This is the first in a series of position-by-position previews for the IU football team that will run Monday-Thursday this week and next week. The running order will be in the order weâ€™ve ranked the units, starting with the most solid and leading up to the group we think has the most questions heading into the season.
PROJECTED STARTERS: kicker Austin Starr, 6-3, 204, Sr.; punter Chris Hagerup, 6-5, 207, Fr.; kickoff returner Marcus Thigpen, 5-9, 199, Sr.; punt returner Ray Fisher 5-9, 172, Jr.
STARTERS LOST: punter Michael Hines, returners Tracy Porter and James Bailey
KEY RESERVES: kickoff returner Demetrius McCray, punt returner Nick Polk
2007 REVIEW: Special teams were a major strength for the Hoosiers. Starr led the way with one of the best seasons an Indiana kicker has ever put together. He hit 21-of-23 field goal attempts and all 48 extra point attempts. His season highlights included hitting four field goals against Minnesota and nailing the game-winning 49-yarder against Purdue that sent the Hoosiers to a bowl game. Starr was a second-team All-American and a first-team all-Big Ten pick.
The Hoosiers got a little bit healthier on offense today with the return of Andrew Means and Brandon Walker-Roby after both missed practices last week with relatively minor injuries.
Left tackle Rodger Saffold (back) and left guard Pete Saxon (ankle) were both still out, as was second-teamer Dennis Zeigler, leaving IU’s with makeshift groups on its No. 1 and No. 2. lines. Bill Lynch said that a lack of continuity on both of those lines hindered IU’s offense in its scrimmage Saturday.
For the defense, Jammie Kirlew returned to practice after missing more than a week with an ankle injury.
Lynch said that after watching film of the scrimmage, he thought IU’s defense played well. With Christopher Phillips having won one cornerback spot, he said that Richard Council, Chris Adkins and Donnell Jones are all playing well enough to make the decision difficult on the other spot at corner.
“They’ve made it tough,” Lynch said. “Each has done some pretty good things.”
Here are some stats and notes from today’s open scrimmage at Memorial Stadium:
Passing: Ben Chappell 13-21-126, 1TD, 1 int., Kellen Lewis 6-16-29
Rushing: Marcus Thigpen 6-67, Darius Willis 5-14, Bryan Payton 5-13, Lewis 10-8, Demetrius McCray 3-5
Receiving: Collin Taylor 6-74, Ray Fisher 6-54, Willis 3-35, Matt Ernest 4-12
Defense: Greg Middleton three sacks, four tackles for losses
Highlights: Thigpen found a hole on the left side and ran for 57 yards to the three on the second play of the scrimmage, but the defense dominated after that play. The only touchdown of the day came in the second half when the offense was given the ball on the defense’s 20 in a red zone drill. The touchdown play came on a pass from Chappell to Fisher.
Player notes: Starting left guard Pete Saxon (ankle) and left tackle Rodger Saffold (back) both skipped the scrimmage because of injuries. With the only two returning starters on IU’s line out, the defense mounted a strong pass rush during most of the scrimmage….Andrew Means skipped the scrimmage because of a foot injury……Reserve linebacker Ian Reeves and safety Jerimy Finch had the biggest hits of the afternoon. Lynch said there’s no word yet on whether the NCAA will allow Finch to play this season, but he hopes to hear something soon…..Receiver Tandon Doss also sat out the scrimmage because of an academic issue. Lynch said he expects that issue to be resolved soon….IU estimated attendance of about 1,500 at the scrimmage.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University men’s basketball coach Tom Crean has announced that former NBA player Roshown McLeod, who also played collegiately at Duke and St. John’s, has been named as an assistant coach for the Hoosier program.Â In addition to his regular duties as an assistant coach, he will work specifically with IU’s inside players.
“Not only was Roshown an outstanding player but he is a very good coach who has been a student of the game for a long time,” said Crean.Â “His ability to teach the game, adjust quickly on his feet to different circumstances, and to make players better were very apparent in the process of getting to know him.Â He will be a tremendous mentor to our team, but especially to our inside players.”
McLeod has been coaching on the collegiate, high school, and AAU level since an injury ended his NBA career in 2002.Â He was an assistant coach at Fairfield University in 2002-03 and currently was the director of all basketball operations and head varsity coach at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, a private K-12 school in Atlanta.Â He also served as the head coach at Therrell High School and started the Next Level Players Development program where he became involved as a coach on the AAU level for the Atlanta Celtics and Georgia Stars.
“This is a great opportunity for myself and my family,” said McLeod.Â “Indiana is the cream of the crop when you talk about great college basketball tradition.Â I was fortunate to play at a very high level in college and in the NBA and to get a chance to coach at that same level for a program like Indiana is a dream come true.”
Former NBA player and Duke graduate Rowshown McLeod has been hired as Indiana’s third assistant and will begin his duties with the team today, Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean said earlier today after speaking with the students at New Tech High School in Bloomington.
McLeod had been living in the Atlanta area and has worked in different levels of basketball since injury forced him to retire from professional basketball in 2001.
“The thing I really like about him is that if he were healthy, he’d still be a professional basketball player,” Crean said. “But he’s done a lot of things to put himself in a position to be a coach since his career ended, and as the interview process went on he really showed how knowledgeable he is.”
Check out this previous post on McLeod for more details. We’ll have more on this story.
Doug and I will conduct a live discussion on HeraldTimesOnline.com Thursday at 11 a.m.
You don’t need to be a subscriber to participate.
You also can ask your questions ahead of time in case you’re busy at 11 a.m. with something important such as working or napping or eating or watching whatever it is that’s on television (synchronized hot dog eating at the Olympics?) that time of day.
Indiana’s men’s soccer team will take to the lush fields at Karst Farm Park in about an hour for its first practice of the year. As with every season since Jerry Yeagley first built the Hoosiers into a national power, expectations are high.
I’ll know more after practice, but I think at least half the starting spots are up for grabs as the team begins camp. As I wrote in today’s paper, Mike Freitag hopes to move quickly in evaluating his team. The Hoosiers play an exhibition a week from today against Tulsa in soccer-mad St. Louis, and open the regular season with their annual classic at Armstrong Stadium on Aug. 29 against Duke.
Here, then, is a quick look at some of the players vying for playing time.
- The most intriguing battle will be for the spots up top. Darren Yeagle will look to return to the form he showed before two knee injuries wiped out last year and Kevin Noschang will seek consistency after flashes of dominance as a junior. Michael Roach has had a year to develop but will face competition from highly touted freshman Will Bruin. Redshirt freshmen Alex Purdie showed promise in spring after rehabbing a knee injury all last season, and Neil Wilmarth has a non-stop motor.
- IU is set down the middle with Eric Alexander distributing and All-American (and team captain) Brad Ring doing, well, a bit of everything. Senior John Mellencamp and junior Lee Hagedorn bring subtle creativity to the pitch and Daniel Kelly provides toughness. Billy Weaver has learned to slip into space and make plays. Transfer Cameron Jordan and freshmen Nick Blevins will also be in the mix.
- Ofori Sarkodie has returned and will presumably return to his spot in the middle. Kevin Alston has been versatile throughout his career but will probably end up next to longtime teammate Sarkodie, using his speed on the edge. Freshman Tommy Meyer and Jordan, a junior who played at UCF the past two years, lead an intriguing group that will battle for the other spots.
- No controversy here. Chay Cain is the starter and only a monumental effort by one of the young keepers would change that.