Let’s just call it my two-week vacation

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So my grand scheme coming into 2014 was to stop putting off the things I want to do, like, oh, write every day and get this website up to date and blog on a more regular basis–and not just about sports.

You can see how well that’s worked out.

What I’ve figured out is that, given my current schedule and the various duties I have to perform, there’s no way to realistically set aside specific hours each day for writing and blogging and websiting (what, it’s my blog, I’ll make up any word I want to).

When I have time to do something, I need to take advantage of that time. Bottom line. And yes, that is obvious. Maybe I’m just a slow learner.

So here I am in the press room at Assembly Hall before IU’s game against No. 3 Wisconsin, cranking out a blog for the sake of blogging.

Every journey starts with a single step and all that …

IU football looking for new defensive coordinator; IU hoops heads to Penn State

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Indiana fired defensive coordinator Doug Mallory and defensive line coach Jon Fabris on Friday–well, announced that they would not return to the football coaching staff in 2014–after the Hoosiers again ranked near the bottom nationally in virtually every defensive statistic.

The timing of the announcement seems a bit unusual simply because IU’s season ended well over a month ago.  Per the Bloomington Herald-Times, head coach Kevin Wilson wasn’t available for comment. So it’s hard to say why the change came now instead of, say, the day after IU’s season ended with the win over Purdue.

Meanwhile, IU’s men’s basketball team plays at Penn State today. There was no pre-travel media availability, so my preview for the Post-Tribune leans heavily on Penn State quotes. You can check that out here.

Michigan State 73, Indiana 56

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For the third time in Tom Crean’s six seasons at Indiana,  the Hoosiers start the Big Ten schedule 0-2.
The first time was his first season, 2008-09, when IU started 0-8 in conference play before finishing 1-17 in the Big Ten. Two years later, it was an 0-4 start for the Hoosiers, who ended up with a 3-15 Big Ten record.
There’s no reason to think these Hoosiers will mimic those kind of records in conference play; there’s too much talent for that.
And realistically, it’s not as if either of IU’s losses so far are really bad losses. Yes, 23 turnovers against Illinois is nothing to be proud of, but the fact that the Illini needed overtime to beat a young IU squad that turned the ball over 23 times says something about both teams.
And Michigan State is one of the top teams in the nation, with loads more experience than the Hoosiers.
But if IU is to make it to the NCAA Tournament for a third straight season, the Hoosiers are going to have to learn momentum.
“The more you (play), the better the understanding you have,” Tom Crean said. “It’s not like we can all of a sudden put three months of Big Ten basketball into these guys’ bodies.”

Here are my game stories for the Tribune-Star and the Post-Tribune. And you can catch up with all my sportswriting on the Sportswriting page of the site.

Run down

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I’m writing this from the IU press box, where on a day like this a year ago, I was chugging Powerade after running my second Monumental Half-Marathon.

I didn’t make it to three.

Two years ago, I signed my wife and I up for the Monumental Half because we were supposed to run it with a friend. The friend backed out — can’t say that I blame her — but my wife and I kept up with the training. We ran it, we finished, even though we hit a wall at the 11-mile mark. My bad knees and my wife’s leg cramps meant walking for most of the last two miles, although we sucked it up and ran across the finish line.

The idea was that we would run it again, trying to break the three-hour mark this time. And we almost did. But again, some health issues out on the course meant that, even though we improved our time, we didn’t break three hours.

And we lost our drive. So we slacked off over the winter and lost whatever running ability we had. So this morning, while one of my former sportswriters was running the half in just under two hours — S.O.B. — my wife and I, well, weren’t.

So why blog about this? Because I realized this morning that I did miss running the Monumental. Especially since there wasn’t sleet this time around.

In case you weren’t aware, running in sleet sucks.

So consider this my public challenge to myself. Get back in shape, get back to running, get my ass in gear.

First, though … the chocolate chip cookies in the press box are delicious.

Sorry, November doesn’t work for me

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November 1, and some 200,000 people have signed up for National Novel Writing Month.

I am not one of them.

Oh, I fully intended to do it. I had two reasons: 1) it would give me something to blog about on a daily basis, at least through November; and 2) I’ve been talking about and trying to write a novel for … well, a really long time, let’s leave it at that.

But then I started to think about November and just how busy I will be this month.

The problem with November, for me, is that it’s chock-full of responsibilities. College football’s still going on, college basketball’s tipping off, and that means that, in the 30 days of November, I’ll be writing something like 40 bylined stories.

That’s in the neighborhood of 16,000-20,000 words, give or take. No novel, of course, but to try to add 50,000 words on top of that, along with my goal to blog something every day? Not to mention two important birthdays coming up this month, plus Thanksgiving …

Yeah, I’m thinking July is looking good for Andy Novel Writing Month.

There’s an interesting story here that uses what should be a typical sports feature (player overcomes the loss of a loved one, goes through tough time, rebounds to succeed again) to look at, as writer Brandon Sneed puts it, “the moral and ethical place of journalism.”

The story brings up some interesting points and addresses some of the tough questions that we, as journalists, have to contend with when trying to get the story. I’ll put some of my thoughts together for a blog post to come, but in the meantime, why not check out Brandon’s story? Good stuff.