TERRE HAUTE —
The hardest kind of player to recruit to a Football Championship Subdivision team is a big defensive tackle.
Most are coveted and hoarded by Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Aside from a few diamonds in the rough that slipped through the recruiting cracks, there are very few massive, run-stuffing defensive tackles in FCS.
Indiana State thought it had mined one of those diamonds when 6-foot-7, 295-pound defensive tackle Jordan Bright was wooed to the Sycamores as part of Trent Miles’ first recruiting class.
“It’s the hardest thing to find — big defensive lineman. Everybody wants those,” Miles said.
But for the majority of Bright’s career at ISU, it’s been more rough than diamonds for the Cincinnati native.
At long last, that’s changed for Bright in his senior season. After sitting out 2011 due to a foot injury, Bright has worked his way into ISU’s starting lineup at defensive tackle. As one might expect, Bright is hard to miss inside the defensive trenches for the Sycamores and his size alone demands attention from opponent’s blockers.
In two games, Bright has four tackles, but two are for a loss, which puts him second behind Aaron Archie in that category.
“Bright’s been doing a great job. It’s his first chance, but he’s taking it seriously and he’s taking working hard to heart,” said senior ISU defensive end Ben Obaseki.
The road to the starting lineup for Bright was rocky. Early in his career, Bright could be seen on the Memorial Stadium steps — punishment for practice gaffes — almost as much as he was seen on the field. Bright’s temper sometimes got the better of him and it caused him to get into occasional on-field confrontations with teammates, but more importantly, it caused him to lose focus.
Regardless of that, playing time also wasn’t going to be easy for Bright to attain. Early in his career, he played behind Dan Millington, and up until this season, he played behind solid starters Rod Hardy and Lawrence Young.
It became a Catch-22 for the frustrated Bright. His desire to find focus was difficult for him knowing there wasn’t playing time to give him the impetus to sharpen it. In his first three seasons, Bright played in just nine games and had two assisted tackles and one solo tackle.
Bright knew he had come to a crossroads midway through his career, even before the injury-marred 2011 season. He felt his future on the ISU team was in jeopardy if he didn’t show Miles that he could mature and accept his role, whatever it happened to be.
“Coach Miles had a thought about me and I knew it would be hard to change his mind, but I kept to it,” Bright said. “We had talks. I told him it was all or nothing. I didn’t want to waste his time and I didn’t want to waste mine.”
Miles acknowledged that Bright had to mature to get his chance with the Sycamores.
“Sometimes it takes others longer to mature. This is the first time he’s turned it on and made the commitment to doing the things he needs to do, totally, to play. He has the size, he has the ability, but it’s been a work in progress to get it out of him and for him to be consistent. We feel he’s turned the corner,” Miles said.
Bright credited his teammates for helping him turn that corner. They provide him with a support system if he senses that he’s letting frustration get the better of him.
“They try to pick me up and I need that. They don’t want me to fall back into what I was doing. I might slip back for a play or something, but I have to think, I can’t let it happen again and just work my hardest on the next play,” Bright said.
So far, Bright’s focus has helped ISU’s run defense improve statistically, at least in the early returns from the first two games. ISU ranks 36th in the nation in FCS as it has allowed 122 rushing yards per game. In 2011, ISU ranked 82nd.
Bright isn’t the sole reason for that improvement, but he’s part of it. And he’s happy he’s finally getting his chance to contribute.
“I didn’t have my head on right. Now I’ve got my chance to play and I’ve been working hard. I keep the same mentality to stay on the field as much as possible. I’m having fun everyday. It wasn’t fun before. Now? I’m having fun with my brothers [teammates],” Bright said.
Senior DT provides needed size in the middle
TERRE HAUTE —
The hardest kind of player to recruit to a Football Championship Subdivision team is a big defensive tackle.
- Indiana State University
ISU win streak at 12
Ryan Keaffaber recorded his sixth save in seven opportunities Monday as Indiana State won its 12th straight college baseball game, holding off a rally by visiting Western Illinois for a 7-4 victory on Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.
Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again
Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.
Guts, sweat, tears: Sycamores fall to perfect Shockers
No one on Indiana State’s men’s basketball needed to say a word about the Sycamores’ 83-69 loss to Wichita State in Sunday’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game.
Todd Golden: Sycamores ran with the best
It’s hard to run with Secretariat. Secretariat, for the uninitiated, won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 1973 and famously stormed to victory in the Belmont Stakes by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Secretariat is widely considered to be the greatest thoroughbred of all time, and his Belmont performance is one of sports’ all-time greatest moments. In Missouri Valley Conference terms, Wichita State is Secretariat.
Reliever leads comeback in ISU's 11th straight win
It could have been just a mop-up role for Josh Dove on Sunday at Bob Warn Field, but the Indiana State relief pitcher wasn’t thinking that way.
ISU fans cheer their team from afar
Indiana State University basketball fans eagerly supported their team Sunday, even from a distance, as they watched the Sycamores battle in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game being played in St. Louis.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge
When you’re getting ready to play the No. 2 team in the country — the undefeated No. 2 team in the country and the best Missouri Valley Conference team in a generation — the unwritten rule says you’re not supposed to rile them. That you’re not supposed to poke the hornet’s nest.
Clock problems delay start of Indiana State semifinal game
Time stood still in Scottrade Center on Saturday.
Not by design.
Sycamores advance to Arch Madness title game
No one said advancing to the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament championship game was going to be easy.
ISU women grab share of MVC regular-season title
The preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite lived up to its expectations, as the Indiana State women’s basketball team grabbed a piece of the regular-season title with an 85-72 triumph over host Northern Iowa on Saturday afternoon inside McLeod Center.
ISU headed to MVC title game
Indiana State defeated Southern Illinois 62-59 on Saturday to advance to Arch Madness championship game.
Ramblin’ On: Sycamores use defensive stops to reach Missouri Valley semifinals
It sounds counter-intuitive, but to go forward in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament you must first get stops. In Friday’s MVC Tournament quarterfinal against Loyola, ISU followed that bit of zen to a tee. The Sycamores never let the Ramblers get comfortable offensively and put a hammer-lock on Loyola standout Milton Doyle. ISU rode its defense to an easy 75-62 victory at Scottrade Center.
ISU baseball looking to carry success home
Indiana State had pitching questions coming into the season, having lost its entire starting staff from a year ago.
So far anyway, those questions have been answered. The Sycamores are 9-1 going into their home opener today against Western Illinois.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Sycamores rejuvenated heading into MVC Tournament quarterfinals
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum is sick-and-tired of being sick and tired.
He’s tired of hearing about the team’s three-game losing streak. He’s tired of the Sycamores playing below par. He’s tired of the team not fulfilling its potential.
He plans to do something about it this weekend. Second-seeded ISU begins its Missouri Valley Conference Tournament trek at 7:05 p.m. tonight against either No. 10 Loyola.
ISU women seek top MVC seed
Defense and rebounding are the staples of Teri Moren’s fourth Indiana State team, a squad that hits the road trying to defend and rebound its way to a regular-season conference title. The Sycamores women’s basketball can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Missouri Valley Conference with wins tonight against Drake and Saturday against Northern Iowa.
ISU reserve Smith earns two MVC honors
Indiana State sophomore Khristian Smith has been named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Bench and Most Improved Teams, according to an announcement by the league office Wednesday.
Two Sycamores with Scott during Saturday incident
A Vigo County’s Sheriff’s case report of Brenton Scott’s arrest last Saturday indicated that Scott, an Indiana State basketball player, tried to pass himself off as his twin brother and that two of his teammates were with him at the time of the incident.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Odum, Smith, Arop recognized by MVC
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum doesn’t play baseball, but he did go 4-for-4 in his Sycamore career.
His 4-for-4 performance came in regards to his All-Missouri Valley Conference selections. Odum has been named to the all-MVC team in each of his four seasons, and for the second time in a year, Odum was named to the MVC’s first team.
Teammate Khristian Smith also received a major individual honor. Smith, a sophomore, earned the MVC’s Sixth Man Award. Senior Manny Arop also was named as an All-MVC honorable-mention selection.
ISU’s Odum earns first-team All-MVC honors
ST. LOUIS —Indiana State guard Jake Odum earned a spot on the 2014 All-Missouri Valley Conference first team, which was announced today as the Sycamores prepare for this week’s MVC men’s basketball tournament.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
ISU's Scott booked for OWI, possession
Indiana State men's basketball player Brenton Scott was booked into the Vigo County Jail on Saturday for operating while intoxicated, possession of marijuana/hash, possession of paraphenalia and false reporting/informing.
Senior Day Success
Indiana State shot just 35 percent from the field Sunday in Hulman Center compared with 46 percent for the visiting Bradley women, but that was almost a good thing.
ISU teams sweep titles in indoor track
Indiana State’s track teams swept the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships on Sunday at Northern Iowa, the men leading all the way and the women surviving a three-way battle.
Odum can't get roll on game-winning attempt on Senior Day
The storybook was ready to be opened at Hulman Center on Saturday.
Down two with 4.5 seconds to go, Indiana State rebounded a free throw miss by Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. ISU senior point guard Odum timed his dash perfectly up the floor. He released his shot from just behind the 3-point line at just the right second. The shot was true and online.
TODD GOLDEN: Lansing's belief in his team has not wavered
In the wake of Indiana State’s 71-69 loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday, and the three-game losing streak that comes with it, ISU coach Greg Lansing wanted to get one point across crystal clear in his postgame press conference.
Red-hot ISU baseball wins eighth straight game
Indiana State broke away from a tight ballgame with four runs in the fifth inning and went on to post their eighth-straight victory of the 2014 campaign with a 10-3 triumph over New Orleans Saturday.
David Stagg (3-0) was the winning pitcher for the Sycamores as he went seven innings. He allowed two runs, scattered nine hits and struck out eight.
ISU men’s track leading in MVC indoor championships
Indiana State’s men’s track and field team took the lead Saturday after the first day of the Missouri Valley Conference indoor championships Saturday at Northern Iowa, while the Sycamore women were second.
Seeking their second straight championship, the Sycamore men have 64 points to 37 for Illinois State. Indiana State’s women are just two points behind Southern Illinois, 50-48.
Rolling along: Third straight victory helps Sycamores tie for second in MVC
Aside from Teri Moren sticking with her pink Chuck Taylor shoes on the sideline for superstitious reasons, Indiana State’s three-game winning streak can be explained by strong play in nearly every aspect of the game.
- More Indiana State University Headlines
- ISU win streak at 12