What do you like about the helmets?
“We were told it was a guarantee that we’ll tackle better, block better, score more points, win more games with those helmets or we get our money back. It was a pretty good deal. We put a lot of thought into it. A lot of time. We’ve been kicking it around for several months. Not going away from our normal helmet. Some of it, all it is is just a logo, sticker. That’s like, you peel one off, stick one on. We do it every game anyway because they kind of get scuffed up. To put the state seal for the state is kind of cool. We’re the (state) university of Indiana, we’re representing our state. We talked about that. One of Mr. Glass’s things is that we’re bigger than ourselves, we represent more than just one, more than our program, more than our team, so that’s kinda cool. Wanted to do a throwback, we looked at several deals whether we put the stripe down the helmet, which they did in the Pont era. We thought it was a little cleaner look with just the Block I, which is a little more late 80s and 90s, but to do a Block I is a throwback. We could do that lettermen or Homecoming or whatever alumni kind of game to tie that in. It’s just a change of sticker. We’ve had a white helmet. Two years we added a white helmet. We just are taking our white and adding a little pizazz to it with the red. There’s some teams. I know last year Michigan State took their green and did a gold thing down it. That was one of the helmets we looked at. That’s been done a little. We can do that with our logo with the IU, I guess do it with the Block I if you wanted to or the seal. In the late 50s we actually had white helmets with numbers on the side. It actually even has a white IU on it. We thought maybe we could throw that as a little bit of a throwback whether again, alumni week or homecoming week or whatever. The chrome stuff is in vogue. When we looked at the red chrome, it just looked like our red helmet. We kind of had a red helmet. We didn’t think that was different. Candy stripe is unique with basketball, that tradition. Soccer and swimming in particularsome other sports have picked up on it with their units. We just asked the company that we’d like to look at something. That was their design. It was pretty cool. The administration got it approved by the powers that be to move forward with it. So we won’t be gimmicky. We’re trying not to be an arena team. But I think the kids like it. I think it will be good for the student body. I think it will be good for the student body. I think it will be good for recruiting. But at the end of the day, you’ve still gotta win a bunch of games and we gotta keep doing that. Helmets are cool. Let’s get back to talking about the team.”
It seemed like guys were excited about it. Is the timing of it nice because you’re getting back into workouts and you can spark the summer?
“A little bit. And also, it kind of sparks recruiting. Do you wait to pull it out until game week? You gotta wear a helmet three, four, five six times. Kind of break it in. You’ve got some liabilities. They got to be fitted properly etc. So you just don’t come out and warm up in something, put a helmet on cold duck and play with it. You guys are at a lot of practices. You’re walking around social media, Twitter. You can’t have anything new. So our deal was, we kind of kept it quiet as long as we could. We really thought with summer camps coming up, a lot of recruiting going on. It would be nice to jumpstart the summer with our kids, but our kids are going pretty good. We really hoped it would jumpstart recruiting, I think it will be big for recruits.
Where are the quarterbacks at right now?
“They were at 7-on-7 throwing, supposedly, although I’m not supposed to know where they’re at. I actually called one of our kickers. I had a question for Mitch Ewald. i said, ‘Hey, when you’re done with workouts. Hoepfully they’re coming off their first player practice. Hopefully. It’s voluntary, but they should be.”
What’s your view of where the competition is?
“It was dead heat. Sometimes you say that because you don’t have a guy doing good They’re all doing good. It was a dead heat. No one’s, and maybe that’s bad, no one’s separated. Someone needs to. I don’t believe you want to play revolving guys or a couple guys. You like to get a guy in a rhythm. You don’t want a guy looking over his shoulder. I think Tre coming off the injury was healthy, but we don’t really let him run around. We’re trying to teach him how to throw, so we’re not playing to his strengths. Cam and Nate Sudfeld both got a lot of experience. They’re a little bit more seasoned. I thought Tre did well, but we’re making him play left-handed because we’re not just going to take off running. Let’s sit back and read defenses and become a more complete throwing quarterback. The other guys were better, so the competition was solid, strong. I think they’re all very good teammates. It would be nice to see someone emerge. I don’t think that’s a problem because I think they’re all good enough. I think it is better (to have an established starter) because of repetition. I like them all. I’m glad we got them all, and I think they’re all three capable. But right now, it’s a dead heat, and again, I’m not allowed. I can’t even ask their strength coach. Who’s there? Who’s not? I’ll find out when we show back up August 1. So we saw them. Introduced our helmets. Gave them our class schedules. and said, hey now, you leaders, you run the team and we’ll see you back in August. So it’s kind of a messed-up rule. I’ve got freshmen showing up that for two months I’m limited with my contact, yet you’ve gotta teach them how to act and be in college. There’s some things you gotta work through this summer. We’ll see how the quarterbacks are involved.”
How did some of the injured guys come through the spring?
“Chase (Hoobler) and (David Cooper) would’ve been good as we ended spring. David actually practiced before the spring game. He did some light things. (Mark Murphy) is full tilt. We had a little hernia procedure with Ryan Phills, similar to what Duwyce Wilson went through. He kind of battled through spring kind of gimping around. Duwyce had the best spring he’s ever had coming off that deal. Hopefully Ryan will have a good productive summer and have a good year for us. To my knowledge, we’ve on paper, when all the freshmen show up, which is really two weeks away because some guys haven’t graduated, we’ll have 130 kids for summer. We’re allowed 105 guys for preseason. We’ve got 25 guys, a bunch of walk-ons. Potentially 50 (Dustin’s Note: I listened to this several times and I think he said 50. But it might be 15) new walk-ons coming on this year with a good signing class.
The freshmen that have been able to get on campus, it seems like they’re here earlier than they usually are. Are those two weeks that valuable?
“For the freshmen to work out, they have to be in school. So some of those guys that graduate in May, we have a June window of a four-week class. Then starting June 17 there’s a six-week class session. They have to take two classes, one in June, one in July. The kids that don’t graduate early take a six-week class the last two weeks of June through July and then the July class. If you’ve graduated, you’re here, If you haven’t graduated because your graduation date is is June 9 and they start a week or two later. That’s just how that is. To be here a week or two, I don’t know. We put the freshmen all in one group and work them all independently from the other guys and try to get them up to speed and they’ll have a week or two head start. I don’t think it’s that big a deal. It’s kinda tough. I’m limited by role in our coaching involvement. You’re trying to teach them one how to start acting and living by yourself and how to do things. Two, you’re trying to get two classes out of the way. Three, you start doing the workouts, and four they start learning their way around so when it’s the first day of practice, they’ve got two months under their belt or six weeks. Day 1 is not Day 1. Day 1 happened in a non-stressful environment.”
What are the one or two areas you feel you guys can clearly be better this year than last year?
“Well, I’d like to say victories, because again, no matter how we do it, we need to win more games. We got a little closer and a little bit more competitive, but we need to find ways to win games. Whether it means we’re playing significantly better on offense — because to me I don’t think we played very good there yet. Our defense hasn’t been very good at all. So to me when you’ve won four games last year and one the year before, you got a bunch of guys back, but a bunch of guys that gotta improve. We just gotta keep improving. Adding a decent class coming in on paper. This class is walking in to kids who have played for two years. most of these guys have played for two years, some one year. and now that they’ve been seasoned and they played, I don’t know if these freshmen just walk in. Earlier, I don’t know if guys understood what we wanted to or played at the level we wanted, if guys got it. I think these guys on the team right now, a lot of guys got it and they’ve been doing it and they’re better. You’ve got some guys that have been playing a couple of years in Big Ten football, been doing our system a couple of years. Even though this is a good class on paper, I don’t know if that paper walks on the field as easy as it did Year 1 and 2. I think Coach Crean said a year or two ago, the easiest thing to do when he first got here was to get on the court. The easiest thing to do was play. It’s going to be a little more difficult to play. Competition is going to be better. I do love these guys coming in. But I do like a lot of these guys coming back. So I’m excited. To me I’d like to think we’re going to have some more victories, and two, where I think we can improve is competition, especially on defense. I think the offense has a little competition. There’s those quarterbacks you talked about. There’s some at running back. There’s some at receiver. There’s guys fighting to get on the field. we need that on defense. If we make some improvement, it’s depth on defense where guys start earning the right to play for us on the field.
What needs to be different about this summer to step to four wins to six, seven, eight wins?
I think our kids have worked hard. To me it’s thrid-party worked hard because I’m not allowed to be there. So what are they doing? I can’t say, ‘Come watch this tape.’ Or sit down, let’s talk about this or that. It’s on their own. But I do think we have stronger leaders that if I said to one of our veterans ‘Hey, take this freshman and make sure he understands how we want the locker to look and your locker space is clean, or when we say, ‘Your’e at study hall at x time, what that means. I think we’ve got a lot of guys that understand our values. This summer should be better. It’s Year 3, we’re gonna be stronger. There’s so many guys back, basically, you’ve got the whole team back except for the three D-Tackles that played and Will Matte and really Charles Love spot played a little bit and Alex Webb. Everybody else is kind of back. You’ve got everybody back, you’re only losing a handful, yet you’re signing 24. You’ve got on the team back with on paper a lot of good influx coming in. You like the direction it’s moving. But again, I won’t know what summer is until August 3, but we’ll win games in October and November based on summer, and I think they understand that now.So we’ll see, hopefully, if we’re getting those wins, it will be because of what’s going on right now.”
What do you think are the positional priorities for the recruiting class of 2014?
“We didn’t sign any linemen this year although some of those big guys can always transition into line. We’ll see how that goes. Quarterback, you got three. None of those are seniors, but you go a year without taking one. O-line. We probably need a couple of receivers because you’ve got Duwyce and Kofi getting ready to move on. Secondary, we signed several last year, but again , you’re gonna lose with Heban and Antonio Marshall and some of those guys, you’re gonna lose three or four secondary guys. We don’t lose a lot of D-line and linebackers. That being said too, technically on paper, there’s 11 or 12 true seniors in this class. There’s enough good guys on our team. Sometimes we’ve had some fourth-year guys that we’ve graduated. If we can’t find a good enough player, do we need to do that? We’ve got some walk-ons, we’ve used their scholarship to go recruiting. Do we need to do that? So, does it need to get to 20? It potentially can get to the 20s again. 18to 21 or 2 just based on those numbers. But it’s really just that you’re a junior team with the best class we’ve ever signed on paper walking in. You look at the seniors that played, you’ve got some good ones, but the core of the team, you don’t have a senior offensive lineman or senior quarterback. you got one senior running back. One senior tight end. Two senior receivers. You’ve got four seniors on offense. Defensively actually has more graduation than offense. Our defense needs to get better. Sometimes graduation is good. Sometimes graduation is bad. Sometimes it’s nice to graduate, and you’ll get some more talent in. As we evolve, I don’t think this class needs to be — I’m not saying we’re going to sign 11 or 12, it’s gonna be closer to 20. But I’m looking forward to seeing how some of these third- and fourth-year players evolve and what their roles are. Griffen Dahlstrom really picked up last year. He might have been a guy that might not have come back for a fifth year. But he had such a good year he wants it. It will be interesting to see how some of these fourth-year guys kind of come through for us this year. That will affect recruiting a little bit.”
Is there one of the five helmets that is your favorite?
“I think there’s value, if you just look at it. We’re not trying to be Oregon. Oklahoma State’s been doing it a lot. A lot of teams are. I think we’re trying to show some respect to our state. Some respect to that Mallory-Pont era with the Block I. I don’t think that looks better or worse, it’s something we need to respect. Like I said. We play for more than ourselves. I think dressing that white helmet a little bit even though that white look is a clean look, I think that red-white is kind of unique. Chrome is big. We had no idea what it was gonna look like. It was like, hey, here’s what we’re looking to do. And that was the design that whatever helmet company came up with. We looked at a lot of combinations. At the end, I think they all kind on you more depending on what mood you’re in. We’re not going to be the gimmicky, just a gimmick, run of the mill. We’re not gonna have competitions. I know for example, I was reasonably good friends with Coach Kelly. The golf coach at Oregon picks out their stuff. The golf coach picks out their attire, what we’re wearing this week. I don’t know if we’re gonna have player votes. I’m not into that. You can get superstitious if you want to. We were guaranteed by the helmet company that we would block tackle and score more points and win more games. If not, we’re gonna ship them back.”
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