TERRE HAUTE — What do quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe, Marques Tuiasosopo, Brady Quinn and Chuck Dowdell have in common?
All have been coached by Bill Diedrick, Indiana State’s new offensive coordinator.
The hiring of Diedrick was announced in February and he’s currently in his second week of spring practices with the Trent Miles-coached Sycamores.
“Bill brings great knowledge and experience that’s unbelievable at any level, let alone at this level [NCAA Football Championship Subdivision],” Miles said after Saturday’s scrimmage at Memorial Stadium. “The things that he’s done in his career and the knowledge that he has, you couldn’t find a better person to come in here and help get this going.
“We’re very fortunate [to have Diedrick at Indiana State]. Bill and I have a very, very good working relationship and we’re friends off the field. It was just the right timing. The opportunity arose … and it’s a good fit. It’s great to have him here, because it’s not going to do anything but make our offense better. Our quarterbacks are going to learn faster than they could learn from anybody out there.”
Diedrick, who’s also the ISU quarterbacks and wide receivers coach, said he doesn’t mind that the program has compiled a 1-32 record over the last three seasons.
“It’s not so much the team being 1-32,” he insisted. “I think that my relationship with Trent, him being given the opportunity to have his own program … and I was looking to come back south [from Canada]. It gave me an opportunity to help a friend out and start and develop a program.”
Diedrick, 61, previously coached at the University of Hawaii, two high schools in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth College, Montana State, Idaho, Washington State, the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos, the University of Washington, Stanford, Notre Dame and, most recently, the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts.
Diedrick, who worked with Bledsoe one season at Washington State and Quinn two seasons at Notre Dame, has guided 10 quarterbacks who ended up in the NFL.
“To me, it’s fun to be able to work with great competitors and watch a kid develop and have an opportunity to raise above his skills and play in the NFL,” Diedrick reflected. “You look at the 10 kids that have had that opportunity … it’s a lot of fun because they’re great competitors.
“Of those 10, only three of them ever started as a freshmen. Drew Bledsoe was one, Brady Quinn was another and Marques Tuiasosopo [at Washington] was the other. So everybody wants to come in and play as a freshman, but not very many guys are truly committed in what it takes to do to prepare themselves and to be able to come in and have an opportunity to play, let alone start as a freshman.”
Since the start of Indiana State’s spring practices March 30, Diedrick said he’s noticed “good improvement” from Dowdell, a freshman who started much of the 2007 season.
“He’s starting to get the ball located a lot better,” Diedrick pointed out. “I think his reads have been good. We’re really working on his mechanics — the little things, all the things that are important, the things that he probably hasn’t really had an opportunity to do.
“I mean, he played a little bit of receiver and a little bit of quarterback last year. You know, all of those kids [on ISU’s offense] are totally inexperienced. They’re like babes with diapers. It’s like getting them started from ground zero. But I’m pleased with where Chuck is right now. I know he’s got a lot more growth ahead of him this spring.”
Miles said Diedrick’s influence on Dowdell and the back-up quarterbacks will be positive.
“You’re going to see progress from the position and from each individual, not just in football but as a leader,” Miles emphasized. “He teaches them how to be a leader. He teaches them how to operate the offense and do the things it takes to be the field general.”
Dowdell, for one, appreciates all the instructions he’s received from Diedrick in a relatively short period of time.
“I feel coach Diedrick has helped out everybody from starting quarterback to fourth string,” Dowdell said. “He’s got good enthusiasm.”
Diedrick also has observed progress from the offensive unit as a whole.
“I think the biggest thing that I’ve really seen is in effort given,” he mentioned. “I think that there’s been good progress and improvement. We’re not nearly where we would like to be, by any means. But it all starts at ground zero and it really starts with each individual giving great effort on a consistent basis and I think that we’re getting closer to having that. Once a young man and a group can do that, they’ll be able to make plays.”
Diedrick made no statistical predictions for the 2008 season, which opens Aug. 28 at Eastern Michigan, but he did say that ISU will run a multiple offense.
“I think the important thing about that is you really have to design or mold or shape that offense according to the personnel that you have,” he explained. “So that’s really the big thing this spring. We’re kinda throwing a lot at ’em, seeing who can learn and who can’t. What they can’t do is probably as important as what they can do. Then we’ll modify that in the offseason.
“You also have to take a look at all the young kids coming in [this summer] because those guys are probably going to be put in a position where they’re going to be playing quite a bit. So it will be a very multiple offense and it will be shaped into what our skills allow us to do. I think it all starts with the quarterback position.”
ISU will conduct another public scrimmage from about 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The final spring practice will be April 19 when the annual Blue/White Scrimmage takes place.
TERRE HAUTE — What do quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe, Marques Tuiasosopo, Brady Quinn and Chuck Dowdell have in common?
Indiana State baseball now one win from MVC Championship
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Indiana State’s baseball victory over Alcorn State on Friday would take on more meaning Saturday if the Sycamores could build momentum and pick up on the good work they did in Friday’s ninth-inning rally.
The Sycamores were aggressive from the opening inning at the plate and starting pitcher Devin Moore gave them eight valuable and effective innings on the mound as ISU defeated Alcorn State 14-2 at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a really good experience for everybody. It felt great to finally come out here and put some things together. It’s also really nice when your offense puts a lot of runs on the board,” Moore said.
Moore’s eight innings of work were as valuable as gold to an ISU team that is short on quality arms due to injury and ineffectiveness. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and one of the two runs he conceded was unearned.
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ISU pole vault tradition continues with help from its author
Pole vault is track and field for the adrenaline junkie, Indiana State senior Nicole Hope proclaimed during a recent practice at Marks Field.
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Sycamores searching for answers after seventh loss in eight games
These are the bad times for the Indiana State baseball team.
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The Indiana State men’s track team has won the last two Missouri Valley Conference outdoor championships, but the women have not stood on the top podium since 1999.
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Rose tallied 66.5 points for its finishes in 11 men’s sports, just ahead of Franklin with 66. Hanover was third with 53 points.
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Mother Nature has been the bane of the Indiana State baseball team’s existence all season. Eight games wiped due to weather are a testament to that. So it was no surprise, though no less disappointing, when she didn’t deal Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea the greatest hand on Saturday as he tries to recover from a hip injury.
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Home games that is.
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Secret weapon: Kelsey Rosselli finishing Woods career with a bang
At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, reporting game results to the Tribune-Star after a win or a loss is not always a high priority.
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In fact, her efforts almost seem like a government secret.
Rosselli’s name might sound familiar to longtime Terre Haute softball followers because she was a standout for North High School, from where she graduated in 2009.
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Baseball is a rhythm game. With contests every day or five times a week in the case of many college programs, you have the chance to build on success or wallow in a slump.
Mother Nature took that rhythm away from Indiana State’s team last week. After a 7-1 loss to Indiana on April 24, ISU was supposed to play a three-game series at Tennessee-Martin, but it was wiped out by rain.
So the rhythm was disturbed, but perhaps that wasn’t a bad thing.
ISU was in a five-game losing streak before its unintended vacation and the Sycamores made a move in the right direction Wednesday with a 7-0 win over DePauw at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a disappointing weekend. We went all the way down to Tennessee and didn’t get to play. We sat around in the hotel room. We came here and it was still raining. It was nice to get out and see some live pitching,” ISU center fielder Landon Curry said.
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The Indiana State University athletic community, along with family, friends and fans, paused Tuesday night to honor the spring sports teams at the Terre Haute Savings Bank Spring Sports Banquet.
Most of the ISU teams are still in competition with the baseball team having 13 games left of its regular-season schedule before beginning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament May 21, the softball team with just three games left of the docket this coming weekend against Southern Illinois and the track and field program with just one more meet before beginning its postseason events.
The ISU women’s golf team is the team that has ended at this time, with the group recording a sixth-place finish at the MVC championships one week ago.
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