In two days school will be over and summer will begin, which unfortunately means you won’t be hearing much about the Hoosier Football team (no news means good news when it’s the off-season). As a true football fan, I search daily for any football news or hot topics about the teams I follow. So I am writing this blog for the Hoosier football fans out there. We just came off of a 3-9 season, but there is hope for the 2009 season. Here are just a few reasons why 2009 won’t be like 2008:
1) Senior Leadership
We have so many seniors this year that refuse to go out like last years class did, and a 3-9 season is almost a reminder of what could happen if we don’t put in the work. Jammie Kirlew sends out weekly text messages reminding us to work hard and keep our goals in mind, but he’s not the only one taking the lead. Bryan Payton, Roger Saffold, Will Patterson, and many more have spoken to the team and do a really good job emphasizing the work we put in now is what will decide the outcomes of Saturdays.
I play defense so of course I am a little biased, but this year’s defense has a chance to be really special, and we all know defense wins games. Greg Middleton and Kirlew will be bringing a heavy pass rush off the edges this year and that will make everyone else’s job that much easier. The rotation of LB’s include: Matt Mayberry, Patterson, Justin Carrington, Tyler Replogle, and Darius Johnson. These are all guys who can not only hit, but have speed as well. The 3rd line of defense is the two starters at safety, Austin Thomas and Nick Polk. Austin’s hard hitting ability is complimented so well by Polk’s ball-hawking skills that I would not be surprised to see both of them receive All-Big Ten honors of some kind. I know they are both coming off of season ending surgeries but as someone who spends multiple hours a day with these two, you should trust me when I say they will come back stronger and more determined than before.
3) Running by Committee
Any one who attended the spring game can attest our running back situation is as strong as it has ever been. The change to the pistol formation has changed our running game into a downhill, smash-mouth type of offense - one I personally love. Demetrius McCray brings great agility and a lethal stiff-arm, Trea Burgess is the big back that can carry the load, Payton runs with such determination and power that he will lead to a lot of arm tacklers, and Darius Willis brings patience to see the holes and speed to burst through them. Look for all four of these guys to have a major contribution this year.
The best thing about last years season is that it was last year! The team has held numerous meetings and conferences to talk about what we need to do to be a better team on and off the field. Right now lifting is not “mandatory”, but I lift 4-5 times a week and every time I go into the weight room it is full of players trying to get better and compete for a starting spot. But the best thing about it is its not just upperclassmen, but the freshman and sophomores too. The whole team realizes that last season absolutely can not happen again.
Sometimes even as a player its hard to say to yourself that next year will be different, and as a fan (and player) of IU football I’m very aware its hard to believe that this wont be the “same ‘old IU”. But I really don’t think it will be and I don’t think Coach Lynch will allow it. First and foremost, it will start with the players, and next week is the start of lifting 4 days a week, and running at 6:30a.m. and we expect 100 % attendance because we know if we want to go to a bowl it starts now.