Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Volume One, Number One
January 30, 2008
Editor: Tom James,

Editors note: This is the first of what I hope to be regular updates on what's happening in and around the Indiana State University Football program. For those who may or may not remember me, I was the head student manager for the football program under three head coaches, Tom Harp, Dick Jamieson and Dennis Raetz. And, as the assistant sports information director at ISU, I worked exclusively in handling media relations for the football program under Coach Raetz.

I have started out with a skeleton email list. So if there are former players, coaches, student managers or trainers who you know would like to receive this newsletter, please feel free to send their email addresses to me.

In doing this newsletter, I hope to keep everybody up to date on coaching staff hirings, recruiting, and future football alumni reunions. If there is information that anybody would like me to include in future newsletters, please let me know.

With my main job as the Indianapolis Colts beat writer for the Terre Haute Tribune-Star (as well as for several national NFL-related websites), my work schedule gets a bit hectic at times. But I will make an attempt to keep everybody "in the know" as much as I can.


Tom James


New coaching staff named: Former ISU wide receiver Trent Miles was recently named as the Sycamores new head football coach. He has added two former ISU players to his coaching staff, Shannon Jackson (defensive coordinator/defensive line) and Troy Johnson (linebackers/special teams). Jackson played defensive tackle for ISU in the mid-and late-1990s. Johnson, the former athletic director and head coach at Marshall (Ill.) High School, played inside linebacker in the mid-1980s.

Miles, who's father Chuck was a ISU alum and long-time supporter of the football program before his death last fall, also retained three coaches from the previous staff: Edmund Jones - Secondary; Kyle Caskey - Recruiting Coordinator; Tim Smith - Offensive GA.

Also named recently as the team's offensive line coach is former Sycamore assistant Ted Unbehagen, who served in the same capacity under Tim McGuire (2001 and 2002).

A major announcement concerning the team's new offensive coordinator is expected in a few days.


Meet the new coaching staff for Letter of Intent Day on Feb. 6 -- First-year Indiana State head football coach
Trent Miles will host a meet-and-greet with his assistant coaching staff on Wednesday, February 6 at Beef O’Brady’s, located at 2309 S. 3rd. St. (Terre Haute), between 5 and 7 p.m. (EST).
Coach Miles and staff will be on hand to meet with Sycamore football fans and talk about the excitement that is building inside the football program.
Beef O’Brady’s has decided to generously donate 15% of their sales on February 6 between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. to the Indiana State football program.
In addition, Wednesday is National Signing Day nationwide for football. Coach Miles will speak about his first Sycamore football recruiting class during the meet-and-greet.
Miles will likewise conduct a press conference with the local media beginning at 5:30 p.m. (EST) inside Beef O’Brady’s.
At this time, the complete signing class will be announced and Miles will be available to comment on all who inked National Letters Of Intent at that time.
For complete coverage of Indiana State football on National Signing Day, check back for frequent updates as they unfold on GoSycamores.com. Full biographies as well as comments from coach Miles about the new recruits will be available on GoSycamores.com throughout the day.
New weight room for Sycamore Athletics -- Click and take a look.
Come On In! Visit The New Indiana State Athletics Weight Room - GoSycamores.com—Official Web Site of Indiana State Athletics


Get in touch with the ISU Football Coaching Staff --

Trent Miles, Head Coach, 812.237.4074

Edmond Jones, Secondary Coach, 812.237.4079 ejones29@isugw.indstate.edu

Shannon Jackson, Defensive Coordinator, 812.237.4075

Troy Johnson, Special Teams/Linebackers, 812.237.4077

Kyle Caskey, Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator, 812.237.3812

Tim Smith, Graduate Assistant Coach, 812.237.4081

Ted Unbehagen, Offensive Line, 812.237.4075

TBA Assistant Coach, 812.237.4077
TBA Assistant Coach, 812.237.4077
TBA Assistant Coach, 812.237.4077

Jennifer Krockenberger, Football Secretary, 812.237.4074

Indiana State Head Coach: ‘We can compete to win this conference’
Sunday Special: Miles: ‘We can compete to win this conference’

By Todd Golden, The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — During a 30-minute interview with Indiana State football coach Trent Miles on Friday, nothing illustrated Miles’ unwavering belief in the future success of ISU football more than an exchange near the end of the question-and-answer session.

Miles had made an earlier reference to competing in the Gateway Conference. As that reference was being repeated by the interviewer to set up another question, Miles wanted to make crystal-clear what his intent for ISU football really is.

“We can compete to win in the conference. Not just compete. We can compete to win in the conference. I want to make sure I’m not just settling for competing in the conference,” Miles said.

“Our goal is to compete to win the conference. To get the automatic [playoff] bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. Once we get there, we want to win the national championship. Our goal is to not be competitive in the conference, our goal is to compete to win the conference.”

Anyone who knows Miles is well-aware that he wears his pride for Sycamore football on his sleeve. That alone is a major change in direction. There has been little pride to go along with a 1-32 mark for ISU football over the last three seasons.

Miles believes that not only can ISU pride be restored, he approaches it as if it’s a matter of course. Pride in his alma mater, Miles played for ISU from 1982-86, is fuel that burns in Miles and which serves as his motivation for changing the culture of the program.

Here’s what Miles had to say on a variety of ISU football-related topics:

Golden: You’ve had some time to get re-acclimated to Terre Haute. Have you enjoyed being back in town?

Miles: It’s been great, but I haven’t had much time to spend with my family. I’ve had to do a lot of work, but it’s good to have the ability to see them anytime. I can see my mom anytime I want to, I’m staying at my sister’s house, and I can see my brother and his kids. It’s good, but I haven’t seen them much because we’re in the middle of recruiting.

Golden: How has recruiting been going? If you had to put a grade on how well you’re doing to bring talent into this team, how would you grade it?

Miles: To me, its gone very well. To start as late as we did, I think the coaches have done a great job getting out, making contacts, getting kids in, and I think we’ve been shooting a very high percentage of commitments on weekends from kids who have come in and visited. The positions we’ve been targeting I’m comfortable with, but I don’t put a grade on it until three or four years down the line, but I feel good about what’s going on. A lot of kids and a lot of high school coaches are excited about what’s going on.

Golden: When you look at the challenge of recruiting for this program after several years without success, has it been easier than you expected? Has it more difficult to re-energize contacts? Have you been surprised at the reception you’re getting for a program that’s won once in three seasons?

Miles: Any surprise has been a pleasant surprise. Everyone’s been positive. I think a lot of people want Indiana State to do well. There’s a lot of Indiana State grads out there who coach football, and there’s a lot of people out there who just went to Indiana State.

There’s a lot of people who have connections to Indiana State and they remember the way it was in the 80s when I was here. It’s been a welcome surprise, a pleasant surprise. Everyone likes the commitment {ISU Athletics Director] Ron Prettyman has made to the program. I think they see us going in the right direction.

Golden: Your being hired is perceived as a sign of that commitment, do you think there had been a reluctance on the part of contacts at the high school level to route kids towards Indiana State given the murky future the program has had?

Miles: Nothing’s been easy. Guys see what’s going on. Coaches see what’s going on. They want to help. You’d be shocked how many calls we get that are like, ‘How can we help you guys.’ It becomes word-of-mouth after a while, and then just the openness we have as a program with the high school coaches, not just here, but in the region recruiting-wise, out towards western Pennsylvania. There’s a lot of Indiana State alumni out there that are spreading the word. They’re excited. I get calls from former players everyday that want us to do well. They tell me about kids. All of it helps.

Golden: What’s your pitch to a recruit?

Miles: My deal with them is we’re trying to bring in the right people, we want the right person. We want someone who’s concerned about academics and the total development of the student-athlete — academically, socially, spiritually and athletically.

We’re not looking for just a football player, we want someone who can think and be successful in life and wants to succeed in everything they do. Football is one of the last things we talk about on a visit, we want to know them as a person. We want to know what kind of student they are, what goals they have, and we set out the expectations of our program which is to succeed in life, not just football. If they do that, football will take care of itself.

Golden: When you build the model of what you want your team to look like on the field, where do you start first?

Miles: Up front. It all starts up front. When you build a house, you have to have that concrete foundation first. The big boys up front: offensive and defensive line. That’s where it all starts. That’s where we’ve started our recruiting and we’ll try to recruit a ton of those guys every year.

Golden: What kind of offense and defense do you want to run?

Miles: On offense we want to run the ball right down your throat. That’s the key. We want to be a physical, aggressive team on both sides of the ball. On defense, we want to get after the passer with four guys, and if we can’t, we’d better find some pressure from other spots. The whole key is being an aggressive, physical dominant football team.

Golden: Last year’s winless season speaks for itself and a comparison — fair or unfair — that I’ve used is that ISU in its current state is akin to a professional expansion team. Do you believe that? And how close do you think this team now to making progress in the short term?

Miles: Oh we expect to make progress right away. I think we’ve already made progress, to be honest with you. Watching these kids work and buying into what we’re trying to get done here. We’re thin up front on both sides, but I think we’re fine skill-wise, we’re not going to get embarrassed at our skill positions. We can compete, we just need more depth on both sides of the ball and we’ll be fine.

I expect to compete right away. That might sound crazy, but I expect us to compete in the very first game and have a chance to win in the fourth quarter. As long as we don’t turn the ball over, make stupid mental mistakes and execute our assignments.
Golden: What have you done to ensure that the players buy into what you’re trying to do?

Miles: They need to understand, and they do, is that this program is not about just football. It’s winning in all aspects. If they’re not willing to go to class and sit in the front row, if they’re not willing to not wear their iPods and not talk on their cell phone, and if they don’t take hat off inside, if they’re not where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be somewhere, if they don’t do what they’re supposed to do, they’ll never see the football field.

That’s where it starts with this program. It doesn’t start with football, it starts in the classroom, it starts in the weight room, it starts in meetings. I don’t think it’s asking too much to ask someone to do it the right way, all the time.

Golden: Is that one of your biggest challenges coming in? Changing the accountability factor?

Miles: Anywhere you go, you have your own ideas that are different from previous ideas. You have a vision, you know the way you want your program to be run. The first thing you have to do is install what your expectation level is, what you expect them to do and how you go about doing it. That’s what we’re in the process of doing. You aren’t going to see the field if you’re not doing what we ask you to do. Forget football, there’s so much more we’re demanding that these guys do. When they can take care of that, then they’ll be ready to step on the football field.

Golden: What are some of those demands as you go into the season?

Miles: It’s not just about preparing for next season, it’s about preparing for life. They have to do community service, they have to do it three times a semester each semester they’re here. They have to show up and support other teams, that’s mandatory. We have to sit in the front row at class.

We had study hall twice a week when I got here, now we have it five nights a week, Sunday through Thursday from 8 to 10 p.m., no exceptions. They have to sign in, stay the whole time, and there’s a coach there to monitor them. They have to meet with their coach academically once a week on top of that to go through their notes, show them their syllabus, and let them know when papers are due. We have lifting at 6 a.m., they need to be there at 5:50 a.m., raring to go.

Everything we do, we’re requiring them to do it the right way and fall in line. We haven’t had any problems, I think they’ve been longing to do that. Those are just a few of the things.

Golden: Switching gears, what’s your approach in building a coaching staff?

Miles: We have to get the right guys that fit with each other, but also with the kids. I’ve known for a while who I wanted to bring in. We’ve had to stagger announcing them for different reasons, but I think I have a great staff. I have some older, experienced guys with some younger guys that are really sharp and who will get better as they get going. I have some guys who understand Indiana State, who played here, and coached here and been big-time players here. I think it’s a good mix.
Golden: You’re a part of the tradition at Indiana State. With the struggles the program has had in recent years, how much did it hurt your pride to watch from afar?
Miles: It hurt my pride a lot. Anybody out there in coaching who knows me, knows where I’m from, I wear it on my chest. I’m an Indiana State guy and there’s a lot of us out there. It bothered me everyday. I’d go home after games and watch for the score on ESPN on the bottom of the screen. I’ve always taken a lot of pride and anytime you don’t have success at your alma mater it should bother you. It’s bothered me a bit.

Golden: When you boil it down, is that maybe one of the differences you bring to the table? Indiana State has not had a lot of pride associated with it in recent years. You don’t hear a lot of people say they’re proud to be a part of Indiana State football, other than the players themselves. Can you change the perception of the program?

Miles: We demand that our guys do that right now. If you don’t feel good about what you’re involved in, you’re not going to be successful. We want our guys holding their heads up, being proud. If you’re working your butt off doing it the right way? You will be proud and it will work out. I want their heads held high, I want them going into class with their heads held high, I want them to take pride in that letter jacket they’re wearing. I want them to represent Indiana State and Terre Haute and feel as much pride about it as I do.

Win or lose, I want people to see us play and say they’re proud of them. The student body, the faculty, the Terre Haute community, the former players, especially the former players, I want them to see how we play the game and take pride in it.
I have some guys on this team who work their butt off and they take pride in that. If you get three or doing it, then you have six or seven, then you have 20, then you have 50, then you get to 63 and we’ll be fine. It’s spreading. It’s about setting down the expectation level. Not having pride in your program or not having confidence is unacceptable here. Guys won’t be here if that’s the case.

Golden: What’s the biggest challenge you face, in or out of your control, to get ISU football turned around?

Miles: There’s always the money issue. We have to get out and raise money. We have to get out and recruit guys and have the money to do it. We have to put people in the stands and get these kids some things to make this a first-class operation. Ron Prettyman and the people in the athletic department are committed to doing that.
This staff is committed too, we’ll go out do what we need to do on our part as far making sure we’re a first-class operation because we should be able to compete with these other teams in the [Gateway Conference]. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t. Our AD is committed to doing it, we’re committed and it’s going to get done. That’s not a problem, I just expect it to get done right now.

Golden: How hard is it to balance your desire to get it done now and the patience that it’s likely going to take get it done later?

Miles: You have to have patience. You have to have the commitment to get it done, but you have to have the patience to see it through. We’re not going to jump off the cliff if it doesn’t happen right away, because we’re laying the foundation to do it the right way.

We’re not cutting any corners, we’re bringing in the right people, we’re doing it the right way from an administrative standpoint, we’re doing it the right way from a recruiting standpoint, we’re doing it the right way in the weight room, and academically especially, we’re doing it the right way. As long as I know we’re doing it right, whatever happens doesn’t faze me. We expect to win, but if we don’t win, it won’t deter me, because we’re going in the right direction.

Golden: Other than the obvious, which is winning, what can be done to re-energize the fan base?

Miles: We have to give them something to cheer about. We have to get out in the community and do some things. We’re going to put on kids’ camps, kids’ clinics, we’re going to get out and work in the community. I talk with John [Sherman, Assistant Athletics Director/Marketing] all the time to come out with different ideas to make it fun for a family to come to our games. In the long run? It comes to down to winning football games. We’re going to do that and people will come. When they see a quality product out there, they’ll come.

Golden: You say that you can compete in the conference, what do you say …

Miles: We can compete to win in the conference. Not just compete. We can compete to win in the conference. I want to make sure I’m not just settling for competing in the conference, our goal is to compete to win the conference. To get the automatic [playoff] bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. Once we get there, we want to win the national championship. Our goal is to not be competitive in the conference, our goal is to compete to win the conference.

Golden: Even more to my point then, there are those who say Indiana State should drop down to limited-scholarship football in the Ohio Valley Conference. That ISU should get out of scholarship football entirely. There are those who even say ISU should drop football completely. What is your response to people who would pose those opinions to you?

Miles: I don’t know any of those people. They don’t talk to me. I don’t talk to those people who say that kind of stuff. I don’t think they know what they’re talking about to be honest with you. We can compete and win here. That’s what we’re going to here, that’s what we’re committed to. Anyone who doesn’t think along those lines, they’re not with us. We want people that are with us.

There’s always people that are going to be negative, that’s why we don’t believe the hype. You can never get too fired up when people say how great you are, you can never get too upset when people say you stink. People are entitled to their opinion. I’ve seen what the OVC is all about, and I’ve seen other non-scholarship leagues, this is not that type of football. We will compete in the Gateway and have an opportunity to win if we do things the right way.

Golden: On the other side of the coin, there’s a lot of opportunities on the table from your perspective too. There’s the prospect of a new stadium, for example. If everything went right, what do you think are the possibilities for this program?
Miles: First, to get the stadium on campus would be huge. That allows the student body to get to the games better and it would help other sports. It would be huge for recruiting, huge for other sports, huge for Indiana State athletics in general. It would give Terre Haute another venue for teams to play at.

The other is getting our alumni excited again. There’s quite a few of them out there who want us to succeed. I know what Appalachian State did at Michigan, anybody can beat anybody on any given day, so why not us? There’s good football in Indiana and I think the Wabash Valley deserves a good football team. You don’t have to travel to different places to see good football, we can put on a show people want to be a part of and take a lot of pride in it. I played in that stadium when there was 16,000 people in it. It was exciting, it was fun and people haven’t changed that much. We’ll get them back out there. That’s what exciting to me, I know it can happen.

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