Lynch: Still competition at several spots

Bill Lynch heads into the week of his first game with several starting spots still undecided.

But the Indiana coach said he isn’t especially concerned.

“There’s somethings I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about,” Lynch said at his press conference Friday. “That’s not who’s the starter at any of those positions. That doesn’t bother me. I’ve coached in situations where you wake up in the middle of the night wondering who your quarterback is. That’s sometimes an unsettling feeling.”

At the two guard positions, he’s still considering senior Cody Faulkner, junior Justin Pagan, sophomore Marc Damisch and redshirt freshman Aaron Price, a South graduate. At cornerback, seniors Adrian Burks and Richard Council and juniors Andre Kates and Matt Ernest are all still in a battle. Lynch is still deciding on a kicker between sophomore Nick Freeland and redshirt freshman Mitch Ewald. The middle (Leon Beckum vs. Jeff Thomas) and weakside linebacker (Chad Sherer and Damon Sims) positions are still undetermined, as is the backup quarterback position where redshirt freshmen Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker are still battling.

Lynch said he doesn’t think he needs to establish starters by Thursday, however, because he could just as easily rotate players at each of those positions.

“I’m not really concerned about having a starter,” he said. “I want to know who’s capable of playing at this level. Then, I think playing guys can help keep guys fresh and hopefully develop depth that can not only help us early in the year but also pay off in October or November.”

The only position battle in the bunch that Lynch said needs to be decided at some point is the place kicking job.

“If we were going to start right now, Freeland would certainly be the kickoff guy,” Lynch said. “He’s done that. He’s a really good kickoff guy. The extra point and field goal is where they’re really competing at that spot. I’ve seen Freeland do it. I guess that’s the other thing, Mitch hasn’t done it, but I certainly have confidence in him.”

Another thing he may or may not have to decide by Thursday is which true freshmen will have a chance to play. Lynch initially indicated that just two freshmen, wide receiver Kofi Hughes and linebacker Chase Hoobler, would “practice up,” once the games begin, which means they would be a part of either the first or second team but not the scout team. On Friday, Lynch added running backs Antonio Banks and Matt Perez to the list of possibilities, though he stressed that they would likely play only in the case of injuries. He also indicated that Hoobler may go back to scout team simply because of the depth at linebacker.

Hughes, though, has a real chance to play. The former Cathedral quarterback has had a very strong preseason despite the fact that he’s played the last few weeks with a cast over his right hand protecting a broken thumb.

Hoosier Morning


Indiana coach Tom Crean released the team’s schedule Thursday. Chris Howell | Herald-Times


Thoughts on the schedule

Might as well make this a three-part series.

Probably the first thing that jumps out at you on Indiana’s non-conference schedule is that it was obvious Tom Crean obviously thought he’d put just about enough tough games on his schedule by the time he signed up for the IBN Las Vegas Classic, where he could play Northern Iowa and either New Mexico or Colorado. He already knew he had the road game at Kentucky as part of that annual series as well as a road game in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, which turned out to be at Boston College. The Wright State game on Nov. 14 could be a challenge, as WSU finished 20-12 last year and has annually been Butler’s biggest obstacle in the Horizon League, so that makes five legitimate challenges.

Florida Gulf Coast, Mississippi Valley State, Evansville, North Carolina Central, Northwestern State and Savannah State definitely fall into the cream puff category, however. Those teams finished a combined 53-118 last season. Savannah State had the closest thing to a winning record at 11-15, and those 11 wins came at just as low a level as you’re expecting. Several non-Division I teams on the list. The two home games that came along with the Las Vegas Classic weren’t exactly brutal either. SIU Edwardsville was 5-23 last season. South Carolina State was a strong 18-14 including 10-6 in the MEAC, but the MEAC isn’t as highly regarded as the MAC or the MAAC let alone the Big Ten.

The Big Ten was a bit harsher on IU than last year. Last season, the Hoosiers had back-to-back road games just once and rotated home and road games for almost the entire season. This year they have three sets of back to back road games.

Indiana’s release on the schedule

The schedule came with a release from the IU sports information department and quotes from Tom Crean. They follow.

Bloomington, Indiana–The Indiana University men’s basketball program will participate in the 2010 IBN Las Vegas Classic (December 22-23) and will play 20 times in historic Assembly Hall during the 2010-11 season.  In addition, the Hoosiers will play two home games to open Big Ten play in between Christmas and New Years with the Hoosiers hosting Penn State (December 27) and Ohio State (December 31).  Twenty-eight of the Hoosiers games will be on television with three others available on-line.

Last year, the Hoosiers ranked 11th in the nation in attendance and will begin the season at home with Florida Gulf Coast (November 12), Wright State (November 14), Mississippi Valley State (November 16), Evansville (November 21), North Carolina Central (November 23) and Northwestern State (November 26).

IU hits the road for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Boston College (December 1) and then is back to play Savannah State (December 4) before heading to face long-time rival Kentucky (December 11) in Lexington.  After a break for exams, IU will host the first two games of the IBN Las Vegas Classic facing SIU-Edwardsville (December 17) and South Carolina State (December 19).  The Hoosiers then head to Las Vegas where they will face Northern Iowa (December 22) and New Mexico or Colorado (December 23) before returning home to start Big Ten Play.

In the conference, IU will play a home and home series with each school with the exception of Penn State at home and Michigan State on the road. IU is still finalizing its two-game exhibition schedule at Assembly Hall. (more…)

Indiana releases schedule

Just as I posted the Big Ten schedule, I got an e-mail with Indiana’s. It follows.

2010-11 SCHEDULE
November 12 Friday Florida Gulf Coast Bloomington, Ind. 6:30 p.m. BTN
November 14 Sunday Wright State Bloomington, Ind. TBA ESPNU
November 16 Tuesday Mississippi Valley State Bloomington, Ind. 7 p.m. BTN
November 21 Sunday Evansville Bloomington, Ind. 1 p.m. BTN
November 23 Tuesday North Carolina Central Bloomington, Ind. 7 p.m. BTN
November 26 Friday Northwestern State Bloomington, Ind. TBA

Big Ten schedule released

The Big Ten just put out its schedule for the 2010-11 season. Indiana should release its full schedule by the end of the day.

Date Game Time TV
27 Penn State at Indiana 6:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
28 Purdue at Michigan 2 p.m. Big Ten Network
Minnesota at Wisconsin 7 p.m. ESPN2
29 Illinois at Iowa 9 p.m. Big Ten Network
31 Northwestern at Purdue Noon ESPN2
Minnesota at Michigan State 4 p.m. Big Ten Network
Ohio State at Indiana 6 p.m. ESPN2 (more…)

Come and discuss

Yes, Dustin and I will be back in our usual spot at 11 a.m. today to discuss all things related to Indiana. We’re a week away from the start of football season, but I expect we’ll see our fair share of questions about basketball.

Anyways, join us.

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