Indiana University Hoosiers Football

History

Throughout all of my college football memories, Indiana University (no, NOT the University of Indiana, no such thing) has rarely, if ever been competitive in the Big Ten.  They were so bad when I went to school there in Bloomington, that I only attended one game to ‘check it out’.  And the stadium was not staying empty for lack of trying; the dorms would post free football tickets on the bulletin boards, and they would lay untouched all week until they put up next game’s free tickets.  I am used to  Indiana going 2-0 playing no name schools, then right before the Big Ten season starts, we’ll lose big to someone like North Carolina, then if we’re lucky, win 1 more game the rest of the season.

There were sparks when Randle El was the quarterback, but the bottom line is that they have only been to one bowl game in the last 16 years, and they got trounced.

However, last week, they looked very good last week against Akron, and I started to get a glimmer of hope that we might be competitive in the Big Ten this year.  As I type this, I am watching the Michigan game, and I think we have a very promising team.  Might even be competitive in the Big Ten.  Might even get more national exposure and get better recruits.  Might even start being competitive in the Big Ten every year.  Might even get ranked nationally!

Okay, before we get too excited, let’s look at where we are at realistically.

Positives

  • Multi-faceted offense:  They can run a traditional offensive package, but will also throw the the wildcat offense, and a triple option package at you.  This makes us harder to play and game plan defense against.  I really think we could also be successful exclusively running a spread offense like Drew Brees did at Purdue, as well.
  • Physical Defense:  Our pass rush has caused one interception so far.  Just now as I’m writing this, we caused a fumble.
  • Solid Quarterback:  Our QB has a heck of an arm, and can throw it accurately 50 yards in the air.
  • Good special teams threat:  Our special teams kick return team is great, and we often end up with great field position.
  • Score off of turnovers:  We got points off both of the MI turnovers that I saw, a must!
  • Offensive play calling is very solid

Things to work on

  • Too many penalties:  Penalties are killing us.  Several drive killing false starts in the packed Big House today.  Need more poise against all that noise.
  • Must score touchdowns in the red zone:  Three times we have gotten deep in the red zone and come away with only field goals.
  • Special teams defense:  MI is running it back to the 35 or 40 far too often.

Going forward

I was chatting with my friend Rich on the phone, as we both watched the Indiana at Michigan football game today.  I remarked that it would be really cool to build a national football program at Indiana.  Rich recommended following in the steps of Bobby Bowden.  When Bowden came to Florida State, he said, they were a no name school.  So Bowden started scheduling early season games against top 10 teams, and would travel on the road to their place.  They got trounced, but they got on TV.  Soon, when Bowden would call kids to recruit them, at least they knew who Florida State was.  Bowden, of course, parlayed that national exposure and name recognition into two national championships and a perennial contender.

Now I didn’t research the accuracy of Rich’s comments, but I don’t think it matters even if he just made them up.  I think this is a solid model for improving recruits, and building a national program.  Schedule tough teams early and often

Can Indiana build a nationally competitive football program?  Can Bill Lynch be our Bobby Bowden?  Only time will tell, but at least for now, yours truly is hopeful.

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2 comments
  1. Guy Behind the Guy said:

    Jesus Christ! I can’t believe that I’m writing about one of the Big Ten’s worst athletic programs – Indiana University football (btw, I appologize if my aforementioned exclamation offends some of you, but I am not afraid to be cast a sinner and a miscreant just because I imply that IU has a football team)! It’s an arduous journey being an IU football fan, and one that understandably leaves us a little jaded. For we Hoosiers don’t get to partake in the excitement and anticipation that happens every September when the college football season is at it’s precipice. We don’t have a 100,000 seat stadium to fill, or a two day tailgate party to attend, like many of our Big Ten brethren. Our games aren’t televised during primetime on a major network broadcast. Instead, we’re relegated to 12pm games on the Big Ten Network where we’re forced to tolerate insufferable commentary by the likes of Gerry DiNardo and Kenny Jackson. But I suppose that’s what you get when you wallow in obscurity for the past two decades.

    Alright, I’ve wiped away the tears, taken a deep breath, and removed my tampon. I am now ready to talk about this year’s squad. I’ve been an IU fan since Lee Corso checkered his pants and Bill Mallory peered through 18 inch rims (no, not hubcaps). So I’ve seen the promised land and I fear that we’re not there yet. It seems like we are making strides, however. For instance, I like Fred Glass. He’s a doer and more businessman than ex-athlete. That’s what IU needs as an athletic director. Let’s face it, there’s been many front office decisions that have come down from the past AD’s that have not only damaged the football program, but all of IU athletics in general. So far, Glass has hammered through the new stadium, sold a home game for $3M to Penn State, and kept Bill Lynch for another year. I like all those decisions in the early stages of his tenure and I hope that he’ll be as aggressive with all IU sports.

    As for Bill Lynch, I am a little biased. I knew Bill Lynch when he was the Butler head coach. I was friends with his son, so I have a personal bias towards Coach Lynch. However, I’m still up in the air about his long-term prospect as IU’s head honcho. His coaching staff seems to be very young, but capable. I especially like Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada. He has employed the “pistol” offense which seems to be working well for IU. I don’t know anything about the “Pistol Offense”. It seems be be a two back offense that mixes a spread formation with a west-coast style offense. In any case, IU seems to run it well and it gives their opponents some degree of difficulty.

    But back to Coach Lynch. I think he needs to do one thing well to ensure his job security at IU: RECRUIT! He’s got a great pipeline on Indiana talent and he does a good job of convincing them to attend IU (ie. signed Kofi Hughes from Cathedral), but he needs to prove that he can bring in tier II talent from football powerhouse states like Florida, Ohio, and Texas. If he can do that, the pressure will ease. In the meantime, he’s got to lead this the team to some winning seasons in order to continue to view the games from the sidelines.

    I watched the Michigan game and saw pieces of their other three games. I am encouraged that they seem to be improving with each week. However, I see a massive regression against OSU coming. How can’t they regress? I thought IU played well against Michigan. Granted, Michigan helped by committing a multitude of turnovers, bad snaps, and sloppy play, but IU still played like a lower-third Big Ten team. This is good, considering they usually play like a MAC, and sometimes, a division II squad. That was probably the best that IU can play. Hence, they’re going to have to play worse aginst OSU.

    I saw Chapel make very few mistakes (except the last throw where he tried to force one into coverage), Ray Fisher returned the ball well, and our defense made plays while shutting down the 4th best rushing offense in the country! I can’t complain much about that. But there were still times where we looked inferior – like the scout team playing against the first stringers; the JV against Varsity; the Dolphins against the Colts. We obviously need to improve in size, speed, and talent, but that comes with recruiting. We failed to convert in the red zone and we played not to lose instead of playing to win. I would’ve liked to have seen us go for it on a couple 4th and shorts. I think our offense moved the ball well and we could’ve put Michigan on it’s heels psychologically if we had made it. Our field goal kicker is iffy, at best. Our special teams coverage sucks. These are all things that represent a lack of depth. Something that needs to improve if we don’t want to be everyone’s homecoming opponent anymore.

    Going Forward

    Look, everyone wants to have a national football program. I don’t think you do it by getting your ass pounded on TV (although it did work for Paris Hilton). IU already has name recognition. Hell, it’s named after one of the fifty states! If recruits don’t know where or what Indiana is, we probably don’t want them anyway.

    No, the way to build and maintain a successful football program is the “Boise State way”. Hire good coaches, a strong staff, gain a recruiting base within your own state first, then spread throughout country, and build the program with a strong foundation. A few national tv games that show us getting trounced will show new recruits just that, US GETTING TROUNCED! I say BUILD the program and don’t look for national tv exposure just so you can say you were on tv.

    Maybe the question that we should be asking isn’t, “Can Bill Lynch be our Bobby Bowden”, but instead, “Can Bill Lynch out-recruit Bobby Bowden?”

    Amen!

    • innertubes said:

      I really can’t disagree with you anywhere. Very well thought out and well written analysis. Any Guy Behind The Guy insight for the big game tomorrow? I think it’s a moral win if we lose by 21 points or less. Ah, the life of an Indiana Football fan…

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