Please join us this morning for our weekly Indiana sports Q&A. You can submit your questions and comments – or just follow the discussion – by clicking here.
Redshirt freshman Chris Hagerup struggled in his college debut against Western Kentucky on August 30, punting three times for an average of 34.7 yards.
Since then, he has become one of the top punters in the country, at least statistically. His 45.4 yards per punt average is best in the Big Ten and seventh in the country.
â€œIâ€™ve been impressed with it, to be honest with you,â€ Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said. â€œParticularly after the first week when there were some struggles. He came back the next week and got some confidence and has gone from there.â€
Heâ€™ll continue to work on pinning teams inside the 20-yard-line; three of his punts against Michigan State went for touchbacks.
Brandon Mosley, at 5-9 and 200 pounds, is an undersized safety.
After making 10 tackles a week ago, Mosley will probably end up seeing significant playing time again this weekend. Starting safeties Austin Thomas and Nick Polk are still working through leg injuries; they practiced with the second-team defense on Wednesday and will be re-evaluated today.
â€œWeâ€™ll see how they bounce back tomorrow, if thereâ€™s an soreness,â€ Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said. â€œThatâ€™s how weâ€™ll know (if theyâ€™re ready.)â€
Should Mosley be called upon, heâ€™ll play the way one of the top safeties in the NFL told him to: hard.
â€œIâ€™ve talked with (Indianapolis Colts safety) Bob Sanders a couple of times,â€ he said. â€œEver since I got here, Iâ€™ve been compared to him. He says, â€˜Man, just let your strength and speed make up for your size. Just go hard. Go hard and that will make up for your size.â€
Sanders is 5-8, 206 pounds a two-time Pro Bowl selection.
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€