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INDIANAPOLIS — Rodger Saffold has already been through a lot of interviews in the two days he’s been at Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. Most have them have been with people he has never seen before, but people who get to determine at least part of his future.
It was comforting for the former Indiana offensive tackle, therefore, that he saw at least one familiar face in one of those interviews. Among the coaches he met during his interview with the Buffalo Bills was assistant offensive line coach Bobby Johnson, who just joined the Bills after coaching Saffold at Indiana.
“It’s always good seeing your coach down there,” Saffold said. “When you get in the interview and he’s staring at you, you kind of look at everybody else. It was very, very good. Talking to him really made me feel more comfortable out here, especially when I’m the only Indiana offensive lineman out here.” (more…)
Indiana coach Tom Crean talks to Verdell Jones and Jordan Hulls during the final minutes of a loss to Wisconsin. Chris Howell | Herald-Times
Tom Crean wishes using the bench was more of an option.
If he could, the Indiana coach said, he would be much quicker to pull players who weren’t performing up to his standards so that they really understood that they had screwed up and what the consequences could be.
“There’s nothing that gets their attention more,” Crean said Wednesday in media availability for Thursday’s 9 p.m. game against Wisconsin at Assembly Hall. “There’s nothing. … There’s no tool, and I don’t think you really understand that until you’re a head coach.”
But Crean argues that on this team, that isn’t nearly as much of an option. The depth, he says, simply isn’t there, and the facts seem to back him up. (more…)
Moses Abraham is pushing back his Indiana visit from Thursday’s to March 6 because his school, Progressive Christian Academy, scheduled a make-up game for Thursday night.
“If they’ve got two teams and an open gym, they’re going to play,” Abraham’s advisor/guardian Joe Boncore said. “They’ve had eight games cancelled, so they had to make them up. We’re going to try to make it out for the Northwestern game.”
Boncore said there was little to no chance Abraham would push back the visit any further, however. He said Abraham plans on making his decision by March 7.
“Mo just wants to get it over with,” Boncore said. “And he has a training regiment we’re starting the second week of March that’s going to take him through August. He wants to be done with it by then.”
Boncore said he was uncertain whether the visit would be official or unofficial, but that he wasn’t really concerned about footing the bill for the visit.
“It’s Southwest,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter.”
With Indiana mired in an eight-game losing streak, the callers into Tom Crean’s weekly radio show Monday didn’t want to talk about the present but instead the future. Mostly, they wanted to know about what sort of players Crean considers ideal at each position.
In the post, as he usually does, he stressed versatility.
“I think he’s gotta be able to have a move and a counter move on both sides of the rim,” Crean said. “Post moves are important, but the ability to finish is far more important. i think you’ve gotta be able to play through them in the sense that you can go inside-out with them. You can go inside, they can kick it back out and follow it. But ultimately, they’ve got to be a threat, and when they don’t score, they’ve gotta be able to go the foul line and make their foul shots. I think there’s no question they gotta be able to hold their spot in the post. I think at this day and age right now, that even as important as holding the spot in the post is the ability to play pick and roll basketball, be able to different things in the pick and roll defensively. There’s very few teams in the league that don’t run pick and roll, there’s very few teams in the country that don’t run pick and roll. It’s very important that you have those guys that do that, and they have got to be factors in the rebounding game. But ultimately, you break it down you want a guy that’s got good hands. That’s got a big wide tail, in proper terms, and that can really, really move their feet defensively and has that intelligence that they know where the other guys on the court should be.”
In a rare occurrence, because a lot of people think he’s overly enamored with perimeter players, Crean was asked what sort of guards he’s actually looking for.
“You want to have at least five pure guards and at least one guy that can swing between the three and four position,” Crean said. “… I think the bottom line is if we could get to a point where we could have three interchangeable guards in the lineup, and what that means is, they’ve all gotta be able to make baskets. One might have the incredible quickness to get to the rim, might have a pull-up game. The other two might be great 3-point shooters. One might be a great 3-point shooter and a pull-up guy. But I really don’t want to have guards down the road that are not shot makers. I think it’s very, very important that our point guard is a 3-point shot maker. We want to run a lot of quick pick and rolls in transition when we have the right kind of guards because I think it’s so easy to get good shots if you have guys that can make decisions off that ball screen coming down the floor at the top of the key or in that slot area.”
Some other discussion points:
— Crean retold the story he tweeted last week about freshman point guard Jordan Hulls. Hulls apparently hit 77 3-pointers in five minutes in a practice drill, including 49 of his last 52. He said in the games, Hull is rushing his shots.
— Crean was asked if he was OK with having football players join the team. He said he was, and that wide receiver Damarlo Belcher was considering joining the team, but that Belcher eventually decided against it.
— Crean said he wants to see a lot of strength training from the big men this spring and summer including more “barbaric” drills like rolling massive tires.
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