Showing posts with label Kellen Lewis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kellen Lewis. Show all posts

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Suckfest 2008: Ball State 42, Indiana 20.

42-20, and it wasn't that close. That's what surprised me the most about yesterday's game. As I said earlier in the week, I knew that IU could lose. I knew that Ball State could score a lot of points. I knew that neither IU's offense nor defense had been tested against a quality opponent. As I also made clear, Ball State's long losing streak against the Big Ten and other BCS conferences seemed due to end, as did IU's long and anomalous winning streak against the MAC. I can live with the loss, but the manner of the loss is tough to swallow. Flukes happen, but this wasn't a fluke. Ball State is a significantly better team than IU. Significantly, and in every aspect of the game. They took whatever they wanted, and IU never dictated the game offensively or defensively, other than for one drive in the second half which ended with missed field goal. Is Greg Middleton still alive? Reminiscent of Antwaan Randle El against top tier Big Ten opponents, IU's offense was limited to scrambles, designed or improvised after a glance downfield, by Kellen Lewis.
Speaking of Lewis, his decision to throw into traffic late in the second half, giving Ball State a hand-delivered defensive touchdown, was inexcusable for a quarterback who has started around 25 games. Geno Johnson's ten-second-after-the-play-sissy-slap of a Ball State player probably saved a Cardinal drive that put early points on the board. On the other side of the field, one one play, Ball State lost its best player and surrendered a defensive touchdown, but after the long break BSU didn't blink. It's unbelievable that IU couldn't do any better than that after a bye week.
One one level, I and most IU fans knew that this Hoosier team was unproven, with James Hardy gone on the offensive side and without Tracy Porter and Leslie Majors on the defensive side (obviously those guys really were missed against Ball State). On the other hand, I think most suspected that IU would be about on par with last year's team, at least in terms of record. Now, we have to face the possibility that after the fun of last year and all the promise it presented, we could be taking a huge step back, or at least hitting a big pothole. We can't beat a single Big Ten opponent with an effort like the Hoosiers produced last night. Still, the coaches are professionals, they must have seen what we all see, and hopefully they can find a way to compete with a MSU team that made us look silly last year.
Rant over. Here's the box score. Highlights and lowlights:
  • Miquale Lewis was outstanding, particularly in the second half. IU had its moments against the rushing attack early, but BSU always responded with a long completion.
  • Nate Davis is going to be a starting QB in the NFL. While not mobile, his ability to evade the rush is impressive. His numbers (16-25, 239) weren't eye-popping, but they don't capture how well he played.
  • It was a damn shame that Dante Love suffered what appears to be a serious, career-threatening injury. I don't mean to make light of it when I say that if told before the game that such a thing would happen, I wouldn't have thought it possible that Ball State would win by 22.
  • Any Ball State fan who claims that Adkins's hit was dirty or intentional deserves every "teacher's college" barb that comes his way.
  • IU's three running backs all averaged between 4.2 and 4.7 yards per carry, but Kellen Lewis carried the ball more often (25 times) than the running backs combined (22).
  • Lewis's passing: 11-25, 159, 2 INT.
  • Greg Middleton: 2 tackles, no sacks; Jammie Kirlew: 4 tackles, no sacks.

There's no point in belaboring it. We got whipped by a program that had never beat us before. Nothing that can be done. Big Ten teams have overcome losses like this before, but again, this wasn't a game where everything went wrong and all the bounces went against us. This one could have been worse. Still, we're 0-0 in the conference and will have our opportunities to figure it out. Last season, after a disappointing loss to Illinois, we rebounded with a road upset of Iowa. Let's hope the coaches can find a way out.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Indiana 31, Western Kentucky 13.

IU didn't produce the overwhelming win that many might have wanted to see, but IU did show some positive signs in a 31-13 win over Western Kentucky, a team in the second year of its transition to Division I-A. Here's the box score.
The overall numbers look reasonably good. IU outgained WKU 450 to 282. IU averaged an impressive 6.3 yards per play to WKU's 4.1, and punted 4 times to WKU's 7. Each team had one turnover in close succession. Kellen Lewis threw an interception, but WKU gave it back with a fumble just a few plays later. WKU quarterback KJ Black completed 19 of 31 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown. IU's two QBs combined for a similar completion percentage but managed only 153 yards in the air, albeit with two touchdowns. The difference was on the ground. IU ran for 297 yards and averaged 7.2 yards per carry. WKU ran for 63 yards and only 2.0 yards per carry. Even setting aside Kellen Lewis's two long TD runs, for a combined 137 yards on two carries, IU still averaged a solid 4.1 yards per carry.
As to individual performances:
The good:
  • Kellen Lewis became IU's career touchdown passing leader with his first half pass to Ray Fisher. Lewis completed 63 percent of his passes and threw one interception.
  • IU used Ben Chappell in certain short yardage and goal line situations. Chappell was 1-3 for 9 yards. Most encouraging was one of the incompletions: when IU was pinned back on its ~2 yard line, Chappell was under pressure and threw the ball away. Yes, I'm still stuck on the Northwestern game from last year.
  • Andrew Means, IU's leading returning receiver, led the team with 6 catches for 63 yards.
  • Terrence Turner, who caught only 1 pass before a season ending injury in 2007, caught 4 passes for 38 yards.
  • Deja vu: 6-5 freshman Demarlo Belcher, from Fort Wayne, caught only one pass for 5 yards, but it was for a touchdown on the patented Hardy fade. If the oversized Belcher can provide just partial replacement of Hardy's production, it will be a huge help to this offense.
  • As promised, freshman tight end Max Dedmond did line up in the slot and caught a pass for five yards.
  • Bryan Payton ran for 57 yards and 6.3 per carry. Demetrius McCray ran for 38 yards on 9 carries.
  • Jammie Kirlew, moved to the right end to replace the suspended Greg Middleton, recorded two sacks.

The bad:

  • Marcus Thigpen ran for only 18 yards on 8 carries. Against Western Kentucky. I like Thigpen. He should be on the field as much as possible. But what is the coaching staff seeing that suggests that Thipgen is capable of being the starting tailback for what we hope will be an average to above average Big Ten team?
  • Our new starting corners didn't record an interception or a broken up pass, although Black's numbers were held a bit below his 2007 averages (based on completion percentage).

The ugly:

  • It's not often that a punter gets the hook, but after opening with a 57 yarder, redshirt freshman Chris Hagerup followed up with a 12 yarder, a 35 yarder, and a fumble. Joe Kleinsmith kicked the last punt of the game, a 50 yarder.

It was an opener, and while the pass defense and non-Kellen rushing games are concerns, IU has time. After next week's game against Murray State, IU has a bye week before playing Ball State and beginning the Big Ten season against Michigan State.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Did I say every day?

News is still a bit slow. Here are a few items:
  • If this is the worst criticism leveled at Bill Lynch this season, it will be a great year. John Decker of Hoosier Nation thinks that IU is making a mistake by not sending Kellen Lewis and Greg Middleton to Chicago for the Big Ten media day, instead electing to take seniors Marcus Thigpen, Greg Brown, and Austin Starr. Guys in Decker's position have to write about something, I suppose, but this doesn't make much sense. He says:
    Because the Big Ten Kickoff event is all about generating preseason publicity, and IU football could have been the topic of conversation and upstaged the traditional conference powers.
    Sure. While Decker acknowledges this argument before dismissing it, I don't see any good reason to send a guy to Chicago who will face more questions about off-the-field issues than about football. IU's fan support and publicity as the season progresses will be determined by performance, not by a media event held before the season begins.
  • I don't follow recruiting closely, but thing seem to be going reasonably well. Check out Mac624 for comprehensive updates on recruiting, as well as various rumors of uncertain credibility.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Whew!

According to the Hoosier Scoop, Kellen Lewis will be reinstated.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More on spring practice/Kellen Lewis.

The Hoosier Scoop has a nice discussion of the first day of spring practice. The most interesting snippet:
The only new information we learned about the status of Kellen Lewis is that Lewis will miss the entire spring. Coach Bill Lynch said he’s hopeful that Lewis will be back with IU’s team for voluntary workouts this summer.
This isn't a direct quote, so I'm not going to get too involved in reading the tea leaves, but IU's site has a video up, so I may watch it later today and try to post exactly what Lynch said. Still, hopefully Lynch wouldn't be talking about KL's return if he didn't think it were a realistic possibility.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring practice begins.

Just in time to salve the wounds of the most painful basketball season in decades, spring football begins. As I said last year, I hate spring football, spring games, the whole thing. It's just a gigantic tease. But if it's your cup of tea, enjoy it. For the first time in eons, IU preview articles will not mention a long bowl drought. Unfortunately, those previews will mention the indefinite suspension of IU's best and most important player, quarterback Kellen Lewis. I recommend following the Hoosier Scoop, which will have reporters on site as often as allowed, I'm sure.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kellen Lewis suspended.

Any IU fans hoping that the looming spring football practice period would, for once, provide a nice distraction from the basketball program, think again. As has been widely reported, Kellen Lewis is out, suspended for at least for the beginning of spring practice. The official word is the typical "indefinite suspension, violation of team rules," which could be just about anything. Mac624, an observer who seems to have connections to the program, reports that sources tell him that this is not a minor issue. Mac reports that based on what he has heard from multiple sources, he doubts KL will play football for IU again. Obviously, multiple sources can stumble across the same wrong information, as has been obvious during various coaching searches and other events, but obviously it is troubling. IU certainly will have a challenge replacing James Hardy in any event, but losing Hardy and Lewis's dual threat capability would be devastating. Hopefully Kellen will resolve whatever issues he is facing and resume his promising career.
EDIT: Just to be clear, I don't know what the offense was or who the sources are. I am simply passing on information/opinion from a blogger with generally reliable information.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

BTB Roundtable, week 1.

Sean at Around the Oval, an Ohio State blog, has taken the lead on the first week of the Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable. This will be a weekly feature "hosted" by various Big Ten bloggers. Here are this week's questions and my answers:
1. Which player from your own team are you most looking forward to watching?
Kellen Lewis. As a fan of the "other" cellar-dwelling Big Ten football program from a school that begins with "I," allow me to vent:
Kellen Lewis: 190/346 (54.9%); 2221 yards; 14TD/7INT; 124/441 rushing (3.6); 5 rushing TDs; 20 sacks.
Juice Williams: 103/261 (39.5%); 1489 yards; 9TD/9INT; 154/576 (3.7); 2 rushing TDs; 25 sacks.
Yet, the Juice is expected to lead Illinois to the promised land this season, while Lewis mostly has slid under the radar. I understand, of course, that thanks to Zooker's inexplicable recruiting success, the Illinois supporting cast is part of the reason some are high on Juice, but Lewis does have James Hardy, Marcus Thigpen, and James Bailey at his disposal.
Lewis began last season as #3 on the Hoosiers' QB depth chart. Now, Lewis has spent nearly a year as a team leader and spent all of spring and fall practice working as the number one quarterback, continuing to build his relationship with his key receivers. Certainly, IU's defense will determine whether the Hoosiers play 13, but I am most curious to see where Kellen Lewis goes after a really promising freshman season.

2. Which player from another Big Ten team are you most looking forward to watching?
That's a tough one. I don't see a Charles Woodson/Troy Smith/Antwaan Randle El "must see" type player in the conference this season. PJ Hill will be fun to watch. Mike Hart is great, but Michigan routinely has an excellent tailback, so who cares? So, why not Todd Boeckman? In good ways and in bad ways, Ohio State fans are the most passionate in the conference on average. I'll be curious to see how the green guy operates in one of the most scrutinized positions in college football.

3. If your team was an action movie star, who would it be?
This is a tough one. Given IU's football history, my knee jerk response was that IU is like the stereotypical "Black Guy Who Gets Killed First," but I guess that's more of a horror movie convention. If IU were an action movie star, IU would be Matt Damon. Compared to stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Segal, and The Rock, Damon is undersized and not nearly as physically talented or imposing. Damon's character Jason Bourne is constantly kicked around by powerful institutions such as the US Government (analogous to Michigan and Ohio State). Bourne is unsure of his real identity. Given the Hoosiers' myriad uniform and logo changes over the years, not to mention a lack of success and the program's stepchild status among IU fans, the IU football program has struggled with its identity. Typically, the Bourne movies end with the suggestion that Bourne has finally escaped his former government keepers. Now that IU has escaped Michigan and OSU for two years, will the Hoosiers end their long bowl drought? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Powers back to quarterback.

Peegs.com (Andy Romey) and Hoosier Scoop (Doug Wilson) report that fifth year senior Blake Powers, the starting quarterback in 2005 (when he set a school record with 22 touchdown passes) and at the beginning of 2006, is now back on the quarterback depth chart. It's unclear whether Powers will be #2 or #3 on the depth chart (ahead or behind redshirt freshman Ben Chappell), but both he and Chappell took reps with the second unit during Saturday's open scrimmage, per Doug. It's difficult to say what led to this move, absent any more detailed commentary than the "good for the team" statement Lynch provided. Powers, the son of a former IU football player, is a Hoosier through and through. Many guys (such as Jay Rodgers, who transferred to Southwest Missouri State, if I recall correctly) might have considered transferring to a I-AA school to get one more year of playing time, and such a move would have been perfectly understandable. Powers decided to stay and try to earn some playing time at tight end. Tight end is not exactly a high profile position in the current regime's offense, at least for catching passes: IU completed 232 passes last season, but not one of those completions was caught by a tight end. Likely starter Nick Sexton played in 11 games last season and started two, yet did not catch a pass (he did, however, catch two passes in 2005, both for touchdowns, I'm guessing in short-yardage situations). The point, of course, is that if Blake isn't going to start at tight end, backing up Kellen Lewis is probably his best opportunity to get any meaningful playing time. Lewis does run quite a bit, which increases the possibility of injury, so it probably makes sense for IU to have its most experienced quarterback on the QB depth chart. Hopefully it doesn't say anything about the development of Chappell.