After four games last year, Indiana had 18 sacks.
After four games this year, Indiana has eight sacks.
Some would look at those numbers and say the difference is evidence of why Indiana has given up 42 points in each of its last two games, both losses.
Some would look at those numbers and say the difference in is circumstantial.
Count Hoosiers head coach Bill Lynch among them.
â€œI really think itâ€™s the games we played,â€ he said during a Tuesday press conference.
Indianaâ€™s high sack numbers came last year, he continued, because opponents were forced to pass after falling behind.
â€œIf you can get a lead and force somebody to throw the ball, and throw it a lot, that lends itself to getting pressure,â€ Lynch said.
As for why the Hoosiers have had just one sack the last two games, both losses, the reasons are: Ball State quarterback Nate Davis is particularly skilled at not getting tackled in the backfield and Michigan State runs a scheme that Lynch called â€œmax protection to the utmost.â€
While Lynch is right that sacks are the product of factors beyond the play of the people supposed to responsible for the sacks, there must be some concern from IU over its inability to get to the quarterback.
Greg Middleton, who led the country in sacks with 16.5 a year ago, has one this season.
â€œDouble-teaming and then bringing the back,â€ Middleton said Wednesday when asked about what heâ€™s seeing this year. â€œAll stuff I expected after the success last year. I just have to keep working hard, and hopefully I can get some sacks.â€
Indiana has rotated its defensive ends frequently this year; Middleton didnâ€™t even start against Michigan State.
Middleton said he thought the subbing was meant to keep the line fresher but that he wasnâ€™t â€œreally sure about that.â€ Heâ€™s not worried about his own performance.
â€œI feel like Iâ€™m a better player,â€ he said. â€œI feel like Iâ€™m a better player and I just need to get in the groove a little bit.â€
Indiana took a 2-0 lead early in the second half only to see Evansville rally to tie it and force overtime Tuesday night at Black Beauty Field in Evansville.
But the Hoosiers bounced back with Will Bruin scoring his second goal of the game three minutes into overtime for a 3-2 win.
This was Indiana’s first trip to Evansville since 1998 when the Hoosiers pulled out a 2-1 overtime victory on Aleksey Korol’s goal in the 94th minute.
Tom Crean told a lunch-time crowd today that the Hoosiers planned to add Steven Gambles, a 2005 North Central graduate, to the team as a walk-on.
Gambles appears to be another guard with some size — one online site listed him at 6-5, 205 pounds. He played alongside Eric Gordon at North Central, where he averaged 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game as a senior, before joining he basketball team at IUPUI briefly.
Apparently Gambles has not yet done every last thing he needs to do to be officially added to the roster. If and when he does, the Hoosiers’ roster will consist of eight eligible scholarship players, five walk-ons and one scholarship player who will redshirt due to NCAA transfer rules.
Former Indiana basketball coach Kelvin Sampson has issued the following statement through his publicist today:
â€œIn no way did I ever hide or withhold information from Indiana Universityâ€™s compliance department. I vehemently deny the inference that I made and concealed impermissible calls. The NCAA has never alleged that I initiated any illegal phone calls to recruits while serving as the head coach at Indiana. I always provided Indiana with everything they requested, including all documents and phone records.â€
For a third straight game, Indiana will face a team that does not hide the way it hopes to succeed on offense.
Minnesota will throw the ball to star receiver Eric Decker, who leads the conference in receiving yards and receptions per game, repeatedly.
Spencer Turner took the short drive to Indiana University over the weekend.
South’s sophomore guard was on campus as a guest of the basketball program, making his third unofficial visit to a Big Ten program so far this season.
Turner said Monday in a phone conversation that he enjoyed the look into the Hoosiers’ new program.
“I met the new players,” Turner said. “Bunch of real nice kids. They welcomed me.”
The weekend visit is getting to be something of a routine for Turner, who has already been to Purdue and Ohio State.
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Been through the document a couple of times now. Here are a few notes of interest, and I’ll have much more extensive follow-up early Tuesday.
- IU does express surprise that the failure to monitor charge was even made– which AD Rick Greenspan did when it was made in June — and implies that it was basically ambushed in Seattle at its original hearing before the committee on infractions. IU was faced with extensive questioning about its monitoring and essentially had to respond to a charge that hadn’t even been made yet, the response says.
- IU’s explanation for why it missed several of the impermissible calls that occurred in the months directly following Sampson’s hiring is interesting. The university claims it put in heightened measures of monitoring, but that it took time for them to work. Specifically, the compliance staff couldn’t get the phone companies to give them electronic records that were easy to search. That’s why, for example, the three-way calls made between Sampson and Senderoff in June of 2006 weren’t detected; the review of phone records that month consisted of looking through dozens upon dozens of pages of calls, and the 3W denoting a three-way call didn’t stand out.
- IU defends its decision to hire Kelvin Sampson despite his previous rules violations. “Sampson appeared to be contrite, repeatedly stating in an apparently earnest and heartfelt manner that he had learned his lesson, and he had no record of other infractions during a long tenure as a Division I head men’s basketball coach. The University decided to give him a second chance.”
- Jeff Meyer, a former assistant under Kelvin Sampson, wroteÂ a letter to the committee on infractions and it is included in the response. Meyer relates his experience dealing with IU administrators and compliance staffers, albeit generically (saying, for instance, that he would pass them in the hall and discuss things with them). He does say that based on his years of coaching he thought “Indiana worked diligently to monitor our compliance efforts.”
- Finally, the report includes this sentence: “The University recognizes that a probationary period will likely be imposed and suggests that it begin on the date of the hearing, rather than on the date the infractions report is released, to account for the delay in the release of the infractions report as a result of this new allegation.” In this case, “probationary period” probably refers to a span of time during which the school will be under extra scrutiny, meaning it will be asked to submit frequent documentation of how it is ensuring compliance. Probation, in this case, doesn’t mean a TV or post-season ban.
More to come as I continue reading though this and talking to sources.
This is not, as they say, my first rodeo with this NCAA stuff.
But despite an alarming level of excitement at the prospect of wading through the lawyerly muck that pervades documents such as this one, I’ve been unable to find anything even mildly surprising in IU’s response to the failure to monitor charge.
Which is to say: this is basically IU saying again that it did monitor and then providing, in only slightly more detail that it has previously, evidence to support that claim.
Most of what the university’s lawyers state is this letter is reiteration, often with more evidence or a different emphasis. There’s not a lot of new news.