Every year, IU Athletics does a big summer kickoff event a Huber’s Orchard and Winery, which is in Borden, Indiana, about a half hour from Louisville. CQ reader and IU alum Nick Csizmadia was at the event last night, so I had him recap the proceedings for us. His report is as follows:
Don Fischer introduced Indiana’s newest head football and basketball coaches on Wednesday to a crowd of 950 fans from all over Southern Indiana at Huber’s Orchard and Winery. Hosted by the area IU Alumni Association, the crowd was a record for the event and one of the largest seen in the 44 years of the Hoosier Tailgate tour, according to Fischer.
The event began with a surprise appearance from the Indiana Baseball team on their way to the Lexington regional, with Chris Lemonis speaking to the crowd and assuring fans that they would “kick Kentucky’s ass” if the time came in Lexington.
New football head coach Tom Allen spoke with his usual enthusiasm over the upcoming season in Bloomington with three months to go before a daunting test against Ohio State and former coach Kevin Wilson. Allen shared stories of interacting with Hoosier fans tired after years of little to no defensive emphasis inside the program, and how his coming to Indiana was not only a chance to come back to his home state, but fulfillment of a real need for a program mired in defensive hell (looking at you, Doug Mallory).
Allen also spoke of his need to be physically fit in order to be the Hoosiers football coach, joining in runs and push-ups with the team on a regular basis. Allen’s infectious personality and refusal to accept failure are clear signs that the culture of IU football will be ready for a tough season.
Archie Miller shared details of how the summer was progressing for the players that had stayed on campus, including Robert Johnson, De’Ron Davis, Collin Hartman, and Curtis Jones. He praised Davis’ work under the new coaching staff and how he’s down 15 pounds since the end of the spring semester, and added that leaders like Johnson have to become increasingly vocal in practice and on the court. Miller praised his assembled coaching staff of assistants and administrative staff, including how they might offer inroads into home-and-home series with Kentucky and Arizona. Miller ended the evening taking questions from the crowd, including updates on the incoming freshman that arrive to campus on June 13.
And while Miller was limited in his updates on recruiting per NCAA regulations, he made sure to add “I know where New Albany is” to address the countless Romeo Langford-related questions on everyone’s minds.