Ok, just got off the phone with Indiana guard Joey Shaw.
He’s still trying to decide whether he wants to stay at Indiana or not.
“I’m just trying to figure out if this is the best place for me,” he said.
Earlier today, Shaw’s former AAU coach Earl Flagg said he thought it would be best for Shaw to transfer, and that he thought his former player was leaning toward looking for a new school that could offer him more playing time.
Shaw’s father Joe said the same thing late last week.
But Joey Shaw is still pondering.
“I’m just not 100 percent,” he said. “I need some time.”
Made my way over to football practice earlier and am now sitting in the warm, happy confines of Bill Armstrong Stadium. Indiana’s men’s soccer team will scrimmage the Saint Louis Billikens.
I love when Hoosiers and Billikens fight. Nobody knows really what either is.
A few quick football thoughts from me. Doug will provide his more deeply researched and wittily presented thoughts posted here soon.
– Blake Powers will catch the ball. If it gets thrown to him. Blake, a former quarterback, pointed out that Indiana threw the ball to tight ends pretty much never last season. A careful examination of the last season’s stats reveals exactly zero completions to the tight ends.
Powers obviously needs to learn how to block. But he’ll never be a true Big Ten blocking tight end. He’s got too much to learn and not enough time. Such is life.
Not that Indiana really needs him to be a prototypical tight end, anyway. The Hoosiers’ scheme is based on quickness anyway, and throwing Powers in there as strictly a pass catcher shouldn’t present too much of a problem. He lined up in the slot a few times with the third-team offense, and that seems to be another viable option.
He did, by the way, make two catches today on passes where QB Kellen Lewis led him nicely and allowed him to run under the ball.
He did make at least two catches, according to my notes.
– The Hoosiers are going to rely on defensive line by committee. Head coach Bill Lynch thinks at least 10 guys can play there, and that the Hoosiers will be best served if they rotate in and out. There was no first team line, per se, today. A lot of guys took turns there.
In Indiana’s first scrimmage of the spring Saturday, the team’s offense looked a lot like it did at the end of last season – strong in the air and less impressive on the ground.
It wasn’t always easy to keep statistics with officials – at the direction of IU’s coaching staff – often moving the ball to a different spot on the Memorial Stadium field as soon as a play ended, but you didn’t need stats to see that Kellen Lewis played well.
My numbers show Lewis completing 13 of 19 passes for 261 yards. He was on target throughout the scrimmage and would have had a couple of more completions if not for dropped passes.
Ben Chappell, leading the No. 2 offense, also had a good scrimmage. He completed 11-of-17 for 130 yards. He had one bad pass that safety J.T. Owens picked off, but otherwise ran the offense well and hit receivers when they were open.
James Hardy was the leading receiver with three catches for 61 yards. Most of that yardage came on a 45-yard reception in which he made a long run, eluding Leslie Majors with a nice move, but then he tried to leap past a tackler near the five-yard line and fumbled in doing so.
Hardy’s fumble was one of three the No. 1 IU offense lost – the other two being coughed up by Marcus Thigpen (on a big hit from Majors) and Demetrius McCray. Those turnovers were obviously one of the biggest negatives for the offense on the day. Afterward, interim head coach Bill Lynch said you often see fumbles in the first scrimmage of the spring because the hitting is different than anything the players have seen since the end of the previous season.
A major plus for the offense was that few penalties were called in what was a crisp performance for a first scrimmage.
Nick Polk, coming off a strong redshirt freshman season, had a good scrimmage with four catches for 58 yards. Blake Powers, in an impressive debut at tight end, twice got wide open on the right sideline and caught two passes for 57 yards. McCray had two catches for 69 yards, with 59 of those yards coming on a catch and run where he broke a couple of tackles.
Linebackers coach George Ricumstrict said he liked the defense’s effort but thought there were too many missed tackles, again something you often see in the first scrimmage of the spring, he said.
Marcus Thigpen got most of the carries with the No. 1 offense and finished with 25 yards on 10 carries. McCray, according to my numbers, had just five yards on four carries.
Bryan Payton had the big run of the day, bursting 43 yards down the left sideline. Payton worked with the No. 2 and No. 3 offenses most of the day.
The running backs on the No. 1 offense made some good plays during the two-hour, 100-play scrimmage to get the yards they did, but the offensive line often wasn’t able to open up much running room. The line did a good job in pass protection, however.
Lewis said he thought the passing game was excellent Saturday and that the offense needs to continue to work on its running game.
Indiana guard A.J. Ratliff won’t need surgery on the injured tendon in his left wrist. He’s been placed in a short cast and team doctors are hoping he’ll heal with rest.
Ratliff injured the wrist against Ball State in late December and played with about one and half hands all year. He favored the left hand, to different degrees, in every game.
In other hoops news, we’re trying to track these Joey Shaw/Xavier Keeling transfer rumors as well as get word on D.J. White’s decision-making process as he ponders entering the NBA Draft.
Neither Keeling nor Shaw has requested his release from their scholarships yet. A player must receive that release before he can contact a possible transfer destination, or any institution can contact him.
White has until late April to declare for the draft.
Here at Sembower field the sun could not be shining any brighter, and the day could not be any more perfect for what we’re gathered here to see: baseball.
Softball’s happening just a long home run away, and there’s a decent crowd here for a Friday afternoon.
I think it’s official that spring is here and full, and that all of us should embrace it. As a result, I resolve to grill out for the first time tonight. Everybody’s invited.
I’ll bring some updates if warranted.
Indiana’s Leila Vaziri who has burst into world prominence in swimming this week tied her own world record in the 50 back today in winning the event at the World Championships in Australia.
Here’s IU’s news release about Vaziri’s lastest swim:
Indiana senior Leila Vaziri continued to shock the world at the FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday, March 29, matching the world record she set in the semifinals of the 50-meter backstroke with a gold-medal performance in the finals. The world championship is the first of Vaziri’s career.
Vaziri turned in a time of 28.16 in the finals session at Susie O’Neill Pool at Rod Laver Arena, matching the record time she set in winning the semifinals a day earlier. Belarus’ Aliaksandra Herasimenia finished second in the finals in 28.46, while Australia’s Tayliah Zimmer was third in 28.50.
Perhaps more impressive than Vaziri’s recent performances is the fact that she is
swimming at her first World Championships and is competing in the 50 back at a major meet for the first time. The Coral Springs, Fla., native entered the World Championships known as a 100-meter backstroke specialist, advancing to the semifinals of the 100 back and finishing 10th before etching her name in the record books in the 50 back.
Vaziri helped add to the United States’ medal haul, as Americans have accounted for 11 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals at the World Championships.
The 2007 NCAA bronze medalist in the 100-yard backstroke, Vaziri had already left an indelible mark in IU history prior to her World Championship heroics. Vaziri earned 15 All-America certificates during her Hoosier career, the most in school history.