Dan Dakich and Don Fischer talk toughness, fragility

  • 01/25/2011 11:53 am in

If you’re not following us on Twitter, you might have missed the link I tossed out last night to a podcast of Don Fischer’s weekly appearance on The Dan Dakich Show.

This segment is a must-listen each week for IU fans as Fischer and Dakich offer candid analysis. A lot of interesting stuff, but nothing more so than the following:

Dakich: This is the wrong thing to say, OK, but this is what real coaching is. When the season’s over, there’s gonna have to be a couple of these guys make a decision on whether or not they want to stay here. And there might actually be a couple of them that the decision’s going to be made for ’em. There’s too much fragility, mentally, among some of these guys and you know what? Some of them aren’t freshmen. There’s not freshmen and at some point, you know what, hey, we’re paying about about 30 grand a year to come here and do this and if everything’s so fragile, maybe the MAC’s for you, not the big time.

Fischer: (Laughs)

Dakich: I mean, truthfully.

Fischer: (Laughs) No, the reason I’m laughing Dak is because now I don’t have to say it.

Dakich: Well, it’s true. (Laughs) Hey, every game, big life, big stage, Big Ten, right?

Fischer: That’s right. (Laughs)

Dakich: It’s a big stage, Indiana basketball.

Fischer: That’s exactly right and the frustration level is at probably an all-time high in the sense of how this coach and his staff are looking at it right now, I can tell you that.

Dakich: The problem is, nowadays, then the guy goes to the paper: “well, Crean kicked me off.” Yeah, well, tough.

Fischer: Trust me, whatever they say now, everybody ought to be saying the same thing. “Really?”

Dakich: Really. It seems to me they’ve given you a pretty good shot here for a couple of years.

Fischer: Holy cow, have they ever.

Dakich: You know, players kind of have you during the season. But I’ll tell you what, the minute that final buzzer goes off, “Alright, really? I just made a call to Ball State, congratulations, you can be a Cardinal if you’d like.”

Fischer: (Laughs) No, you’re right Dak. This team is fragile, there’s no question about it and it’s unfortunate that we just don’t have that guy.

Dakich: Let me ask you something. Let me ask you something, Fish.

Fischer: Sure.

Dakich: Because you come off as the nicest guy ever and you are. But I’ve played golf with you and you’re a competitive guy, OK. Like, the whole grandfatherly, yeah, rah, IU thing is great.

Fischer: Yeah, it’s all BS.

Dakich: So let me just ask you a question. Because I know I am. Aren’t you tired of saying, “these guys are so fragile.” I mean, at some point, they’ve gotta decide that, you know, we all have to quit making excuses for them and I’m including myself.

Fischer: Oh, I know. That’s where it’s at right now. It’s to a point where we have been as nice as we can possibly be and now it’s about time to get real. These guys just don’t get it for whatever reason. And I feel bad for them in that sense because when you don’t get it, then you’re sitting there going, “What?” But the what is, hey, you’re not tough enough. But if you don’t understand what toughness is, and we’re not talking about getting into somebody’s face and punching them, we’re talking about mental toughness here. That’s where it all boils down. And this team is not mentally tough. It’s that simple.

Filed to:

  • Anonymous

    There you have it fans. A real-life example of the type of player we need. N71, is that guy from your high school still in the area?

  • JerryCT

    what about also the wholesale adjustment in playing style to fit the team he has ? Wonderful example of coaching

  • Anonymous

    I still wish we could see DJ White and Eric Gordon come back and just beat the ever loving hell out of these guys for the entire summer

  • JerryCT

    Casey: For the record I like the coach and have never even hinted on ITH he is not the right guy.

    My reaction is to the ridiculous Fisher/Dak idea that you fire players , send them to the MAC if your season does not work out for you.

    In this way a coach can perpetuate the My COusin Vinnie excuse ( “too many new yutes” ), the lack of upperclassmen and too much re-building excuses.

    I understand as a journalist they cannot be critical of the coach or they lose access and in Fisher’s case his job.

    Dak is a great analyst and could have stuck to X’s and O’s for which there are plenty of problems on this team

  • JerryCT

    Again, I like CTC and am reacting to the ridiculous idea that you fire players instead of develop them ……………. especially when the coach has sold himself and Cook Hall as the ultimate in player development

  • kentuckyhoosier

    I think the leaders are in next years class . Just have a feeling that either one AE or CZ well be that guy …. and im leaning to AE. just a feeling I have

  • JerryCT

    Yet CW did hit the deck to dive for a ball .

    IMHO he is not in balance alot of the time and spends his effort trying to stay off the floor. As a PT type guy I wonder if you have an opinion about how CW could develop more core strength and explosiveness .

  • Anonymous

    One of the keys to developing on the court leadership is well defined roles. Now, with all of the injuries, Creek is out for the season and Jones is out “indefinitely” and Guy is history that never happened, Indiana needs to play the 7 guys that can play, and LENGTHEN the consecutive minutes on court together. Our starting lineup is Watford, Pritchard, Sheehey, Hulls and Rivers. Our two 20 minute/game subs are Elston and Oladipo. Let everyone play a minimum of 10 minutes without coming out, so they can build some teamwork and flow. Give Roth some minutes for a “heat” check. That is it. Stop the frantic substituting every 2 minutes. Force the same 7 guys to figure it out or be totally embarrassed.

  • JerryCT

    Dak/Fish and CTC have all talked toughness and then act like there is no solution. You either have it before you get to IU or you don’t.

    Teaching Toughness on Offense:

    Lets adopt the Iowa 4 out 1 in offensive scheme they way they play it. Each wing player aggressively SHOVES shoves his defender into a full contact screen by the 4 or 5 player. Poor Hulls got blasted by Besabe all the time.

    This is done on both wings at the same time. Then the wings cut toward the lane where the first one there sets another screen for the other wing. In short, every non PG player aggressively screens in this offense. Full contact and toughness are actually rewarded on the floor with points.

    Teaching Toughness on Defense:

    This is simple. No more switching, no ill conceived double teams or help D outside the arc. You are on an island with your assignment now get ‘er done. Deny the wing pass and pressure the ball . If they score it will at least be contested and the player will learn accountability.

    Our current style of play enables players to avoid contact, avoid toughness and accountability. If we want to teach this then we need to put schemes on the floor that feature it.

    Complaining about it will not teach it

  • JerryCT

    Let me point out that ‘Cuse sets no screens , I mean NONE. Like IU they mostly play w/o the toughness or accountability required to reach their potential.

    When a team does not have natural swagger then it must be developed IMHO by schemes on the floor that feature it. The zone D would not be one of those

  • millzy32

    Didn’t I hear that Gary Harris will also be joining Indiana Elite to play with these guys or am I way off base?????

  • millzy32

    We all know who should be the leader on this team. It’s CW. He SHOULD be the leader on this team because he has the most talent but he is not a leader at this point nor do I think he’ll ever be a leader. Hulls would like to be a leader and may be one someday but he just isn’t there yet. VJ could be the leader of this team but his TO’s and injuries really set him back. Creek would definitely be the leader if he were healthy but his body has chosen poor times to break down.

    I am just hoping that one of these days a light is going to turn on and this team will figure out how to play at their best night in and night out. If they did that they’d be competitive for sure and they’d win a lot more games than we expect.

    I can remember back earlier in conversations where several posters on this site criticized Thad Matta for being a crummy coach. Well maybe he is and maybe he isn’t but the talent that he has assembled is making him look like a great coach. Maybe all we need to do is wait patiently for that talent to arrive and then we will be happy. I hope so. The waiting is a killer.

  • Plane1972

    Take it easy, Lee Harvey. We’re all on the same team here.

  • Plane1972

    Good post and I think Vic and Will are good examples of the point you are making. I’m sure those guys give their backcourt mates all they can handle in practice. I think Zeller and AE will do the same upon their arrival. We are trending in the right direction, whether we want to or not, patience is still the bitter pill we have to swallow.

  • millzy32

    The Hurryin’ Hoosiers have been gone for 40 years or more. Bob Knight certainly didn’t put any Hurryin’ teams out there. I remember growing up watching him play four corners for the last five minutes if we had a lead. He is one of if not the main reason that the NCAA made a shot clock in college basketball.

  • Anonymous

    I agree there are some tactical issues with the coaching this season, but you cannot full heartedly tell me that you aren’t going to put some if not much of the blame on the players. Somehow that coaching was solid enough to play with the likes of Kentucky and Wisconsin (at a place where they never lose), but it wasn’t good enough to play with the likes of Iowa. That’s ridiculous. I’m sure he’s not saying in the locker room or stressing in practice anything different in preparation for those games. It is the same system, the same drills, the same message. It’s all about who is buying into it and working their asses off each play to get better. Getting through a screen doesn’t require much coaching, it requires busting your hump to get through it. Again I have my qualms about the schemes with this group of talent, but there is a lack of consistant mental toughness from this group. I think much of this stems from the lack of true leadership amongst the team. There are guys who could lead, guys that want to lead, but nobody that just puts this team on their back and smacks them around and says, lets go. In my opinion that would truly change the complexity of things (ala Fife, Moye, White). These guys weren’t the best, but they made everyone around them play their hardest and held them accountable for working hard every possession.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sold on the fact that he is playing out of position. HIs handle isn’t anywhere close to being able to be a 3. I think it would benefit him to hit the weight room and perfect some post moves,this would help not only on the college level but the next level as well. As I said before, I really like the kid but just would like for him to play with some fire instead of looking sleepy at times. When he does play inspired, he is fun to watch. I don’t want it to seem as if I”m dogging him, would just like to see him have that inspired play on a consistent basis. During the Iowa game, the entire team appeared as if they were sleepwalking. He was the lone pleasant surprise ont he offensive end.

  • Anonymous

    Agree. Have been thinking for some time that tightening the rotation might be something to definitely try. At this point I believe it is worth a try. If there are transfers after the season it will not bother me as long as it is handled the right way. This will, somewhat anyway, tighten the rotation maybe and we always seem to be discussing how if we only had another scholly or we only have one more scholly to hand out should it be a big banger of should it be a PG we don’t have one for both. I think figuring out what to do with a scholly that comes open for reasons other than graduation is the least of our problems cause this is one area that we seem to have gotten back on top of quickly.

  • Anonymous

    RMK was a contributing factor but I think the poster boy for the shot clock coming, coaches wise anyway, was Dean Smith.

  • Anonymous

    RMK was a contributing factor but I think the poster boy for the shot clock coming, coaches wise anyway, was Dean Smith.

  • Casey B.

    I understand what you’re saying — just remember it’s a radio show. Ultimately, Dakich is an entertainer for those three hours, and he’s going to push the bill a bit for the sake of making his show interesting.

  • Anonymous

    First off, I might be mistaken, but I believe more than a couple of people have been saying exactly what Dak and Fisch said and not just over the last few days. If it was as simple as you make it sound all of the things that are going wrong would have been fixed long ago.

  • Anonymous

    In almost all cases, I would agree with you.. If the players have bought into the opportunity to develop themselves and are exerting generally maximum effort (everyone has an off day), I am with you 100%, Jerry. If CTC and staff are working to develop the players, but some players simply aren’t putting in equal work, then I have no problem with showing those players the door. I can’t say that is the case; I hope it isn’t. If it is the case, I would be fine with CTC showing that type of player the door.

    Like someone said earlier, there are enough X’s and O’s issues that are in need of work. I don’t know why Dakich can’t stick to that type of analysis and leave this type of business to the staff and the players to discuss with one another.

  • MillaRed

    The Watford on top of the zone just doesn’t make any sense. He has made no blocked shots are denied entry passes.He isn’t quick enough to challenge open jump shots after the skip pass or the ball swing to the weak side. Meanwhile Jordy is trying to block out the tree’s down low and that is a disaster.

    I am hearing that Coach wants to “hide” defenders in his zone. Well, our zone rarely works when they are getting offensive boards at a decent clip. Many “and one’s” are a result of this strategy.

  • Anonymous

    I agree about Watford. CTC’s thinking probably was that CWat’s length could really bother the guards at the top of the zone, but he’s not quick enough. I’d rather see Oladipo or Rivers at the top, and make Watford play in the middle or down low and focus on the boards…

  • JerryCT

    I agree for this team of players.

    Also the zone defends an area of the floor and intermittently a player ………… how does this teach personal accountability and toughness ?

    Look , if the players seem fragile then lets play schemes that force them to change .

    Additionally the last thing I would do as a coach is to let them think that they cannot develop toughness and accountability ………….. BUT ……….alas …………. that is essentially what Dak/Fish are advocating

  • JerryCT

    We tried Tijan there last year ……….. I was scared for the other team’s perimeter players.

    Sheehey is perfect for this alignment and get’s up quicker than CW anyway.

  • Tberry

    I think next year will be the one everyone will be looking at. If things are still the same the wolfs will be out.

  • Tberry

    Or maybe that is the coach’s excuse being put on the players for their lack of coaching.

  • floridahoosier1

    your post just cracked me up! it’s the first time I’ve laughed when thinking about our Hoosiers for
    quite some time. Thanks for spliting my ribs!

  • Tberry

    What would Bobby Knight do with a fragile team and players?

    There is your solution to the problem.

  • Hoosier Hardwood

    How things would have been different if the past administration would have sacked up and fired Mike Davis and went after Thad Matta. He always said his dream job was a Big 10 school and would love to coach an Indiana school.


    the problem is that few people are natural leaders and even fewer are natural leaders and physically able to play BB at a high level. Leadership is a skill you learn through experience and trust you earn with others. Right now the leadership gap and the toughness gap are part of this team becasue there are no upperclassmen to teach the younger guys. Even our only senior has been in the program for two years. I think VJ3 tries. I think our best shot at a true leader is MO next year. If 100% health he can set the tone, lead by example and earn the respect/trust of the others.

  • Anonymous

    Great great great point (which is justified by the 20 so far that have “liked” it).

  • Kari_tyler

    Tom coverdale was tough! Remember he would dive out of bounds and try to throw the ball off the other teams face? maybe its not the nicest thing but all the greats have a mean streak.

  • Choke them?

  • Too soon?

  • Thanks! I’ve been kind of frustrated lately with fan reaction, so haven’t logged back on to see any comments. Appreciate it!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been feeling the same way but I’m usually surprised at how many people are still able to stay positive. I think negativity tends to sound louder but oftentimes the positive posts get the most “likes”, for what it’s worth.

  • It’s not that I feel good about what’s going on right now either, I just get really frustrated with people making definitive statements about CTC’s coaching ability based on the last 2+ years. I see things posted here and on other boards like (I’m paraphrasing) “Well, he’s really good at sales and pr, but his weaknesses are in-game coaching, developing players and motivating players”.

    For real? People really think he got this far by not being able to motivate and develop players? He just blindly stumbled into coaching one of the top 5 jobs in the country with his voodoo like sales skills?

    I just really honestly think the CTC criticism is over the top by a long shot. He is perfect? No. Is he making mistakes? Definitely. But, there is no roadmap for this rebuild, mistakes are going to be made, but the guy got here for a reason. I’d like to see some things change, but I also believe CTC knows what he’s doing for the most part.

  • Anonymous

    I’m with you 100%. He’s definitely not been perfect, but there’s no comparable situation to compare this to. I think most people’s opinions, positive or negative, are shaped almost entirely on what their expectations of this team were before the season rather than the actual circumstances surrounding this season.

    Ultimately, Crean is good enough to be successful at Marquette and to get the Indiana job. Beyond that, I think we have absolutely no clue yet how good he can be (or bad for that matter). And while I hope for tons of success as soon as possible, I think it’s impossible to evaluate his coaching skills at this point. It might not be until years 5-10 where we can accurately make claims about his coaching ability. All I can say is I guess we’ll see in a few years how it all shakes out, but we’re all obviously rooting for the same thing: more banners.

  • InTheMtns

    Could be. If so, there are quite a few coaches using the excuse.

  • GFDave

    I agree with what you say, up to a point, and I also hear Crean talk about the issue a lot. So to the extent that a coach can make a kid tough, he hasn’t gotten the job done with some of these kids.

  • defendtherock

    I hear ya about the zone.
    Dude, I still can’t believe that guy called you Bullwinkle on tma. I disagree, but it made me laugh really hard.

  • InTheMtns

    Painter: “Tonight, they stole our spirit.” Whatever the cause, PU never seemed to be in the game. Gotta say, though, OSU played a pretty great game at both ends of the floor. The rematch at Mackey should be interesting.

    Yah, I’ve never been overly impressed with Boeheim or his zone defense either. Overrated.

  • MillaRed

    ha ha!

  • MillaRed

    The thing about the internet, is it makes people look and feel really tough
    knowing you are not standing right next to them. It is IMO if he was here in
    Madison, this would not happen.

    Furthermore, we are all expressing opinions on a basketball program. If
    anyone personalizes this by calling names or and other form of
    condescension, they are well, losers IMO. The last thing I am trying to do
    is single any of you out and make you feel inadequate. I thought we were all
    Hoosier fans eh?

    I have no problem if we disagree. I’m interested in hearing why. That’s why
    IT’S A BLOG!

    Glad you had your laugh though………

  • Anonymous

    A big part of that highly rated class was Mo Creek. What was Hulls, Cwat, and Elston ranked coming in? do you know?

  • Anonymous

    Good, and hopefully correct, comparsion.

    I am by no means a talent scout but I think AE will be a very pleasant surprise once he gets acclimated his first year and will evoke the WOW reaction from a lot of people that either go by the number of stars by his name or juts doubt his abilities. Think in a overall game perspective he will have a bigger wow factor than VO has had.

  • Anonymous

    If I had to pick the one thing that puzzles me the most this would have to be it. If we were reaping benefits from it even once in a while I could, maybe, just maybe, understand it, but I can’t recall but once maybe twice at the most where it has worked. That stacked against how many times we have gotten burned by having JH on the back of the zone…..well it’s now even close. Would love for someone to call his radio show and ask him about it and not as in ” hey coach why do you do that ” but rather ” coach we seemed to have gotten burned a lot more times with JH at the back of the zone than we have turned the other team over from having CW at top of the zone. Why is it your are reluctant to try it the other way around ?”