BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- At Indiana practices, the differences are immediately clear.
Coach Mike Davis offers encouragement to his players, with a voice that is barely audible.
The volume isn't all that has changed since Bob Knight was fired in September. The tone is softer, too, and the emphasis is on running.
Davis, succeeding one of college basketball's most successful and controversial coaches, isn't afraid to do things his way. He knows, however, that comparisons with Knight are inevitable.
"This is what I do," said Davis, who has never been a head coach before. "I've been doing it for a long time now. It's no big deal.
"The players know, they know me, they know I have no problem telling them 'bad shot' or 'good shot' or 'good play."'
The 39-year-old Davis, a former Indiana assistant, became the coach after Knight was fired for violating a zero-tolerance behavior policy. Among other things, the Hall of Fame coach grabbed the arm of a freshman who called him by his first name.
"I think there's really more similarities than differences between Coach Davis and Coach Knight," center Kirk Haston said. "If you don't do a play right, Coach Davis corrects it and you run."
That typically wasn't the case with Knight, who wanted his team to learn by repeating plays over and over again instead of running as punishment.
"As far as flat out conditioning," junior swingman Dane Fife said, "Coach Knight believed that you conditioned while you were playing."
But Mike Davis is no Bob Knight, nor does he pretend to be.
Davis' background, for one, is vastly different. His playing days took him through the University of Alabama, where he was a defensive whiz, and the Continental Basketball Association. His coaching path also went through the CBA.
The players know Davis well enough to have helped put him in this position.
When Knight was fired by university president Myles Brand, the players threatened to leave en masse if Davis was not hired. Less than two months later, everyone, save for little-used Tom Geyer, has returned with more resolve and something to prove.
"We've all been put in a position where we had to mature a lot," Haston said. "We all had to go through a real-life situation where we had to decide whether to move or transfer or whether to stay. I think it's all made us a little stronger and a little tougher mentally."
Davis can only hope that toughness carries over to games. He is under pressure to fulfill expectations for a school that won 11 Big Ten titles and three national championships in Knight's 29 seasons.
Like Knight, Davis pushes his players to their limits, and while he smiles and cajoles players more than the old coach did, he has no problem playing the enforcer.
"I don't really notice a lot of differences. We come out, receive instructions and work hard," Fife said. "There is a lot less yelling, but Coach Davis has his moments."
Near the end of one practice, Davis emphatically prodded redshirt freshman George Leach to block out, one of the few times the coach raised his voice. And when Leach made the same mistake a few moments later, the whole team had to run.
"That seems to be one of the things coach is pretty high on, is running," Haston said. "And it's not just running, but running in competition."
The result, Davis said, will be seen in improved footwork and stamina.
This Indiana team is loaded with athletes, especially on the front line, something the Hoosiers have lacked recently.
It's also a young team. Indiana lost five starters from last season and has five players who will make their college debut Nov. 14 against Pepperdine, the team that knocked the Hoosiers out of the NCAA tournament last season in what turned out to be Knight's last game. Two freshmen guards -- Andre Owens and A.J. Moye -- probably will start.
That has forced Davis to alter Knight's revered motion offense. Davis wants Indiana to play a more up-tempo style, when possible, and he expects the Hoosiers to go inside more frequently in a half-court set.
"It's still the motion offense," Fife said. "But it's a little more structured. We want everybody to know where everybody else is going to be."
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