Wilson hopes more young players can break through #iufb

The last few recruiting cycles have yielded classes that Kevin Wilson believes could be Indiana’s best in years. Now, the IU coach wants to see those first- and second-year players take the field with regularity.

The development of Hoosier youth takes an added importance at this time of the year, as IU deals with injuries at key positions and the expected wear and tear of Big Ten football. To this point, underclassmen have momentarily impressed when forced into action, but Wilson is asking for more contributions from freshmen and sophomores as IU begins to grind through a challenging stretch of games this month.

“We need young players to continue to enhance their role,” Wilson said. “I think a lot of young first- and second-year players were playing some, but special teams were a more significant part of the rotation. Whether it be our skill players at receiver or some of our young linemen, D-linemen, we’ve got to keep bringing guys along. They need to practice better so coaches can get them on the field. I think that would help us a ton.”

Wilson has put heat on his position coaches, asking them to get more of the youngsters involved across the field on Saturdays. The counterargument Wilson often hears from those coaches brings the discussion back to practice habits. Coaches aren’t going to play underclassmen that aren’t consistent enough to warrant more snaps on game days.

That part plays into Wilson’s 2015 mantra of asking players, especially young ones, to show up play after play, week after week, on Saturdays and during the week.

“When a young guy plays well one week, where’s he at the next week?” Wilson said. “He thinks he’s figured it out. The older you get, you realize, ‘I’m really not that good. I’m not that bad. I’ve got to keep working and get better.’ With a young player, you get peaks and valleys and highs and lows.”

Through five weeks, Indiana has played 11 true freshmen — four of whom have been regulars in IU’s thin secondary, and another handful of whom that have appeared more on special teams. Of that latter group, Indiana could benefit from more offensive appearances from receivers Leon Thornton and Nick Westbrook. (more…)


Injury updates, depth chart and teleconference notes #iufb

Although both were limited, Nate Sudfeld and Jordan Howard dressed for Indiana’s practice on Tuesday.

IU coach Kevin Wilson gave only a brief update on his starting quarterback and running back during Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference, and it remains increasingly likely that the upcoming availability of Sudfeld and Howard will not be revealed until prior to Saturday’s noon kickoff at Penn State.

Sudfeld aggravated an ankle injury during the first half of Saturday’s loss to No. 1 Ohio State, while Howard also sustained an ankle injury early against the Buckeyes.

When Indiana released its updated depth chart on Tuesday afternoon, both Sudfeld and Howard were listed as starters. It should be noted, however, that IU’s weekly depth chart is not a direct reflection of who might play and where they’ll be.

“We’ll see how this week progresses,” Wilson said. “No one’s worse for wear. They’re getting treatment. We had a good practice today and looking forward to moving forward. They’ve played enough that we don’t need to over-practice them. At the same time, they need to get work. They were dressed today and di what they were able to do.”

A couple other Wilson notes from the teleconference:

— Cornerback Devonte Williams, who’s missed the last two games with a knee injury, was working with the team again during Sunday night’s session, and again during Tuesday’s padded practice.

“He had an aggravated knee,” Wilson said. “Nothing major, but it was kind of tweaked out for a bit.” (more…)


IU set for exhibition rematch with Ottawa #iubb

Indiana and Ottawa are set for a rematch.

After beating the Hoosiers last summer, the Gee-Gees are due for a trip to Assembly Hall for an exhibition game on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. Ottawa gave IU its only loss on a five-game trip to Canada during the summer of 2014, hitting 18 3-pointers in a 109-101 victory outside Montreal.

“The Ottawa program is widely considered one of the two best programs in Canada,” IU coach Tom Crean said in a statement. “James Derouin (2014-15 Canadian National Coach of the Year) of Ottawa is one of the premier coaches in all of Canada and we played them a year ago and lost to them in Montreal. We had a very hard time covering their perimeter and 3 point shooting. We are anxious to match up with them again.”

In the game last summer, Troy Williams led the Hoosiers with 27 points and James Blackmon, Jr. added 20 for IU, which shot 56.2 percent from the floor and entered the fourth quarter with a one-point lead. Senior point guard Mike L’Africain and guard Vikas Gill are two of the top three scorers returning this season for the Gee-Gees. The duo made 13 of 16 shots from 3-point range against IU, combining for 48 points. Ottawa has also beaten Murray State, Vermont, UIC and TCU during the last three summers.

The Hoosiers are also set to host an exhibition game against Bellarmine on Monday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. Bellarmine, the former school of IU senior and Bedford native Ryan Burton, advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four last season.

“Bellarmine is a model of success as a University and as an athletic program,” Crean said. “(Coach) Scott Davenport has been my friend for 25 years and I respect him immensely. He has made Bellarmine a national powerhouse. They will most likely be picked number one in the country and it will be a tremendous challenge for us to get ready for our season.”

The Knights return 11 players and three starters from last’s year final four team, including juniors Josh Derksen and Rusty Troutman, who both averaged more than 11 points a game last year.

“These are the kind of games our team needs right now,” Crean said. “They’re going to make it very hard on us and give us great preparation for what we will have to face in November and beyond. These kind of games are going to help us get better.”


Derek Elston named IU basketball’s director of player development #iubb

Indiana announced Monday that former Hoosier forward Derek Elston is joining the men’s basketball coaching staff in a support role this season.

Elston will be responsible for player mentoring, administrative operations and the program’s support services.

“Derek Elston has been a major part of everything here from walking in when it was at the bottom and helping the program become a champion again,” IU coach Tom Crean said in a statement. “From the day he left Indiana with two degrees, he’s gone out of his way to sustain a level of connectivity to the program by investing his own energy in the program. He is close enough in age to really know what our players deal with and how much improvement is needed on a daily basis.”

The Tipton native committed to then-Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson in 2007, becoming the Hoosiers’ first recruit in their 2009 class. Elston stuck with the program through Sampson’s turbulent departure, playing four years and helping IU to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances and the 2013 Big Ten championship.

Although he was plagued by injuries during his IU career, Elston scored 498 points, earned Academic All-Big Ten honors and left a lasting impression on the IU community with his affable personality.

Elston, along with classmates Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford, were recognized as the “Indelibles” by Jim Nantz in the 2013 NCAA Tournament for their lasting impact as the cornerstones for the return of IU basketball to national prominence.

After graduating, Elston briefly played two seasons of professional basketball in Portugal and Malta.

“It is an honor to be back with the Indiana basketball program and to have the opportunity to work with Coach Crean,” Elston said in a statement. “I’m excited to be able to help out the program that gave me so much. I cannot thank coach enough for this opportunity.”


Wilson declines to discuss Darius Latham’s suspension #iufb

Kevin Wilson declined to comment Monday on defensive tackle Darius Latham’s indefinite suspension, referring reporters to a statement released by Indiana last week.

Latham, who posted a career-high three tackles for a loss and one sack in his last game Sept. 26 at Wake Forest, was suspended from the team last Tuesday pending the resolution of a proceeding with IU’s Office of Student Ethics. Latham, dressed in street clothes, was seen on the field with the Hoosiers during warmups on Saturday.

Wilson refused to provide an update on a timeline for Latham’s return or the nature of the suspension.

“I thought they got an e-mail,” Wilson said sarcastically to his sports information director during Monday’s press conference. “Did you guys get it? Were you guys copied? I thought it said no further comment? Sorry.”


IUWBB: Kemokai leaving team for personal reasons

Victoria Kemokai has left the Indiana women’s basketball team for personal reasons and will not return, according to a source.

The point guard Kemokai, who transferred to IU this summer from Tyler Junior College, chose to step away from the team while she deals with a family situation back home in Texas, the source said.

The news was later confirmed in a statement from IU head coach Teri Moren. Today marked the first day of practice for the women’s basketball team.

“Victoria will not be a part of our program this season due to family reasons back home in Texas,” Moren said. “We wish Victoria and her family the best during this time.”

Kemokai and Wabash Valley’s Tyshee Towner both joined the Hoosiers this offseason after earning National Junior College All-America honors as sophomores. Kemokai was expected to compete for time at the point guard position, which was vacated by Larryn Brooks after her transfer to Texas Tech.

While Kemokai missed a large part of summer workouts because of a prior arthroscopic procedure on her knee, she made an impression on head coach Teri Moren and was expected to be a part of the backcourt mix.

”In the short time I was around Victoria, I would say this – I wouldn’t count her out for anything,” Moren said in early August. “She’s a survivor, a tough kid that is going to challenge you. She’ll fight for minutes, she’ll fight for a position and she wants to be on the floor.”

Four players, including Brooks, left IU following Moren’s first season as coach. Without Kemokai, the Hoosiers will be down to 10 available scholarship players. Tia Elbert, another point guard who came over from Marquette, has to sit out the 2015-2016 season as part of her transfer.


Sudfeld hopeful he can play at Penn State #iufb

It may not become clear until late this week whether Nate Sudfeld will be able to play Saturday at Penn State, but the Indiana quarterback said Monday that he’s hopeful a lingering ankle injury won’t keep him out of action.

Sudfeld evaluated himself Monday as “day-to-day,” previewing a week ahead that will include plenty of medical rehabilitation and potentially very little practice. The senior said he could be ready to play Saturday even without practicing this week, but it remains to be seen whether mental reps will be enough for both Sudfeld and the Hoosiers’ offense to enter the weekend ready to go.

“As a quarterback, you really need to get practice reps to be good,” Sudfeld said. “It’s not just about me running the ball, or whatever. It’s about me having timing with my receivers, knowing where they’re going to be, feeling the routes and things like that. It’s really going to be a lot of work to get those mental reps and make sure I’m on the same page with those guys. Physically, I need to make sure I’m with them as well.”

Sudfeld’s ankle injury dates to the Wake Forest game on Sept. 26, when he injured himself during the fourth quarter of IU’s 31-24 victory in Winston-Salem. Sudfeld aggravated the injury during the first half last week against No. 1 Ohio State and said he continued playing on it thanks to a wave of adrenaline that carried him as far as the third quarter. By then, however, the ankle became too unstable to plant during the throwing process.

Sudfeld felt it was noticeable on his last two drives midway through the third quarter, when he tossed his final two passes of the day into the turf. At that point, he approached IU’s training staff about getting taped. Backup Zander Diamont entered the game and remained the IU quarterback over the final quarter and a half. Sudfeld said he asked to go back onto the field, but IU coach Kevin Wilson did not allow it. (more…)



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  • vesuvius13:

    IU won't be very limited if either Sudfeld is injured but more so if H [...]

  • vesuvius13:

    Great news for the IU football team as it does give the DC more option [...]

  • vesuvius13:

    I expect them to come out and play as hard or harder than last week. [...]

  • American Sports Legacy:

    It all hinges on the performance of the offensive line. If they can pr [...]

  • Chet:

    I doubt the guy is even still alive but, when I was a student, the Hoo [...]

  • dingo44:

    "Best coach in college basketball - bar none" except against the Syrac [...]

  • J Pat:

    Wonder if those f eyes were yanking ankles under the pile last weekend [...]

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