Some brief unconnected notes from Kevin Wilson’s Wednesday teleconference.
— Cornerback Lawrence Barnett, linebacker Forisse Hardin and wide receiver Kofi Hughes are back in the mix this week after serving one-game suspensions for violations of team rules. That doesn’t mean they will automatically be starting, however. Hardin was already listed as a backup at linebacker. Even though Barnett and Hughes were listed as starters at the end of camp, they are listed as backups on this week’s depth chart, and Wilson suggested it wouldn’t be easy for either of them to earn their jobs back. Neither have missed practice time and both were on scout team last week working against the first and second teams.
“There’s nothing by default here,” Wilson said, responding to a question specifically about Barnett. “He played some last year. That doesn’t mean he’s gonna play a lot in this game. We’ll just wait and see how it goes. He’ll have some special team role. Does he play a lot on defense? A little bit? I don’t see a guy missing. I think receiver-wise, I think some of those receivers have played as good or better than Kofi. I think several defensive backs have been as good or better than Lawrence. It’s nice that he’s back with us. It would’ve been really nice if he was with us the whole time.”
— Massachusetts has made for a slightly unnerving scout for Indiana. It’s not that the Minutemen do anything extremely out of the ordinary, but putting together clues of what they might to has required lots of research and guessing.
Wilson and his staff could only get so much from UMass’s season opener against Connecticut, as the Minutemen totaled 59 yards of offense in a 37-0 loss. They had to look back at tape of UMass from last year to get an understanding of their personnel and their players’ tendencies, but they were operating with a much different offense — a pro-style offense as opposed to the spread attack they’re running now. To get an idea of what the Minutemen do schematically, the Hoosiers had to check out film from Notre Dame, where UMass coach Charley Monar was the offensive coordinator last year. Defensively, they had to look to Purdue where defensive coordinator Phil Elmassian was coaching linebackers. To get a clue what the Minutemen wanted to do on Special Teams, they had to check out tape from Yale, where special teams coordinator Roderick Plummer had been working.
“These are games that I always have a hard time with,” Wilson said. “… It’s kind of confusing and it’s kind of frustrating, because as you watch tape, you also watch players. But for the majority of tape we’re watching, we’re watching players we’re not gonna play against. I never like playing opening games playing teams with new staffs. Not that I was worried about them changing, it’s just harder than I want it to be. I don’t know. Visually I just always struggle with that view of football.”