News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

College

October 26, 2013

FROM THE PRESS BOX: Injuries, tough schedule have led to Sycamores' slide

TERRE HAUTE — No one saw this coming.

On the final October weekend of 2012, Indiana State’s football team was 7-2 and a Football Championship Subdivision playoff bid seemed a mortal lock.

One year later, ISU is 1-7. Shakir Bell, far and away ISU’s most recognizable player, is gone via bizarre circumstance. And the Sycamores are on the wrong end of final scores that are reminiscent of the bad old days of 2005-09.

The biggest difference is Mike Sanford is the head coach instead of Trent Miles. And for many fans, that will be difference enough to explain how it’s all gone wrong.

When you lead a college football program, fair or unfair, you absorb the slings and arrows, and no doubt, they’ll be coming down with ferocity on Sanford and the athletic department given the present state of the team.

ISU fans can’t be faulted for trying to compute how this season went so wrong and why the program has taken a step backwards after three straight winning seasons. They’d be foolish not to.

There are legitimate reasons. The loss of talent, particularly defensive standouts, from the 2012 season have hurt.

Rampant injuries — especially on the defensive side — have played the biggest role, and while the time-worn trope that injuries are part of football will be trotted out, the truth is that the injuries have played a major role in ISU’s fall.

On the other hand, (some) newcomers haven’t lived up to their billing and some of the schemes tried on both sides of the ball have not worked. Some starters, including some veterans, have not produced at a level they have in the past.

ISU found ways to lose close games early and the accumulation of all of the above have led the Sycamores into a very dark place indeed.

ISU Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman hired Sanford. Like everyone else, he never expected ISU football to be in the state it’s in. But he knows he has to answer for it.

Prettyman did after Saturday’s 56-10 loss to No. 1 North Dakota State.

“I take a lot of the blame for what’s going on and that’s because we set our new coach [Sanford] up for failure,” Prettyman said. “We have arguably the toughest schedule we’ve ever played. We had two Big Ten teams. We’ve had four top 25 FCS teams and five home games in a 12-game schedule. We’ve had incredible injuries, more than I’ve ever seen. We didn’t give our coach a chance to be successful. Part of that’s my fault.”

Prettyman gave no indication that Sanford’s job was in jeopardy, not only because of the 1-7 start, but due to some of the off-field distractions that came to a head this week.

“I’m committed to seeing this through. I have a great relationship with coach Sanford and I have a lot of confidence in him. I’ve never seen a staff care about their student-athletes as much as this staff does on and off the field,” Prettyman said. “Certainly we didn’t think we’d be 1-7. Three times we’ve outgained teams that had more points than we did. I still believe we’re capable of being very good and win games.”

Given the injuries, Prettyman said he told Sanford earlier this week that he felt like his starting unit from 2015 was on the field instead of the intended 2013 team.

Of course the problems that come with a 1-7 start go well beyond just wins and losses. The ISU and Terre Haute communities are not renowned for their ISU football enthusiasm in the best of times. The damage to attendance and to potential revenue from boosters from ISU’s poor season cannot be taken lightly. Saturday’s crowd was 5,009 on a day the school was shooting for 10,000.

Prettyman was asked whether he was concerned about the impact the 1-7 campaign could have in terms of enthusiasm for the football program.

Prettyman was blunt in response.

“Intelligent fans will understand what’s going on. The fly-by-night fans, the people who never come to games, the people who don’t watch how hard our kids play, the people who don’t know our coaches, the people who are not committed to this are going to second-guess a lot of things that are going on,” Prettyman said.

“The people who are fully committed and have gotten to know our coaches and have seen the commitment from our kids though adversity, they’re still on board,” Prettyman said. “People can quit coming to games all they want, but that’s not going to make our kids, coaches or administrators work any less hard.”

“I can’t speak for the people who decided they’re going to get off the bandwagon because they’ll get right back on as soon as we start winning,” Prettyman added.

The strange Shakir Bell situation added gasoline to ISU’s fire. Bell claimed he was dismissed, Sanford said it was a season-ending injury, but regardless, the he said-he said distraction didn’t help ISU’s cause no matter where the truth lies.

Bell’s end was unceremonious to be kind. Bell has earned the right on-the-field to be called one of the best Sycamores of all-time. He was certainly marketed that way. His end is a body blow the program didn’t need in an already challenging situation.

“I wish Shakir Bell well. I think he has a future in the game. When I met with him this week, I told him I hope to see him in a NFL uniform next year. I told him he needs to take the time to work through his injuries and get a degree from Indiana State University,” Prettyman said.

Prettyman shed light from his perspective on how Bell’s exit came about.

“Essentially what we did was dismiss him from responsibilities with the team from here on out. We worked with the trainers and doctor and they agree his foot was a season-ending injury. That had a lot to do with the decision for him not to continue,” Prettyman said.

No matter how ISU football got to this place it’s in a position where circling the wagons is the only option.

“I go back to thing I have the most pride in — our athletic department and that’s the people we have. The coaches, the assistants, the trainers, the doctors, I want people like that leading our people in our program,” Prettyman said.

Prettyman is going to need to call on the good will on those people — and ISU fans — to get through a very tumultuous time for ISU football.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 208-2643 or todd.golden@tribstar.com. Follow Golden on Twitter @TribStarTodd.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
College
  • Truebytower.jpg Memorable experience in Morocco for ISU soccer team could help team's growth

    Coming off the best season in its history, the Indiana State women’s soccer team figures to have the experience to do even better in the upcoming fall season.
    Or maybe that’s #TheExperience.

    July 23, 2014 11 Photos

  • Metro: Former Miss Softball joins Purdue staff

    Terre Haute North graduate Megan Ciolli Bartlett, the state’s 2001 Miss Softball and a two-time All-American at Notre Dame, is joining the Purdue coaching staff.

    July 21, 2014

  • Metro: ISU graduate Johnson sixth in shot at Monaco

    Indiana State graduate Felisha Johnson competed in her first International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League track and field meeting Friday, placing sixth in a shot put competition that featured six of the top seven throwers in the world for 2014.

    July 18, 2014

  • ReedUK.jpg A.J. Reed makes it 5 for 5 in college baseball awards with Golden Spikes Award

    When it came down to it, college baseball’s electors agreed that there was no award Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed didn’t deserve for his remarkable 2014 season at Kentucky.
    Reed was selected Thursday as the 2014 Golden Spikes Award winner, given annually to the top amateur player in the nation by USA Baseball, making Reed a unanimous pick as the national player of the year.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • MVC to shift women's basketball tournament to Moline, Ill.

    The Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament will move 90 miles farther from Terre Haute beginning in 2016, the league announced Thursday.

    July 17, 2014

  • Metro: ISU-IU football game to be on ESPNEWS

    Indiana University announced Wednesday that the season opening game between Indiana State and IU will be played at noon on Sept. 30.

    July 16, 2014

  • Riley 10s go 4-1, place second in state tourney

    Riley’s 10-and-under all-star team finished as runner-up over the weekend at the Cal Ripken baseball Central Indiana tournament.

    July 14, 2014

  • Odum heads for Vegas with Kings summer team

    Terre Haute native Jake Odum scored three points in the Indiana Pacers’ 84-74 victory on Thursday over the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.

    July 11, 2014

  • odum.jpg Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play

    Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • MVC Tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018

    Missouri Valley Conference men's tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018.

    July 9, 2014

  • mundy.jpg College report: Former Patriot runner Mundy is ‘proud to be a Hoosier’

    After redshirting the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons this year, Chanli Mundy was eager to do one thing recently as she prepared to compete in the USATF Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Eugene, Oregon. “The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is being able to wear an IU uniform,” she said last week prior to making her cross-country trip.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Odum scores 2 points off bench for Pacers

    Three of the top picks in last month’s draft are adjusting to NBA at different speeds at the Orlando Pro Summer League.

    July 7, 2014

  • Terre Haute's A.J. Reed joins Manziel as an SEC Athlete of Year

    University of Kentucky baseball star A.J. Reed of Terre Haute and Florida softball standout Hannah Rogers have been named 2013-14 Roy F. Kramer Southeastern Conference Male and Female Athletes of the Year, according to a voting by the league’s athletics directors.
    “A.J. and Hannah are true examples of outstanding student-athletes,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday. “They have competed at the highest level of collegiate athletics, and through their hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence, have been successful in their endeavors. They are fine representatives of their universities and this conference.”

    July 1, 2014

  • SPT063014 loyd .jpg A new era: ‘Bittersweet day’ as Loyd takes over for ailing Shaw as Rose-Hulman men’s basketball coach

    Rose-Hulman President James Conwell couldn’t have been more accurate Monday afternoon when he called it “a bittersweet day” for his school.

    June 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Reed adds two-way award to collection

    Seeking to become the third unanimous national Player of the Year in Southeastern Conference history, Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed has been named winner of the 2014 John Olerud Award, given annually to the nation’s top two-way player, according to an announcement Friday from the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

    June 27, 2014

  • Metro: ISU’s Wise starts out well in USATF championships

    Indiana State sprinter Katie Wise advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters as she ran 11.42 seconds in the opening heat of the event Thursday evening at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.

    June 27, 2014

  • SPT021914ISUMBB odum.jpg ISU's Odum talks about agreeing to play for Pacers' summer-league team

    No team selected him in the two-round NBA draft Thursday night, but Terre Haute native and four-year Indiana State basketball standout Jake Odum agreed Friday to play for the Indiana Pacers’ summer-league squad next month.

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • SPT 030914 ODUM FILE.jpg Steady success: ISU continued to climb ladder with one of its best overall seasons ever

    First of all, if you’re an Indiana State fan, stand up and applaud. The Sycamores collectively went where only one Sycamore athletic department went before in 2013-14. ISU finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy standings. ISU recorded a score of 3.538, its highest in school history.

    June 25, 2014 6 Photos

  • Metro roundup: Odum to work out with Lakers

    Terre Haute native and former Indiana State guard Jake Odum will have two more workouts before next Thursday’s NBA Draft. Odum will work out with the Los Angeles Lakers today. Odum will have a second workout with the Orlando Magic next week before the draft.

    June 20, 2014 1 Story

  • Terre Haute’s Reed earns 4th national honor

    Recent University of Kentucky standout A.J. Reed has been named National Player of the Year and first-team All-America, according to an announcement made Wednesday afternoon by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

    June 18, 2014

  • NCAA Championships At_Pear.jpg Swift breaks ISU hurdles record, takes fourth place at NCAAs

    Senior Greggmar Swift broke the school record in the 110 meter hurdles, as Indiana State picked up two All-Americans in the final day of the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Swift’s five points in the event gave the men’s team five points for the meet and a 44th place finish in the nation. The women got 3 points from Mary Theisen in the shot put to place 51st in the nation.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • A.J. Reed chosen as 28th Dick Howser Trophy recipient

    University of Kentucky junior pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed, who enjoyed possibly the greatest individual season in UK history in 2014, is the 28th recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy, presented by Easton Foundations, as college baseball’s Player of the Year.
    The presentation was made Saturday during a national news conference at TD Ameritrade Park, site of the 2014 College World Series.
     

    June 14, 2014

  • SPT061214 ISUMBB parker.jpg New ISU coach Parker makes first impression

    Indiana State assistant coach Terry Parker hasn’t had too much time to make a first impression.
    Officially hired in late April, but identified as Dave Ragland’s replacement on Greg Lansing’s staff long before that, there haven’t been many team activities for Parker to take part in since he joined ISU’s staff from Utah Valley.

    June 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Greggmar Swift advances to NCAA hurdles final

    Greggmar Swift advanced to the finals of the 110-meter hurdles to highlight Indiana State’s performances during day two of the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field.

    June 13, 2014

  • SPT 112313 NCAA 01MASCARI.jpg Terre Haute's Mascari earns All-American finish in 10,000 meters

    Indiana State sophomore John Mascari finished 11th in the NCAA Championships in the 10,000-meter run Wednesday night at historic Hayward Field.

    June 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reed signs with Astros

    A.J. Reed’s Wednesday was already pretty good when he was named Baseball America’s College Player of the Year in the morning. In the afternoon, it got even better for the Terre Haute native. The Houston Astros, who drafted Reed with the first pick of the second round in last week’s Major League Baseball draft, announced that they had agreed to a deal with Reed. According to several sources, Reed signed his deal for $1.35 million.

    June 11, 2014

  • Metro sports: Cassell wins Lawrence County title

    Chris Cassell put together two rounds of 4-under-par 68 for a two-shot victory for his first Albright Motors Lawrence County Open championship on Sunday.

    June 9, 2014

  • Pair of Sycamores selected in Major League Baseball draft

    Two Indiana State baseball players were chosen in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft Saturday.
    Senior shortstop Tyler Wampler, a 2010 graduate of West Vigo High School, went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 17th round (519th overall) and junior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went to the San Diego Padres in the 27th round (807th overall).

    June 7, 2014

  • SPT041113lutz point.jpg Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts

    The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.

    June 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • NCAA Kentucky Kent St_Tayl.jpg Reed a top choice to be taken in MLB draft

    While collegiate honors have poured in — and will likely continue to — for Terre Haute native A.J. Reed, the biggest night for him will likely be tonight.

    June 4, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Obama Signs Workforce Training Law WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City
NDN Video
Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity