Kevin Wilson disappointed in quarterback competition

At the beginning of his media briefing on Thursday, Kevin Wilson was asked what he’s learned about the quarterbacks the past couple of days.

“That we’re a long way away from having a good one,” Wilson said.

It went on from there.

He was asked if any of them had done anything to impress him.

“Not really,” he said. “Either our defense is really really good, or our quarterbacks really not very good. It’s one or the other. Because we don’t get open and we don’t throw it to them, so we’re just OK. We’re not good enough. None of them. And it’s not negative. It’s not worried. They’re not close to what they ought to be yet.”

Wilson made it clear he wasn’t trying to use the media to light a fire either.

“They don’t read the paper, so I ain’t trying to motivate them,” he said. “I’ve already talked to them. They’ve already been motivated. We just need to be better there.”

The competition has been trimmed and now just includes redshirt sophomores Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker and true freshman Tre Roberson. Roberson has been inconsistent, coaches said, but that’s not much of a surprise considering he’s in his first college preseason. However, they were hoping to see more consistency for Kiel and Wright-Baker, who battled for the backup job behind Ben Chappell the last two seasons.

“I expect more out of Dusty and Ed because they’ve had a spring here,” co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rod Smith. “I want them to be further along than what they are from an execution standpoint. I don’t want say it’s disappointing. It’s frustrating because my expectations are higher, maybe than what theirs are. I want them to be better than what they are. That’s kind of where we’re at.”

Smith said he believes Kiel and Wright-Baker understand the offense, but they need to get it at a higher level.

“It’s one thing to know the plays, it’s another thing to own the plays,” Smith said. “You can know what’s going on, but if you don’t own it, you don’t know exactly where to go with the football whenever this coverage changes or when this blitz happens. If you can’t process that and process that quickly, you’re gonna be a step behind. And I think that’s where we’re at right now. I think they’re thinking too much right now. They’re not reacting, and that’s because we’ve got to get more in depth.”

Smith said he’s thinks Roberson has come along, but is still where one might expect a freshman to be.

“He’s getting better,” Smith said. “There’s still a lot of mental stuff on his plate. It’s gonna take some time obviously, but at the same time, we’re gonna get him ready as fast as we can in case we need to play him. We’ll see. I know the kid makes plays. He’s swimming but he still makes plays at times. There’s something to be said for that.”

Smith said repeatedly that “it’s not all doom and gloom,” and that he believes that all three quarterbacks can be what they want them to be.

“There’s an expectation of where we want those guys,” Smith said. “They got to get to our expectations, is my point. When that happens, I think, are they good enough to do it? I think they are. I think they are. They just have to start believing themselves a little bit more. Keep putting the time in, like they’ve been doing and just keep coming, keep working.”

In other practice notes, junior running back Darius Willis participated in some drills on Thursday but didn’t go through the whole practice.Wilson hasn’t said exactly what Willis’ injury is, but he’s been dealing with a long line of them in his career, including a torn patellar tendon last year that ended his season four games in.

“They’re still trying to get him going,” Wilson said. “He still hasn’t run any plays yet. He’s been hurt.”

Wilson said he doesn’t know when he’s going to make Willis serve his one-game suspension yet.

Wilson also announced that four walk-ons — Dre Muhammad, Nick Freeland, Brandon McGhee and Greg Heban — have been awarded scholarships.



  1. This don’t surprise me. My gut keeps telling me Roberson will get the nod. He still might be behind the rest, but seems as if he is learning/catching on/improving more so then the others.

  2. The quarterback situation doesn’t surprise me. Kiel and EWB only had 15 spring practices to get familiar with the offense. Clearly not enough time. Now they’re two weeks into practice with another 10 to 14 practices under their belts, and another 10 to 14 to go. Doesn’t sound good.

    You would hope that half way through fall camp that the light would come on for at least one of of the five. This is like the “Survivor” television show. Follett and Schell have already been voted off the island, and Kiel, Robinson and EWB aren’t handling challenges very well. So does Wilson begin to shrink the playbook or does he move forward and hope that one of the three will eventually catch up?

    Personally I would rather have a smaller playbook, having our QB’s executing flawlessly a fewer number of plays than struggling to execute a much larger sampling.

    Maybe our defense is playing much better and that is why the quarterbacks are having a difficult time?

  3. Good for the 4 new scholarship players. Obviously they have earned it.

    Coach Wilson said he did not know Bradford would be the starter until a week before their 1st game. I would suggest he set the same stage here at IU when he stated that fact before Spring practice.

    No doubt the NEW defense is being disruptive for the offense.

  4. HC, I hope your positive remarks about the D are accurate.

    One thing is certain to me, KW knows what he is doing.

    I’m sure the QBs are improving. We just have a coach with high expectations.

  5. I don’t think it’s bad news at all. i see this as very positive. Given his background and experience, Wilson is confirming that he has very high expectations for his quarterbacks. Much higher expectations than they were probably accustomed to. Relative to past IU coaches, Wilson has raised the bar, folks. That’s what it takes to turn a losing team into a winning team. It all starts with expectations. “Shoot for the moon, you might reach the roof. Shoot for the roof, you won’t get off the floor.”

  6. By the way, does anyone think Wilson would have recruited Gunner Kiel so hard after the spring practice period if he was convinced that any of his three young QB’s could meet his expectations? Obviously, Wilson has very high expectations. That’s very good news.

  7. I agree. I’m glad to see high expectations for a change. I would much rather see a coach that is dissatisfied than one who settles for less. I also think HC is on to something regarding improved D. How hard could it have been to move the ball in practice the past few seasons?

  8. We never really had a defense. Our corners played 15 yds off the line. It always looked like we were the opp offense’s sparing partner. I kept wanting them to get up there and hit someone in the mouth. It feels like this new swagger is what a good defense needs. Time will tell.

  9. docdave, We all feel and know your pain. Mallory had good defensive teams. A couple of those years, really good. Cam, DiTardo, and Lynch I believe, just didn’t prioritize and/or know how to teach it. Mallory had good players, but not that good.
    We all know that good teams play good defense, and are coached well.
    IU will probably not be a top five defense, but they can only improve. The question is, is do you think Wilson is more like Mallory or the other coaches?
    Good weekend to all, and Go Hoosiers! One more week. Got your shistuff ready JPat?

  10. Wilson is Wilson. He’s an offensive minded coach and smart enough to know that he needs a strong, experienced assistant to run his defense. I think Wilson’s brand of football will be fast, exciting and hard nosed. I think Mallory’s defense will improve season over season as they recruit bigger and better athletes for the defense.

  11. Sorry Mass, I really just meant the last few years. My first recollection of IU football was the great Mallory teams with AT and Vaughn Dunbar. That is probably why I expect greatness from these guys. I think Hep was starting to get the defense in line. I agree with Podunker, we will need more strength and athleticism on the defense. I will say for the last staff, they were really turning the recruiting corner, and that will be a huge boost for Wilson.

  12. When you look at the physical stats of Wilson’s verbally committed recruits, as compared to previous recruiting classes, you notice the increase in size. Many of those players appear to be earmarked for defense. If I recall correctly, Wilson just got a verbal from a young man in Ohio that is 6’3″ and plays safety! And he has great speed. I don’t recall IU recruiting any 6’3″ safeties before. Wilson has also received verbals from several HS players that stand over 6’6″. Assuming these young men have average or better athletic ability, I’m confident Wilson’s new weight and conditioning staff will mold them into competitive Big Ten players.

    You can’t coach size.

  13. I just heard Steve Sarkisian talking on the radio about the importance of recruiting ‘length’ at the skill positions.

  14. “[Wilson} is smart enough to know what he doesn’t know…” While he knows defense, he knows it from the offensive side and the process for recruiting his assistants show that. Bob Knight said it, and with nearly everything he said, they are jewels of knowledge and wisdom to reference in leadership.

    “A good coach will find assistants who are better than he himself is, in parts of the game,” a weak coach. “A poor coach will be too fearful of his job to appoint assistants who are stronger than he is in his weakest areas.”


  15. Speaking of recruiting, not complaining at all, but what’s up with all the great new recruits considering IU on ESPN?

  16. I have no idea if Sarkisian is ever on an Indiana station as I don’t live there and I was listening to Sirius. He is certainly comfortable in front of a microphone.

  17. Chet- I heard him on the Herd a few weeks ago. If comfortable in front of a mic means nice, affable guy, then I agree.

  18. By the way, I like Sarkisian a lot. Good coach that will turn Washington around. But for all you folks that express concern about Wilson’s public relations skills (or lack thereof), I witnessed Sarkisian get real nasty with a reporter last year over something very minor. Sarkisian was approached for his comments as he was leaving the field by a camera crew and reporters. There was some sort of short delay with the reporter, really only a matter of a few seconds. Obviously anxious to get to where he was going and not aware that another camera and michrophone was already recording him, Sarkisian displayed a flash temper and snapped at the reporter with a real nasty tone and some not-so-nice language. The intensity of Sark’s tone and language was really surprising. My point is, for all you delicate fans out there worried about Wilson’s “insensitivity” and/or lack of PR skills, Wilson has yet to display anything close to the behavior I witnessed from Sarkisian in front of the media.

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