TERRE HAUTE —
For someone who missed an entire season due to a knee injury, Indiana State center FN Lutz has certainly kept himself visible since then.
Despite his injury — suffered on the last play of the spring game in 2012 — he was a constant presence at football practice. By the end of the season, he was running the scout team. He attended all games and watched from the press box as a quasi-player-coach.
The larger-than-life Lutz was also popular as ever amongst his teammates and on-campus. No more so than when he filmed a basketball promotional spot prior to ISU’s game against Creighton in February.
In an ad that featured ISU’s blimp comically exploding into the Creighton banner inside Hulman Center, he (loudly) implored Sycamore fans to show up for the game. The video became a TV advertisement and it went viral within the ISU community and the Missouri Valley Conference.
It served its intended purpose too as the game drew the largest student turnout during the 2012-13 season by a wide margin.
But the visibility Lutz had did not make up for the time lost when he missed the 2 012 season. Though he was visible, he felt invisible as far as being a contributor to ISU’s success.
“The hardest thing about the rehab was not being out here with the guys. I had to do my own thing during certain periods. In a way, I almost felt like I was letting the guys down by not being out there,” Lutz said.
Lutz will be out there to help the Sycamores in 2013 … and not a moment too soon. Along with veterans Paul Patrick, Adam Masters, Dakota Vermillion and Nick Rice, Lutz gives ISU an offensive line more experienced than expected given the extra year of eligibility he gained for the coming season.
Lutz — who was an All-MVC first team preseason selection last season despite his injury — is re-invigorated. He said there’s no physical side-effects from the ligament damage his suffered in his left knee on the final play of last year’s spring game, when his foot got caught in the Memorial Stadium field turf.
“It’s good to hit somebody. When you go a year without hitting somebody, it gets at you. It’s good to get back into the mentality. It’s not just schemes anymore, I can go out and do it,” Lutz said.
Lutz said that the new offense being implemented by ISU coach Mike Sanford has created some changes. There’s not as many calls as there had been in the past and he said the linemen have more flexibility within pass protection blocking than in the past.
Lutz’s impact on his team goes beyond his blocking. The personable Lafayette Harrison graduate has long been a unifying presence on the Sycamores, and while he was able to serve that role even without playing in 2012, his teammates have greater piece of mind when he’s on the field with them.
“FN is an all-around leader. He does a great job. He’s old, not in health, but he’s old on the field. He’s played these teams for years,” ISU running back Shakir Bell said. “FN is an All-American type of guy. He’s been one of the best assets to that front five since I’ve been here. It was really tough running without him last year, but it’s a blessing to have him back this year.”
Lutz said he learned a lot during his one-year absence from the field and he felt his time off might pay dividends for him this year.
“I got to know a lot of the freshmen on the scout defensive line and I really learned the game from a mental aspect sitting up in the box charting players. It gave me a birdseye view of what goes on,” Lutz said.
Sanford is pleased to have Lutz as an anchor for the offensive line. Lutz’s reputation preceded him … even before Sanford accepted the ISU job.
“I heard about him through the interview process. Ron Prettyman talked about what a good person and leader he is. He came to the press conference when I was hired. I think it set the tone for the kind of guy he is. I’m impressed he’s our center,” Sanford said.
As for Lutz’s career in commercials, he was not asked to appear in another spot after the ISU-Creighton men’s basketball game. He joked that he needed, “… an agent to find out what’s going on?”
“It was fun helping get people to games. It’s important to have that fanbase for our sports,” Lutz said.
n Scrimmage today — ISU will have its second spring football scrimmage at 3:30 p.m. today. Last week’s scrimmage was interspersed into regular practice time, but Sanford said today’s version would go from start-to-finish.
“It’ll be more of a scrimmage the whole way. We’re going to work different situations. We’ll do goal line, coming out [backed up against goal line], we’ll do some normal move-the-ball situations and we’ll concentrate on third downs,” Sanford said. “We’ll do some red zone and overtime situations. We’ll go all-live until the end when we do a two-minute.”
A snow day on March 26 postponed a scheduled practice to this past Monday. ISU will have had four practices by week’s end. It’s about as close in the spring as a team gets to replicating regular season practice time. Sanford wasn’t surprised at what it revealed.
“By design, we wanted to get stronger in the offseason and we didn’t condition. One thing we’ve noticed is we have to get in better condition. We’ve reminded ourselves of that this week. We had a very physical practice on Monday, helmets and shoulder pads on Tuesday and helmets and shorts on Thursday. We got a lot out of it,” Sanford said.
ISU has one week of spring practice left. The Spring Game will be played at 3 p.m. on April 20.
Sycamore football team to scrimmage today
TERRE HAUTE —
For someone who missed an entire season due to a knee injury, Indiana State center FN Lutz has certainly kept himself visible since then.
METRO ROUNDUP: Odum shines in Portsmouth Invitational
Former Indiana State guard Jake Odum had a productive first night at the Portsmouth Invitational late Thursday.
The Terre Haute native scored 16 points, had six assists and three steals for the Portsmouth Partnership team in its 88-81 victory over Cherry Bekaert.
ISU falls to Canisius in first of three-game road series
The Indiana State baseball team fell behind early and never could get the lead as host Canisius posted a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Demske Sports Complex.
The Sycamores (24-11) and Griffins (21-13) will meet again at 2 p.m. today, but the venue will switch to Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y. The same two teams also will play Sunday back at Demske Sports Complex in a noon start.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sweeps doubleheader over Rose-Hulman
Over the years, defeating its crosstown rival has not usually been easy for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods or Rose-Hulman when they’ve met in college softball.
But on Wednesday afternoon at The Woods, the home team made its doubleheader sweep look easy to first-year coach Mark Feller with five-inning decisions of 10-0 and 11-1.
Terre Haute North grad O'Leary to transfer from Loyola
Matt O’Leary is one of three men's basketball players at Loyola recently granted a release from his scholarship from the Missouri Valley Conference school.
The former Terre Haute North standout told the Tribune-Star he doesn’t yet know his next move.
Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond
The Rose-Hulman softball team will visit a familiar foe today when the Engineers take on crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in a nonleague doubleheader.
ISU baseball holds off Eastern Illinois for 24th win
Indiana State freshman left-hander Ryan Keaffaber won his first game as a Sycamore and senior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went 3 for 3 as ISU defeated host Eastern Illinois 6-4 in college baseball Tuesday.
Top returners lead Cream over Crimson in Hoosiers' spring game
The Cream team at Saturday’s Cream and Crimson intrasquad game had Indiana’s top returning rusher and receiver and the Hoosiers’ top-rated passer from last season.
No surprise, then, that Tevin Coleman, Shane Wynn and Tre Roberson guided the Cream to a resounding 24-14 win over the Crimson.
Rose-Hulman baseball gets wild doubleheader sweep
Host Rose-Hulman came back from an early six-run deficit in the first game Saturday and went on to a 13-12, 7-1 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball sweep over Mount St. Joseph.
The wild opener featured a Rose-Hulman comeback from an 8-2 deficit and included 18 hits and two school records for the Engineers.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball earns doubleheader sweep at Missouri State
Yvette Alvarez’s one-hit shutout capped a dominant day of pitching Saturday as Indiana State swept a Missouri Valley Conference softball doubleheader at Missouri State by scores of 6-1 and 4-0.
“We pitched well,” coach Shane Bouman said. “Both Taylor Lockwood in the first game and Yvette Alvarez in the second game threw great. When you pitch good and you play good defense and get some key hits, good things are going to happen.
ISU football set for first spring scrimmage
Thanks to a limited number of available offensive linemen — a group that will at least double in numbers in the fall with the addition of recruits and currently injured players — the Sycamores won’t have a full-scale scrimmage, but will still intersperse scrimmage plays (with officials) among other practice drills.
“We’re thin,” coach Mike Sanford admitted after practice Thursday. “The scrimmage will be part of practice — probably 30 or 40 plays altogether. We only have five to seven healthy offensive linemen, so we can’t go [in a scrimmage format] for long stretches of time.”
METRO ROUNDUP: Waltman's funeral Saturday at Indianapolis
Royce Waltman’s visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Methodist Church at 100 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis.
ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2
The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores took control early to defeat the Indiana State Sycamores 6-2
ISU baseball sweeps doubleheader against Wichita State
Indiana State baseball coach Mitch Hannahs finally got what he’s been looking for from the Sycamores’ Friday and Saturday starters ... and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Wichita State is in town for a crucial series. With ISU 2-4 in the league, it was vital for the Sycamores to validate their better-than-expected form in nonconference play with MVC success in Saturday’s doubleheader at Bob Warn Field.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman's nine-game winnings streak snapped
Rose-Hulman had its nine-game winning streak snapped with two tightly contested losses at defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Manchester on Saturday.
Sycamores get commitment from junior-college point guard
Following Indiana State’s loss to Marquette in the WNIT, coach Teri Moren touched on the future of the program after the loss of Sycamore senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.
Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015
Grant Prusator, a native of Rochelle, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for Indiana State starting in the 2014-15 season. He will have three years of eligibility with the Sycamores as he played just one year for Highland Community College.
Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium
The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Indiana State secondary could be mending into a strength
During Indiana State’s injury-ravaged 2013 season, there wasn’t a unit on either side of the ball that was spared from the carnage.
But if one had to be singled out as hardest hit in the injury department, it would be difficult to out-do the Sycamores’ secondary.
Every player that started in ISU’s season opener at Indiana not only missed at least one game last season, but the entire starting unit was out of action by the end of September.
Reed named Midseason National Player of the Year
Half of the college baseball season is done and one prominent college baseball publication thinks Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed is best player in the land.
Reed, a junior at Kentucky, was named the Midseason National Player of the Year by Perfect Game USA, a website devoted to college baseball.
Laramie to transfer from ISU women's basketball program
Indiana State forward Marina Laramie averaged 9.9 points and started all 32 games as a sophomore for the Sycamores.
But the 6-foot-2 women’s basketball player will continue her career elsewhere.
Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings
Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.
Chicago guard commits to ISU women's basketball
The Indiana State women’s basketball team picked up a verbal commitment from Chicago guard Kiera Brooks on Tuesday.
The 5-foot-7 junior for North Lawndale College Prep visited ISU’s campus for the first time, met the team and chose her college home. Brooks averaged 18.7 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals for coach Corey Morgan’s 15-11 squad.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball tops IU 7-5
The Indiana State softball team remained a perfect 13-0 when scoring in the first inning as it defeated Indiana (9-24-1) 7-5 Tuesday for its second consecutive victory over a Big Ten opponent.
Dedicated to helping others
It’s not like Marissa Stout is bored out of her mind and lacking for things to do.
Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC
Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.
ISU baseball shows mental toughness in win over Illinois State
When the pressure’s on, there’s nothing a coach likes more than to see his team double down on their approach and grit out a positive result.
Going the distance: Redbirds ace Savas allows just five hits while shutting down Sycamores
Indiana State’s pitchers weren’t their best in Friday’s series opener against Illinois State, but it seemed the Sycamores might get away with it. Through seven innings, ISU had issued six walks, gave up six hits and hit a batter, but still trailed by just a run. But ISU’s luck with its generosity would give out in the eighth, and even if it hadn’t, Illinois State standout starter Dan Savas had the Sycamores’ bats in a deep freeze anyway. The Redbirds defeated the Sycamores 5-2 at Bob Warn Field.
Woods softball team wins 4th straight
The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods softball team swept Grace College with a pair of wins in its home opener Wednesday.
Devoted brothers: Mahurins relish chance to team up and win NAIA title
It wasn’t a great year for NCAA basketball in the Hoosier state outside of Indiana State’s 23-victory season.
But a team in NAIA Division II with eight Indiana natives — and coached by former Valparaiso point guard Greg Tonagel, an Indiana All-Star for his hometown of LaPorte — brought home a national basketball championship.
Tonagel, the scrappy point guard who played alongside Bryce Drew for that magical Valpo team, created more March hoops memories with the help of Rockville brothers R.J. and Lane Mahurin.
‘A full night’: Leadoff hitter Curry leads 16-hit attack as Sycamores pound Hoosiers
Lead-off man Landon Curry had four of Indiana State’s 16 hits Wednesday afternoon, and cleanup hitter Mike Fitzgerald reached for the 17th straight game to lead the Sycamores to a 12-8 victory.
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