We’ll be chatting once again Friday, but not at the normal hour. Because of IU football practice, we’re pushing the chat to 2 p.m.
There continue to be moments when Kevin Wilson wishes his secondary was further along in certain areas. Take, for instance, a sequence during Saturday’s closed scrimmage at Memorial Stadium.
On a third-and-four opportunity, one of IU’s young defensive backs had a chance to make a tackle behind the line of scrimmage and force a punt. Instead, he whiffed. IU’s offense gained nine yards on the mistake, and four plays later, it scored a touchdown. With a week and a half remaining before those plays start counting, there remains work to be done in the Indiana defensive backfield.
But taken as a whole, Wilson isn’t totally down on his secondary.
“The DBs are doing good,” he said this week. “They’re getting a bunch of work, and they need it.”
On the corners, Wilson says redshirt sophomores Rashard Fant and Noel Padmore, along with walk-on Ben Bach, have been at their best since fall camp opened two weeks ago. Free safety Chase Dutra is also living up to his role as the group’s leader, Wilson said. The challenge continues to be IU’s ability to bring along a handful of underclassmen to fill the depth chart and fix its struggling secondary. Over the last week, a couple of those youngsters have been limited.
Wilson said Wednesday that freshman corner Andre Brown missed the last couple days with a bruised shoulder, though he doesn’t believe it’s a serious setback. Classmate Tyler Green also missed time last week with an undisclosed injury, but he’s a full-go now.
“As freshmen, I think once in awhile they get hit and (they have to see if they) can play with it, play through it (and) how hurt it is,” Wilson said.
With Brown and Green recently missing time, that allowed more reps for running back-turned-corner Devonte Williams. Last week Wilson said Williams, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound freshman, has been the team’s most physical corner at times.
“Devonte’s coming along,” Fant said, “especially coming from running back and not playing too much corner in his life. But you can tell sometimes that he just looks like a natural out there.” (more…)
As his physical health progresses following a recent knee scope procedure, Darius Latham is already where he needs to be with his playbook and his preparation.
The next step is getting back to speed on the field.
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson believes that will come quickly to the junior defensive tackle after a strong summer boosted optimism for his third season in Bloomington. Latham, who missed at least the first week of fall camp, was back on the practice field during Monday’s portion of practice open to reporters.
“If he’s behind, the more reps he gets (the better he’ll be),” Wilson said. “He’s in great shape.”
Latham spent the summer slimming down to 300 pounds after playing parts of his first two years weighing upwards of 320. On IU’s lastest roster he’s listed at 300 pounds, but Wilson said he’s weighed in at 295 and 298 during the last few months and appears in great shape.
Latham, who started 10 times last fall and has appeared in all 24 games of his career, is projected to be a starter on Indiana’s defensive line. He arrived at IU as a four-star prospect and Wilson said Latham’s work over the summer shows he’s poised to turn his potential into his best production to date.
“The whole summer he was working hard,” Wilson said. “He had great energy in his workouts, so from the physical side and his strength level, he’s getting that knee back full speed. He’s kind of close. Sometimes his doctors are going to make sure not to rush that, so I think they’re giving him a little bit of time. Based on the drill work there’s certain things they’re saying he can do and can’t do, but when he goes he looks full speed and looks good.”
Through two seasons, Latham has 48 tackles, 8.5 stops for a loss and 3.5 sacks.
“I’m looking forward to him, hopefully, having a tremendous year,” Wilson said. (more…)
1. HOOSIERS HQ
Opponents should underestimate Indiana’s linebacking corps at their own risk, Andy writes.
The Indiana men’s soccer team continues its preseason evaluations in an exhibition against Western Michigan at Memorial Stadium tonight, I wrote.
The IU women’s soccer team is set to open the 2015 season Friday night, and it’s been a long wait since last season ended, I wrote.
2. IT’S INDIANA
The question is whether Indiana State is the second chance Antonio Allen deserves, Pete DiPrimio of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel asks.
Indiana is just scratching the surface of virtual reality with the new Mark Cuban Center for Technology, Sam Beishuizen of IUHoosiers.com writes.
A day after saying he would announce his college decision Saturday, Eron Gordon changed his mind and says he will take his visits first, Adam Zagoria of zagsblog.com writes.
IU and Kentucky won’t play in basketball this season, and nothing seems to have changed for the future, Anthony Schoettle of the Indianapolis Business Journal writes.
Fort Wayne’s national soccer festival, which features an IU-Marquette exhibition game Saturday, continues to grow, Reggie Hayes of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel writes.
3. BIG TEN COUNTRY
Earlier this week, Northwestern football players’ proposed union was rejected by the National Labor Relations Board, Ben Strauss of the New York Times wrote.
4. ONE FOR THE ROAD
Here’s one for Indiana State and Antonio Allen, “Second Chance” by .38 Special.
The Big Ten men’s soccer preseason coaches’ poll and players to watch list were released on Wednesday, and No. 14 Indiana was picked to finish second in the conference behind No. 13 Maryland. No. 23 Penn State was picked third and No. 9 Michigan State fourth.
The players to watch list included a trio of Hoosiers — Femi Hollinger-Janzen, Grant Lillard and Tanner Thompson.
Here’s the official release:
ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference announced its 2015 men’s soccer preseason coaches poll and players to watch list on Wednesday, with Maryland claiming the top spot among the nine conference teams.
The Terrapins concluded the 2014 campaign with a 13-6-3 record (5-2-1 conference record), and claimed the Big Ten Championship and Tournament titles in their inaugural Big Ten season, while also advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Tournament. Maryland has advanced to the NCAA Tournament 32 times, including 20 of the past 21 seasons.
Indiana checked in at No. 2 in the preseason poll, followed by Penn State at No. 3, Michigan State at No. 4 and Ohio State at No. 5.
The 2015 players to watch list features Penn State’s Connor Maloney, last season’s Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and Indiana’s Grant Lillard, the 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The list also includes seven 2014 first-team All-Big Ten honorees, three second-team selections and three All-Freshman Team honorees. Indiana’s Tanner Thompson also earned NSCAA/NCAA Division I Men’s first-team All-America plaudits last season.
Nine honorees from the players to watch list were named Academic All-Big Ten last season, while Northwestern’s Joey Calistri also earned Distinguished Scholar recognition and Maryland’s Chris Odoi-Atsem was recognized as a Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Eight conference teams kick off the 2015 men’s soccer season on Friday, Aug. 28, while Northwestern is set to open its 2015 campaign on Saturday, Aug. 29.
After dismissing Antonio Allen from his football program two months ago, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson sent the safety on his way with a succinct message.
Don’t give in and don’t give up.
Now, as Allen waits to face serious drug charges in Monroe County Court, the Indianapolis product has found a new home in Terre Haute. Indiana State announced Wednesday morning that Allen will transfer to its program and redshirt the upcoming season.
Allen was dismissed from IU’s football team on June 17 — one day after he was arrested by Indiana State Police on multiple drug charges. Allen is charged with dealing cocaine and dealing heroin of 10 or more grams — both Level 2 felonies, which carry a penalty of 10 to 30 years in prison if convicted. He’s also charged with dealing methamphetamine.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Allen can be seen on video counting money, weighing heroin and methamphetamine and handing the drugs to an Indiana State Police informant. According to court records, a jury trial in Monroe County Court is scheduled to begin Dec. 16.
Allen led IU with 74 tackles last season and finished as an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection. He was set to enter his junior season this fall as the face of Indiana’s defense.
Indiana State coach Mike Sanford told The Herald-Times that it was “a process” getting Allen into his program. He said it began through conversations with Allen’s Ben Davis coach, Mike Kirschner, and continued through talks with ISU administrators and members of the team’s leadership committee.
Kirschner said Allen started classes at the university on Wednesday and, as long as his physical and insurance clears, he will practice with the Sycamores on Thursday.
“We proceeded cautiously,” Sanford said. “I did a lot of research — we as a staff did a lot of research, talked to a lot of coaches from his past, both at IU and Ben Davis, talked to a bunch of players that know him who either played against him or knew him, or came out of school the same year as him that are in our program. Without going into detail, it allowed me to feel comfortable taking the next step.”
Sanford acknowledged the possibility that his ISU program could take a hit in the realm of public opinion, but indicated the ability to help Allen return to school and football outweighs the negativity.
The Sycamores coach said “it remains to be seen” whether Allen ever plays a single game for the program.
“To me, the motivation on this is about helping him, mentoring him and providing an opportunity for him to get his life back together,” Sanford said.
Speaking with reporters in Bloomington on Wednesday, Wilson said he spoke with Sanford “several weeks ago.” The two coaches discussed Allen’s arrest, his record as a student and as a player.
Wilson said he did not speak with Sanford after that initial conversation.
“When that deal happened I said (to Allen), ‘You went through a lot to get here — this is not a good deal — but you shouldn’t give in and give up,'” Wilson said. “‘If you would have given in, given up, you wouldn’t have been here in the first place. Moving forward, I just challenged him to not give in and give up.”
Allen arrived at IU as part of a heralded 2013 recruiting class that aimed to bring some of the best in-state talent to Bloomington. Allen originally committed to Ole Miss, but decommitted during the summer of 2012.
According to the Rivals recruiting database, Wilson has recruited only six four-star prospects in five years at Indiana. Allen was one of them.
“‘This is unfortunate, this is not good, but you’ve done some things that I respect, prior to this,'” Wilson said he told Allen at the time of his dismissal. “We’ll see where he goes with that in his life. We don’t wish him ill will. That doesn’t mean we like what happened, though.”
The full release from IU:
The Indiana men’s soccer team announced that its exhibition game against Western Michigan on Thursday, Aug. 20, will be played inside Memorial Stadium, the home of the Indiana football team.
The game will still begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be free admission for all fans.
The game has been moved to the turf inside Memorial Stadium to preserve the playing surface at Bill Armstrong Stadium, the regular home site for the men’s and women’s soccer teams.
All fans planning to attend should plan to park in the Orange Lot via the Gate 4 entrance off 17th Street and enter the stadium ONLY through gates E1, E5 and E8 on the east side of the stadium. Parking will be free and fans will be asked to sit on the east side of the stadium as well.
Fans will NOT be permitted on the field or in Knot Hole Park.
Indiana will play its third and final exhibition game on Saturday, Aug. 22 in Fort Wayne against Marquette at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Shindigz Soccer Festival. The Hoosiers will open regular season play at home on Aug. 28 against St. John’s in the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic, with kickoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m.
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