Saffold moves up draft charts

Indiana left tackle Rodger Saffold played in the East-West Shrine Game last weekend, one of the little brothers to this week’s Senior Bowl.

Generally for second-line players, the Shrine Game is, nonetheless, visited by many a NFL scout. It appears that Saffold played very well all week.

This, from Sporting News’ Russ Lande:

Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana. Saffold arrived in Orlando with questions about his quickness, athleticism, intensity and strength. From Day 1, he shined on the field. He showed the quickness and athleticism to slide to the corner and cut off edge rushers, keeping his knees bent and blocking with good leverage. Saffold proved he has what it takes to play left tackle in the NFL. He certainly moved into third-round consideration, and he could go as high as the second round with a string of good pre-draft workouts.

This, from NFL scouts polled by

Rodger Saffold, T, Indiana–“he pulled up his draft grade at least 2 rounds with us” and “surprised me with his strong footwork”.

And the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows:

T Rodger Saffold, Indiana. I watched him whenever he was on the field because of the high marks he received in practices and because the 49ers need a tackle. He definitely has quick feet. He was able to slide well and reach the second level quickly on running plays. However, he seemed to get off balance too much in pass protection, which allowed his opponent to pull him forward and then get past Saffold on the edge. Saffold also was called for a false start.

Hoosier Morning

Indiana Iowa basketball

Indiana guard Verdell Jones III and Indiana forward Tom Pritchard try to block the shot of Iowa forward Jarryd Cole during the first half Sunday. Chris Howell | Herald-Times


Crean: Roth’s status still uncertain

Sophomore guard Matt Roth is apparently making progress with his foot injury. He wasn’t wearing a boot at Saturday’s game against Iowa, and he was shooting around with the team before hand. However, with February and the half-way point of the Big Ten season fast approaching, IU coach Tom Crean said he’s still uncertain when and if Matt Roth can return this season.

“We’re getting closer to decision time,” Crean said on his radio show Monday night. “He’s ahead of schedule, what that totally means, we’re getting closer to finding out.”

Crean said shortly after Roth suffered his injury at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament that if Roth were still out in February, he would apply for medical hardship instead of returning to burn a year of eligibility on half of a Big Ten season. Crean did not say if he is still looking at that as a drop-dead deadline.

“We’d really like him back,” Crean said. “And the thing about Matt is not only can he shoot it, but Matt moves the basketball. When that ball stops, and that thought gets out ‘lets see if I have a play before I make the next pass.’ That’s the stuff we’ve gotta go through, and it drives me nuts.”

Crean also said that Maurice Creek is making progress, but he said his hopes that Creek could return by season’s end were shot down quickly.

“I said, ‘Does that mean he’ll be back by March?” Crean said. “I got a quick shake of the head ‘No’ from Dr. Ahlfeld. He didn’t look me in the eye, which means he knew what I was asking.”

Crean got several questions about guards and guard play during the radio show, and he used that as a response to the several e-mails he’s getting about not recruiting enough big men.

“I get so many questions and e-mails,” Crean said. “Big guy, big guy, big guy, big guy. But it seems like all the questions that we get, not all the questions, some of the questions, they’re about guard play. That’s why you can never stop recruiting guards. … You’ve got to continue to look at all areas to improve your team.”

Buckley fills in for Crean on Big Ten call

Indiana coach Tom Crean apparently had a meeting that tied him up Monday morning, so assistant coach Tim Buckley filled in on the Big Ten call. As you’d expect from an assistant coach, he was polite and reasoned in his responses, but non-committal enough to keep his boss from having anything more to answer for.

Buckley addressed the rebounding margin in Sunday’s loss to Iowa and stressed that the Hoosiers had success in that area earlier.

“Showing that the consistency of it showing up in games is very important to us being successful,” Buckley said. “Obviously, winning the rebound battle against a team like Minnesota, you have those successes to build off of, and then showing the guys. I think once they see it on film, they’ll notice that we weren’t as physical as we needed to be. There’s a difference between just getting a body on somebody and getting a body on somebody, carving out space and keeping your feet moving, particularly against stronger and bigger guys. that’s an area that we’ll continue to address. And I think the other thing too is when your big guys are blocking out, then the guards gotta go in there and get the rebounds. We just didn’t get enough of that yesterday. That will continue to be a point of emphasis for us as a program.” (more…)

Just in case you didn’t realize…

…two former Indiana players will be playing in the Super Bowl. They would be New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter and wide receiver Courtney Roby. Indiana’s press release follows.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Former Hoosiers Tracy Porter (2004-07) and Courtney Roby (2001-04) of the New Orleans Saints are headed to Super Bowl XLIV after their 31-28 overtime victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday evening.

The Saints will take on the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Feb. 7, in Miami. Kickoff is set for 6:25 p.m. and the game will be televised by CBS.

Porter picked off a Brett Favre pass at the Saints 22-yard line and returned it 26 yards with seven seconds remaining to force the overtime period. He also thwarted another Viking scoring opportunity when he forced a fumble inside the New Orleans 10-yard line as the Saints held a 28-21 lead with 9:45 remaining. The Port Allen, La., native finished the game with eight solo stops.

Roby averaged 28 yards on five kick returns. He opened the second half with a 61-yard return to the Minnesota 37-yard line, which set up a New Orleans touchdown.

A four-year starter for the Hoosiers, Porter closed out his career second in IU history with 16 interceptions and topped the record book with 413 return yards. Porter claimed first team All-Big Ten honors following his senior season when he picked off six passes and led the Hoosiers to the Insight Bowl.

Roby sits second on the Indiana career lists with 2,524 receiving yards and 170 receptions to go along with 12 touchdowns. In 2002, he made 59 catches (sixth on IU single-season list) for 1,039 yards (fourth) and four touchdowns.

In addition to Porter and Roby, Mike Mallory is a member of the NFC champions. Mike, the son of IU’s all-time winningest coach Bill Mallory, spent the 1986-87 seasons as a graduate assistant in Bloomington. He is in his second season as the Saints assistant special teams coach.

Hoosier Morning

Indiana Iowa basketball

Indiana forward Christian Watford hangs his head as he comes out of the game during the second half Sunday. Chris Howell | Herald-Times


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