Archive for September 30, 2012

Rise and Fire

Who? What? When? Where?

College Football Recap Week Five

Who?

Keith Wenning

Ball State’s Keith Wenning continues on with his excellent season to this point albeit in a loss for the Cardinals on Saturday.  The Cards (3-2, 1-1) fell at Kent State 45-43, but not to the fault of Wenning.  He threw for a ridiculous 445 yards and five touchdowns while connecting on 74% (32-for-43) of his passes.  The yardage and touchdown marks set career highs for the junior quarterback.  Wenning has proven this year that he is very capable of leading the Ball State offense to big scoring outputs, but at this time needs to get a little bit more help from the defense.  Ball State still has a chance to be in the MAC Championship race with a very big game against West Division rival Northern Illinois on Saturday.  To do this, the Cards will need Wenning to continue his spectacular start to the season.

What?

The lack of defense by the state schools this week was very evident.  Notre Dame and their stifling defense had a bye week leaving Indiana, Purdue, and Ball State with opportunities to showcase.  Their defenses however did not show up on Saturday.  They gave up a total of 130 points in the three games combined (45, 44, and 41 points respectively).  Indiana’s defense had the most alarming performance.  IU gave up 44 points, 704 total yards, 36 first downs, and just over 36 minutes of possession to Northwestern.  Purdue’s defense had the most surprising outing this week.  The Boilers defensively have been highly touted and have looked very good so far this year.  Saturday at home against Marshall they looked anything but allowing 41 points, 534 total yards (439 yards passing), and 31 first downs.  This comes from a defense who entering the game was only averaging 14 points allowed per game.  The Ball State defense is much like the IU defense as far as their lack of strength up front.  Please see above on how/why Ball State has won and what they will need to continue winning.

When?

Week six is when the Indiana Hoosiers start true freshman Nate Sudfeld at quarterback.  Sudfeld came in in relief of Cam Coffman on Saturday and led the Hoosiers on several scoring drives ending the day with 29 points.  Sudfeld played the last drive of the first half and the entire second half going 9-for-16, 157 yards, and a touchdown.  Sudfeld came to IU from Modesto, CA as a high ranking recruit.  He wanted to play for head coach Kevin Wilson and offensive coordinator Seth Littrell who had great success coaching QB’s at Oklahoma and Arizona respectively.  The QB switch will not only be interesting since Sudfeld would become just the second true freshman to start (the other being the injured Tre Roberson last season), but it would be almost the exact same scenario.  Roberson started the last 5 games of last season so Sudfeld would be a little ahead of that mark.  Roberson was also the third starter of the season as will Sudfeld.  This move is necessary right now after two straight losses as IU is getting set for homecoming and the Big Ten season, but could make the offseason and fall training camp very interesting next year.

Where?

Ball State suffered their first conference loss of the season Saturday at Kent State’s Dix Stadium.  After two straight games where they won with exciting late scores, the Cards were downed by a field goal with just :06 remaining.  The Cardinals had a good start to their season and seemed to be hot after beating IU and South Florida.  This puts BSU at 1-1 in conference making their push to the conference championship a bit tougher now.  Kent State does reside in the MAC’s East Division so the Cards still have their chance to make their mark in the West Division.

Follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

Inside the Man Room

Here we are in the Man Room once again chatting up Indiana sports.  Coach Kosiak and I have a lot of football topics to get to this week.  We go over the Colts home loss to Jacksonville giving our thoughts on what went wrong.  Then we turn our sights to the college game and the great starts to the season by Ball State and Notre Dame.  Plus we wrap up with Coach’s Quick Hitters.

Find all the Indy Sports Crew podcasts on iTunes so subscribe today!  You can always let us know what you think on Twitter @thadvandeventer, @C_K_42, and @IndySportsCrew.

The Ponderings of Dr. Sheckles

Pete Lembo is Not Your Coach

 

You don't want this guy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a warning to all BCS Athletic Directors, Pete Lembo is bad news.  Trust me on this.  He isn’t the guy to be the next coach of your school.  So Kansas, Mississippi State, NC State and the rest of you perennial cellar dwellers should just stay away.   I know it’s easy to be impressed by the Ball State Cardinals recent success.  They did just beat BCS schools back to back weeks, securing half of the teams wins all time versus such programs in the process.  The Cardinals may seem to be on the rise sure.  They have gone from two wins a couple of years ago to an offensive force that looks to go bowling this year.  You guys are being fooled.  This Lembo fella is just running the long con.

Look at the last two games, Ball State barely won.  They needed a last second miracle to beat Indiana and Southern Florida.  Pish Posh!  Indiana rarely plays football and Southern Florida had to be sleepy from that long flight.  So there you go Mr. Iowa State.  Stop sniffing around asking questions about how he is getting so much production out of that offense.  How he is thriving with ol’ noodle arm.  How they are 3-1 with a defense slightly more porous than a pasta strainer.  Take that back to Ames and on the way swing through Minnesota and tell them they aren’t interested either.  Mention to the rest of the AD’s out there that Pete hates puppies, candy, kids, and spring break.

I bet he’s lazy too.  It really shows.  If he wasn’t he’d of planned for IU to be forced into using a third string quarterback.  I bet Steve Spurrier would have planned for that!  You want further proof?   Look at his offensive play calling.  Those super effective runs up the middle show a real lack of creativity.  Sure the guy from UCLA was keen to bring up the trick play that saw Jamil Smith throw a touchdown to Wenning.  You can also forget the fact that 11 Cardinals have caught passes this year or that the backfield can throw four looks at you.  This man is vanilla as 1955.

You guys are from big time programs, you need big time names.  Ok, you guys can also get by with the assistants of big time names.  Whatever floats your boat.  Keep on ignoring Pete Lembo.  We Ball State fans have been down this path before.  Look what San Diego State and Michigan have gotten out of stealing Brady Hoke!  Nothing but a few bowl wins and some Denard INTs.   Can you believe the gall of that lady from Boston College?  She had the nerve to talk about Coach Lembo’s past.  How all he does is turn programs around and win games.  Look lady that was D-2 sissy ball stuff.  You Big 12, 10, SEC, Pac 24 types need not worry about that.  No no no, at the end of the day trust Dr. Sheckles.  I know you big time programs will soon come a calling for our coach, but really he’s a waste of your time.  (Did I mention he talks during movies?)

Mock me on twitter @doctorsheckles

The Flying V

Austin Collie is Hurt…AGAIN, and It’s Time Indy Makes Him RETIRE!

Collie moments after his newest season ending injury

Let me first preface by saying I’m not one to tell a professional athlete when he/she should hang it up! I know I would want to keep playing the game I love for as long as I possibly could. But with that being said I know without a doubt it is time for Austin Collie to ride off into the sunset. Austin Collie has long been suffering from lingering effects of concussions in his brief NFL career. Austin has to wear a black visor on his helmet because he has light sensitivity due to his concussions. We all remember his lifeless body lying on the ground in Philadelphia two years ago. He has suffered a confirmed three concussions in his short NFL career, and Sunday ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee.

As is the case with most NFL athletes they’ve suffered many, many more unconfirmed concussions in their playing lives. Just imagine you’ve played football since probably age 5 and you’ve been drilled on at least 50 incredible shots during this time. So I could say most guys have had 50+ concussions during their lives. As we’ve seen in the last few years with the after affects from concussions, these brutal hits can cause life altering events. Remember Junior Seau? Dave Duerson? Jim McMahon? The list of former NFL stars who have gone into a downward spiral after their careers have concluded continues to rise. To be quite honest if I ever have a son I will NOT allow him to play football….EVER! That is my personal opinion but I believe I am not and will not be the only person who feels this way in the coming years.

Collie after a concussion at Philly 2 seasons ago.

 

In Austin’s case I know why he wants to keep going, but he shouldn’t be allowed to. Every single premium athlete will always tell you he’s good to go. He can get that last yard, he can strike out the #4 hitter with the bases loaded, he can make the guarded three with time running out in the National Championship. I could go on and on, but the fact of the matter is that the athlete will always think he can do more, go farther, be better. But in Austin’s case I believe Jim Irsay has to step in and stop him! I don’t care what doctor is going to clear him, what training staff is going to show him doing every on field drill necessary to play. I think as an organization the Indianapolis Colts, who I love need to say Austin you have a beautiful wife, one son who will need him for the rest of his life, and an organization that can use you in the front office. He’s got an opportunity to move away from football under his own power. Yes some idiot Colts fan will scream from the top row of Lucas Oil Stadium to say Collie should play if he wants, that will consider him selfish for walking away. I would just simply tell those people to “Shut the hell up!”

There are far more important things left for Austin Collie to do in his life. He needs to look in the mirror, then look at a family picture, then drive to Jim Irsay’s house and retire. He’s made some cash, he’ll make some more in other ventures, and we hopefully won’t have to ask ourselves, why didn’t anyone save Austin from Austin?

 

Like what I have to say hit my up on Twitter @C_K_42  @IndySportsCrew or indysportscrew@hotmail.com

Rise and Fire

Monday Night Reaction

Monday Night Reaction is the newest feature here on the website.  Each Monday following a Colts game, I will break down the game and look at all the news and stats from the match up.  This will give me and you a full 24 hours to digest what happened with the horseshoes.  Let the video and the discussion begin.  Your thoughts are welcome as always on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

The Flying V

Epic Defense Stops Michigan; QB Controversy Develops in South Bend

As the dust settled from last night’s epic defensive struggle in South Bend, two things are clear to me. The Irish defense is legit, and there most certainly is a QB controversy developing in South Bend.

First off the defense slapped the Wolverines around, much the same way they did to Michigan State last weekend. This game was different. It wasn’t that the Irish D stopped the Wolverine offense. It was that the Irish turned Michigan over 6 times in the game, including 5 turnovers by Denard “Shoelace” Robinson. At one point in the 2nd quarter Michigan had 3 consecutive passes intercepted by the Irish D. The biggest stars of the Irish defense were obviously Manti Te’o who recorded 8 tackles and 2 picks. Stephan Tuitt who recorded his 6th sack of this young season, Bennett Jackson who came up with his 3rd pick and 1st fumble recovery. All in all the ND defensive unit flew around and made plays. They held Robinson to only 228 total yards.

The magic of Denard against ND in the past 2 seasons has been well documented and talked about. Coming into Saturday night, Denard had an incredible 948 total yards from scrimmage against the Irish, the most in history for an Irish opponent.  The Irish had a bit of a bend but don’t break mentality last night. In trying to contain “Shoelace”, you must contain first and foremost and pressure second. You must keep Denard in your sights, can’t let him cut back, and the outside linebackers and defensive ends must keep contain. The Irish did a great job of this Saturday night. They weren’t as dominate as Alabama but there are 15 NFL teams that aren’t as dominate as Alabama is. Fact of the matter is that Notre Dame has a dominating defensive front 7, and don’t look now but the young secondary grew up a lot last night. No I don’t think any of the young’ens are the second comings of Ronnie Lott, Deion Sanders, or even Shane Walton (last ND corner to be an All American), but this group of converted CB’s or Safeties are starting to believe! That is a dangerous thing for the upcoming ND offenses. If the back four can continue to tackle in run support, stick with their match ups in pass coverage, and keep snagging picks, the Irish D can vault them into the a stratosphere of the nations elite.

The elephant in the room after Saturday nights victory was is there a QB controversy? Brian Kelly immediately came out and said Golson was his starter but I have a hard time believing that. Is Tommy Rees the Dennis Eckersley or Mariano Rivera of Notre Dame Football? He very well might be. He has started big games, won many of those big games, and can thrive under the pressure that is playing QB at ND. Everett Golson looked mentally over-matched last night, he threw 2 terrible interceptions. The first of his 2 was on the opening drive of the night and he under threw intended target Chris Brown badly. Then his second while marching down the field should’ve been a throw away but he lobbed it into the end zone and was easily picked. Golson finished 3-8 for 30 yards and the 2 picks. Then out of the Irish bullpen came junior Tommy Rees, who all he did was lead the Irish on their only TD drive of the night and capped it with his 1st career TD run.  I’ve been as critical of Tommy Rees as anyone I know. I appreciated what he did in Kelly’s first 2 seasons under the Golden Dome but knew it was time for a change under center this season. Then his arrest in May while at a off campus party. That was the nail in the coffin, or so I thought. Rees was suspended for the season opener in Ireland, relegated to back up duty in his return against Purdue. But then Golson put the ball on the carpet late against the Boilers and in came “Touchdown” Tommy for the game winning drive. I guess he was “field goal” Tommy as the Irish kicked a game winning FG against Purdue, but Saturday night he ran out to cheers, not jeers as was the case against the Boilers. The Irish faithful saw young Everett struggling and looking scared and thus they welcomed their prodigal son back with open arms.

Is Tommy Rees the long term answer at QB? I still don’t think so but honestly I think right now he is the BEST answer for Kelly and Co. He has seen things young Golson hasn’t. He has done things Golson hasn’t. He has gone through life’s peaks and valleys which Golson hasn’t had to. All in all I believe Tommy Rees gives ND the best chance to win today! I believe Golson can be a big time player under the Golden Dome but I think the Irish need a Trent Dilfer type or Rees. Golson is still said to be the starter but how much longer will the Irish faithful be okay with two steps forward and three steps back from the young signal caller?

I’ll just say this to you and you can chew on it. If you think Gunner Kiel came to Notre Dame to sit behind Golson, Rees, and Hendrix you’re sadly mistaken. If you’ve seen Kiel sling the rock then you know how the ball explodes out of his hand. You can see why SEC, ACC, Big Ten, and NOTRE DAME recruited him until the very end last winter. Gunner Kiel will be the BEST option at QB next fall and I will go on the record right here and now and say Gunner Kiel will start on opening day August 31st against Temple.

Like what you hear? Follow me on Twitter @C_K_42 or @IndySportsCrew.

Rise and Fire

Who? What? When? Where?

College Football Recap Week Four

Who?

There has been no one more impressive in the last two weeks than Manti Te’o and the Notre Dame defense.  Last night Te’o and the Irish held Michigan without a touchdown while forcing six Wolverine turnovers in ND’s 13-6 win.  This comes off of last week’s performance at Michigan State where ND only allowed a field goal by the home team Spartans.  Te’o finished last night with eight tackles and two interceptions, but more importantly than that he helped led the Irish defense keep Michigan’s Denard Robinson in check.  Robinson finished with 228 total yards of offense which is good when you compare it to the 948 combined yards he had in the past two games against the Irish.  Te’o is without question the leader for not just the Irish defense but the entire team.  Showing leadership on and off the field (after losing his grandmother and girlfriend last week) the past two weeks and instilling a new toughness to this team has Te’o garnering national attention.

What?

The Ball State Cardinals may not need a full introduction to the country but they are letting people know they have a good football team.  I’m talking to you Big Ten, Big East, and most importantly you the MAC.  Ball State took down its second straight BCS conference team yesterday beating South Florida at home 31-27.  This comes after beating IU last week 41-39 which was their third straight win over the Hoosiers.  Ball State has shown great progress under second year head coach Pete Lembo and look primed to be super competitive in the MAC West.  The Cards get back to conference play next week when they travel to Kent State.

When?

Ball State took the lead for good when Keith Wenning connected with Willie Snead on a 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:02 left in the 4th quarter.  Let me know if you have heard that duo hook up for a big play before?  Oh yes, last week when they completed an 18-yard pass with one second left to set up the game winning field goal.  Wenning has now engineered winning drives two consecutive weeks and seems to be taking the step Coach Lembo wanted to see from him moving to an elite MAC quarterback.  Wenning finished 24-for-36, 244 yards, 2 touchdowns, and of course the win.  That final catch from Snead was his 11th of the day for a total of 135 yards capped by the game winning touchdown.  It also sealed Ball State’s invitation to the MAC title party.

Where?

There is no doubt there has been an attitude adjustment inside the Notre Dame defensive meeting rooms.  Irish head coach Brian Kelly has been known through his coaching career for explosive offenses, but he came to South Bend needing to change up the defense.  In his third year and with the help of defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, the Irish have become a smash mouth, old school style defense.  Notre Dame has only allowed 36 points in four games this year (if you’re bad at math that is an average of 9 points per game!).  Their front seven has been the difference led by the aforementioned Manti Te’o.  Winning the line of scrimmage play after play puts so much pressure on the opposing offense and specifically their quarterback.  Michigan’s Denard Robinson played the worst game of his career yesterday and a lot of that is due to the stress the ND defense applied.  One big surprise this year has been the play of the Irish defensive secondary.  They came into the year basically with very little experience at all but senior safety Zeke Motta has stepped up to give some leadership and band those DB’s together.

Follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

Rise and Fire

Colts Look to Start Win Streak

Jaguars at Colts

The Indianapolis Colts look for a winning streak with a win on Sunday against Jacksonville.  This winning streak would be their first, well, just since last December but doesn’t it feel longer ago than that.  A lot of things have changed since that two game winning streak at the end of last season- GM, head coach, defense, quarterback, half the roster.  One thing that is much different however is that the Colts are favored in this game.  I don’t condone betting on games for all you degenerates out there but it is nice to see the hometown team favored and dare I say expected to win this game.

This game against Jacksonville will be the first of the season against an AFC South foe and first conference game.  The Jags roll into Indy with two losses to start their season.  A description of Jacksonville may sound similar as well.  They feature a stud running back, a young and learning quarterback in his second year, a defense that is average, and a long time rumored team on the moving block to LA.  Nope, its not last week’s opponent the Minnesota Vikings, but this game could/should be deja vu all over again.

The Colts were a better team than the Vikings last week and should be a better team than Jacksonville.  You could never say that in any game last season.  Indianapolis is still a team that is building, but one way to get there quicker is to beat equal or lesser opponents at home.  Although Indy let Minnesota charge back last week they showed a lot poise with some faith in Andrew Luck to march down for the game-winning field goal.

So here are a few things I will be watching for in tomorrow’s game.  First is the continued progress of Andrew Luck.  He showed improvement from week one to week two especially in the turnover department.  He also showed some of his athleticism with his ability to run/scramble.  Luck was able to lengthen some plays by getting out of the pocket and still being able to throw the ball down field.  He also has gotten a lot of help from his veteran wide receivers in Reggie Wayne and Donnie Avery.  Both of these guys have had big games in the first two weeks.

On the other side of the ball, the defensive backfield intrigues me.  They played a very good game last week.  Some of that could be on the young quarterback they played against, but good news Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert threw for a robust 53 yards last time out.  I believe Jerraud Powers is a solid cornerback and hope to see Vontae Davis be more and more involved.

This is a big game for the maturation of the new Colts.  Coach Chuck Pagano has been big on saying they are “building the monster”.  Winning games that you are expected to win is not always easy, but winning those games sets the tone every organization wants.  It will also foster trust and confidence in a team still getting to know each other.  Not to mention endear your team for a newly football crazed fan base.  So deja vu all over again would be a great thing for the Colts this week.

Follow me @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

The Flying V

The Coach’s Notre Dame vs Michigan Preview

The Fighting Irish have waited 12 agonizing months for this rematch! I still haven’t gotten over the heart breaker in Ann Arbor. The Irish left touchdowns all over the carpet of the Big House last September on their way to 5 turnovers. Then to make matters worse they had a lead with 30 seconds left only to watch the secondary take a nap on every play and allow Denard “Shoelace” Robinson the chance to steal another win from Brian Kelly’s crew. All Denard has done in his 2 career games against the Irish is amass 948 total yards. The most EVER by an Irish opponent for an entire career. Robinson will add to his mind boggling total on Saturday night, but hopefully not to the extint he has in the past 2.

Michigan’s game winner last year in Ann Arbor

I honestly can’t figure out how good or how mediocre Michigan really is. I mean Alabama beat them around Cowboy Stadium, but Alabama will do that to almost everyone they play this season. Then Air Force gave them fits all afternoon but the Academy schools do that to almost everyone, because of their triple option attack. Then UMass last weekend which in no offense to Thad, the Hoosiers of Indiana worked the Minutemen over like it was their job! So all in all, its very difficult to figure if Michigan is good, average, or bad. I will do my best to try and help you figure it out before Saturday’s match up under the lights at Notre Dame Stadium.

But I can tell you this about Michigan they have the most incredible electrifying play-maker in college football. Denard Robinson just always seems to come up biggest on the big stage. Save this years game against Bama. If Notre Dame’s front 7 can continue to dominate up front, while also containing “Shoelace” then ND should be 4-0 going into the bye week, but that has been the game plan for 2 prior seasons and we all know what happened on those 2 days.

Coach Kelly spoke at his press conference Tuesday about last years game. He liked a lot from the game, as did most of us at least for 3 quarters. He talked about limiting Michigan’s “chunk” plays, containing Denard, and playing solid and strong the way the D has played up until now. Yes, boys and girls that is a lot to ask against an electric opponent, but that is the task at hand.

Key Matchups under the Lights

Notre Dame Secondary vs Michigan Wide Receivers:

The Irish game plan for the 3rd straight season will be to contain Denard Robinson and make him beat the Irish through the air. But for this game plan to work out the baby faced Irish secondary must play like 5th year seniors. Zeke Matta has grabbed a hold of the leadership reigns in the unit. But he will be asked to anchor a unit with a one time wide out and running back starting at corners and another wide out turned DB taking over at Safety. Those guys are Bennett Jackson, KeiVarae Russell, and Matthias Farley respectively.  Other young’ens being asked to contribute in the secondary are Jalen Brown who I think could be a stud, Josh Atkinson, and Nicky Baratti. The Wolverine receivers have a 6’4 Devon Gardner who is a converted QB, Jeremy Gallon who is lighting quick, and a solid TE core. Last season 4 of Robinson’s 5 longest passes came against Notre Dame. Here’s hoping Saturday night isn’t déjà vu all over again. Advantage Michigan….at least on paper.

Irish Defensive Line vs Wolverine Offensive Line:

This is where Notre Dame will win or lose this game in my opinion. After the UMass game Brady Hoke said they weren’t good enough up front on offense to win a Big Ten Championship. If that is the case then the Irish brigade of Tuitt, Nix, Lewis-Moore, Shembo, Manti, Spond, and Fox should dominate from start to finish. That is easier said then done, considering this is a big time rivalry game. The Wolverines will work on ways to help protect Robinson as well as get him out in space and allow him to do what he does best. However I don’t see Michigan being able to protect Robinson from the hell that awaits him at Notre Dame Stadium.  Advantage Irish…BIG

To me this game comes down to the Irish defense dominating up front and making Denard beat them with his arm. That then turns to the ND babies in the secondary growing up quick and not getting torched like the older guys did last season.

As I look into my crystal ball I see Everett Golson having his coming out party in this game. The Wolverines will attempt to take away the Irish running backs and force Golson to beat them through the air. I think for the first time we will see the entire Golson package, and if he stays within himself and doesn’t turn it over the Irish are well on their way to a win over hated Michigan. I’m thinking Golson will throw for 228 yards, 2 touchdowns, as well as run for another 65 yards and 2 TD’s. If Golson does this ND wins in a romp, which is what I’m leaning towards.

Game Prediction:

The Irish have a lot to win and a lot to lose with this game on Saturday. The talks of the Irish being back will radiate the Nation with another marquee win, but a loss will bring the pundits out of the wood work to pile on the hate.  That being said I think Denard will have a pretty solid day at the office and run for 90 yards and 1 touchdown, throw for 88 and another score but will accompany that with 2 early picks that will send the Irish on their way. I’ve outlined Golson’s day and he will be aided by 5 catches and a TD from TJ Jones, 4 catches and a score from Tyler Eifert, and 180 combined rushing yards from Wood, Riddick, and Atkinson. The Irish D will rock Denard with 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 picks by Manti Te’o, and just physically dominate Michigan all night long.

Final Score: Notre Dame 37- Michigan 20

Like what you hear? Follow me on Twitter @C_K_42 and @IndySportsCrew

 

 

Inside the Man Room

Hope you are ready for some football because that is all the Coach and I talk about in this episode.  Luck got his first NFL win last week and tries to make it two in a row against Jacksonville.  We give our good, bad, and the ugly awards out for last week’s game.  Plus some college football talk and of course Coach’s Quick Hitters.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and follow us on Twitter @C_K_42, @thadvandeventer, and @IndySportsCrew.