Indiana is 2-1 after their 33-28 loss to Wake Forest yesterday. In the loss wideout Ricky Jones had a big day, the special teams had another tough week, and the defense had a solid outing despite being put in tough situations all day by the offense.
Jones breaks out against Demon Deacons
In the first two games of the season IU receiver Ricky Jones had only caught three passes for 18 yards, but in the game against Wake Forest he had an outstanding performance as he hauled in eight receptions for 208 yards.
"When my team needed me and the play was called my way I needed to make the play," Jones said. "I had to put more on my plate because (Dan) Feeney and (Dimitric) Camiel wasn't there, and also Simmie Cobbs is out."
Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson was pleased to see Jones have a good game even though it came in a game where the Hoosiers fell short.
"It was good because he had the hot hand," Wilson said about Jones. "I appreciate him having a good game today. He's had some good ones in the past, but it wasn't enough."
The IU head coach also said the passes that were thrown to fellow wideout Nick Westbrook in the first two games could have easily gone to Jones.
"I actually said (to Jones) last night, 'You know, a couple of Westbrook's touchdowns, if you're on the other hash, the ball is coming your way. I don't know if you can make the touchdown, but the ball is coming your way.' We play those guys left and right. It's fast. We don't play X and Z. One guy plays on the left side, one guy plays on the right side, and it helps us play faster. Sometimes it's just the coverage."
Indiana WR Ricky Jones talking to the media after the loss to Wake Forest:
Defense holds its own vs. Wake Forest
In a disappointing loss to Wake Forest one bright spot was the overall play of the defensive unit. Despite being put in tough situations all day by the Indiana offense, the defense did a pretty solid job against the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest rushed for 180 yards but it took them 50 carries to get there, and the Demon Deacons only passed for 172 yards. IU linebacker Tegray Scales felt like the Hoosiers had a pretty good day on defense against Wake Forest.
"As a defense, I think we played well," Scales said. "We could have gotten a few more stops to help the offense out in certain situations. As a whole, we just have to bring it all together and play Hoosiers football."
Indiana defensive back Jonathan Crawford thought the defense played hard, but at the end of the day they did not do enough to get the win.
"I think we played hard," Crawford said. "We gave up too many points and we had too many mistakes. In the end, we just have to come through."
One issue the Hoosiers did have on defense was too many costly penalties, especially when it looked like they had gotten a key stop against the Demon Deacons.
"Penalties ruin potential," Scales said. "We were just trying to make plays, we had the opportunities to (make plays), we just did not. We will clean those up in the next couple days, the next week and will be ready for the next game."
Crawford felt like the penalties were due to a lack of focus on the little things by the Indiana defense and that led to those mistakes.
"That just comes down to the little details," Crawford said about the defensive penalties. "We wanted it bad, things were getting physical, but we just made some bad plays."
Another issue for the IU defense was the lack of takeaways. After getting five of them in the first two games they did not record any takeaways against Wake Forest.
""I wish I could tell you," Scales said when asked about the lack of takeaways. "If I knew, we would have fixed it on the field. We need to keep raking at the ball. The penalties hurt us. We left too many opportunities on the field."
Crawford said this loss to Wake Forest is a perfect example of why it is so important for the defense to get takeaways every game.
"It shows that we cannot win without takeaways," Crawford said. "We need takeaways to come out on top. We had turnovers (on offense), but we have to do our part."
Indiana LB Tegray Scales talking to the media after the loss to Wake Forest:
More issues on special teams
It was another week for the Hoosiers where the special teams unit had an issue that cost them points. This week it was a blocked field goal by the Demon Deacons where a defender was able to come off the edge and block the kick. After the game Coach Wilson said the block was the result of the snap and hold and kick being a little bit too slow.
"Yeah, you know what, he came off too fast," Wilson said. "The timing was a little bit slow. We worked very hard on punt and field goal protection here through the opening. We'll look at -- because it was about one-tenth -- when you field goal, the widest guy you're beating with time. It was late enough to give that guy a factor. But also we need to look at, again, the personnel on the spacing because we make it too easy. It was a little slow, but it's worked for us 2 in 3 games."
Coach Wilson said special teams is something they need to get corrected because more and more teams are really emphasizing that part of the game.
"A lot of people are coming after kicks," Wilson said. "We have a punt block last game. I think it's one of the trends in the kicking game right now that a lot of teams are emphasizing...we had four or five blocked PATs ourselves last year, where we got them. So I think it's a part of ball and we've just got to clean it up."