First there was the Tampa Two. Now, when it comes to the future of the Indianapolis Colts defense, there’s the Baltimore Three.
Safety Tom Zbikowski, defensive end Cory Redding and nose tackle Brandon McKinney all spent last season as members of the Baltimore Ravens defensive unit.
Redding started 11 of 15 games for the Ravens last year, registering 4.5 sacks and 43 total tackles (29 solo). Zbikowski, meanwhile, had four starts and played in 14 games overall. McKinney played in 12 games in 2011 as a valuable backup.
All three are proficient in the 3-4 hybrid defensive package that coach Chuck Pagano and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, who are both in their first year with the Colts, began installing last spring. Their arrival in Indianapolis during the offseason, all within a few weeks of each others, was expected to help the Colts make a speedier transition to the new scheme.
It was hoped that Redding, Zbikowski and McKinney would be able to teach the nuances of the system to their new teammates while also providing much needed depth at three key positions. So far, so good.
The fact that all three are familiar with Pagano from their days together in Baltimore is also a major plus. If not for their close association with the Ravens’ former defensive coordinator, it’s doubtful whether any of them would have found their way to Indianapolis.
There’s a loyalty factor that can’t be easily dismissed. And because of their feelings for the Colts head coach, they feel a shared responsibility to be leaders in the Indianapolis locker room.
“It’s very important because it can be misinterpreted sometimes. The guys can react in a certain way, but to have all three voices in the locker room to let the guys know why Chuck said what he said, why Chuck is doing some of the things that he’s doing and kind of ease the guys’ minds,” Redding explained after Thursday’s morning practice.
“Then they’re like ‘OK, we’ll trust the system, we’ll trust you guys, because you have been there, you understand and you all know him, so we’re going to go ahead and trust him.’ And that’s a credit to the guys in the locker room who have been there before us. They’re willing to accept change. Change is great and this one will be great. So as long as everybody gets on board, it will be fine.”
All three former Ravens are finding Pagano 2.0 now in charge of the Colts’ fortunes. He’s similar in many ways to the coach that they played under in Baltimore but also one with a world of new responsibilities.
“Same guy, same mentality. The approach he’s having with us as a head coach is the exact same approach he took the year he was a defensive coordinator with the Ravens. Straight up, tell it like it is. If guys are doing well, praise them. If things are kind of off key, so to speak, you throw the bullet and the guys take it right in the middle of the head, because that’s what we’ve got to do. He’s that kind of guy,” Redding stressed.
“It’s a different role. You’ve got a lot more you have to deal with. He’s still just as personable as he was as a defensive back coach, as a defensive coordinator. Really, he gets to know all of his players, from the guys that came from other teams. That was one thing that was brought up on that [other players] might not have had conversations with their other head coach,” the former Notre Dame defensive back said.
“He’s a player’s coach. It’s still going to be intense. It’s all about fundamentals, sound football, and playing hard. It’s personal to him and that’s the way it should be.”
Redding makes no bones about it. He came to Indianapolis because of his affinity to the head coach. And Pagano wanted him on board to be a leader in the locker room.
“No question. It’s not necessarily the fact that he brought me in for that, it’s just who I am. That’s carried me this far, so why quit. That’s who I am as a person and Chuck understands that. That’s why I was the first person he went for as far as understanding this system, understanding him and getting this program built here,” the University of Texas grad said.
“He’s like, ‘Cory I need you.’ And when I heard that voice come from him, and the sincerity in his voice, like ‘Bro, I need you here,’ that’s what made me forget all others. I’m going with you Chuck, let’s do this. I know how important it is to you and it’s important to me. I wanted to be a part of that change. So here I am.”
So, in his estimation, how is the defensive change going?
“The canvas is not complete. There’s still a lot more room to grow, and we’re still painting our brush every day. Keep on building and building every single day on stopping the run, challenging every ball that’s in the air, not giving them a blade of grass, and having fun while we’re doing it. As long as we keep that mind set we’ll be fine,” the affable Redding said.
“You know pudding is pudding. You can’t mix it up and throw everything else in there. Vanilla wafers, you’ve got banana pudding. It is what it is, it’s still pudding. That’s the basis of this defense. You can’t do anything unless you stop the run. You’ve got to have big, stout, kick-behind guys up front with that attitude to stop the run. Guys in the back end that aren’t afraid of cover-one, put bone on bone, man on man, I’m going to cover you all day, let’s go, let’s play football. That’s what this is based on. The whole team concept has to buy in to that, and the moment we buy into that, which we are, we’re going to be great.”
• Luck watch — Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts’ No. 1 draft pick, completed 19 of 24 passes with one touchdown and an interception during Thursday’s afternoon practice. Veteran cornerback Jerraud Powers came up with the interception, returning it for a touchdown. Powers had predicted during spring workouts that he would get an interception against Luck in training camp.
Backup quarterback Drew Stanton threw a TD pass to rookie tight end Dwayne Allen.
• Let the scuffles begin — For the first time since Tony Dungy’s first season with the Colts, in the summer of 2001, there were a couple of minor skirmishes between offensive and defensive players during a Colts training camp practice.
The first major scuffle occurred midway through Thursday afternoon’s workout with outside linebacker Jerry Hughes and offensive tackle Winston Justice going at it. Defensive tackle Drake Nevis was also in on the action. Justice came out of the scrum with Hughes’ helmet and gave it a quick toss out of bounds.
A second rumble between wide receiver Donnie Avery and cornerback Cassius Vaughn happened a few plays later. Both altercations were quickly broken up.
• Game tickets available — The Colts have announced that a limited number of single-game tickets for the team’s eight regular season home games are available for purchase on Tuesday.
Tickets for the Colts-Green Bay Packers regular-season game are only available as part of a two-game package that includes the Cincinnati Bengals preseason game. Ticket prices per game are $48, $58, $79, $109 and $136.
Fans can purchase tickets while they last at the Lucas Oil Stadium ticket office or by visiting Ticketmaster ticket centers. Purchases can also be made by calling 1-800-745-3000 or logging on to www.ticketmaster.com.
Ex-Ravens dot defensive unit
First there was the Tampa Two. Now, when it comes to the future of the Indianapolis Colts defense, there’s the Baltimore Three.
- Local Interest
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman's Evans honored as Great Lakes' top athlete
Rose-Hulman senior Liz Evans earned her fifth career NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region Field Athlete of the Year honor, according to results released Wednesday by the U.S. Cross Country and Track and Field Coaches Association.
Terry enjoys strong year with Wildcats, and still enjoying suiting up to play
South Vermillion’s Tim Terry is the longest tenured coach in Wabash Valley high school baseball as his Wildcats are set to begin sectional play Thursday against Owen Valley.
But on the Yankees, a 35-and-over team in the Terre Haute Men’s Senior Baseball League, Terry is “just a youngster” if you ask Larry Roesch, his 68-year-old teammate on the Volkers Group Yankees.
Softball sectionals up for grabs
All three Vigo County high schools and Northview appear to have a realistic chance of winning sectional championships in softball this week.
Indiana State baseball series canceled
Heavy rain from Thursday through Saturday has forced Indiana State and Tennessee Martin to cancel their three-game weekend baseball series in northwest Tennessee.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman baseball to play DePauw on Thursday after Tuesday's rain
The Rose-Hulman baseball team has rescheduled its non-conference game with DePauw to Thursday night.
The start time remains 7 p.m. for the single nine-inning game that was originally scheduled for today. Tuesday’s scheduled Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game at Anderson was moved to Sunday because of rain.
Vigo County Youth Soccer Association to host Indiana Soccer Cup Games
The Vigo County Youth Soccer Association will welcome more than 7,000 people to its Springhill Drive facility through two tournaments in the next five weeks.
METRO ROUNDUP: North, South well-represented on All-Star teams
Two Terre Haute schools, two Terre Haute coaches and four Terre Haute All-Stars.
When it comes to the 21st Annual North-South All-Star Classic on April14 at Rose-Hulman, it would be hard to discern any North-South bias.
Wabash baseball tops Rose-Hulman
Wabash College scored two runs in the third inning and two in the fifth to top Rose-Hulman 4-1 in non-conference baseball Wednesday afternoon.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman swimmer places 17th in NCAA championships
Rose-Hulman freshman Orion Martin missed honorable-mention All-America honors by just one position at the NCAA Division III swimming national championships Friday.
Rose-Hulman swimmers flying to nationals
Rose-Hulman swimmers John Craig Huster and Orion Martin have qualified for the Division III national meet in the 100 butterfly
Metro Sports: Anderson, Smith earn all-state honors
Nicole Anderson and Rhagan Smith have earned girls basketball all-state honors.
Mid-West Archery, Whitetail Deer Expo Jan. 12
Wintertime blues getting you down? Hunting season over, lose that cabin fever and come visit us at the Mid-West Archery and Whitetail Deer Expo. Vendors will have on display quality hand made crafts, ATVs, new trucks, log cabin, taxidermy and many other must see vendors.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman to offer video webcasts
Rose-Hulman has partnered with Stretch Internet to provide free video webcasts for the remainder of its 2012-13 basketball season, beginning with the men’s game against Anderson at 7:30 tonight in Hulbert Arena.
METRO ROUNDUP: USAC releases 2013 Action Track dates
U.S. Auto Club early race schedules have been released for next year, including dates at the Terre Haute Action Track and other tracks in the area.
County hears ambulance contract proposals
Representatives of three Vigo County fire departments want to change language in a contract before any company is selected as the county’s 911 emergency care provider.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU signs golfer from Florida
A four-time county champion who won 41 of her 42 high school golf matches has signed her national letter-of-intent to attend Indiana State, beginning with the fall 2013 semester, according to Indiana State women’s coach Greg Towne.
Website repair means hunters should buy licenses now to hunt this weekend
Buying a hunting license early is generally a wise idea, but it’s essential for those who have yet to buy a license and want to hunt upland game species such as pheasant, quail and rabbit this weekend.
Vigo County Jail Log: Oct. 31, 2012
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.
RESTAURANT INSPECTONS: Oct. 29, 2012
METRO ROUNDUP: Honey Creek wins boys tennis county title
Honey Creek won the team championship in the Vigo County middle school tennis tournament Saturday morning at Sarah Scott and Rea Park courts.
PREP ROUNDUP: VanSchoyck runs for IHSAA-record 511 yards
North Central running back Chase VanSchoyck broke the Indiana High School Athletic Association rushing record with a 511-yard performance as the Thunderbirds defeated host Riverton Parke 67-0 in football Friday.
Metro roundup: Rose announces Hall of Fame selections
Rose-Hulman announced this week that it will induct five new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 6 in the Sports and Recreation Center.
Zack Johnson (1998), Jennifer (Krause) Lawrence (2002), James McTaggart (1895), Rob Nichols (1999) and David Yeager (1968) will be added to the shrine prior to the football matchup with Bluffton University.
ISU-South Dakota State more than just running back showdown
Indiana State running back Shakir Bell was the National Offensive Player of the Week in the Football Championship Subdivision and his 349-yard rushing performance against Drake last Saturday was the eighth-best in FCS history.
Terre Haute North sweeps Rox in boys tennis
Terre Haute North High School’s boys tennis team swept Rockville 5-0 on Wednesday. The Patriots earned 6-0, 6-0 sweeps in three of the matches.
ISU's Bell gets national attention
Indiana State running back Shakir Bell was the FCS Offensive Player of the Week
South CC runner Bertoli among the elite
Even though Jackson Bertoli lost to an Indiana runner for the first time this season Saturday in the prestigious FlashRock Invitational at Carmel, the Terre Haute South junior is considered one of the top contenders for the 2012 IHSAA boys championship in cross country.
PREP ROUNDUP: Vigo volleyball teams victorious
Terre Haute North and West Vigo were both winners in Monday's high school volleyball action.
METRO ROUNDUP: Mullins wins Blues at the Crossroads half-marathon
Scott Mullins crossed the finish line first in the Blues at the Crossroads half-marathon that started and ended in downtown Terre Haute on Saturday.
Prep roundup: North boys tennis beats Silver Creek
Terre Haute North’s boys tennis team swept perennial Southern Indiana power Silver Creek 5-0 in a match played at Bloomington South High School.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rain forces postponement of Jim Hurtubise Classic
Rain and the chance of inclement weather forced postponement of the Jim Hurtubise Classic scheduled for Saturday evening at the Terre Haute Action Track.
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- METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman's Evans honored as Great Lakes' top athlete