This is the seventh in an eight-part series previewing the IU football team by position. Doug Wilson takes a look at the tailbacks today.
PROJECTED STARTER: Marcus Thigpen, 5-9, 193, Sr.
STARTERS LOST: Josiah Sears (started three games)
KEY RESERVES: Bryan Payton, 5-9, 205, Jr.; Demetrius McCray, 5-11, 208, Sr., Trea Burgess, 6-1, 223, So.
2007 REVIEW: Bill Lynch emphasized improving Indianaâ€™s running game last season and was successful in making it better. After finished last in the Big Ten in 2006 with 113.8 rushing yards per game and 3.5 yards per carry, Indiana improved to eighth in the conference with 157.4 yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry in 2007. For the second straight year, quarterback Kellen Lewis was Indianaâ€™s leading rusher. He finished with 56.6 rushing yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry. Marcus Thigpen was the top running back with 47.3 yards per game and 4.1 yards per carry.
No word on what Kyle did to his knee, as he’s not available for comment. His high school coach at Evansville Central, Brent Chitty, wasn’t aware of the injury but does not believe it to be serious; otherwise Kyle would have called him about it.
A 10-week recovery period would rule out a major surgery such as ACL reconstruction. If he does meet that timetable, he should be able to play in IU’s opener, which is expected to be Nov. 15.
Oddly enough, I was standing with Mike Pegram in the South Lobby of Assembly Hall today and saw Taber ambled through. He looked OK, but he wasn’t exactly guarding Robbie Hummel at the time.
Just another set back for IU, as it will now enter practice with one experienced player: Brett Finkelmeier. He played 11 minutes last year. Total.
Wonder if Tom Crean’s ever heard of Murphy’s Law?
This just in from IU media relations . . . .
Indiana University senior Kyle Taber injured his knee last week and will undergo surgery tomorrow.Â He is expected to be out for 10 weeks.
“This is very unfortunate for Kyle,” said IU Coach Tom Crean.Â “He has been a strong presence and has done things the right way for us since we arrived here.Â We will move forward and help him through his rehabilitation and look to him to provide us with the leadership that is expected from a fifth-year senior at Indiana.”
He started four games last year and averaged 1.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 22 games.
Or could it be Cheek to Creek, as in Dominic Cheek to Mo Creek?
Tom Crean’s already received a verbal from Creek, a high scoring 2009 guard who had a strong summer on the AAU circuit. Now IU has jumped in on the recruitment of Cheek, a smooth guard out of the St. Anthony program in Jersey City, N.J. Here’s a tidbit we had about him in today’s paper.
Dominic Cheek, one of the top senior basketball players in the country, is considering a scholarship offer from Indiana and may visit Bloomington soon.
â€œI think they are going to squeeze a visit out of Cheek, and heâ€™s one of the better players in the country,â€ said St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) head coach Bob Hurley. â€œThe former coaching staff did nothing with him. This group has done a good job to come in late.â€
Cheek, a 6-foot-5 guard, starred for Hurleyâ€™s team last year as it went 32-0 â€” winning the programâ€™s 25th state title â€” and finished No. 1 in several high school polls. He has known Roshown McLeod, a former St. Anthony player who was recently hired to become Indiana coach Tom Creanâ€™s third assistant, most of his life and currently plays with McLeodâ€™s younger brother, Devone.
â€œThe projections for Cheek are unbelievable,â€ said Hurley, who is not noted for hyberbole or hyping his own players. â€œHeâ€™s graceful as can be. Heâ€™s been a legend around here since 7th grade.â€
Here’s a story that ran in the paper today about the basketball program family reunion in French Lick.
FRENCH LICK â€” Tom Crean looked out over the course, surveying the golf carts toting tall men wearing crimson golf shirts.
Heâ€™d invited them to this quaint resort town â€” only recently resurrected to its former glory â€” for moments like this. Former Indiana basketball players sent golf balls flying across the Donald Ross Course Monday, spending the time between swings laughing about Bob Knight rants and cringing about losses that still haunt them so many years later.
Inevitably they would talk about what they had learned.
From the rants and the defeats and from each other.
Here’s the sixth installment of our position-by-position preview of the Indiana football team. Today I take a look at the wide receivers and tight ends.
PROJECTED STARTERS: WR Terrance Turner, 6-3, 203, Jr.; WR Andrew Means, 6-0, 210, Jr.; WR, Ray Fisher 5-9, 172, Jr.; TE Max Dedmond, 6-5, 236, Fr.
STARTERS LOST: James Hardy (started 13 games), James Bailey (started four games), Nick Sexton (started five games)
KEY RESERVES: WR Matt Ernest, 6-2, 184, Fr.; WR Mitchell Evans, 6-3, 199, So.; WR Brandon Walker-Roby, 5-11, 194, Sr.; TE Brad Martin, 6-4, 259, Jr.
Chris Adkins will, in fact, be the starter at right cornerback on Saturday. Lynch said at the press conference earlier today that the spot was still open; but he and cornerbacks coach and co-defensive coordinator Joe Palcic decided to go with Adkins later in the day.
Indiana football coach Bill Lynch named Kellen Lewis the starting quarterback today, and also announced that star defensive end Greg Middleton — and three others — have been suspended for the season-opener against Western Kentucky on Saturday.
Lewis had been battling Ben Chappell for the starting nod after missing the spring and summer due to disciplinary issues.
Lynch said at his first formal press conference of the season today that he finally opted to go with the veteran starter because of his experience at the position.
Lynch also announced that Middleton, tight end Troy Wagner, safety Brandon Mosely and defensive end Kyle Kozak have been suspended for unspecified reasons.
IU has posted a photo gallery of the event on its Web site, IUHoosiers.com.Â
Indiana athletics department media relations director J.D. Campbell shared these photos with us, and I thought you guys would like to take a look.
First person to correctly identify each of the four pairs of people in the pictures wins….my admiration.