I figured a little question and answer session was appropriate to become more acquainted with this Hoosier fanbase, especially after all this talk we've had recently about the "relationship" between the states of Indiana and Missouri. I spoke with JustAJ from the Hoosiers' SBN blog Crimson Quarry to get a better feel for our opponent on Saturday.
RMN: Ok, first question. What the heck is a Hoosier? "I don't know" is not acceptable, GIVE US SOMETHING HERE.
CQ: I saw you guys covered this somewhat on a post there at Rock M Nation and to be honest I don't know. No one seems to. Though there are a billion different variations, I'd say my favorite is a bastardization of the word Hussar. The Germans settled early Indiana in the thousands and a lot of them were retired cavalry units called Hussars. Which doesn't take a huge mental leap to get to the word Hoosier from there.
RMN: Do you prefer "Indiana", "Indiana University", "IU", or "Oklahoma North"?
CQ: IU. Pretty much everyone goes with IU or Indiana.
RMN: Are there any really cool traditions Indiana has that the rest of the country needs to know about?
CQ: Our best tradition is probably not so much sports specific but school specific. Our local alumni bar called Nick's were the originators of the drinking game Sink the Bis(mark). A bunch of people sit around a table with a pitcher full of beer. You float a pint glass in the pitcher and take turns going around pouring some of your personal beer into the glass. You can pour as much or as little as you want in the pint glass as long as you complete a full stream from glass to glass. The person who eventually fills the glass to the point that it sinks has to then drink the glass. It's fun and it'll get you drunk. Really not much more can be asked of a quality college tradition.
RMN: So your starting QB, Nate Sudfeld, is 6'5". Shouldn't he be playing basketball? Tell us, what makes him a good quarterback?
Q: Nate is tall, strong and accurate. He reminds me a bit of Ben Roethlisberger in his style. He can take a hit and keep his feet and he's got a hell of an arm. Just last week he shed two tackles, scrambled out of the pocket and hitting a streaking receiver 48 yards down feel on the run and throwing across his body. I'm starting to think that he may be the best passer in the Big Ten. Occasionally he stops thinking and is prone to make a mistake once or so per game, but I'm going to blame that on his youth.
RMN: What is the general attitude of the IU fanbase toward Kevin Wilson?
CQ: We love him. Bobby Knight is a legend on campus and he gave zero shits about what anyone thought about him, especially the media. Kevin Wilson is of that same vein. He's a no nonsense straight shooter. Which just so happens to be the quickest way to a Hoosiers heart. Of course he's had quite a tall task to build up this program and we're a fickle fan base despite low expectations, so there are a few irrational people that have a problem with him. But they're dumb.
RMN: What would you say are this team's strengths?
CQ: The skill positions across the board are all lights out. Our running back corps is probably the weakest of that group but even they will gash you for a lot of yards if you aren't paying attention.
On the weak side are the offensive line and the d-line. Both are young and inexperienced with not a lot of depth. IU has already lost three starters from the O-line and the D-line is just asking a lot of very young guys to carry pretty heavy workloads.
RMN: What makes you optimistic about this game?
CQ: This game feels like a shootout. Indiana more often than not is going to win shootouts. Assuming they don't fall behind early and get at least a defensive stop or two, the Hoosiers should provide more than enough points to match whatever Missouri can put up.
RMN: What scares you about this game?
CQ: Missouri has several options in the rushing attack. They have both a QB that's a great runner and stable of backs that can provide fresh legs. The Hoosiers' defense is still quite unproven and that is mostly against the rush. I'm concerned with the diverse ways that Missouri can attack 5-6 yards at a time may be too much for the young defense to handle.
RMN: Indiana was picked by the media to finish fourth in the Leaders division, behind Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State. What is the difference between a "Leader" and a "Legend" and how can someone be the "4th Leader"?
CQ: Leaders and Legends are dumb. It's been well documented by anyone with multiple brain cells that they're a stupid name for divisions. Luckily with the addition to Rutgers and Maryland to bring the Big Ten up to a nice even 14 teams, they're now going to split it just east and west. Thank goodness, because I don't think I could take the accolade of Leaders Division Champion seriously (not that we were a threat to garner such a trophy).
RMN: Who are some of your famous football alumni?
CQ: Antwaan Randle El is the one that most know about. Of course he was our quarterback for the turn of the century but later went on to be mostly a gimmick receiver in the NFL. We also claim Trent Green. Currently our most notable alumni is Rams LT Roger Saffold.
RMN: On a scale from soft sobs alone in your bedrooom to being lost in a black abyss of depression, how upset were you when Mizzou joined the SEC instead of waiting for the B1G invite a lot of folks around here were hoping for?
CQ: Honestly? I think a lot of us were very OK that Missouri was on the outside looking in on the last realignment. I mean, you guys would certainly fit the culture better than Rutgers, but you know money talks. If we were going to expand, I think many preferred to go get a market that we didn't really have a grasp on that would get us the most. With Illinois we already have a stake in the St. Louis market. Rutgers and Maryland bought us into an East Coast market that all the schools would love to start recruiting more effectively.
RMN: Is Indiana "Midwest?" Can you explain to us what makes a state "Midwest"?
CQ: Midwest is more a culture thing than a geographic thing in my mind. Indiana, is the prototype Midwest state in my mind. Tack on Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa and Western PA and that's the Midwest. Everywhere else just isn't good enough to get the label.
RMN: First thing that comes to your mind when you think of Missouri. GO!
CQ: Dixie Stampede!
RMN: Finally, let's get your prediction.
CQ: It'll be a shootout. I'm torn on who will win so I'll just play the homer and take the home team Indiana 42 - Missouri 38
Editor's note: 3 Questions we didn't get around to:
- What kind of offense do you run and why is the triple option an abomination of college football?
- What is one of the main "memes" or inside jokes about your football team? Can we borrow it? According to some of our people, ours are getting tired.
- Who is your major conference rival? How interested are you in leaving them and starting an inter-conference football/basketball rivalry with Mizzou?