Wilson on special teams, strategic gambles and injuries

Kevin Wilson was somewhat defensive of his defense’s play after last week’s loss to Navy, but he was significantly less forgiving of his squad’s special teams’ woes so far in the first three weeks.

Bowling Green’s only touchdown in Indiana’s 42-10 win on Saturday came via punt block and return, and the Hoosiers were lucky not to have a second one blocked, instead getting a roughing the kicker penalty that helped Indiana drive all the way to the Bowling Green 1-yard line. Indiana also lost the ball on a fumbled kickoff for the second time,

“This defense has given up, on your stat paper that you look at, 28.7 points (per game), you take the pick six, the fumbled kickoff return they scooped and scored and the punt block, that’s 21 points in three games,” Wilson said. “That’s seven points (per game) so that’s 21 points. As a team, we’re giving up 21 points a game, not as a defense. Those areas of the kicking game are going to haunt us this week playing a tremendous team from Missouri and getting into Big Ten play. Returns have to get better. We’re not getting much out of kickoff return at all.”

The punting issues were particularly concerning.

“Execution,” Wilson said. “Bottom line, assignments that were one, they came into an attack block look. We were kind of in our spread trying to down it. I don’t think we had prepared our guys properly. The second one, we had a guy get beat in his protection. It’s something we work on daily. But it needs to be better. Bottom line, those people need to do their jobs or we need to look at new people or look at new schemes. If they get their hand on the second one, it’s not a roughing call. It was potentially two blocked punts, so we have to get that cleaned up.”

— Wilson has made a list of risky calls in the last two games, including six attempts at fourth-and-short and three onside kicks, two of which came long before the end of the game. The Hoosiers made two fourth-down attempts last week against Navy, but were 0-for-3 on 4th down on Saturday against Bowling Green. None of the Hoosiers’ onside kick attempts ended up in their hands. Wilson was asked about his calculations at making such risks, and said he thinks its important for IU to be aggressive.

“It’s not a gamble as much as this is what you think is going to work and your players need to go execute it,” Wilson said. “And you know what? Sometimes they don’t. And it’s nothing against them when they don’t. You’re sitting there looking at, ‘Here’s where it is, here’s what you do, go do it.’ It’s not being foolish. For us to do well, we’ve gotta be smart as we are aggressive. We can’t sit and wait and hope. That’s what Tiger Woods does. He’s not hoping the guy misses the putt. ‘He’s gonna make it, I’m gonna make it.’ That onside kick, we’re gonna go for it. Sometimes there’s a lip-out, but there’s as many lip-ins as lip-outs. There’s as many good bounces as bad bounces. We’re not gonna be stupid, we’re gonna be aggressive in what we’re doing, but there’s also a calculation.”

— Wilson said right tackle Peyton Eckert has been back to practice with his back injury, but there’s still an issue with wear and tear, plus backup Ralston Evans has made it difficult to win his job back. Left guard Bernard Taylor is still, “gimping around,” with his ankle injury, Wilson said. Defensive tackle Alex Todd (stinger) returned to practice Sunday night, but he has missed close to three weeks and may not be available for Saturday’s game against Missouri.



  1. I’ve changed my mind 180 degrees on the fourth down calls and the onside kicks- if IU does really work on an onside kick drill religiously. The stats back up Wilson.

  2. Personally, I love the aggressive nature of Wilson. I can’t blame him a bit for going for it on 4th down, especially the BG game. They were moving the ball very well up until the 1 yard line…if you can’t get one lousy yard, then that’s simply poor execution. Of course, Tre fumbled the snap on the second one..if he handles it clean, then it could have very well been six more points.

    I remember sitting in the stands during the Lynch era and wondering why in the world he didn’t try going for it more often or attempting on onside kick every once in a while. Aggressiveness is what this team has lacked forever, but now we have a coach that brings an entirely different philosophy and I commend him for it.

  3. I love CKW standing up for his guys. This is why this team will do anything he asks of them. The onside kicks worked, guys just weren’t able to execute and possess the ball. Against Navy, DeAngelo Roberts had two shots at recovering the ball before it went out of bounds. (check the tape) Against Bowling Green, Nick Stoner caught the ball, but his foot was about two inches into the sideline. Tough breaks, but with better execution IU has two more possessions.
    Let me attempt to translate CKW’s coachspeak. If you armchair play callers don’t like the on side kicks too damned bad. We will keep taking chances when we see the opportunity. Love this Coach. Go Hoosiers!!!

  4. Keith, I think you’ve rendered a distillation (accurate) rather than a translation, but I appreciate your effort. At least Yogi Berra’s gaffes made grammatical sense. If you really want a brain-teaser, skip the sudoku puzzle and try diagramming some of Wilsons bon mots.

  5. Stole these stats from a Missouri web-site. The numbers in parentheses is NCAA ranking

    Total Offense 539 (T-17) 571.3 (8)
    Rushing Offense 265 (19) 232.3 (33)
    Passing Offense 274 (40) 339 (11)
    Team Pass Effi c. 151.09 (34) 185.89 (11)
    Scoring Offense 48 (10) 50 (6)
    Total Defense 342 (43) 410 (77)
    Rushing Defense 124 (39) 237 (108)
    Passing Yds. Allowed 218 (60) 173 (24)
    Team Pass Effi c. Def. 104.41 (25) 103.97 (24)
    Scoring Defense 18.5 (T-34) 28.7 (T-82)
    Turnover Margin 2 (T-4) -0.7 (T-99)
    3rd Down Conv. Pct 0.645 (5) 0.581 (13)
    4th Down Conv. Pct 0.5 (T-44) 0.375 (76)
    3rd Conv Pct.Def. 0.4 (T-70) 0.319 (31)
    Red Zone Offense 0.818 (T-72) 0.737 (99)
    Red Zone Defense 0.833 (T-58) 0.692 (T-27)
    Net Punting 34.43 (92) 22 (123)
    Punt Returns 4.63 (93) 22.5 (9)
    Kickoff Returns 21(71) 18.18 (104)
    First Downs Offense 56 (T-68) 79 (11)
    First Downs Defense 33 (7) 66 (T-100)
    Fewest Penalties / Gm. 3 (T-11) 6 (T-62)
    Time of Possession 31 (43) 26 (108)

    Given that IU is 123d in the NCAA in net punting, I’d say less of that is more good.

  6. Oops. Numbers in parentheses are (not is) NCAA rankings. If IU could get its scoring defense above #50/NCAA, that’s a couple more wins right there.

  7. Davis,
    While I can appreciate your classless and back-handed attempt to insult my previous post. I do take issue with your attempts to demonstrate your perceived superior intellect.
    Many who post here care less about grammatical errors, as we merely wish to express opinions on topics of discussion. I firmly believe you’d have the uninitiated view you as the only person to ever hold a post graduate degree, or even pass the bar. Let’s strike a bargain shall we. When you produce your MENSA card, I’ll acknowledge your superior intelligence. However, my level of respect for you shall be low in perpetuity. GO HOOSIERS!!

  8. I love CKW’s risk-taking. It’s reasonable. It demonstrates too his positive “can do” attitude plus his trust and support in his players. You can see it’s already appreciated by his players this year. It will pay off. Such trust and support will be reflected back to him. And they will become a team that plays consistently at a level most of us never dreamed possible. Go IU!

  9. Keith,

    You are becoming 1 of my favorite contributors. I like the way you dissect the happenings of competition(post 3). I also like the way you handle a dissenting voice(post7).

  10. Thanks HC, your thoughts are always appreciated. I truly enjoy reading everyone’s posts and examining the varying perspectives and arguments. When I discovered this site, I read the posts of others for weeks before I deciding to voice my opinions. We all have something valuable to offer to the discussion. Will we always agree, not likely. Herein lies the beauty of earnest discourse. We can disagree on issues without being disagreeable. Civility is but one hallmark of an advanced society. Good day all, as always GO IU.

  11. Keith, I did quibble with whether you translated or distilled what Wilson was saying (or at least seemed to be trying to say), but gee whiz, I wasn’t taking any shots at you. But I can see how my words “if you really want a brain-teaser” might have made you think that I was aiming at you. If it makes you feel any better, I should have written something such as “if anyone wants a brain-teaser.” I don’t think I’ve ever corrected anyone’s grammar on this board- except for my own (post 5). I was trying to poke fun at Wilson’s speaking style- which both of our superior intellects found ridiculous. (Hope that I’ve conveyed some sense of sarcasm here.) And don’t blame me ’cause Tsao exposed me for a lawyer; I should have never helped him beat that Ukranian palimony case years ago.

  12. Reread that entire post #10(minus the first sentence thanking HC and the “GO IU” at the end) while imagining James Mason’s as its deliverer…It gets you right in the chest. It’s beautiful, man.

    Or, just do Mason’s voice to the following:

    I hid for weeks merely peering into the window of Scoop..The marvelous characters here were ever so tantalizing..They were haunting me. I wanted so desperately to dash right in while I mused at how I could somehow add a voice that would be worthy of such a distinguished round table of colon blockages…By the fifth week, I began to see an opening.. With the cajoling of a trusted friend my finest
    bottle of Scotch, loosening the grip those tired chains of inhibitions that can rip at a man’s primeval need to talk Hoosier sports, I mustered all the salt in the reserves and found some bravado hanging out with the water of life spinning around the perfumes of whiskey in my blood…I found a man long ago shelved in bland boxes with dusty mementos of days at Oxford…a man that could be more than voyeur in silence and twisted loneliness…a man that could talk with jockstrap comfortably and confidently exposed for prose…a man that could belong in this love jungle of eloquence and chats of men that toss balls on fields and through baskets….I thank you all for inspiring me. Finally I have withdrawn the arrow from of my heart and placed it upon the ‘Submit Comment’ to bring you Keith.

  13. H4H- you’d be surprised how touchy are members of the bar about the fact that not only are they socially maladapted (e.g., uncontrollable impulses to correct others’ grammar, etc.), but also that in their professional lives they (we) contribute little, if anything, constructive to society. Why wouldn’t I want to remain under my dark, smelly rock, unexposed? I should have become a sportswriter.

  14. Actually, my use of “etc.” following “e.g.” in the above post is redundant and another example of poor writing on this board. Even worse, I could be billing a client for the time instead of blathering on about IU football. Beat Missouri!

  15. Davis- And a hell of a lawyer at that…we walk safely through the streets thanks to the considerable balance to the scales of justice that guarantee….I….I can’t go on…my tears are making-g the key board….. slippery ….. …sorrry…..

  16. In essence…we love you Davis… wish you had been a sports writer but then imagine the suffering of Lady Justice…

  17. Anymore exposure and you qualify as a streaker.

    I seriously don’t remember Tsao initial undressing/exposing ofyou. The fact you bring it up again on this thread likely created the greater ‘exposure’ most would have never read or simply overlooked. It’s all good. Why not show off what nobody can see? You could be one ugly-ass lawyer, but on a website only the beauty of your endeavors is so gracefully and eloquently exposed. You could break a mirror and nobody knows.

    I don’t trivialize nor pretend one profession can easily transfer to another. I don’t pretend that grammar is the only precursor to intriguing sports writing/coverage/broadcasting. Obviously an important factor..I don’t kid myself into realizing I’d need one patient editor. I also doubt I could have the determination to be constant with the homework required in keeping up with recruits and all the nonsense and obsessions surrounding that scene in this era of sports.

    There are numerous differing qualities that all the HT Scoop journalists possess unique to their style. I’ve thought Dustin’s skills could easily transfer to broadcast(radio or tv)..There are those more gifted in writing than the quick-thinking, on-camera, debate style of bringing sports to the public through the visual format. Sense of humor and the ability to relate to your audience..So many facets to distinguish the many avenues each journalist can take the craft.

    At the end of the day, Journalism is an art..There are many ways to express that art. And likely no different than courtroom professionals, there are those that have the “it factor” and those that live the daily and rather unglamorous grind(not that it’s of lesser value or lesser importance).

    I tend to believe those stuck in the grind are more determined to get themselves exposed….Human nature.

  18. And having a rather defensive instinct and condescension in labeling some as shallow seekers of trendiness because they lack your own percieved “true” substance, sorta hints to the frustrations of how some can magically escape a lot of the grind because they just have the goods.

    You simply have the “goods,” Davis. We will now make it the standard to measure the passion of a Hoosier fan?

  19. Actually Harvard, Davis is right; without meaning to (and without thinking) I may have robbed some anonymity. I regretted it as soon as I read the follow-up post and realized it and was trying to figure out a way of apologizing. He is also right.

    Don’t want to make it worse, but he is likable and intelligent, has a great sense of humor (sort of an understated Brit type humor), a huge Hoosier fan and a ‘real’ version of the good in the character of Chicagoans.

    Thank you, nevertheless, for the support.

  20. Build a Yacht Club and you shall have a Yacht Club. You’ll be able to pick away at your select group of “intelligent” and “finest character” as if it’s the fat your carving off your slab of Saturday night prime rib grown tasteless and regular through the repetitions of laziness in such unchallenged exclusivity. The same cooks..the same methods…the same menu…the same BS floating in the room…the same tablecloths…the same carpet from 1976…the same canned broth thought to be natural drippings from the beef on the plate. Your canned broth. My canned broth fighting for membership until realizing these men are fighting for nothing but last Saturday’s reheated special.

  21. Did anyone catch the recent Ken Sterling article on CKW. Wow. He gives the coach some unexpected (yet deserved) props.

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