Notes From Media Day
August 17, 2011 – | No Comment

Before I begin, I should probably explain why we haven’t posted in a while. Frankly, it’s just been bad timing. I just got back from a study abroad program in Europe, and Charlie is still …

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Previewing Indiana with Hoosier Examiner Brandon Moore

Submitted by on November 12, 2009No Comment

It can be tough finding a top notch expert on the Indiana Hoosiers, so I consider myself fortunate to have a connection with Brandon Moore over on Examiner. Moore is an award-winning journalist who has followed the Hoosier athletic teams for some time now, including the death of former coach Terry Hoeppner.

Moore was kind enough to share his thoughts on a couple questions that I asked him in preparation for this weekend’s game.

Indiana has had some tough breaks this season. Do you think the controversial officiating calls against the Hoosiers will be the ultimate reason why Indiana stays at home this bowl season, or do they win the remaining two games to become eligible?

The bad calls have been hard to swallow for Indiana. They’ve been very upsetting, but not necessarily the “reason” Indiana has lost those games. The Hoosiers had a chance to drive for the win against Michigan, and a bad call took that chance away, but there’s obviously no guarantee they’d have progressed down the field, as their second half production had been dropping off. The Iowa call — an Indiana touchdown that was inexplicably ruled incomplete and even more inexplicably not corrected by replay officials — slowed Indiana’s momentum, but Iowa won the game in the fourth quarter, and that touchdown wasn’t going to slow the Hawkeyes down. Those are just two, but Indiana has been hit with more bad calls. Ultimately, though, Indiana’s failure to adjust to opponents’ second-half adjustments will be the reason the Hoosiers don’t reach a bowl game this year. It has been a trademark of Lynch’s tenure, and it doesn’t figure to change in the last two games against very good football teams.

Give Penn State fans a player on Indiana to watch that they should be aware of, either on offense, defense, or both.

Tandon Doss, Indiana wide receiver. Running back Darius Willis is a talented player, but I’d be surprised if he finds much room against the Nittany Lions front seven. Doss, though, is a matchup problem. He is big, very quick, straight-line fast and has tremendous hands. He can score on a reverse, a bubble screen or a deep route with equal ease.

Indiana QB Ben Chappell
Indiana QB Ben Chappell
Quarterback Ben Chappell has thrown for 300+ yards three times this season but his passing touchdowns only slightly outnumber his interceptions thrown. What is your take on Chappell and if he is back next year, can he lead the Hoosiers to a bowl game?

Chappell will ultimately be a viewed as a good quarterback. He has a tendency to force the ball into places it shouldn’t go, as young QBs will do, and the result is too many interceptions. He has a strong arm, though, and as he develops with Doss and Demarlo Belcher, another big, talented receiver, along with an improved running game as Willis and the offensive line improve, Chappell will take Indiana back to a bowl game. His decision-making continues to improve, as does his accuracy. He’ll be back next year, and he may very well have a bowl team.

Indiana's Bill Lynch has battled Big Ten refs seemingly all season
Indiana's Bill Lynch has battled Big Ten refs seemingly all season
Head coach Bill Lynch has taken over Indiana’s football program in tragic fashion, but it would seem that he has been doing a good job with what he has. What is the future like for Lynch at Indiana?

The future for Lynch got better when athletic director Fred Glass said he’d coach out his contract, which runs through 2011. Lynch was under a lot of fire after last season’s disappointing performance, and many fans continue to look at Indiana’s poor second-half performances as a reflection of poor coaching. That said, Indiana has been much improved this year, and if Lynch can hang on until next season, I think he’ll have a good team that can secure his job. If Indiana stumbles next year, I think it will be very hard for Glass to keep his word. Lynch inherited some much better players than his late predecessor and has done less than many expected. Glass wants to give Lynch a chance. It’s up to the team to determine whether that happens. Personally, I’d be surprised if Lynch is out as the Indiana coach before 2011, but 2010 will go a long way in deciding that.

What will be the keys to victory on Saturday against Penn State, a team that Indiana has never defeated?

The breaks that have gone against IU will have to go for them. Penn State will have to be looking past Indiana, and the Hoosiers will have to take advantage of that with some early points. The key, as usual, will be in the trenches, where Indiana will have to give Chappell time, and Willis enough room to keep the defense honest. On the other side of the ball, Indiana has to stop the run. Wisconsin chewed up the Hoosiers last week, but Indiana rallied late. If they can be a little bit more effective against the run, there’s a chance. Turnovers will also be critical. Penn State will have to give it away a couple times, and Indiana will have to avoid turnovers. Lose the turnover battle and Indiana will certainly lose the game.

Finally, how do you see this game playing out? Please share your prediction if you are prepared to offer one.

I think Indiana surprises Penn State early by keeping it close for two quarters. The Hoosiers may even grab the lead in the first half. Penn State will make some adjustments for the second half, and Indiana probably won’t be able to keep up. Penn State will use a turnover or special teams touchdown to steal the momentum and win the game, I’d say 38-24.

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Thanks again to Brandon. For more of his thoughts on Indiana’s football (and basketball) team be sure to stop by his page on Examiner all season.

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