Indiana Head Coach Archie Miller gave a press conference on Friday afternoon at Cook Hall to preview Sunday’s home game against South Florida. Several responses he gave to questions shed light on why it takes time for a group of players to acclimate to the system of a new coach:
Stated That Time Was Needed to Process What Occurred in Real Game Action
Coach Miller attributed the glimmer of progress that was apparent in the first half against Seton Hall to having time to sit down with the team and digest the first two games after a busy weekend. After the Indiana State game there was literally no time to do a deep dive on what went wrong. The Howard game was less than 48 hours away and coaches only get so much time with the players. To illustrate what time with the team can accomplish, he described how in the time between the Howard game and the Seton Hall games it was emphasized that toughness and aggressiveness would be the only way to stay with the Pirates. That message appeared to get through, at least for part of the game.
Suggested that Players are Still Learning the Basic Concepts
Coach Miller hinted that not all of the players have fully grasped the various concepts, including set plays that he wants to run. He gave a specific example of an inbounds play where 4 guys know the play and 1 doesn’t. Obviously that can ruin the intent of the play. He also suggested that he may need to use the bench as a learning tool to help guys pick up the system more quickly. Coach Miller went on to say that there are a lot of small correctable execution and communication issues that once corrected will result in a better product on the floor.
Specifics Were Provided on the Issues With the Defense
Indiana has given up an average of 13 3-pointers and 84 points a game through the first 3 games, so it’s no secret that the team defense has been subpar. Coach Miller indicated that the issue with the 3-pointers is that they are getting too spread out. He also gave specifics regarding guys going for shot fakes when they are not supposed to or fouling late in the shot clock. He indicated this is another area that they are emphasizing in practice and would hope to see improvement with more and more repetition.
Indicated that Turnovers are Correctable
Coach Miller indicated that turnovers are “within our control” and that they have been an area of focus since the Seton Hall game. Turnovers plagued Indiana last year, so it is not surprising that the issue has not vanished on day one.
Upper Classmen Have to be “Reprogrammed”
Finally, Coach Miller suggested that it can be even more difficult for upperclassmen to adjust to a new system, and he indicated some guys are at times not playing instinctively, and rather doing too much thinking. He juxtaposed this to his freshmen who he indicated are playing more free, not burdened with needing to “unlearn” 2 or 3 years of the old style.
Coach Miller emphasized several times the issues that we all see with the team right now, principally turnovers and defending against the 3-point shot, are being addressed. It will be interesting to monitor the progress as he has more time with the team — and 3 winnable games over the next 2 weeks before the schedule turns ugly.
[Photo credit – Sports Illustrated]