Indiana’s Wilson likes where the Hoosiers are headed

Knowing his Indiana football team wouldn’t be playing the second Saturday of the season, Kevin Wilson all but treated last week’s game against Indiana State — a 28-10 wub — as an exhibition.
“We wanted to take last week’s game as part of building in a positive way, knowing we were going to get a good test from Indiana State,” said Wilson, whose team has a bye week before playing at Bowling Green on Sept. 13.
The IU coach said having an early bye week allowed his staff to conduct more physically demanding practices the week before the Hoosiers’ 28-10 win over the Sycamores.
The fact that Indiana piled up nearly 500 rushing yards while quarterback Nate Sudfeld only passed for 111 yards wasn’t by design, though. It was more a case of taking what the ISU defense was giving while dropping eight players back into pass coverage.
That played into what Wilson believes will be a strength of this year’s squad – the offensive line.
“Our entire line is back from last season, plus two guys who missed all of last season who were slated as starters, so we’ve got some depth there,” said Wilson.
Still, Sudfeld scrambled too often (10 TIMES FOR 32 YARDS) when a little more patience in the pocket might have led to bigger passing plays. Wilson said some of Sudfeld’s moments of happy feet were justified — the blocking wasn’t always on point.
But Wilson does expect this year’s crop of offensive linemen to be the best he’s had in Bloomington.
“Our entire line is back from last season, plus two guys who missed all of last season who were slated as starters, so we’ve got some depth at line. I believe we have some quality players and some depth there.
I just think with Nate, the coverage was a little softer. We were able to match up with their size and use it as an advantage.
“As the game went along, I really think Nate played reasonably solid. I don’t think we put him in some good situations with some of our concepts. There were a couple of young receivers … The way we game-planned, they took away (some things) … They played soft. We could have done a better job with the underneath passing and putting Nate in better situations.
The running game was OK, but we’ve got a lot of work to do …. We didn’t block as clean as we need to. A lot of growth there. But I believe we will get the passing game tuned up. We always do. It’s nice that we are playing what appears to be good solid D and its nice that it appears we are going to run it a little (better). That makes us a little bit more of a complete team.
“Instead of being a team that relies on just scoring and throwing the ball. We can be a little bit better more rounded football team and try to win games more as a team rather than one side trying to outdo the other by putting points up.”

He said it: Purdue coach Darrell Hazell

Coming off last week’s 43-34 win over Western Michigan and preparing for Saturday’s game against Central Michigan, Purdue football coach Darrell Hazell breaks down the Boilermakers:

Q. Is there any area that you feel comfortable with right now?
I think comfortable in — we’re comfortable in what we’re doing running game wise. We haven’t added a whole lot of things. We’re running the same plays with different formations, and I think our kids, because of that, feel very relaxed and understand when we make a call that they can block different looks because we’re not doing so many different things.

Q. If you could break down Central Michigan’s offense for us real quick. Seems like they’re a pretty power-running game oriented group, kind of a Michigan State mold with their associations back to that program. Is that sort of what you expect to see?
Very good assessment of their whole football team really. They try to pattern themselves after Michigan State, offensively, defensively and special teams. It’s almost — you know, you watch the film and you see the same structures.
But yeah, they are a power-running football team, and if you watch last week’s game film, they really relied heavily in the second half on that running back from Michigan. Really was running power after power and tossed to him, and he did a nice job, has good balance. He’s strong and plays with a lot of emotion.

Q. They’re obviously going to be pretty physical in the run game. Where is your team right now in terms of being able to stack up to that sort of attack?
I think we did a good job of holding the point last week. I think we gotta do a better job of filling those gaps with the backers and being able to make that one-on-one tackle in the hole. That’s where we got hurt a little bit. But obviously we’re going to put our corners a little bit out there on an island and see how many guys we can get in the box and be able to stop the run.

Q. Basic question, just where does Danny Etling need to take the next step from week one to week two?
I thought he did a good job. If you ask any coach in the country if your quarterback throws for two, rushes for one, doesn’t turn it over and doesn’t take any sacks, how would you feel about the guy? I’d say we’d feel pretty good if he could do that for 12-plus games a year.
Obviously there was some passes I thought he left some yardage on the table. We missed probably five passes that probably should have been more accurate. But he understands that. He understands that, and he knows he needs to get better at that. But those other stats, not throwing any receptions, not taking sacks, that’s pretty good. That’ll win football games.

They said it: Indiana player Will Sheehey, Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams after 70-60 loss to Nebraska

Q: I think you tied the game with 10:08 left and the shots went kind of cold. What wasn’t working offensively there the last ten minutes of the second half?
Yeah, we just couldn’t get our mojo. We just got quiet and shots weren’t falling. That’s just a part of the game. That’s all I’m going to say.
Williams: The most we can do now is look on it tomorrow. It’s a new day tomorrow. Get right back at it.

Q. Offensively, what were you guys trying to do against the zone?
What we wanted to do is get into the middle. That’s my guy over here, Will. That’s basically what we wanted to do. And drive as well. We just didn’t finish a couple of layups here and there. That’s pretty much what we were trying to do.

Q. Will, going into the Michigan game and then the Big Ten Tournament, what are you going to tell the team?
We got to make sure we just go down swinging. This might have been my last home game, but it’s not my last game. We have numerous practices, numerous games left. Just because we lost one game doesn’t mean we’re not going to play the next game as hard as we possibly can. We’ve got to come out and play like we know we can, defensively and offensively. We still have a shot at this thing.

Q. Will, what happened against the last two nationally ranked teams you guys played that didn’t happen tonight?
I think it was just both offensively and defensively, we just didn’t play with the same swagger and edge that we usually do. I think defensively, we made some mistakes, including myself, and offensively the ball just didn’t move. We didn’t get too many transition points because getting stops on the defensive end became tough.

He said it: Tom Crean after 70-60 home loss to Nebraska

Indiana coachTom Crean’s opening comments:
Bottom line is we did not shoot well enough tonight. When we moved the ball well and kept it moving from side to side, we were really hard to guard. We just didn’t do it enough.
They made some big, tough shots, and we made a couple of mistakes late of leaving (Walter) Pitchford baffles my mind, to be honest with you. (Pitchford made 3 of 4 3-pointers) How we can make a mistake like that in a switch game. Late in the game, once we made the run, we all felt like we were going to be able to get over the hump.
Again, you just can’t have you can’t have defensive mistakes. You can’t have a mistake where you haven’t made them all game and then all of a sudden make one late. It never comes down to one or two things, but they do get magnified.
And this team has got to continue to grow up in the sense of doing what it takes each and every possession. It never means that each and every possession is going to go great, by any stretch, but you can’t make defensive mistakes.
Again, bottom line is we did not shoot the ball well enough, and we never got exactly where we needed to be with getting the ball through the paint. And, again, the shooting numbers speak for themselves (36.7 percent, 23.8 percent from 3). We just didn’t make enough to put us over the hump at any point in time, even though we had a couple of good comebacks.

Q. Has this team left you scratching your head more than any other team you’ve had?
That’s a hypothetical. I don’t look at it that way. So can’t help you with that one. I come in here, and I’m telling you what I see from the game. I haven’t watched the film yet, but I’m not in the reflective mood of the season.
What it is is we’ve got to get past the self inflicted mistakes. They are always going to bother you, and so that’s the kind of stuff that we’ve got to overcome.

Q. With Noah Vonleh out, how important have these last two games been for guys off the bench to step up?
I think really important. I thought Stan Robinson did a good job tonight. We’re asking a lot of young guys. You don’t coach with perspective, but every once in a while, you’ve got to sit back and look at it. I thought Troy did some really good things. He’s gaining confidence all the time.
Stan was on top of it. Devin (Davis) was really good. Bottom line is will it be better for them down the road? Absolutely. We’re not thinking about down the road. We’re thinking about how to win this one, and now we’re thinking about how to get ready for Michigan.

Q. Do you think Yogi Ferrell was forcing shots?
I got to watch the film on that. The ball didn’t move the way that it needed to. He’s got to continue to use screens. He’s got to continue when he came off and was in movement and when we’re utilizing the corners the way that we have been, that’s the most important.
Where we struggle is when the ball sits inside of those slots, those elbows. That’s what he’s got to continue to grow out of, in all honesty.
Eventually, when we’re shooting it better, it will be a little bit easier, but today, again, use the movement, use the cutting, and continue to space them out, especially when they didn’t want to space out.
But a couple times, we came in zones, and we missed a couple shots, and we missed the next pass, those type of things. I’ll have to watch the film of that. He’s just got to be in constant movement, and that means, a lot of times, without the ball. So the ball can come back and get him. So he can come back and get the ball.

They said it: Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean and Hoosier players Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey after Wednesday’s 66-65 loss to Penn State

Indiana coach Tom Crean’s opening comments:
Penn State deserves credit. They persevered throughout the game. They never lost their belief in it, and we gave into the pressure of the game a bit. The two things that hurt us throughout the night were turnovers and the ridiculousness of those, but more importantly tonight is the scouting report defense.
It’s the greatest form of toughness. Everybody thinks they understand toughness. Toughness is consistency. It’s consistency of a purpose. The three words, “do your job,” when you can do that consistently, then you’ve got a form of toughness. When you break down and you give in and you make mistakes, this league is good enough to make you pay.
This team was first in attempts, in attempts and percentage, and we were going to try to take away the paint. We were going to try to take away the 3-point line. Same thing we did against Michigan who had much of the same ability. They could get to the basket. They could get to the 3-point line. They could score. We were the same team that did that a week ago and did it with a lot of success. The bottom line is when you don’t stay true to what your job is – if that means I don’t leave my man, I don’t leave my man. That means I force him left, I force him left. If it means I communicate a screen, I communicate a screen. If it means I switch, I switch.
When those break down enough, that’s where we never took their belief away from them in this game because we made too many mistakes along the way that allowed them to stay in it.
The turnovers, there is no excuse. I’d like to say, you know what, if we did this, if we did that. What if we just aired it out and slowed it down? I’m not sure that’s the answer. We need easy baskets, so you have to run some. We just we lost this game defensively by allowing them to stay in it with mistakes and then the pressure of the game got to us a little bit. Couple five second calls and a couple of, I keep going to the word awareness, and that is the nicest word I can use, and that’s what we’ve got to continue to coach, and we’ll get right back at it. As I said to these guys, any night, anybody can beat anybody in this league. We’ve done it, they’ve done it. Anybody can do it.
The only way we’ll be able to get better is to come back and get better. So that’s all we can do. So go ahead.

In terms of the last five minutes, the offense sort of came to a halt. You guys didn’t make a basket.
I haven’t looked at the offense yet. I’m sure you’re right. What is the question? What happened to us?
Yeah, you guys were scoring pretty effectively before then. Definitely high shooting early.
We had a few turnovers in there. I don’t have a great answer on that until I watch the film. But when you’re trying to you’ve got to have more than one or two guys that can get the ball where it needs to be. We missed some shots, a couple of quick ones, but I mean, I’m rambling now. I’ve got to go watch the film. So it obviously wasn’t good enough, but I’ve got to watch it.

Indiana Players Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey:
How devastating is it to lose a game like that?
It’s not very fun to lose a game like that. It all comes down to execution at the end of the game. It just has to get a lot better. We just can’t panic on the court. We’ve just got to stay true to ourselves and execute.

What do you feel happened on the inbounds situation there that led to the turnovers? What happened there?
We panicked. We didn’t stay true to our scouting report.
Was it something that you felt like at any point it snowballed and they gained so much momentum so fast there late?
We just didn’t execute. You have to play each possession like it’s the last possession.

Coach talked about a lack of leadership down at the end of the game. What do you guys feel you could have done better? What do you think that coach was looking for?
You know, I think Coach was looking for when a team goes on a run like Penn State did, guys like myself and Will to get our team riled back up. Because some guys may have down faces just a little bit just because they went on that run. So it’s just on our part to tell these guys we’re not going to lose this game, and I think that’s what he was looking for.

There were three turnovers at the end and 20 in the game. That’s been a problem for this team all season long. Is there an explanation for why it hasn’t been cured?
We’ve just got to get more intelligent on our team, I feel like. It starts, of course, with me and Will; always does. We’re the front-runners for that. We’ve just got to be more intelligent with the ball and how we play the game.

He said it: Illinois coach John Groce after 56-46 loss to Indiana

“I told our guys that I really appreciated their fight. We defended pretty well, when you look at percentages and what they shot from the field, to give us a good shot to win the game; we just didn’t get it done offensively. I thought our execution against the zone wasn’t great. We did much better at it the first time that we played them. We have executed really well against the zone all year but tonight we didn’t do so great against it. I thought a key moment was when it was 50-44 and we had six straight possessions where we came up empty. There was a great window for us to make up ground, but we just didn’t do it. I give our guys credit though, they were down six-plus points several times and they were able to cut it to one possession every time until the very end. I thought it was encouraging that Rayvonte (Rice) had a great first-back game. I thought that Egwu was really good offensively, he rebounded the ball, and he looked great on defense. That’s two games in a row that he did some really good things for us. I thought (Jaylon) Tate played really well. Tracy Abrams got dinged up a little bit and Tate took the whole `Next Man Up’ mentality and did a great job being ready. He made some good plays for us and learned a few freshman lessons there late in the game. I thought we had some encouraging things for sure this game, just not enough to beat them.

“I thought Yogi Ferrell imposed his will against us in the second half, but to me the guy that stood out was Stanford Robinson. The improvement he’s made from game one against us to game two in just a month was very noticeable today. I thought he defended well and I thought he made big plays for them late. We let him get to the rim too easy, but he made the plays. I think he’s really getting better very, very quickly. We have some time off now to regroup. We will blend in some mental and physical freshness days with some heavy days of practice. We play again Saturday and we obviously have a lot to work on.”

“Nnanna (Egwu) is a terrific defender. Vonleh is such a great player. He’s a great rebounder, great athlete, and has such a good skill set. Nnanna just did a good job. He made it hard on him to do things in the post. He battled him enough that Vonleh had to earn everything he got. I also thought that our team did a good job that when the ball went into him, they were very conscious that they all needed to help. I thought our post defense was another encouraging area for us.”

“He had some back spasms. He’s had them throughout the year here and there. He’s struggled with them in practices and some in games but he has been able to snap out of it. Early on our trainer told me that he wasn’t able to get him feeling as good as he normally does so Tate got ready to go and he did a good job for us.”

GROCE: “I think it’s different each time, but I would say the common denominator is our offense. We have got to score. We need to make a few more plays and get in a few more shots. As coaches we have to look at the quality of shot we get. I think there are some games that we’ve had some good looks, but tonight I thought our quality of shot was not great, especially late in the game, Joseph Bertand had some really great looks early and then went 0-for-5. We just have to make a few more of those. The one thing about bad shooting, I mean it’s not like they’re trying to miss them, they just have to figure out how to get them in the hoop. Our margin for error is so small. We are not good enough to not have everybody hitting on all cylinders for us to beat quality basketball teams. I’ve known that from the jump. We have to get to where we can get everybody in sync and everybody playing well simultaneously.”

He said it: Indiana coach Tom Crean after Sunday’s 56-46 win over Illinois

I thought our guys took the disappointment from Tuesday night that they had from a game that they felt they could win, that we all felt we could win, and transferred that into some great energy and work the last couple of days to get ready for what we knew would be a desperate team, and we played with that same level of desperation. I never follow that whole must win theory or any of those. It’s about putting yourself in a position where you take the next step, and that’s exactly what these guys did in this game.
When you have some tight games like we’ve had, it’s very, very easy to get especially for a young team. I think this happened to us a little bit last Saturday when we weren’t making shots. It’s real, real easy to get discouraged. You want to try to have them understand there’s a huge difference between being discouraged and being disappointed. Disappointment is inevitable, you move right on. If you get discouraged, you’re kind of building your own wall there.
When you’ve got two teams trying to win as bad as they both were today, it’s not going to be pretty. It’s just not. Both teams are trying to make it extremely hard for the other team. But to continue to play inside of the game with the changing of defenses, with the way they were doing a good job of really putting three and four people around Noah (Vonleh) a lot, Noah continuing to work extremely hard, and guys being the recipient of cuts and movement because there was so much attention being paid to him and Yogi (Ferrell). Where a week ago we might have tried to force the issue a little bit, we might have gotten stagnant, today we continued to have great movement. We continued to play out of corners. We continued to make the next pass.

Q. Noah only scored four points. Can you talk about his impact on the game?
He did a fantastic job of just continuing to play. Sometimes I don’t think he understands just how much we want to go to him. Today they did a great job. We were having success with our drag pick and rolls in transition. We hit him on a pocket pass, and there are three people waiting on him. They know we want to throw him the ball. The fact that he can step out, the fact that he can play at the foul line, the fact that he can make threes, that helps his game, helps our team. But also the fact there was so much attention being paid to those two, it opened it up for other people, and the fact that Yogi just continued to play like an outstanding point guard throughout the game freed it up for him because Yogi in the first half managed the game at a high level, and in the second half, you know, was able to take it over at certain points. That’s what you want. You want somebody that’s always looking for what is the game giving you, not what do I want to bring to the game. And I thought Noah and Yogi did a tremendous job of that, and the rest of the guys played off of that.

Q. Tom, what are some of the things you need to see in the next month or so to get your team in position to qualify for the NCAA Tournament? What are you looking for?
I’m really not looking at it like that. I’m sorry that I can’t give a better answer on that down the road because the bottom line is we have to just keep improving. We have to keep improving our and maybe this falls into your question. Because I can’t think that far ahead because we just don’t with this. We have to get better at making decisions, there’s no question about that. We’ve got to continue to play through those ruts in a game when it’s not going right for the individual or they’re taking things away. We’ve got to continue to get the pace of the game to be a place which is best for us because sometimes the lane is getting so packed in right now and there’s so much attention being paid to Noah and Yogi. I don’t want to say that it’s just, well, you have to have a third or a fourth scorer that has to be defined. I think we have to have numerous guys that can make those plays, much like we had tonight. But the bottom line for us on offense would be continuing to be better with our decision making, not trying to make hard hitting, flashy plays. And then defensively, can we keep building the concept of keeping the dribble in front of us? Because if we can keep the dribble in front of us, now we can zone, now we can press, now we can switch, all those different things. I think along the way, if we can do that, then we’ll get better at game planning and be able to steal some games here and there. That’s really what I would see in the major areas for us, and hopefully that does play out for us down the road.

Q. You guys shot less than 41 percent and only got four from Noah. Is this a game that, with those kinds of numbers, you would have won earlier in the year?
Probably, for lack of thinking about it deeper, I would say probably no. I thought Noah did some fantastic things, and we didn’t give him much rest in the he got tired a couple of times. He got tired in the first half a little bit. They were making a run, but then he came back in and did a good job. The last thing you want to do with a young player, if they get fatigued, they start to lose concentration. When they start to lose concentration, they foul. We’re not very good if Noah is going to be in foul trouble. You have to continue to work through that. He did a very good job of that the second half. I think our team is getting better. We’re in the hardest league in the country. We really are. And you’re forced to get better because everybody else is. So we’re working hard at it. We’re working hard at our offense. We’re working hard at our defense. They’re gaining more confidence because of it. Games like this exponentially raise their confidence level, and we just have to continue to move forward with it.

He said it: Evansville coach Marty Simmons after 68-59 loss to Butler

Marty Simmons after 68-59 loss to Butler Saturday at Ford Center:
“It’s a tough loss. I’m really proud of our guys for bouncing back from last week. Practices were spirited, much better and I thought it carried over into today’s game. I thought our guys competed and fought hard for 40 minutes. We had that one stretch, probably more than one stretch, but one critical stretch in the second half when they made an 8-0 run.
Give Butler the credit. They’ve got some veteran guys and hung in there and they deserved to win.”

“We missed some shots that we’ve got to knock in, that we’re going to knock in, that we have knocked in. (Kameron) Woods makes it a little different in there. That guy’s like (John) Henson from Carolina a couple of years ago. He’s 6-9, got long arms and he made a couple of great blocks.
“I’m really proud of our guys. I thought they stayed with it. We had a few possessions out there where we probably got a little helter-skelter out there, but I thought for the most part we stayed together better maybe than we have all year.

“They got us on the glass. I saw guys looking to block out. I saw guys working to block out, but Khyle Marshall is a heckuva a player. He’s been doing this a long time.
“We’ve got to get better at it. We’ve got to get physicaly and mentally tougher. We’ve got to be able to block guys like him and (Andrew Chrabascz).
“We spent a lot of time on it. We’re going to keep working at it, and eventually we’ll get to where we need to be.
“I didn’t think it was because we weren’t trying to block out. I saw guys looking, I saw guys going (to the glass). We didn’t finish it. They were a little bit tougher, a little bit more aggressive.”

“We came out of the locker room and didn’t get off to the best of starys. We wanted to play four-minute segments. We won four out of the five in the first half. We rea;ly put a high price tag of winning that first four (of second half) but they just did a better job of coming out and setting the tone.
NOTE: It was actually the third four-minute stretch of second half where Butler built a 40-39 lead into a 48-41 advantage.)

“I’m just proud of the way they bounced back. We went to Xavier and played our best 20 minutes of the year, fought pretty hard to the finish. Then we kind of lost it.
“I liked the way the guys regrouped. They came back with good attitudes, they practiced spirited and competitively. They worked really hard
“We’ve got a lot way to go. I know we’ve played 12 games but we’ve got a lot of room for improvement. This group will buy into that. They will continue to do do that as we head into league play.”

Winston has been great on the field, but he still won’t get my Heisman vote

NOTE: This entry is a revised (i.e., slightly longer) version of the column I wrote for the Dec. 8 newspaper:

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will win the Heisman Trophy, likely by a landslide of votes.

Entering Saturday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against Duke in Charlotte, N.C., the redshirt freshman already had passed for 3,490 yards and 35 touchdowns with only eight interceptions this season. He had completed 68.8 percent of his passes.

By the time he gets done dissecting the Blue Devils, Winston’s statistical argument could be nearing 4,000 yards and 40 touchdown passes. And, of course, it helps his case that the Seminoles still will be unbeaten and will have secured their spot in the BCS national championship game next month.

In comparison, 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M passed for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns with nine interceptions in becoming the first redshirt freshman to win the trophy.

Yes, I voted for Johnny Football last season.

No, I’m not voting for Famous Jameis.

Why? It’s complicated.

Winners of the Heisman Trophy are supposed to have outstanding character in addition to being a great football player. Winston has measured up on the field — he’s a great college quarterback — but off the field he’s had to deal with allegations over the past few weeks that he raped another FSU student last December.

Criminally, that matter was resolved Thursday when state attorney Willie Meggs announced his office would not bring charges against him because of the woman’s sketchy memory from that night of drinking at a popular college bar.

What she does remember is having sex, and insists it was against her will.

As is his constitutional right, Winston hasn’t said anything about that night. He did, however, issue a statement Thursday after learning he wouldn’t be charged, saying he “never lost faith in the truth and in who I am.”

From the outset, this was going to be a “he said, she said” case. DNA evidence proved Winston and the woman had sex, but his attorney argued that it was between consenting adults.

Affidavits from two of Winston’s friends also alleged the sexual acts were consensual. It seems they were standing outside Winston’s bedroom door watching. According to their statements, one of them even used his cellphone to take video, though it had been conveniently deleted by the time Tallahassee police fully investigated the case.

The TPD complicated the case from the get-go. DNA wasn’t collected from Winston until a few weeks ago after the rape allegations had gained traction in the national media. And the woman’s attorney said at least one investigating officer warned her client that pressing charges against Winston would make her life miserable because Tallahassee is a “big football town.”

Since the story went public, the alleged victim has left school and returned to the Tampa area. Her life did become miserable. Her photo was distributed on social media sites.

She certainly no longer could have felt welcome on campus — not with all the high fives and hugs after Thursday’s announcement.

FSU senior Katie Gibbs told The Associated Press, “We always knew that he’s innocent because we know Jameis and we trust our quarterback,”

So, yeah, Tallahassee is a big football town. And, no, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I was the sports editor in Tallahassee for eight years, beginning in 1999 when FSU had it’s last unbeaten team and won a national title. There was also good and bad news to report that season, though nothing as serious as the Winston allegations.

In 1999, Peter Warrick lost his shot at the Heisman because of a felony shoplifting charge that was later reduced to a misdemeanor. He had to settle for hoisting the crystal football and an NFL career.

Winston likely won’t have to miss out on the Heisman experience.

However, Winston’s character has been tainted, and not only because of the sexual assault allegations. Reading the reports released by Meggs’ office, a statement from one of Winston’s friends suggests that lots of sexual shenanigans have taken place at his apartment.

Viewed as a character reference, its all fairly damning. And let’s not forget that Winston could still face a civil lawsuit. The alleged victim has three years to consider going that route.

On the field, he’s been the last one standing in a competition that once included Manziel, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois and South Carolina’s Jadaveon Clowney (remember him?).

Off the field, Winston has left me with reasonable doubt about his maturity, his decision-making and his character. And, yes, his lack of respect for women.

Thus, when I cast my Heisman ballot ranking the three most deserving candidates, his name won’t be included — not this year.

They said it: Indiana players Mitch Ewald, Stephen Houston, Tre Roberson and Greg Heban

Indiana football players Mitch Ewald, Stephen Houston, Tre Roberson and Greg Heban after Saturday’s 56-36 win over Purdue:

EWALD: “We were just in the locker room, me, Ted (Bolser), Stephen (Houston), Kofi (Hughes) and some of those other guys and the words, ‘This is the best moment of my life’ came out. It really is. To beat these guys and have it be our last game here at home with this senior class is unbelievable.”

You won the game at Purdue three years ago with a field goal in overtime. That wasn’t personally more satisfying?
“It’s a little bit better because then it was for those seniors. Now it’s for us. We’re seniors and this is our last go. It’s a memory we’ll never forget.

HOUSTON: “I was going to leave it all out there on the field. I have nothing left. This was my bowl game, this was my national championship game – I just emptied my whole clip. I’m exhausted because this is my last game in an IU uniform.”

HEBAN: “I think the relationship (the seniors) have built with Coach (Kevin) Wilson has been incredible. When we first got here we were a little unsure about what he was about, but throughout the years we have grown close to him and with each other and I think seeing us come together as one made him emotional.”

ROBERSON: “It is always important to get the win against Purdue. They are our hated rivals, so beating those guys is very important. It was a total team effort out there. I had a good game, but my skill guys made plays and the offensive line did a great job too.”