Dear IU football: No one hates you

By   |   Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2008 - 8:05 PM   |   5 comments

Adam Rittenberg, the prolific new Big Ten blogger for ESPN, ranked the conference’s football teams from most hated to least hated today.

Your Hoosiers are the least hated. Ohio State is the most hated.

Rittenberg says of Indiana: “… the program usually isn’t relevant enough to be hated.”

No Machiavellian examination of these rankings — is it better to be feared or loved? — is in order.



Report: Crean gets two more years

By   |   Monday, Jul. 28, 2008 - 1:44 PM   |   23 comments

4:05 update: Tom Crean has spoken, and he has not said much. His statement, according to an e-mail, is:

“As soon as the long form contract is finished it will be released.  To date, I am comfortable with the progress that is being made with finalizing the details of my contract and look forward to its completion.”

————-

2:35 update: IU will release a statement from Tom Crean today regarding the report that he has agreed to a two-year extension that would give him a 10-year contract.

Crean is still in the process of negotiating his initial contract with IU and it appears he’s very close to completing that process.

—————

2:15 update: IU trustee Phil Eskew just told us that he doesn’t know anything about an extension for Crean and would be surprised if one has been approved because university president Michael McRobbie has been in Australia. Eskew thinks McRobbie would need to be involved in such a decision.

This doesn’t mean that the report about Crean getting a two-year extension is incorrect, but if it’s true, it’s interesting that one of the trustees hasn’t been informed about an extension for IU’s highest-profile employee. That extension would likely cost more than $4.5 million, based on Crean’s initial memorandum of agreement for an average salary of $2.3 million for eight years (a total of $18.2 million).

We’ll provide further updates today on this report.

————

Indiana head coach Tom Crean has yet to sign a contract with Indiana, though talks have been ongoing.

According to the original memorandum of understanding he signed on April 1, he and athletic director Rick Greenspan were supposed to work out the details of the 8-year deal worth $2.3 million a year and make it official by May 15.

Since then, of course, Crean has realized how muddy the situation is at Indiana. And Greenspan has been bought out of his contract.

Now, the Indy Star is reporting that sources close to the situation are saying that Crean has already received a two-year extension.

We haven’t been able to confirm this yet, but we’re working on it. It seems likely that the addition of two years to the deal came up during the drafting of the final contract — either at the request of IU or Crean — and that an announcement of its finalization could come soon.



Jeff Meyer lands at Michigan

By   |   Sunday, Jul. 27, 2008 - 3:51 PM   |   Comments Off

Jeff Meyer, the former Indiana assistant who has already be cleared from any serious wrong-doing in the mess that brought down Kelvin Sampson, has taken a job as an administrative specialist at Michigan.

He’ll assist coach John Beilein with….something. The release isn’t exactly clear. But Beilein, in the statement, expressed confidence in the long-time coach. Meyer was cleared of any major violations shortly after the hearing before the NCAA committee on infractions ended on June 14.

Contrary to what the Michigan press release says, Meyer spent the last two seasons at IU. That’s a significant fact, because his hiring certainly played some role — however minor — in luring Eric Gordon to Indiana. Meyer coached Eric Gordon Sr. at Liberty.

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Hoops Weiss on Tom Crean

By   |   Sunday, Jul. 27, 2008 - 11:43 AM   |   12 comments

Dick “Hoops” WeissDick Weiss, who has been covering college basketball for 40 years now, penned a story that was given the headline “Tom Crean has tough job ahead in rebuilding Indiana hoops” for the New York Daily News.

I promise the story itself is more insightful than the headline

“Hoops,” as Dick is usually referred to, caught up with Crean in Las Vegas and somehow got him to stop and talk. Crean, he writes, has put 150 miles on his rental car already and is buzzing around trying to keep his current recruits happy and find future ones.

It’s a long story and much of it rehashes what you, as Hoosiers fans, lived through the past couple of months. Still worth a read, and a discussion here.



The future of football?

By   |   Saturday, Jul. 26, 2008 - 1:21 PM   |   15 comments

As I wrote in my column today, Purdue coach Joe Tiller insists that the spread of the spread offense has as much to do with changes in our society as a whole as it does finding a way to win football games.

While I was speaking with Indiana coach Bill Lynch about his thoughts on the spread offense, I began wondering about the future of football. How far would the trend go? But I forgot to ask him because, well, I saw an opening to talk to kicker Austin Starr and wanted to get his thoughts on a variety of things, most of them having nothing to do with football.

Luckily, I’ve found my answer to what football will be in the future: two quarterbacks and nine eligible receivers. What that means, really, is that all 11 players on the field could end up catching the ball. It’s the spread on ‘roids.

Read the story. Watch the video. Then tell me what you think….will football really evolve the way the creators of this offense believe it will?

I’m going to be interested to check back on this later in the year. The team that runs this offense — dubbed the A-ll — has made three straight playoff appearances using it. But by now I’m guessing other defensive coaches are planning for it by shifting defensive sets and personnel.



Chalk up another recruit

By   |   Friday, Jul. 25, 2008 - 5:54 PM   |   6 comments

Colin Rodkey, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound offensive lineman from Monroeville, Pa., announced a verbal commitment Friday afternoon to play football at Indiana.

Rodkey’s decision brings IU’s total of verbal commitments for its 2009 recruiting class to 15. The 52nd-ranked guard in the nation according to Rivals.com reportedly had scholarship offers from West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina State, Minnesota and Army.

Rodkey plays for Gateway High School’s prominent program, which has recorded seven straight winning seasons, a Top 10 USA Today national ranking in 2007, five unbeaten seasons, five one-loss seasons and a pair of mythical state titles.



Lynch & Co. respond to you

By   |   Friday, Jul. 25, 2008 - 2:55 PM   |   1 comment

Bill Lynch

At the start of the week, I asked for your preseason questions that you’d like answered during the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. Here are answers from IU’s attendees – Bill Lynch, Greg Brown, Marcus Thigpen and Starr – to most of those questions:

1. How many freshmen will play this season?

Lynch said he doesn’t know the answer to that question because it depends on how well the freshman adapt to the rigors of fall camp and are able to keep their concentration and focus while playing at a higher level of competition and intensity than high school. He said that running back and wide receiver are the two positions where he expects freshmen to have a chance to play this season, but there could be others if particular players really stand out or if a particular position has a string of injuries. He said that last year the coaches could tell from the first day or two of practice that linebacker Tyler Replogle was going to get a chance to play, but that couldn’t have been predicted going into camp.

2. What is being done to stop the run better this season?

The team has worked very hard on running the ball better on offense and stopping the run better on defense, Lynch said. Every day in practice the IU offense is using some power schemes like the Hoosiers will see against a Michigan State or a Wisconsin, Lynch said, so the team will be prepared for those teams. Last year, the defense didn’t see those formations until the week of those games because they aren’t ones that IU’s offense typically runs.


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