Hoosiers working through spring with thin running back corps

Indiana running backs coach Deland McCullough was overseeing a handoff drill at practice on Tuesday while two-thirds of the returning members of his position group were more than 100 yards away.

Rising junior Darius Willis, sophomore Antonio Banks, and redshirted freshman Matt Perez and Xavier Whitaker were all doing modified workouts under assistant strength and conditioning coach Rick Danison, avoiding anything resembling game action as they each recover from knee injuries that ended their 2010 seasons.

Meanwhile, McCullough was left to work with a scatback type who saw here-and-there use last season (rising sophomore Nick Turner), a local walk-on who has not yet seen game action (rising sophomore David Blackwell) and a converted tight end looking to pick up some fullback reps (redshirt freshman Leneil Himes). (more…)

Source: Traylor on unofficial visit to Indiana

A source confirmed a report from’s Mike Pegram that IMG Academy senior forward Jamari Traylor was on campus at Indiana Monday. The source said that was an unofficial visit.

The 6-foot-7, 215-pounder is also considering offers from Kansas, Minnesota, St. John’s and Virginia Tech according to Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and Virginia Commonwealth are also involved.

Cody Zeller at McDonald’s All-American Game

Photo courtesy of Henny Ray Abrams | McDonald’s

Cody Zeller left Indianapolis after winning the 3A state championship and headed to Chicago, where practices for Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game began on Sunday.

Such is the life of a top prospect.

Part of Sunday’s festivities included going to the Ronald McDonald House, where the players met with the families there and also, it seems, made cookies (as you can see by the above photo, Zeller likes his sprinkles).

Dustin and I will be at the game on Wednesday, but decided not to attend any of the pregame festivities. Smart move – the list of participants for tonight’s slam dunk, 3-point and skills contests did not include Zeller.

The game, by the way, will be at 10 p.m. (eastern) on ESPN.

Another photo after the jump.


COMMENTARY: Cody Zeller a deserving Mr. Basketball winner

INDIANAPOLIS — Three state titles in four years. The Trester Mental Attitude Award winner. Signed to play at Indiana University. And saying a bad word about him is like hating on white bread and whole milk.

Cody Zeller will win Mr. Basketball. South’s Dee Davis should finish second, and he would be a runaway Mr. Basketball winner during so many seasons; he’s just a victim of age, and had the misfortune to enroll in school the same year as Washington’s last Zeller brother.

Zeller is everything the Mr. Basketball award is supposed to be about and, truthfully, he profits from the pro-Indiana bias in the voting and the fact brothers Luke and Tyler each won the award and subsequently represented the state as well as anyone could have hoped.

But while the race between Zeller and Davis would be neck-and-neck if his name was Cody Johnson and he was headed to Illinois, Zeller is a most worthy winner.

He proved that again in his final high school game, scoring 20 points and pulling down 18 points as Washington beat Culver 61-46.

“It’s definitely fun winning it,” Zeller said. “It gets better every time. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and my coaches.”


Park Tudor’s Yogi Ferrell and Trevon Bluiett win the 2A state title

INDIANAPOLIS — It was not Yogi Ferrell’s best day, but a freshman teammate had his back.

Trevon Bluiett scored 21 points and pulled in eight rebounds — the last rebound a put-back, and-one situation that led to the game-winning free throw — as Park Tudor won the 2A state title against previously-undefeated Hammond Bishop Noll, 43-42.

“We worked hard all year and the coaches have prepared us so well,” Ferrell said. “I feel like we deserved to win this game.”

Ferrell had 14 points, six assists and five rebounds, but was 6-of-15 from the field and 1-of-5 from 3-point range. He admitted afterwards it was not his best game, but he did win the state title that eluded him and Park Tudor a year ago.

“All the hard work — I didn’t want it stop here,” Ferrell said. “I wanted to come out with seven wins in March, and that’s what we did.”


ScoopTalk: Enter the Ninja V

IU D-Line preparing for another change

Indiana’s defensive line is looking at it’s third different scheme in three years.

Through 2009, the Hoosiers were in a standard 4-3. Last year they mixed 3-4 and 4-3, but even when they were in a 4-3 alignment, they used a stand-up defensive end.

This year, the alignment will be relatively similar, but the technique they will use will be different from anything they’ve ever done.

The new defensive staff is asking its defensive linemen — tackles and ends — to focus on attacking their blockers rather than shooting for gaps. Defensive coaches say the linemen will still be able to make plays, but their stated purpose will be to hold gaps and blockers to allow linebackers and defensive backs more freedom. (more…)


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