With Big Ten Media Days in the rear view mirror, and fall camp around the corner, Tom Allen and the Hoosiers are gearing up for a big 2023 season, coming off consecutive disappointing years.
One of the most ardent supporters of IUFB, as well as all Indiana athletics programs, both in-person and online is Adam Bruner, whom you can find @B89Adam on Twitter.
What does the football program mean to him, what gives him optimism for this upcoming campaign, and what are some fun facts about one of the most passionate Hoosiers in existence?
What inspired you to become an IUFB fan?
Good question! My first IUFB memory was going to Pancakes and Pigskins at Memorial Stadium in the early 90s. It was basically breakfast and a scrimmage, along with a pep talk from Coach Mallory. I remember throwing the football on the old concrete turf as a 4 year old and eating sausage and pancakes in the old Hoosier Room underneath the west stands. Later, Antwaan Randle El’s emergence as an offensive juggernaut kept me hooked and in 2000, we got season tickets (although I was at his very first game in 1998!). 23 years later, I’m still rooting for the underdog.
What are three words you would use to describe IUFB to a casual football fan?
Unpredictable. Addictive. Rewarding.
Who are some of your favorite players in IUFB history?
ARE is by far my favorite, and we still have a framed jersey and autographed mini helmet at the house. Levron Williams has to be included as well, because he made that triple option attack with Randle El run like a well-oiled machine. Greg Middleton and James Hardy from the Hep/Lynch years are obvious ones for someone my age (34), and to go obscure for a moment, I’ll conclude with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He was only at IU for a year before transferring to Ole Miss, and we were terrible, but he could run like crazy. As usual, a true “what if.”
What are some of your most memorable moments as an IUFB fan?
The Penix Reach is obvious. I jumped up and down for a solid 20 minutes after that one. Can’t forget Tom Allen’s first home opener in 2017 against OSU, where we had the lead after 3 quarters and the place was rocking…we won’t discuss what happened in the 4th. My most meaningful memory though, by a mile, is the Austin Starr kick to beat Purdue and send IU to their first bowl in 14 years from back in 2007. That was my only year as an IU student, and depression made it pretty miserable overall, but for a brief moment, I felt pure joy. I nearly got trampled out of the East stands storming the field. We sang the Terry Hoeppner theme. I walked home to Wright Quad that night having made 50,000 friends, and it was awesome.
What does Memorial Stadium mean to you, and what makes it great?
The Rock! I feel at home there, in section 9 (after a brief period of hiding in the southeast corner for a few years). Sure there are flaws…it’s rarely full, the west side is basically a salute to concrete, and we lose a disturbing amount of games there. However! It is still very special. The work done to enclose the stadium has been amazing. I’ve seen it grow from a MAC stadium with barbed wire fencing around it, to a legitimate Big Ten facility. When it is packed, it’s loud. Ask Bo Schembechler. There’s also not a bad seat in the house. It takes a special type of frame of mind to be an IU football fan, so the love I have for Memorial Stadium will never change.
How can the stadium get better?
Oh man. Wi-Fi. More concessions. Open up all the concessions that are already there. Power wash the north end zone exterior. New suites and press box. West side exterior façade renovation. Eliminate the leaks when it rains. Clean up the concrete/steps in the stands. More club seating. Pick a 3rd quarter “tradition” and stick with it. Bring back the bison intro video. Stats on the scoreboard. Most importantly though: win. That cures a lot of problems.
What’s something people don’t know about IUFB that you’d like to share?
My definitely-not-bitter answer would have to be that IU once turned down Knute Rockne for the head coaching position. My more upbeat answer is that in my personal experience, every win that IU gets is worth celebrating. I don’t mean that in a negative way, it’s just reality based on our history. Coach is on his way to earning us more wins, but if you’re going to be an IUFB fan, it’s kind of a special club because you feel like you’ve been on a truck ride through a mine field carrying nitroglycerin just to get a victory. Totally worth it though.
Only about five weeks until the season starts vs. Ohio State! What excites you about this IUFB team?
Oh, just the fact that football is back in general. I love the potential of this team. Now, with all the changes, there’s a real chance that things could go south. But that’s no fun, so let’s talk about Bob Bostad and the offensive line. This team has a lot of good athletes, but this season is going to come down to whether or not the OL can push people around. We saw improvement at the end of last season, and I think Coach Bostad and his almost obsessive attention to detail and reps will work wonders for whoever is behind the big fellas. I also really want to beat Louisville because I’ve had to deal with their fans for years.
Who are a couple newcomers to the team that have your attention this season?
Andre Carter on D will be a force. He has the size and athleticism to create havoc in the backfield for opposing offenses. E.J. Williams and Dequece Carter at WR should bring size and speed to help out whoever starts at QB. I really like Dequece…he’s experienced and looking to prove himself at the FBS level.
IU is picked to finish 7th in the B1G East this year. What can they do to avoid that fate?
Block, run the ball, keep the chains moving, and eliminate big plays. If the lines can play nasty, physical football, that will go a long way. I haven’t even mentioned Jaylin Lucas, so…you know…get him the ball.
Fill in the blank: Tom Allen is _____________.
Relentless. Obviously you can’t keep going 4-8, but I trust this man to give his all for IUFB, and he’s proven that you can, in fact, win at IU.
What do you have to say to the fans that have given up on IUFB over the years?
It’s understandable. But honestly, a day outside with friends and family, a good cold Yoo-Hoo, and some football is never a bad time. I always try to get people to buy tickets because except for maybe the 2015 Rutgers game collapse, I’ve never had a bad time at an IUFB game. Also, no one expected 2019 and 2020 to happen. Never say never.
If you could have dinner with any 3 IUFB figures, past or present, who would they be?
Lee Corso is way too obvious, so I’ll say Coaches Hep, Mallory, and Allen. Three upbeat, football and family focused individuals who I could just talk and learn football with. Sounds like an amazing day to me!
Any memorable interactions on social media that stand out to you as you’ve grown your presence?
First and foremost, Dakich blocked me, so I remain proud of that. But really, just making friends on what can be a very negative website. I try to be upbeat and positive, and I think people respond to that. Coach Allen and Chuck Crabb frequently like my tweets, and that means a lot to me!
What’s something people don’t know about you that you’d like to share?
I shared this before, but I’ll do it again because it’s important to me. I’ve spent most of my life afraid of the world. I have severe anxiety, depression, and Tourette’s Syndrome. Needless to say, that has caused a lot of physical and mental pain over the years. Just being able to communicate with my IU friends on social media means the world to me and has brought me out of my shell. And as always, my DMs are always open if anyone out there is struggling with mental health or just wants to talk IU.
Where can people find you on social media?
Pack the Rock.
Featured Image: Adam Bruner