News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

August 15, 2013

A Bell less rung: ISU has plans to diversify running attack

VIDEO: Shakir Bell talks about ISU football season

TERRE HAUTE — When it comes to Indiana State senior running back Shakir Bell, the number that usually comes to mind regarding his value to the Sycamores is measured in the thousands.

As in the 1,475 rushing yards he amassed in 2012. Or the career-high and school record 1,670 he gained in 2011. He has 3,794 career rushing yards and needs just 541 yards to break Vincent Allen’s school rushing record.

But to determine the value of Bell — and the conundrum of ISU’s offense in 2012 — one must aim for a much lower number.

Think 40.5 percent.

That’s the percentage of times Bell touched the ball for ISU’s offense in 2012. Including incomplete passes, ISU ran a total of 715 plays in 2012. Bell had 269 carries, 19 catches and two pass attempts for 290 live touches. When incomplete passes are taken out of the equation, Bell accounted for 49.3 percent of ISU’s gains or losses from scrimmage in 2012.

The 40.5 percent of the load Bell carried was no Saturday drive in the park either. It was more like a street rumble.

The majority of Bell’s carries were between the tackles. Bell’s physical running style is such that it’s going to create violent collisions regardless of where on the field the carries went to, but Bell was particularly prone to gang-tackling by hungry Missouri Valley Football Conference defensive linemen, linebackers and safeties. The result was that Bell was injured in several 2012 games.

ISU coach Mike Sanford recognized the problem and will try to square the circle of depending on Bell, but not so much that it kills him.

“That’s a huge thing. That’s going to be a very important part of our game-planning and how we utilize him. Some of the ways we get him the ball will be in ways he doesn’t get multiple hits on him,” Sanford said. “When you’re in the box, you’re going to get a lot more hits. We want to get him in the open field and get him into one-on-one situations. I’ll bet on him in a one-on-one.”

Diversification of the attack will be crucial. Sanford said opponents will see Bell in several different looks and he’ll come from several different angles.

Will Bell continue to pound the ball? Yes, but he’ll also be on the receiving end of pitch-outs and screen passes. Bell might even line up wide on occasion.

“Initially our thought has been to do everything we can to utilize his talents, but also create a situation where people can’t completely focus on him,” Sanford said. “The one thing we have to do is use him as a total player. We’ll run, we’ll throw it to him, he’s going to be doing a lot of different things. He’s the guy. He’s where we’re at.”

This is all music to the ears of Bell, who has been rejuvenated at preseason camp after a punishing 2012.

“I’m a hard-nosed runner, I’m a downhill type of guy. I get the ball a lot. When coach Miles was here, I was getting the ball and heading straight down the middle. I’m happy that coach Sanford is here and that he’s going to use a lot of my talents,” Bell said.

“I’ll be able to show everyone I can catch the ball and get me in the open field for more one-on-one’s. However I can show I’m a talent anywhere I can be, I want to do it,” he added.

Depth behind Bell is also a key … and it might be the best he’s had in his career.

He is joined by three senior veterans in the backfield. Former Warren Central teammate George Cheeseborough has been with Bell, and vice versa, for every step of the way since 2010. Senior Taje High will return to the backfield after spending time as a wide receiver. Fullback Austen Wozniak returns and has been a valuable asset throughout his ISU career.

“George Cheeseborough is going to play a bigger role, Taje High is going to play a bigger role. Our new guy, Buck Logan [a junior college transfer from Sacramento City College], is a power back and he’s going to make a difference,” Bell said.

Bell is so enthused about his backfield teammates that he might have to keep the National Weather Service on-call.

“Taje is the lightning, Cheese is the thunder and I’ll be the storm,” Bell declared. “Our guys Woz and Jerry Stephen [who is moving from tight end] will come in and clean up the mess too.”

Sanford said Wozniak, who’s played a classic fullback role for most of his ISU career, will also see his role diversified.

“In the spread, we’ll do a lot of option and reading. I intend to see the ball more in the flats and running it. It should be a good year statistically for me,” Wozniak said.

While the priority is to use Bell’s talents for the good of the Sycamores, there is the subtext of his potential pro career to come.

Sanford has a recent template of sorts to use as a baseline for Bell’s future. Sanford was the offensive coordinator at Utah State in 2012 and had Kerwynn Williams among his charges. Williams rushed for 1,512 yards for the Aggies and was taken in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

“[Bell’s] been a workhorse, a tough, physical back. But his future and the best way to utilize him for us is very similar to Kerwin Williams, who was drafted by the Colts, we for us last year at Utah State. Shakir is a better physical runner than Kerwin, who was more of a home run hitter,” Sanford said.

Bell’s mind is on ISU first, but he admits that it’s hard to think about fulfilling a dream.

“I’m focusing on this season and this season only, but of course, that whole thing is on my mind. I’m nearing the finish line and that goal has been in my mind since I was a 6-year-old kid running pee-wee football. It’s something I’m looking forward to, but I’m focused on the season,” Bell said.

A season in which ISU hopes Bell doesn’t have to absorb 40.5 percent of the punishment.



ISU running backs

Projected starters: RB Shakir Bell*, Sr., FB Austen Wozniak*, Sr.

In relief: George Cheeseborough, Sr.; Taje High, Sr.; Buck Logan, Jr.; Jerry Stephen, RFr.; LeMonte Booker, Fr.; Tyler Evans, Fr.; Dimitri Taylor, Fr.

Offensive coordinator: Brian Sheppard.

Position coach: Jayden Everett.

* denotes returning starter

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
College
  • SPT042314 ISUBB zimm bunt.jpg Clamping down: Pitching, defense lift ISU to third straight victory

    Indiana State’s baseball trip to Victory Field on Wednesday to face Butler turned into a virtuoso performance in pitching and defense.

    April 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Metro roundup: Rose swimmer honored as CCIW’s best

    Rose-Hulman sophomore Orion Martin of Dublin, Ohio, has been named the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Male Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year, according to voting by league coaches.

    April 23, 2014

  • MET 042114 TRACK MCNICHOLS.jpg Til it's over: Grand memories usher in a new era for ISU track

    John McNichols won his first Missouri Valley Conference championship in outdoor track at Indiana State’s Marks Field back in 1988. He’s gone on to win eight more — in addition to his two indoor track and eight cross country crowns. In 2016, McNichols will have a chance to add that outdoor title total on the site of a brand new facility — proposed to be named Gibson Track and Field by ISU President Dan Bradley.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro roundup: ISU trails by 4 with 18 holes left

    Indiana State is four shots out of the lead and McCall Christopher five shots from the individual lead after the second of three rounds of the Missouri Valley Conference golf championships was completed Monday at Panther Creek Country Club.

    April 22, 2014

  • UK_Mizzou_4-11-14_27_cw.JPG Immense power: A leaner A.J. Reed making play as elite prospect

    Reed took his talents to Kentucky and the Southeastern Conference in 2011 and hasn’t looked back in the baseball sense. After a standout career at Terre Haute South — he was Indiana’s Player of the Year in 2011 — area fans had an idea of the wind Kentucky was sowing when it coaxed Reed to Lexington, Ky.

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • 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.

    April 19, 2014

  • 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.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT041614 SMWC jordan.jpg 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.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT 030714 ODUM 02O'LEARY.jpg 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.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • 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.

    April 15, 2014

  • 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.

    April 15, 2014

  • 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.

    April 12, 2014

  • 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.

    April 12, 2014

  • 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.

    April 12, 2014

  • SPT 032414 COACH SANFORD.jpg 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.”

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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.

    April 10, 2014

  • ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2

    The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores took control early to defeat the Indiana State Sycamores 6-2

    April 9, 2014

  • SPT 040514 JACOB HAYES DIVE.jpg 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.

    April 5, 2014 3 Photos

  • 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.

    April 5, 2014

  • Newbolt.jpg Sycamores get commitment from junior-college point guard

    Help wanted.
    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.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grant Prusator …nd jones 0.jpg 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.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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.

    April 4, 2014

  • SPT040314 ISUFB thurman.jpg 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.

    April 3, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT031114 reed1.jpg 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.
     

    April 3, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT012714ISUWBB laramie.jpg 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.

    April 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • 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.

    April 2, 2014

  • 20140401_145857.jpg 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.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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.

    April 1, 2014

  • Stout_action3.jpg Dedicated to helping others

    It’s not like Marissa Stout is bored out of her mind and lacking for things to do.

    March 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • 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.

    March 31, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call Oregon Gay Marriage Ban Goes to Court Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Swimmer Michael Phelps Attempts Comeback Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs Raw: Pres. Obama Visits Japan's Imperial Palace Raw: Obama Arrives at State Dinner in Tokyo Raw: Obama Visits Meiji Shrine in Tokyo
NDN Video
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