougher in spring ball.

“All 11 positions have to be a lot more physical then we have been in the past,” Mallory said. “From a defensive standpoint, all 11 positions need to play a lot more physical than we have in the past. We’re seeing signs of it, just not on a consistent basis.”

— Mallory said he’s pleased so far with the addition of linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator William Inge.

“He’s just starting up, but we’re excited to have him on board,” Mallory said. “I think he’s gonna be a great fit. Tremendous coach, great person, think he’ll be  a great staff guy, think he’ll blend in well with the rest of the staff, and I think he’ll blend in well with the rest of the staff. I think he’s gonna offer some good insight at the linebacker position as well as the overall scheme. He’s got great background both as a player and as a coach. He’s played the position and excelled at the position. We’re excited to have him on board knowing he’s gonna do a great job and bring a lot to our program.”

— Just in case you were wondering, no, Indiana offensive coordinator Seth Littrell did not have to go to the store to buy that flannel, pearl-snap shirt with the cut-off sleeves that he wore to practice the day before spring break when IU coach Kevin Wilson asked coaches to show up in Spring Break gear to get a laugh out of the players. Wilson — who was wearing a beach hat, Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts and carrying around an inner-tube that looked like a duck — Littrell and several other IU coaches posed for a picture in beach gear while standing on a patch of snow at Memorial Stadium that was disseminated through the IU football Twitter account.

“I packed that away,” Littrell said. “I’ve had that since college, man. I have another one, it’s brown. I got a blue one and a brown one. We were gonna do Spring Break pictures the next day. I had to ask my wife, ‘Honey, where’s my pearl snaps at? I gotta get those on and get rocking before the morning.’ We’re trying to have fun with these guys and again, they’re buying in and having a lot of fun. That’s important. This is a year-long job now, 365 days a year anymore. You’re always thinking about it, always working at something. You’ve gotta have a little fun in the mean time. If you can’t laugh at yourself every now and again, you’ve got some issues.”

Littrell said he’s trying to bring the pearl snaps back.

“That was back in the day man, the pearl snaps was sweet,” he said. “The pearl snaps was the shirt back in the day. I think I can bring that back in style. The problem is I’m too white, too pale. I need a tan. Maybe a tan, some bigger muscles, I haven’t worked out here in about three years. Maybe I’ll start working out, do some benches and some curls.”

 

Share the Scoop!

Scoop Poll:

How will Indiana fare over the next 3 games (Maryland, Ohio State, Purdue)

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

IU vs Rutgers men\'s basketball

Men's Basketball Player Pages

[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_blackmon1.jpg]8520James Blackmon, Jr.
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard James Blackmon Jr. (1)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_zeisloft1.jpg]6660Nick Zeisloft
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Nick Zeisloft (2)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_hoetzel1.jpg]5760Max Hoetzel
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Max Hoetzel (3)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_johnson1.jpg]5280Robert Johnson
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Robert Johnson (4)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_williams1.jpg]4900Troy Williams
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Troy Williams (5)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_burton1.jpg]4710Ryan Burton
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Ryan Burton (10)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_yogi1.jpg]4530Yogi Ferrell
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_perea1.jpg]4890Hanner Mosquera-Perea
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea (12)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_robinson1.jpg]4240Stanford Robinson
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Stanford Robinson (22)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_ritchie1.jpg]4230Nate Ritchie
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Nate Ritchie (23)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_holt1.jpg]4670Emmitt Holt
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Emmitt Holt (25)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_hartman1.jpg]5070Collin Hartman
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Collin Hartman (30)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_priller1.jpg]5560Tim Priller
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Tim Priller (35)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/mens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_april1.jpg]5810Jeremiah April
Chris Howell | Herald-Times Indiana University Men's Basketball head shots in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers center Jeremiah April (44)

Women's Basketball Player Pages

[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_walter1.jpg]6190Jess Walter
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Jess Walter (2)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_buss1.jpg]14020Tyra Buss
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Tyra Buss (3)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_brooks1.jpg]8040Larryn Brooks
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Larryn Brooks (5)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_agler1.jpg]6780Taylor Agler
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Taylor Agler (10)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_bell2.jpg]5280Nicole Bell
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Nicole Bell (12)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_stratman1.jpg]5000Liz Stratman
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_hulls1.jpg]5080Kaila Hulls
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard/forward Kaila Hulls (15)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_mcbride1.jpg]4380Karlee McBride
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Karlee McBride (21)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_gassion1.jpg]3950Alexis Gassion
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Alexis Gassion (23)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_muensterman1.jpg]5050Maura Meunsterman
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Maura Muensterman (31)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_mize1.jpg]4580Andrea Mize
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers guard Andrea Mize (32)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_cahill1.jpg]4370Amanda Cahill
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Amanda Cahill (33)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_jakubicek1.jpg]4500Claire Jakubicek
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Claire Jakubicek (34)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_leikem1.jpg]4220Lyndsay Leikem
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers forward Lyndsay Leikem (40)
[img src=http://scoop.hoosiershq.com/wp-content/flagallery/womens-basketball-player-pages/thumbs/thumbs_anderson1.jpg]4150Jenn Anderson
Chris Howell | Herald-TimesIndiana University women's basketball portraits at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday, October 23, 2014.Indiana Hoosiers center Jenn Anderson (43)
  • Price the Magnificent:

    1976 is the only time they made it to the final four. They also have a [...]

  • Chet:

    1976 NCAA Basketball Final Four Indiana UCLA Rutgers Michigan [...]

  • Omega:

    I believe I saw a successful inbounds play today so kudos on that, tha [...]

  • SpankyBtown:

    No excuse to lose. It was a must win. And we won. In fact we execute [...]

  • iulongago:

    It's always Good to win but the reality is that it's "Rutgers" and IU [...]

  • Keith:

    ^ Oops, resiliency. [...]

  • Keith:

    This team is showing a level of resilience that I personally didn't se [...]


Find Notre Dame football coverage on NDInsider.com. © Hoosier Times Inc., all rights reserved.