Bye weeks serve different purposes to different teams at different times of the season, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. For a 1-9 team with a lot of youth and some talent deficiencies, it’s about fundamentals and recruiting.
Wilson said he’s not doing very much scheme work this week and not much focus on Michigan State, next week’s opponent. He’s mostly working fundamentals with younger players.
“If we were an older team and playing well, we probably wouldn’t be doing as much fundamental work,” Wilson said. “But that being said, it’s not a spring ball mentality, but it’s a little more fundamental with the young guys. … There’s different thought processes based on your opponents, who’s coming up. We’re so far down the road, we kind of are what we are with our personnel. We are what we are schematically. Typically, you got Sunday to Saturday to get ready for somebody. Do you need to spend two full weeks just for Michigan State or a little time for Michigan State and Purdue. We kind of used it for recruiting and as many freshmen and redshirt freshmen and sophomores are playing to not kind of wear them out, but make it more, let’s be a fundamental-oriented team.”
That hasn’t been easy, though, because he doesn’t have a lot of coaches with him. Wilson said co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Doug Mallory and co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Kevin Johns were the only two full-time assistants who were at practice on Tuesday. The rest were on the road recruiting, as the Hoosiers saved many of their available evaluation days for this week so the coaches could hit the road to watch high school practices.
“We’re trying to take advantage of the eval/observation time,” Wilson said. “… It’s a little bit by committee. Our meetings are shorter and our meetings are group meetings. We’re doing more, ‘Let’s meet as an offense. Let’s meet as a defense and do some general things.’ It’s kind of tough. I want to do fundamentals, but it’s hard to do a lot of specific fundamentals when you’re short some coaches. There’s a double-edged sword there.”
Wilson is also short some more players as well. He said that freshman wide receiver Cody Latimer will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, which will keep him out of the last two games. Wilson said safety Jarrell Drane, who has been out since the North Texas game with an ankle injury, will have surgery and is finished for the year as well. Safety Chris Adkins is “still gimping around” with an ankle injury, Wilson said, but safety Donnell Jones has returned to action after missing several games and could be available this week. Drew Hardin could also be available for Michigan State after missing the Ohio State game with a concussion.
Right tackle Peyton Eckert, Wilson said, is in a walking boot with an ankle injury suffered against Ohio State but he has a chance to return. Safety Alexander Webb, however, broke his arm during Saturday’s game and he is finished for the year.
The news of Webb’s broken arm was originally disseminated by sophomore cornerback Greg Heban, who tweeted that Webb was tough because he played two quarters with a broken arm. Wilson was asked what that says for Webb.
“It says that Greg Heban shouldn’t tweet,” Wilson said. “That’s exactly what it says. And that’s been dealt with. Sources say.”