Out with the old, in with the new.
Or in this case, in with the new that used to be old.
To explain, Indiana State interim head coach Dennis Raetz implemented a different defensive scheme Saturday in what ended up being a respectable 19-7 loss to Western Illinois in college football at Memorial Stadium.
On the previous two Saturdays at Memorial Stadium, the Sycamores had allowed seven rushing touchdowns apiece to Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois.
So Raetz, who made his return to the sideline in that not-so-respectable 72-10 loss to SIU on Sept. 29, decided Indiana State needed to be stingier against the run.
ISU did not resemble the 1985 Chicago Bears against Western Illinois, but Raetz may have found something to give fans hope.
In this contest, the Leathernecks managed just two TDs on the ground — a 5-yarder by Herb Donaldson in the third quarter and a 9-yard scramble by quarterback Matt Barr in the fourth quarter.
The 5-foot-11, 225-pound Donaldson did rush for 191 yards on 34 carries, but that pales in comparison to the 328 yards (on 39 carries) he gouged Indiana State for last season.
Hey, it’s a step in the right direction.
Considering the Sycamores forced only one punt total in the previous two games and Western Illinois punted three times and attempted four field goals (converting two), it’s easy to understand why ISU supporters cheered their defensive effort on several occasions Saturday.
“It was a very physical game,” Western Illinois coach Don Patterson emphasized. “[WIU freshman quarterback] Matt Barr had an usually difficult day for him. I don’t know exactly why. I give some credit to Indiana State for creating some different looks for him defensively than he’d seen.”
“They played real tough today,” Donaldson said of ISU’s defensive players. “They made a few adjustments and they came out playing hard… You could see it on the field. They were ready to play.”
Raetz said Indiana State didn’t get to be “one and whatever,” actually 1-27 in its last 28 games, overnight. So fixing the defensive problems must occur on a day-by-day basis.
“We went out and basically threw out what we had been doing defensively,” he explained. “That was a whole new defense [Saturday]. The coverages were different.
“We simplified what we did in terms of what we were doing with defensive linemen. They have to concentrate on the guy in front of them and then we told them how we want them to react, depending on what happens… We switched from a three-linebacker to a two-linebacker set.
“If we have any depth on our football team at all, it’s in terms of midget defensive backs. So we played five of them and we could crowd them to the line of scrimmage. We tried to put in some variations where we could get a safety involved in stopping the run.”
Indiana State’s leading tacklers Saturday were senior linebackers Shonda Faulkner and Brandon Logan with 19 each.
“I think we played really good defense, especially the defensive linemen,” Faulkner said. “I think they did a very good job of keeping the [Western Illinois] offensive linemen off the linebackers. I think we came out and got after it.”
Logan was playing his first game this season after suffering a broken left forearm in practice Aug. 6.
“I just wanted to come back and help my team,” said Logan, whose surgery included the insertion of a plate and six screws into his arm.
“I’ve been here five years. I’ve been here under coach [Tim] McGuire, under coach [Lou] West and now under coach Raetz. I knew I was going to be winded out there. But I played last year and I had a little bit of experience.”
Raetz said that because of the way the new defensive scheme is set up and the positions Faulkner and Logan play, those two should be the leading tacklers almost every game.
“I think Brandon played pretty well for a kid they thought earlier wasn’t going to play this year,” Raetz added.
Faulkner and Logan said the adjustment process for the new defensive scheme went smoothly because, well, it was the same one ISU used last season.
“It just freed us up and put us in better position to play the run [than the 3-3-stack scheme used during ISU’s first five games],” Faulkner said. “This is the Gateway Conference. You’re going to see the run every week, so this puts us in better position to play the run.”
“This scheme we ran today under coach Raetz, we ran this exact defense last year with coach West and Aubrey Kelly was the defensive coordinator then,” Logan mentioned. “This is basically a 4-2-5 defense and I played it all last year. Just stepping in, I knew where my keys were at. I knew to get to the man with the ball. That helped out a lot.”
Let’s keep our fingers crossed this scheme produces better results than it did last year. I don’t feel like regurgitating those painful statistics again.
• West update — Lou West, who started this season as Indiana State’s head football coach before director of athletics Ron Prettyman announced Sept. 24 that he would be reassigned within the department, learned his new job last week.
West works for Hulman Center director Charlie Potts. “He’s involved in event and facility management,” Prettyman said.
Best wishes to West, a class act in every way. If he so desires, he probably won’t have a hard time finding a football job somewhere next season.
David Hughes can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
Out with the old, in with the new.
- Hughes News & Views
Hughes, News & Views: Terre Haute ‘hacker' accomplishes Mark’s Par Three first
It’s no secret that Mark’s Par Three is not the most difficult golf course in Vigo County.
But it’s enjoyable for beginners and golfers of modest skill levels and it doesn’t lack for activity during warm-weather months.
Open since 1964, it’s had its fair share of players test their skills, probably several better than 43-year-old Brian Brown of Terre Haute.
Hughes, News & Views: Pacers, 500, NFL on mind of curious columnist
One previous time, I believe, my annual May questions column ran one day late into June.
Can you forgive me for this being the second time?
With apologies out of the way, below are questions that have been taking up valuable space in my head lately.
Some are serious, some not so much. Most are sports-related, but don’t blame me if a few are not. After all, newspaper sportswriters don’t eat, sleep and breathe sports 24/7 (contrary to what my Lisa might tell you).
Here we go:
• How funny will the reaction of the national media be when the Indiana Pacers knock off the unbeatable Miami Heat tonight and Monday to take the series and head to an NBA Finals showdown with the San Antonio Spurs? Hint: Several ESPN “experts” will need to change their underwear next week.
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“My goal was just to finish and enjoy Boston,” she reflected this week. “I had an injury [runner’s knee] beforehand, so I wasn’t too worried about beating my time from 2003 [4 hours, 10.20 seconds].
“But nobody cares about what your time is at Boston anyway.”
From what I’ve heard over the years, she’s right. Unless you’re a super-serious runner, the Boston Marathon has been more about taking in the atmosphere and having fun than placing in the top 50, although Wells was pleased that she beat her previous time by finishing in 3:55.19 on April 15.
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I’m sure most of you with office jobs can relate.
When work gets busy, sometimes it’s easy to skim over our emails. After all, how many times do we need to read the same nonsense from alleged Nigerians wanting to make us rich if we’ll send them several thousand dollars first?
So after having three consecutive days off, that almost happened to me when I returned to work Tuesday. Then I realized that the message from Jeff Thompson, Terre Haute South High School’s boys and girls swimming coach, contained significant news.
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The book contains many cheery moments — behind-the-scenes details of all five NCAA College Division (now known as Division II) championships won in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s by the Purple Aces and their legendary coach Arad McCutchan — although some of those moments don’t seem so cheery from an Indiana State perspective when the Sycamores found themselves on the losing end of scores.
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Jack Butcher, Howard Sharpe and Bill Stearman.
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