March 21, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Hoosiers return to the gridiron for the first of 15 spring practices on Tuesday. IUHoosiers.com will bring you practice reports, video features and interviews throughout spring practice. Head coach Bill Lynch will kick off spring ball with a press conference at 1 p.m. on Monday, which will be streamed live at IUHoosiers.com.
Making The Switch
Seven players will move from offense to defense this spring. Most notably, senior Ray Fisher will move from wide receiver to cornerback. Three other wideouts in 2008 - Shane Covington, Collin Taylor and Kyle Dietrick - will join Fisher in the defensive backfield at safety.
Jarrod Smith and Milton Owens will switch over from the offensive line to the defensive tackle, while Trea Burgess heads from running back to linebacker.
Eight Hoosiers will miss entirely or be limited in spring practice due to injuries. Fifth-year senior safeties Austin Thomas and Nick Polk, sophomore punter Chris Hagerup and redshirt freshman Charles Love III are each recovering from ACL surgeries.
Senior weak-side linebacker and one of last year's tri-captains, Will Patterson
, is out with a wrist injury, and junior defensive tackle Deonte Mack
is recovering from hip surgery. Junior right tackle Mike Stark
will miss the spring due to a back injury, while junior cornerback Adrian Burks
will sit out following shoulder surgery.
In 2008, the Hoosiers were battered by injuries. Indiana lost 41 starting games to 17 starters. CB Christopher Phillips missed nine games followed by Thomas (7), Polk (5), QB Kellen Lewis (3), Mack (2), LT Rodger Saffold (2), CB Richard Council (2) and Patterson (2). Wide receivers Andrew Means and Ray Fisher, C Pete Saxon, TE Brian Zematis, Perry, RG Cody Faulkner, redshirt freshman LG Andrew McDonald, QB Ben Chappell and Stark each missed one game.
Indiana lost three-quarters of its secondary to ACL injuries and took a big hit on the offensive line. The line used eight different starting lineups on the season and seven different starting lineups over the final seven weeks.
Coaching Staff Update
Dennis Springer has been tabbed the team's assistant head coach. Springer joined the Hoosiers in 2008 and served as running backs coach and co-special teams coordinator and will maintain those roles once again in 2009. Kyle Conner will remain as tight ends coach and add assistant offensive line coach to his duties.
Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada, wide receivers coach Billy Lynch and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson will remain in their current capacity.
On the defensive side of the ball, co-defensive coordinators Brian George and Joe Palcic will handle the defensive tackles and secondary, respectively. Mike Yeager will transition from safeties coach to linebackers coach, as George Ricumstrict moves from linebackers coach to defensive ends coach.
Thursday Night Lights
Indiana kicks off the 2009 campaign with its first-ever meeting with Eastern Kentucky at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3. It marks the first Thursday game in Memorial Stadium's history. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
"I think it will be a special treat for our fans to open our season and our renovated stadium on the Thursday night before Labor Day weekend," Indiana University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass said. "Hopefully, it will not only help our attendance versus a game in the middle of the holiday weekend, but it will be a great kickoff for a new football tradition in our new stadium."
The last time the Hoosiers played on a Thursday came back on Sept. 6, 2001, in their season opener at North Carolina State. IU last played a regular season game on a non-Saturday in Terry Hoeppner's first game as Hoosier head coach at Central Michigan on Sept. 2, 2005.
IU, UVA To Square Off
Indiana University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass announced that Indiana and the University of Virginia have agreed to a home-and-home football series starting this fall.
The Virginia game fills a slot in the Hoosiers' schedule recently vacated by the University of South Florida. USF asked to defer a game with Indiana so it could begin a series with Florida State University.
IU and UVa will meet next season in Charlottesville, Va., on Oct.10. Virginia will travel to Bloomington for the return matchup on Sept. 10, 2011. It will mark Indiana's 16th meeting against an ACC opponent and its first since a 2001 showdown with North Carolina State in Raleigh.
Hoosiers Host Six
The Hoosiers welcome six teams, including Ohio State and Purdue, to newly-renovated Memorial Stadium in 2009. Six of the Hoosiers' 12 opponents reached postseason play in 2008 and the competitive home schedule also features games with Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Following a two-year absence, Michigan and Ohio State replace Minnesota and Michigan State on the Indiana ledger. IU will face the Wolverines, Akron, Virginia, Northwestern, Iowa and Penn State on the road.
"This is a great home schedule with some of the top teams in college football," head coach Bill Lynch said. "We want the Hoosier Nation to come out and support us, and to enjoy our new state-of-the art facility."
When the Hoosiers take the field for their season opener against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 3, Memorial Stadium's facelift will be complete. The North End Zone Facility is scheduled for completion during the summer of 2009. The 100,000 square-foot facility will address several critical needs for IU Athletics.
At the heart of the new structure will be a 24,000 square-foot strength and conditioning center, located at field level, providing student-athletes in every varsity sport with access to essential weight training and cardio equipment. Nearby will be the headquarters of the Indiana football program, featuring new staff offices, position meeting rooms and a team auditorium. The facility will also offer increased space for athletic administration offices.
In addition, the North End Zone will house the IU Hall of Champions and provide approximately a 5,000-seat bowl. A new 18,000-square foot Academic Resource Center will be housed underneath the East side of the stadium, meeting all the student-athletes' needs.
Defensive end Jammie Kirlew was named a finalist for the 2008 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. The junior, who earned first team All-Big Ten honors from the conference media and second team recognition from the conference coaches, was one of six finalists.
It marked the second straight year a Hoosier pass-rusher earned a spot as one of the Hendricks finalists. Greg Middleton received the honor during the 2007 season.
Kirlew finished second in the Big Ten in sacks (10.5) and 12th nationally (0.88 per game), and second in the league in tackles for loss (19.5) and tied for fifth nationally (1.63 per game). In conference action only, the Hoosiers' MVP paced the Big Ten with 15 tackles for loss and finished tied for third with seven sacks.
The Orlando native recorded a sack in six of his last eight games. He posted two against Wisconsin, his third multi-sack game of the season and the fourth of his career. His team- and career-high 10.5 sacks are good for fourth place on IU's single-season list, and his 16.5 career sacks are a half-sack behind Joe Huff for fifth place on the school's career chart.
Punter Chris Hagerup was recognized on three Freshman All-America Teams. Sporting News, Rivals.com and Phil Steele each selected the redshirt freshman as a second-teamer.
Hagerup, who was recognized as honorable mention All-Big Ten, wrapped up his first season handling the team's punting duties with a 42.4 average and shared the seventh-best single-season average in IU history. His average ranked third in the Big Ten, 22nd nationally and was the third best by a freshman in the country.
The Whitefish Bay, Wis., native boomed 13 of his 61 punts over 50 yards, including a Big Ten-long 67-yarder, and landed 14 inside the 20-yard line and five inside the 10. Hagerup kicked at least one 50-yarder in nine of the team's 12 games and collected IU's special teams player of the week honors nine times.
Twenty-eight football Hoosiers recorded a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in the 2008 fall semester. That number accounts for 26 percent of the roster.
Thirty players (33 percent) now hold cumulative GPAs over 3.0. This comes on the heels of a school-record 22 Hoosier football student-athletes earning Academic All-Big Ten honors.
Student-athletes must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better to be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection.
Chris Adkins, Leon Beckum, Brandon Bugg, Trea Burgess, Ben Chappell, Zach Davis-Walker, Max Dedmond, Taylor Donnell, Matt Ernest, Mitchell Evans, Bruce Hampton, Jammie Kirlew, Joe Kleinsmith, Alex Perry, Mike Reiter, Tyler Replogle, Jeff Sanders, Pete Saxon, Austin Starr, Collin Taylor, Eric Thomas and Brian Zematis represented the football team.
Means To An End
Andrew Means was the lone Hoosier to work out at the NFL Combine. The Avon Lake, Ohio, native compiled the 10th-best 20-yard shuttle time among the participating wideouts. At Indiana's Pro Day, Means ran a 4.36 40-yard dash and did 18 reps of 225 on the bench press.
Means closed his Indiana career with 102 receptions and 1,272 yards to become the 14th Hoosier to reach 100 career catches and 1,000 career yards. He led the team with 450 yards and finished second with 34 receptions in 2008.
As Means awaits the NFL Draft (April 25-26), he reported to the Cincinnati Reds spring training camp in Sarasota, Fla. A center fielder for the Hoosier baseball team, the Reds selected Means in the 11th round of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.
Means signed a professional contract with the Reds and reported to Billings, Mont., last summer. He hit .231 with three homers and 16 RBIs before returning to the Hoosiers. If he is not selected in the NFL Draft, Means will focus solely on his baseball career.