Wilson: Roberson “competing,” Sliger suffers minor knee injury, practice shifts to mornings

Kevin Wilson doesn’t want to suggest that the quarterback competition is over yet, but he continues to imply that sophomore Tre Roberson is winning the job and responding to the competition in exactly the way he wants him to.

All offseason, Wilson has talked about Roberson maturing into more of  a pocket passer and learning to read defenses and make better throws. That’s apparently happened mostly to his satisfaction.

“I don’t know if anything’s settled,” Wilson said. “We still have to keep performing. But the thing I do like, contrary to other guys, he is the first guy here that’s a pretty good player who has embraced the challenge of the competition, and he’s competed. … There’s very good competition at quarterback. Tre’s fighting in a great way. To be a program that needs to start playing at a better level, I keep talking about those senior D-tackles. Give us more. Don’t just be the first guy jogging on the field. Will Matte is a senior that’s giving us more. That’s great to see. Tre is really decent. He’s gotten a lot better in the passing game, but he’s really embraced the competition. In building our program, this is one of the few times I’ve said, ‘That’s what it looks like if you’re a good player and you keep fighting.’ I’d like to see some other guys keep learning to do that. We’ll see if they do.

One player he’d like to see fight more is junior tailback Stephen Houston. Though Houston had the best offensive season of any of the Hoosiers last season with 802 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, Wilson said he’s actually losing ground to sophomores D’Angelo Roberts and Isaiah Roundtree and freshman Tevin Coleman. Roundtree has missed a few days with a concussion, Wilson said, but Roberts and Coleman have been spending more time with the first team.

“Stephen Houston might be third or fourth,” Wilson said. “D’Angelo was out there first the other night, and he was out there first all week. Tevin Coleman was second. That’s good competition. But I don’t think Stephen was embracing it like Tre.”

— Senior defensive tackle Nicholas Sliger suffered an injured knee in a closed scrimmage on Friday night, but Wilson said it wasn’t as bad as the Hoosiers initially expected.

“We kinda got lucky because it kinda got rolled up,” Wilson said. “But he doesn’t have any damage as far as cartilage, ligaments, surgery, but he’s kinda got a pretty nasty little bone bruise deal. We’ll see as it goes. Is it a week, two, three. It’s going to be a motion, movement, deal and a pain tolerance deal. It’s not really surgical, and it’s not really a rehab, it did swell up on him. He might have had a little sublex of a patella, they really don’t know, because it was in place. But there’s no cartilage, no ligament, no surgery.We’ll see. Hopefully, he says a week or two. We’ll see.”

— Wilson spoke briefly about his thoughts on just about every position unit. The general theme is that he feels like he needs more from all of them — big surprise. He said he sees little separation in the defensive secondary, and is especially looking for more from junior college transfer safeties Ryan Thompson and Tregg Waters. The defensive tackles have been solid, but considering that Adam Replogle and Larry Black Jr. are two of the most experienced and talented players on the team, he believes they should be more dominant. The same goes for linebacker even though he’s generally pleased with JUCO transfers Jaccari Alexander and David Cooper and that he’s also happy he moved sophomore Forisse Hardin from safety to linebacker. On offense, he’s generally pleased with the offensive linemen, especially freshmen Jason Spriggs and Dan Feeney. On offense, he’s pleased with Ted Bolser and he believes juniors Kofi Hughes and Duwyce Wilson, sophomores Cody Latimer, Nick Stoner, and Shane Wynn and freshman Ricky Jones have separated themselves, but he still likes what he’s getting from Kevin Davis, Jamonne Chester and others.

Collectively, though, they need to get better, he said.

“We’ve had too many competitive or casual drops,” Wilson said. “The other day, we had one of the times we didn’t score, we had a wide-open pass for 7 (yards) on first-and-10 we dropped. … It’s about 80 percent of the time you punt if there’s a dropped pass. It’s not that much different than a penalty or a negative play. It’s like, ‘Hey, everything’s worked. You’ve got everybody blocked. The guy’s open, you make the right choice, but you don’t make the play.”

— Classes began Monday at Indiana, which meant the Hoosiers had to set their practice times for the semester. Instead of having afternoon practices from 3-7 as they did last season, Wilson instead instituted morning practices this time around.

“I thought 3-7 was too late,” Wilson said. “Especially when the sun starts setting. You’re leaving when it’s dark and it’s dreary and it’s dull and there’s not a good vibe. We tried to go 3-6. We tried to steal an hour in the morning. We started out by doing meetings. I don’t think those meetings were very productive, because I don’t know if we were awake. So then we said, well, let’s practice for 45 minutes in the morning, and come back in the afternoon. Well, if you’ve got a bad groin, you’ve gotta stretch twice. If you’re a quarterback, you’ve gotta get heated up twice. You’ve gotta tape twice, you’ve gotta shower twice. It was just a lot of stress. As young as we were last year, I don’t know if it mattered, because we were trying to practice and toughen up and get some young guys ready. But this year, I didn’t want to practice that way. We looked at last year, the morning routine. Never done it. Not truly a great morning person…. I didn’t want to split it this year. We’re going with the morning. I’ve seen Oregon do it a few years ago when I visited Coach (Chip) Kelly. I asked a couple of kids as soon as practice was over. ‘What do you think.’ They said, ‘I’m done. I’m done. I’ve got my classes, but I’m done.’ … I’m very grateful. By academic scheduling, we get a week to try it before game week.”

— Scouts from the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins were all present at practice on Monday.

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson

AUDIO: Stephen Houston

 

42 comments

  1. It is going to be a long season with not a lot of encouragement in terms of wins this year, but I’m convinced now more than ever we are headed in the right direction. Coach Wilson’s no nonsense, tell it like it is reports are honest and I suspect accurate evaluations. He has a team with some but not a lot of talent and some but not a lot of depth that he is coaching up to play at a D1 level. He knows he does not have an entire D1 team but he does know where he can stretch. The only thing I haven’t heard much about are special teams and would like to hear his evaluation of what we can expect there. I think we’re going to be better and I think the commentators will start saying things like IU is just a year or two from being a competitor at this level.

  2. Any idea who the NFL scouts were looking at? Either a specific group or a player?

    Glad to hear coach is seeing good things from the group, but always expects more. Good qualities of a HC. At least I think so.

  3. 1. Anyone else troubled by the fact that Coach hasn’t yet figured out when is the best time to practice? You would think that, after a lifeting of coaching, KW would at least have some sense of whether a.m. or p.m. works best for practice.

    2. What’s the deal with RB Matt Perez? He started out strong at the beginning of last year, then seemed to fade from the scene.

    3. Didn’t get to see the whole show, but what I did see of the Big Ten Network’s preseason look at IU did mention that the IUD was spending some time every practice prepariing for the Navy wishbone/option/whatever-the- heck-it-is. Glad to see the we’re actually taking an agressive posture and not just hoping to play it by ear on game day.

  4. davis,
    Last year, Perez just got beat out by Houston and Roberts to a degree. This year he’s been slowed by a back injury that cost him most of the spring and all of preseason camp. He was actually out there today for the first day of school (the roster expands beyond 105 when school starts) but he still has to acclimate, so he wasn’t in full pads.

  5. Three, maybe four wins in 2012. Outside chance of five if IU can beat Navy (big if). Major improvement from last year, but still way less than where we’d all like the program to be.

    The recruits coming in represent a major improvement in talent and size over previous classes.

  6. Podunker, I think you are spot on. I think we can beat ISU, Mass and BSU although nervous that Mass is on the road and BSU has traditionally given us fits. I do not see a win over Navy although I think it could be a very good game! 5 wins means that we knock off a B10 oponent…possible, not likely. 3 wins would be a significant improvement and would set the stage for some B10 wins in 2013.

  7. iufan23–#1 Good assessment of IU’s FB situation. I am looking for this team to become more of a unified machine that makes fewer mistakes and produces more effort than we have seen for many years.

    If this team shows good progress throughout the schedule, then; this season will definitely feel shorter than last year’s.

    Can hardly wait for the 1st game. Come on 9-1-12.

  8. Totally agree with jgBMG…9-1-12 can’t come soon enough.

    I think IU beats BSU because it will be a home game, at night, everybody there!! I get the sense that IU will be more businesslike this year and not so much of the hesitation/indecisiveness we saw last year. Especially with the QB position a bit more settle, well I am optimistic. sounds like the Def is improved. If the D could stop the long ball and cover someone in the mid-range we might be OK. If IU wins the first three games I think we might be able to get one B10 win. That’s my hope, anyways.

  9. I like CKW a little more every time I listen to him.

    What I like a little less every time I think about it…and I absolutely hated it right away…is the schedule.

    This program is simply not at the stage where it needs non-conference games of the likes of Navy on the road, in the middle of the conference season, NOT coming off a bye week. Instead of following up the 1-2 punch of Ohio State and Michigan State with a game that can restore morale and confidence as they head into potentially winnable games against Illinois and Iowa, they play the toughest OOC game the program has played in years.

    Then, next year, they play both Navy AND Missouri.

    That’s just ridiculous scheduling for a program at IU’s level of development. A bowl gives the players a feasible aspiration to work and sacrifice for. It would inject a boost of enthusiasm among the fan base. Most importantly, it provides a month of extra practice time.

    Getting to a bowl, any bowl, needs to be the number one goal of not just the players in how they play, or the coaches in how they coach, but also the administration. The administration is not doing that with this kind of scheduling and that is not right.

    It’s too late to do anything about Navy this year, but Glass needs to step back and do everything possible to get out of the Navy contract for next year, and both years of the Mizzou contract.

  10. The schedule was probably made by Lynch five years ago. I doubt Wilson had anything to do with this year’s schedule.

    Aside from Navy, the other three non-conference games are reasonable competition for IU this year. If not for that weird wishbone-triple-option offense, Navy’s talent would not be difficult to defeat. But they run that offense like a well oiled machine and because it is so unusual, it is really difficult for defenses to stop.

    IU could beat Navy, but it will be tough this year.

  11. guest, I respectfully disagree. Scheduling patsies to get into any ol’ bowl game sets a low standard for the players. Putting ’em on an airplane like a “real” program and sending ’em to play some non-conference games against “real” teams tells ’em we expect them to play like a “real” team. I’m not saying a few patsies don’t have their place on our (or anybody else’s) schedule, but wins over four nobodies for the hope of going to bowl game (to which IU probably wouldn’t even sell its allotment of tickets) would not do as much for player confidence, and fan appreciation, as a win over a BCS team.

  12. Greenspan, the Athletic Director at IU had been the Athletic Director at the U.S. Military Academy- West Point before coming to IU. Since contracts for non-conference games are signed years ahead, the Navy game is likely a legacy of his relationship with the Naval Academy contacts. I do think they are a good match for IU. Navy has been quite good (most of the time) for the last 4-5 years but we can beat them if we play well.

    Playing pushovers would (IMO)send the players the absolutely wrong message, just as we are beginning to make inroads into the ‘culture issue’ for IU football. Navy and teams similar are challenging, solid competition that represents a good and winnable test for a B1G team.

  13. Podunker, what a lie. Lynch 5 years ago? I thought you followed IU football. Navy, Mizzou, Bowling Green, and Wake Forest were all added much more recently (within the last 18 months or so). So, sorry, you can’t blame Bill Lynch.

  14. Also: do you recall IU playing a HOME game in Landover, MD, when Bill Lynch was coach? He didn’t exactly have much say in the scheduling.

  15. Dunbar…why call it a lie? Can’t you just simply say you think he is wrong? What is it with some of you?

  16. Actually, the Navy contract was signed by Glass, I believe. But Dunbar, most of those games were added when Lynch was still the coach. I’ve noted before, football scheduling is typically the province of the athletic director while basketball scheduling is typically the province of the coaching staff. All of this goes along with Glass’s stated philosophy to play one FCS team, two mid-major MAC-ish teams and one BCS-level opponent every year. Navy, though not part of a BCS conference, counts in Glass’s mind.
    Lynch did OK the Penn State in D.C. move, but that was mostly Glass’s call.

  17. I forget the number but Navy graduated a pile of starters from last years team. IIRCC many from the O. Which may mean their D will be more affective this year. I actually think this game gives IU a high % to win. No matter who Navy plays(other than service academies)they are normally the smallest on the field. We will be bigger physically in almost all positions. Our O should outscore theirs. The 1 intangible Navy has and IU must overcome is Annapolis.

  18. Defending the veer is all about assignment discipline. Try to step out from your assignment and make the big play and…boom…thirty yard gain. Stay with your assignment and you can stop it cold. That’s why Oklahoma gave it up.

    It’s pretty sweet when only a couple schools run it, though. It gives the Navy’s and Air Force’s a chance. If everybody ran it they’d get crushed because of their personnel.

  19. davis I will have to disagree about scheduling “patsies”. If you look at a couple of recent schools that have turned around their programs, that is exactly what they did. Go ask Kansas St. if scheduling 2-3 years worth of Div. II schools while they were rebuilding was worth it. I would lay a bet that they said it was. When KSU was trying to become relevant in the Big 12 they scheduled as many Div 1-AA and Div II schools that they could outside of the Big 12. This got them to some minor bowls and extra practices. It also helped with recruiting by pointing out that they were going to bowl games. After 3 years of this type of scheduling they started winning Big 12 games and titles. This then got them bigger bowl games and better recruits. They have been enjoying that success off and on for the last 8-10 years. So I think that type of scheduling is good for a program trying to rebuild their program and become relevant again.

  20. The scheduling patsies debate is not relevant right now but will be soon. Right now, no one is a patsie, not even some DII schools. Remember the only team we beat last year was an undermanned patsie and we had no shortage of trouble with them. As we begin to beat some so called patsies, then we can debate whether or not scheduling those games is good or bad.

  21. I listen to every practice video of Coach Wilson, twice. I am enjoying his motivating style of challenging players by name to do better because he knows they can be better. Inside the competition for playing time at practices he is creating another level of competition which is personal . Very savvy. Certainly his positive words on Roberson is because TR has picked up on the additional challenge and is responding. I suspect Houston, maybe ST’s and the DL will soon be on that positive list Coach Wilson will make public in the next update.

  22. He means FCS (formerly known as I-AA). And actually, there were fewer FCS schools than you’d expect. Kansas State played Indiana State quite a few times, but they more often played what were then bottom of barrel I-A schools (New Mexico State, Louisiana Lafayette, Temple, Northern Illinois, Ohio). Of course, one issue Kansas State is that they overloaded the schedule with teams they could crush and apparently either signed long-term contracts or simply failed to adapt, because once they’d built themselves back to relevance, the scheduling held them back in rankings and bowl position and such.
    But yes, let this serve as a reminder that there is an FCS (I-AA) and that FBS schools don’t play Division II schools There might even be a rule against it.

  23. …also I can only imagine the amount of stress Barnett, Hughes and F. Hardin are receiving in practices from the staff…I would not want to be the opposing players matching up against those 3 after their suspensions…

  24. Dunbar, easy there fella, your posts were way over the top, implying that you are hyper-defensive of Lynch. But in this case, for no reason.

    If you read my post, I wrote, “The schedule was probably made by Lynch five years ago.” Please note the word “probably” in that sentence. Obviously, that means I was not sure who made the schedule.

    And how did you infer my comment to be critical of Lynch? There was no criticism of Lynch involved, implied or otherwise. I was simply suggesting, apparently improperly, that football schedules are usually made years in advance. And since Wilson has only been hear for one full season, the Navy game was probably scheduled/approved by Lynch.

    Dustin, unless Navy was added to the schedule in the last 20 months, I believe Lynch was still the coach when Glass signed that contract. But, once again, I could be mistaken.

  25. Since Podunker brought up Lynch, let me add something to Dunbar’s comment———under the (overly???)optimistic scenario of 4 wins this year, Wilson will have to average 7 wins in the following two seasons to just equal what Lynch accomplished under some extremely unusual and difficult circumstances—-

  26. Was KW handed a bowl caliber team to start with? Only time will tell us if the team will get worse every year.

  27. No, that’s definitely what I’m saying. That contract was signed when Lynch was coaching. But as has been noted, this is much more Glass’s scheduling philosophy than Lynch’s. They had to be on the same page, but A.D.’s tend to take over football scheduling because of the dollar figures involved.

  28. Barbwire, yep, this may be a case where IU had to take a step backwards in order to take a few steps forward.

  29. Always love to hear what CKW has to say, and always admire his (sometimes brutal) honesty. Also very anxious to see just how much TR has improved in the passing game and his decision making. I do believe 4-5 wins to be very doable this year. The running back competition is very promising and I am excited to see just how good Tevin Coleman turns out to be. Can’t wait for opening night, go hoosiers!

  30. Dustin, re patsies and ‘the bottom of the barrel’,…was that Northern Illinois when coach Mallory was there?

    Re the contract for the Navy game…I do believe these are negotiated over a period of time. It makes perfect sense to me that Greenspan may have relied on contacts developed while at the USMA (West Point) to bring IU a legitimate opponent at its level. But that was just a guess based on my deduction according to the timing. They (Navy) probably still are (in other words, a winnable but certainly not a patsy.

    Navy also distinguishes itself because its teams will have top be matched in character, motivation and commitment. In other words, the perfect off-conference match and model for a school that is determined to make itself a relevant program yet not loose those characteristics that make it a model program. I would imagine trying to bring in all three major academies would be a great idea for a state Indiana) that respects and honors what their players stand….selflessness, sacrifice, a will to win and honor.

    True, we will not find many 6’4 1/2″, 363 lbs. tackles at the USNA, USMA, USAFA or the USCGA (on their way to being 6’3″ 398lbs flabby diabetics on the verge of a coronary thrombosis at age 57) but its better that way. It will put much less stress on Obamacare and certainly make the Medicare budget more affordable for the rest of us.

    So, there’s an idea for Mr. Glass…scheduling all three (major) academies as a pre-season program. Guarantee you we’d put 50,000 in the stands every year we do that. Nice gesture too. But don’t count on being 3-0 unless we’re playing some good, hard football too.

  31. Tsao,
    Definitely not Mallory’s teams. It was early ’90s. Probably bottom of the barrel was strong. My point was to say that the teams many may have believed were I-AA or Division II teams were actually in Division I-A.
    Not suggesting that Navy is a patsy in the slightest. And it does make sense that Greenspan would’ve put the contract together, but I’m pretty sure it was Glass.

  32. Chet, I agree…and as you would know better than most, there are a lot of people out there who may have their local school as their #1 and one of the service academy as their number two. There’s a lot of crimson and red around this home, obviously…and a lot of black and gold and cadet grey (no one who knows us would ever think it’s for Purdue; but the Black Knights).

  33. IUFan23…one of the more intelligent comments I’ve read this summer. Thank you for putting everything into context.

  34. Regardless of the actual ability of the team there is a certain cache about the military academies. It will always look better to have beaten (or lost to) Navy or Air Force than to chalk up a win over Louisiana Lafayette.

  35. It will probably be two years before IU can afford to eliminate the “patsies” from it’s non-conference schedule.

    Dustin, how far in advance is IU football’s schedule set and do you have that information on hand? Is it available to the public?

  36. I think there are only games set to about 2015 or 2016 because the Big Ten asked schools to cool it on the scheduling while they decided whether or not to go to nine conference games and while they plotted the Big Ten-Pac 12 scheduling pact.
    For that reason, this is our most recent scheduling story with the schedule dead set through 2014.
    http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/stories/2011/07/28/iusports.qp-3865167.sto
    And there’s also some info about future home-and-home series here.
    http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/stories/2010/01/21/iusports.qp-8440813.sto

  37. guest and I will just have to disagree. But iufan23 is right, and I wanted to kick myself after I had hit send- IU fans have a lot of nerve referring to anybody as patsies at this stage of our development.

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