INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL ALUMNI NEWSLETTER
Volume One, Number Eight
April 10, 2008
Editor: Tom James, TJames1475@aol.com
ISU Football Alumni Blog Page: http://isufootballalumni.blogspot.com/
SCRIMMAGE SET FOR SATURDAY, APRIL 12 AT MEMORIAL STADIUM; ALUMNI ARE INVITED/WELCOME TO ATTEND
Indiana State will conduct its second intrasquad scrimmage of the spring Saturday, April 12 at Memorial Stadium. The workout is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and conclude around noon.
All former players, coaches, student managers and trainers are invited to attend the practice.
Who knows? What with the player numbers down during spring practice, if the former players get too close to the turf, there might be a good chance that some of the alums may be asked to suit up and show the current players how things are supposed to be done.
2008 INDIANA STATE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE/WITH KICKOFF TIMES ANNOUNCED
TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University announced a 12-game football schedule for the 2008 season Wednesday. ISU will play 5 home games under first-year coach Trent Miles.
The Sycamores will open the season Thursday, Aug. 28, when they travel to Eastern Michigan. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The game will mark the first time ISU has faced the Eagles since the Sycamores walked away with a 21-14 decision in 2001.
ISU graces the turf at Memorial Stadium in coach Miles' home debut when it hosts Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 27 with kick-off slated for 12:05 p.m.
The Sycamores open Gateway Football Conference play on Oct. 4 when they host Illinois State at 12:05 p.m.Tickets are on sale now at the Hulman Center ticket office.
One addition to the ticket options for the 2008 is the the Junior QB Club, which will prove to be a way for kids to join in the fun and excitement of Sycamore Football. Any child who is entering the eighth grade in 2008 or younger can sign up for the club and receive all the great benefits including a membership card, t-shirt, football poster and much more to be announced throughout the course of the year.
2008 ISU football schedule
Aug. 28 — at Eastern Michigan, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 — at Eastern Illinois, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 — at Northern Illinois, time to be announced
Sept. 27 — Southeast Missouri State, 12:05 p.m.Oct. 4 — Illinois State, 12:05 p.m.
Oct. 11 — at Southern Illinois, 2:30 p.m.
Oct. 18 — at Western Illinois, 4 p.m.
Oct. 25 — South Dakota, 2:05 p.m.
Nov. 1 — at North Dakota State, 2 p.m.
Nov. 8 — at Youngstown State, 1 p.m.
Nov. 15 — Northern Iowa, 12:05 p.m.N
ov. 22 — Missouri State, 12:05
New offensive coordinator Diedrick’s experience could be just what ISU football program needs
By David Hughes, Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE — What do quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe, Marques Tuiasosopo, Brady Quinn and Chuck Dowdell have in common?
All have been coached by Bill Diedrick, Indiana State’s new offensive coordinator.The hiring of Diedrick was announced in February and he’s currently in his second week of spring practices with the Trent Miles-coached Sycamores.
“Bill brings great knowledge and experience that’s unbelievable at any level, let alone at this level [NCAA Football Championship Subdivision],” Miles said after Saturday’s scrimmage at Memorial Stadium. “The things that he’s done in his career and the knowledge that he has, you couldn’t find a better person to come in here and help get this going.
“We’re very fortunate [to have Diedrick at Indiana State]. Bill and I have a very, very good working relationship and we’re friends off the field. It was just the right timing. The opportunity arose … and it’s a good fit. It’s great to have him here, because it’s not going to do anything but make our offense better. Our quarterbacks are going to learn faster than they could learn from anybody out there.”
Diedrick, who’s also the ISU quarterbacks and wide receivers coach, said he doesn’t mind that the program has compiled a 1-32 record over the last three seasons.
“It’s not so much the team being 1-32,” he insisted. “I think that my relationship with Trent, him being given the opportunity to have his own program … and I was looking to come back south [from Canada]. It gave me an opportunity to help a friend out and start and develop a program.”
Diedrick, 61, previously coached at the University of Hawaii, two high schools in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth College, Montana State, Idaho, Washington State, the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos, the University of Washington, Stanford, Notre Dame and, most recently, the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts.
Diedrick, who worked with Bledsoe one season at Washington State and Quinn two seasons at Notre Dame, has guided 10 quarterbacks who ended up in the NFL.
“To me, it’s fun to be able to work with great competitors and watch a kid develop and have an opportunity to raise above his skills and play in the NFL,” Diedrick reflected. “You look at the 10 kids that have had that opportunity … it’s a lot of fun because they’re great competitors.
"Of those 10, only three of them ever started as a freshmen. Drew Bledsoe was one, Brady Quinn was another and Marques Tuiasosopo [at Washington] was the other. So everybody wants to come in and play as a freshman, but not very many guys are truly committed in what it takes to do to prepare themselves and to be able to come in and have an opportunity to play, let alone start as a freshman.”
Since the start of Indiana State’s spring practices March 30, Diedrick said he’s noticed “good improvement” from Dowdell, a freshman who started much of the 2007 season.
“He’s starting to get the ball located a lot better,” Diedrick pointed out. “I think his reads have been good. We’re really working on his mechanics — the little things, all the things that are important, the things that he probably hasn’t really had an opportunity to do.
“I mean, he played a little bit of receiver and a little bit of quarterback last year. You know, all of those kids [on ISU’s offense] are totally inexperienced. They’re like babes with diapers. It’s like getting them started from ground zero. But I’m pleased with where Chuck is right now. I know he’s got a lot more growth ahead of him this spring.”
Miles said Diedrick’s influence on Dowdell and the back-up quarterbacks will be positive.
“You’re going to see progress from the position and from each individual, not just in football but as a leader,” Miles emphasized. “He teaches them how to be a leader. He teaches them how to operate the offense and do the things it takes to be the field general.”
Dowdell, for one, appreciates all the instructions he’s received from Diedrick in a relatively short period of time.
“I feel coach Diedrick has helped out everybody from starting quarterback to fourth string,” Dowdell said. “He’s got good enthusiasm.”
Diedrick also has observed progress from the offensive unit as a whole.
“I think the biggest thing that I’ve really seen is in effort given,” he mentioned. “I think that there’s been good progress and improvement. We’re not nearly where we would like to be, by any means. But it all starts at ground zero and it really starts with each individual giving great effort on a consistent basis and I think that we’re getting closer to having that. Once a young man and a group can do that, they’ll be able to make plays.”
Diedrick made no statistical predictions for the 2008 season, which opens Aug. 28 at Eastern Michigan, but he did say that ISU will run a multiple offense.
“I think the important thing about that is you really have to design or mold or shape that offense according to the personnel that you have,” he explained. “So that’s really the big thing this spring. We’re kinda throwing a lot at ’em, seeing who can learn and who can’t. What they can’t do is probably as important as what they can do. Then we’ll modify that in the offseason.
“You also have to take a look at all the young kids coming in [this summer] because those guys are probably going to be put in a position where they’re going to be playing quite a bit. So it will be a very multiple offense and it will be shaped into what our skills allow us to do. I think it all starts with the quarterback position.”
ISU will conduct another public scrimmage from about 10 a.m. to noon Saturday (April at Memorial Stadium. The final spring practice will be April 19 when the annual Blue/White Scrimmage takes place.
FORMER SYCAMORES RUNNING BACK TONY COFIELD DIES
Details are sketchy, but we have received word that former Indiana State running back Tony Cofield died recently. Tony played at ISU in the late 1970s.
Our condolences to the Cofield family. If we get any more information, it will be included in a future Indiana State football newsletter.
NEED UPDATED EMAIL ADDRESSES
The response to the Indiana State Football Alumni newsletter and new blog page have been outstanding so far.
We've been able to piece together a good-sized list of email addresses for former players, student managers, trainers and coaches. But some of the email addresses that I am now using aren't working.
Some, like Denver Broncos running backs coach Bobby Turner, get bounced back to me on a regular basis because Bobby doesn't like email (and, consequently, his email box with the Broncos is full).
Others, I have typed in the email addresses that former players have given me, but they don't seem to work well. So I need updated email addresses for Kurt Bell, Kevin Buchannan, Brian Krueger, Rodney Porter, and Marty Murray.
If some of you who are receiving the newsletter would prefer me sending it to your work address instead of home, or home instead of work, let me know and get me the new/updated email addresses.
Also, please get the word out about the newsletter and if you know of anyone who wants to be added, please let me know. This newsletter and the blog page have been put together to keep you guys in touch with the program once again.
RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM THE NEWSLETTER EDITOR....
--Just a remeinder, but this newsletter is not a product of Indiana State University or its athletic department. I have taken on the project as sort of my contribution to a football program that has done a lot for me over the years.
--The continuing friendships with former coaches and players goes on to this day. I often tell people how amazing it is for me to be covering the NFL Combine each year and to see so many ex-indiana State coaches and alums now associated with the league.
To have Tennessee Titans assistant head coach Dave McGinnis (former Sycamores defensive backs coach) holler out my nickname down a crowded hallway at the Indiana Convention Center in his Texas twang is an experience in itself and something to cause a chuckle or two.
Or to have the opportunity to touch base with people like Bobby Turner (Denver), Alvin Reynolds (Atlanta), Pete Hoener (San Francisco), Dave Magazu (Carolina), Cam Cameron (Baltimore), Sean Payton (New Orleans) or Mike Ornstein on a regular basis is great.
Talking to Tunch Ilkin before and after an Indianapolis Colts/Pittsburgh Steelers game is always interesting. Tunch is an analyst on the Steelers' radio network. And getting together with the likes of Chris Hicks, Vincent Allen, Mel Burks, Greg Washington at ISU games and Hall of Fame inductions brings back a lot of memories. Those guys, along with people like Larry Fitzgerald and Matt Blane, took me under their wings when I was a fresh-faced freshman student manager back in the late 1970s.
--And speaking of Vincent Allen, how about a letter-writing campaign to have "Slick" inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend. Vincent ran for over 1,000 in four straights seasons at ISU, becoming one of the first players in college history to accomplish that feat (regardless of NCAA division).
--Any feelings out there about starting up an Indiana State Football Alumni Association? Comments? Suggestions? Perhaps coming up with some yearly positional awards to hand out to current players at the end of each season? Or maybe have fund-raisers and endowing some sort of ISU Football Alumni scholarship? Or some other ways to give back to the program?
HOW CAN I HELP THE INDIANA STATE FOOTBALL PROGRAM?
I'm often asked by alums how they can help promote the football program. You can do that in many ways. If it's within your means, you can send financial donations to the athletic department and earmark them specifically for football. They will allow you to do that now.
Gifts in kind are also allowed. So if you have some sort of product that would help the program, you can check that out. Host fund-raising golf outings with former ISU players in your respective areas and make donations to the football program through the athletic department.
You can also help out by just being around the program on a regular basis once again. Showing up at practices and games if your time and schedule allows would be greatly appreciated by the coaching staff and players. Let them know that you care!
Keeping an eye out for prosepctive recruits and letting the coaching staff know who they are. Contact recruiting coordinator Kyle Caskey or head coach Trent Miles with any suggestions. Videotaping local high school games off your television and sending the tapes to the coaches would be a big help.
Constant correspondence with people like ISU Athletic Director Ron Prettyman and the members of the Board of Trustees is a must. Share with them your feelings on ways to improve the football program. If you like what has been done so far, speak up. If you think they can do better, tell them that too (but in a respectful way).
If you live in Indiana -- particuarly in the Indianapolis, Terre Haute, and Evansville areas -- you can write/call your local sports media outlets and attempt to pressure them to do a better job of covering ISU football on a regular basis.
We can all bellyache about what has or hasn't been done in the past. Believe me, I have made my feelings known quite publicly. Previous athletic administrators (and they know who they are) did their level best to try and downgrade the football program.
But it's still hanging on and hanging in there. Also, the communication with you guys, the ISU football family, has been lackluster at best in the past. But complaining about what has happened won't help Trent Miles and his program right now.
Talk up ISU football in your home areas, especially if you live in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio. The program has been way down in recent years. That's a fact and there's no way to sugar coat it.
But if you want to see it get better, you can step up to the plate and help when needed. As they say, you can be a part of the problem by sitting back and deciding to not get involved. Or you can be a part of the solution and help things get better.