Wilson wants to get more out of freshmen

A trio of freshmen have pleased Kevin Wilson with their performances this season.

On his weekly radio show Wednesday, Wilson praised defensive backs Marcelino Ball and A’Shon Riggins, along with left tackle Coy Cronk for their ability to earn starting roles and help Indiana early in their college careers.

Now, the Indiana coach wants to make sure a few more underclassmen will be in position to help the Hoosiers down the stretch.

In a meeting with his assistants earlier Wednesday, Wilson identified freshmen who haven’t played and discussed ways that his staffers can get those players in position to contribute, if needed, during the second half of the season. That includes offensive linemen Grayson Stover and Mackenzie Nworah, tight end Shaun Bonner and receivers Jonah Morris and Taysir Mack.

“Are we bringing those guys along in our development?” Wilson said, relaying the discussion he had with his coaches. “Are they getting their strength level, their weight gain (adjusted)? Are those guys getting where we need those guys to get?”

Another freshman, Cole Gest, had been playing occasionally as a fourth running back until he injured his ankle late last month. Gest hasn’t played since the Sept. 24 loss to Wake Forest, and could qualify for a redshirt if he’s unable to return this season.

Per NCAA rules, there are two requirements an injured football player must meet in order to qualify for a medical redshirt. The player cannot have played in more than four games, and the injury must have come during the first half of the season.

“He was injured early enough where we might be able to get him a redshirt like (we) did Devonte Williams (last season),” Wilson said. “Devonte was injured last year in Game 3. Cole was injured in Game 4. If he doesn’t progress back into playing, he has a chance to get a medical year, which would help.”

Meanwhile Ball, Riggins and Cronk continue to occupy significant positions on Indiana’s team — much to Wilson’s satisfaction.

Ball is third on the team with 48 tackles and earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors after making eight stops and intercepting a pass against Ball State on Sept. 10.

Riggins has started the last three games at boundary corner, and intercepted Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett in his first career start on Oct. 8 at Ohio State.

Cronk has started all seven games at left tackle.

“Not only are they starting, but they’re playing three pretty tough positions,” Wilson said. “Left tackle aint a cake walk in the Big Ten. Playing on the island at corner, where you can’t hide, aint a piece of cake in the Big Ten. And when you’re playing that husky position — Marcelino is playing as good as most freshmen in the country. Those three guys are knocking it out of the park.”

21 comments

  1. Nworah at 6’4″ & 320 can be the next Hoosier road grader so important to the future of the IU rushing attack. Stover is another talented big guy at 6’6″, 300 who has academic goals in business and psychology. In HS he also lettered in weight lifting and track and field. As everyone knows weight lifting teaches an athlete about leverage and T&F does the same for agility.

  2. One way to look at this news is that IU’s recruiting has improved a lot in the last year and that Wilson has some really good freshman that are better than their older teammates. Another way to look at it is that IU’s depth is still nowhere close to where it needs to be. I wonder if Wisconsin’s freshmen linemen and tight ends ever get to play in conference games?

  3. 6 years in and wanting more out of fresh which in an exceptional instance or 2 is understandable. However, to me it lends itself to lack of top quality and quantity big ten winning level recruiting. This is in addition to depending on junior college transfers, currently QB.

  4. IU is favored by 5 against Maryland. I would have to take Maryland and the points. Looking at IU offense I will be a tiny bit surprised if IU can win the game….At this point a 1 point win would be good.

  5. can relate to this statement…..than lets put in the freshman QB Austin King or Peyton Ramsey and let him go and grow…can he be any worst then the JC QB we have starting??? IMO Kevin Wilson started to buy the hype “that his offensive made the QB”…..for the past two or three years and after spring ball this year all you hear about was if IU had a Defensive (defensive line in particular) this would be a 8 to 9 win team…well the defensive has show up, but the offensive has gone south be it the Offensive line or QB play…Can IU beat Maryland?? a lost here and the IU home football stadium will be empty the rest of this year!! as fragile as the IU (apparently as fragile as IU starting QB) football fan is, the fan will turn to basketball season in a heartbeat.

  6. I don’t care how IU wins, or by how many points. We simply need to stop the bleeding by producing a conference win. However, it would be nice if the offense came to life after under-achieving for seven weeks. As for the QB position, if IU loses against Maryland, especially because the offense continued to sputter, it makes sense for Wilson to replace Lagow with his best back-up. Not sure if that would mess up plans to red-shirt the next best QB or not, but either Lagow shows improvement or its time to start preparing someone else for the future.

  7. The line opened at 5 1/2…it’s down to 2 1/2. That’s approximately 3 million smackaroos going in the other direction. Uh-oh! Indiana’s defense is pretty darn good by any standard however they can’t run the ball!!!! That’s why undue pressure has been put on this JC QB transfer and receivers. If MD is held to 16 points or less IU has a chance.
    Last year’s homecoming was a Wilson classic. IU has a 23 point lead with less than 5 min left in the 3rd quarter…..and they can’t hold off R U T G E R S! And that was with a running game.

  8. Actually that was more so the D against R U T G E R S than the run game. For IU to insure success against the turtles Lagow cannot throw INTS and must keep the ball and run in the zone read at least twice the 1st half. Even if he would only gain a yard or 2 each time that scheme is run it causes the D to think instead of instantly reacting which benefits each carry the RB would have. If you want to see more mistakes than RL makes play 1 of those Frosh. ZD is the only viable QB backup at this time. The IU D and ST’s “SO” important. ST’s has picked up the pace this year for 3 reasons better recruiting brought better talent which in turn brought more athleticism and speed.

  9. HC don’t forget Nate’s back to back ints at the end of the Rutgers game. I remember the coaches not calling an aggressive game once they were up 27 until the end when they tried to recover the magic those last two drives.

    This year’s offense the OL is the weak link which makes other positions look worse. When the defense is not threatened by enough runs or short passes to simulate runs, the defense starts teeing off not worried about getting hurt with the run. They have shown the effort to slow down t t the defense with quick screens in one game. The offense has clicked in each game just not long enough to be an excellent offense.

  10. I don’t agree that ZD is the only viable back-up QB at this time. No knock on ZD, but if that’s the case, Wilson has some serious issues with the other three QBs. And that’s not what Wilson and his depth chart have been communicating since before the season began. I love ZD’s running and fire, but see no evidence that his accuracy and/or arm strength has improved enough to produce consistent offensive efficiency.

    v13, you took the words right off my screen. Nate’s two INTs in last year’s Rutger’s game were major contributions to IU losing that game. What a debacle that was.

  11. Gents without a doubt if Allen had been DC last year Rutgers would have been a W in the IU column.
    Po give me some statistics from your QB guru background that indicate the other 3 QB’s would do better than RL.

  12. HC, nice try on the straw-man argument. But once again, you’re trying to change your original statement and the question it raised. The question is not which QB “would do better,” the question is whether “ZD is the only viable QB backup at this time.” That was your statement in the post above. I disagreed. Stats are not applicable. Wilson’s numerous statements over the last two months contradict your statement that ZD is the “only viable back-up at this time.” You’re arguing with Wilson, not me. If you’re asking who is best prepared to back-up Lagow, I agree, based on his game experience, that ZD is the best choice at this time. But, according to Wilson, he is not the only viable back-up at this time. And as you knew full well, my point at the time was that if Lagow continued to struggle (8 TDs/11 INTs before yesterday’s game), and IU’s hopes of a bowl game were dashed because of a loss to Maryland, than Wilson might as well start giving the guy he deems the team’s future starting QB some valuable in-game experience in order to prepare him for the future.

    On a positive note, I was impressed with ZD’s great clutch throw yesterday in a critical situation. It was precise, firm and right on target, netting IU a vital first down. Clutch!

  13. I agree Chet. He is a treasure, and what a find! So versatile and game-smart for such a young man. Has he turned 18 yet? I pray he stays healthy.

  14. Po you have extreme difficulty with basic facts. Is it a memory comprehension thing or is it just lazy tendencies to guess. So as not to have to always rely on me to furnish them please look up the # TD’s RL has. It will be good practice for the future.

  15. HC, I agree that it would help the running game if Lagow kept the ball and watching how much green field many times it would be a good run. Having him pull the ball out and running would change what the defense has to do and keep the back side players more honest instead of running to the RB. That is how Natee is getting his yards right now and Lagow going on the backside instead of the playside like Natee, Lagow would have a big role for the running game. Lagow is a decent runner and I wish the coaches would just trust that running and not being a tackling dummy at times while passing is different kind of hits. After all we aren’t talking about running QB 25 times like OSU just 3 – 5 times a game.

  16. …v13 and now after the emergence of Shake “n” Bacon clearly creates the need for RL to run that ball 3-5 times is even a bigger opportunity…the D scheming that will take place now by opponents will be when RL is in he will only throw or handoff…if he runs a handful of times each game that D scheming isn’t quite so focused…but I do not have near the mind for offense possessed by KW so how ever he decides to stay out in front of the new wrinkle I have no doubt it will succeed…in the end it is the OL that must make rushing successful…

  17. HC, I have no problem with basic facts. None at all. I sometimes have problems typing. But with regard to pertinent facts, it is a fact that that you wrote in one your posts above, “ZD is the only viable QB backup at this time.” Those are your words. I simply disagreed. And the basis for my disagreement were Wilson’s numerous comments about his other three QBs and the depth chart he puts out every week. Those are the facts. Has Wilson recently come out and said that ZD is his only viable back-up QB?

    As for stats, they don’t tell the entire story. As Bill Belichick said in 2009, “Stats are for losers. The final score is for winners.” I don’t care what RL’s passing stats are. The only stats that matter are 1) does IU score more points than the opposition, and 2) the number of wins they produce each year. But just to prove that I have a grasp of the facts, and I’ll be very careful to type this correctly, RL’s stats through the first eight games of the season are: Completion % = 60.1%, Yards/Attempt = 8.1, Total TDs = 12, Total INTs = 11. But, since beginning conference play, you know, those games that really matter, his numbers are not as impressive.

  18. Po Magnifico, Good you’ve done a little research. Really wasn’t so difficult, was it. Takes some of the load off the rest of us. There is a fairly large difference between 1-16 on 4th down and 4-18. The same goes for RL throwing 8 TD’s or 12. Those inaccuracies make your posts look like childish BS. Also you stated in another thread you were involved with IUFB recruiting during the end of the Mallory run. BM’s recruiting during his last 4 years was piss poor and caused his downfall. Now it is easy to understand why. You were part of the equation. But you go ahead and congratulate yourself for anything you wish as I suspect you think you’ve earned it.

  19. HC, you’re wrong again. You need to improve your reading comprehension. As I said in a previous post, I was involved with IU Football recruiting toward the end of Corso’s tenure in the late 70’s and early 80’s. You remember that period when Corso’s team became the first IU team to win a bowl game by defeating the # six ranked BYU team in the Holiday Bowl! Mallory came in three years after my involvement ended. So once again, you’re mistaken. And your posts attempting to make personal attacks are increasingly juvenile, resembling some written by some folks no longer participating on the Scoop. It appears you’re unable to disagree without being disagreeable and that you’ve developed the bad habit of resorting to personal attacks when you can’t win the debate. How typical.

    But since you love stats so much, here are a few more. Relative to the time of my post (before the Maryland game), in games three through seven, Lagow threw 11 INTs against 8 TDs. His Completion % in those games was 58.3%. In four of those five games, Lagow threw more INTs than he threw TDs. Those stats, which you are so fond of, were the basis for me suggesting that if he continued to struggle, and if IU lost against Maryland, effectively ending any chance of IU having a winning season and/or going to a bowl game, it might be a good idea for Wilson to give another QB some experience to prepare him for the future. To his credit, Lagow improved his performance against Maryland by not throwing any INTs (two bad throws were dropped by Maryland defenders). Hopefully, Lagow has turned the corner and is improving his passing ability. So, if you really want to dig into the stats to analyze Lagow’s performance, take the first two games of the season, played against relatively weak competition, out of the equation, and Lagow’s completion % for the six games since (including Maryland) is 58.9% with 11 INTs and 8 TDs. To his credit, he has run for 2 TDs and caught a pass for a TD. Prior to his improved performance against Maryland, those stats and his 11 INTs suggested he might not be the guy to lead IU Football to a winning season. His stats improved against Maryland, but I wonder how much that was due to the many “wildcat” plays run by Natee and ZD when Lagow was on the sidelines? Let’s hope the valid concerns, which were supported by his stats, about Lagow’s performance before the Maryland game, are moot going forward through the remainder of the season.

  20. Yes I thought it was LC but as I was typing I convinced myself it had to be Mallory because even you wouldn’t be involved with the Corso program. But you were part of that debacle, which makes me wrong twice in the same post. I’ll take those 2 wrongs over being a part of of that failures program anytime.

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