When word first leaked that IU had hired Terry Hoeppner as its new football coach, his then-Redhawk offensive line coach, Bobby Johnson, received a phone call – and it wasn't from Hoeppner.
Instead, Johnson picked up the phone to find a former recruiting target of his – Adam Hines – on the other end of the line.
"When Coach Hep got the job and Adam called he said, ‘Coach Johnson, this is Adam Hines. I guess you're going to work for me,'" said Johnson.
The phone call was prompted by a conversation the two had after Hines picked the Hoosiers over Miami (Ohio) three years earlier. Johnson had recruited the Vandalia, Ohio, product, and had joked that there would still come a day when they'd work together.
"When I committed to Indiana he told me that he'd still coach me someday, thinking that I was going to transfer to Miami because my buddy (Josh Betts) is the quarterback there," said Hines.
Betts is entering his second year as the Redhawks' starter, having stepped in to the lineup following the departure of Ben Roethlisberger to the NFL. Hines, meanwhile, has stuck it out in Bloomington, spending three years as a starter on the Hoosier frontline.
But after former IU coach Gerry DiNardo was fired and replaced by Hoeppner, Hines quickly realized that he and Johnson would in fact be joining forces, just in Bloomington instead of Oxford, Ohio.
"When he got the job I kind of threw it back in his face," said Hines. "I said, ‘You said you'd be my coach, but I guess you had to come to me.'"
Johnson did just that, joining Brian George, Billy Lynch, Joe Palcic and George Ricumstrict as assistants who made to move along with Hoeppner from Miami (Ohio) to Bloomington.
Johnson inherited a line that had five returning starters, each with at least 11 starts to their credit. But no one brings more experience than Hines, one of three team captains who has started 33 games during his Indiana career.
The Hoosiers' starting left guard, Hines worked his way into the starting lineup as a true freshman and hasn't been sidelined since.
"Here's a guy who is going to be a four-year starter in the Big Ten who constantly wants to know what he can do to get better," said Johnson. "You can't ask for anything more than that."
Hines' four seasons at IU have included a variety of position switches. He's played both guard positions, and a mid-season injury to Isaac Sowells last season prompted DiNardo to move Hines to left tackle.
He's once again returned to the left guard position, but believes his experiences at tackle a year ago will only help him this fall.
"At tackle I had to block out in space, be able to control my body out there," said Hines. "Out there you're kind of on an island not only in the run game but the pass game as well.
"That helped me as far as making sure I was keeping my knees bent and my weight down, and that will help me at guard as well."
Johnson fully expects Hines to utilize last year's experiences to make himself better in his final season as a Hoosier. In fact, Johnson said he hasn't been around very many linemen who work as hard as Hines does to become a better player.
"He wants to be great," said Johnson. "A lot of guys want to be great, but he's willing to put in the work to be great. He's always hounding me about what he can do to get better. As a coach, you love that."
Johnson also likes what Hines brings to the practice field. Not only does he set a good example with his work ethic, but he's also someone that the younger players can turn to for counsel.
"He's like another coach on the field," said Johnson. "I can go a coach another guy, and Adam can coach up a younger guy or even some older guys that we're going to need.
"You can't have too many guys like him. Adam has been one of my biggest assets since I got here."
Hines and the rest of the offensive line, meanwhile, figure to be one of the biggest assets for an offense that has plenty of potential, but a handful of unproven players at the skill positions.
That's a burden that the line doesn't shy away from, Hines in particular.
"It's always on us – especially more so now," said Hines. "The offensive line needs to take ownership of this team and this offense and say, ‘hey, we've been there. Get on our backs and we'll lead you where you need to go.'"
Hines Answering The Call
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