Hoosiers, Wilson focused on football ahead of former coach’s return

Tegray Scales won’t be pushing for a pre-game reunion with his former coach.

The Indiana linebacker just wants to play football. So Scales says if he catches Kevin Wilson on the field prior to tonight’s 8 p.m. kickoff against No. 2 Ohio State, he will view him as an adversary.

“It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be,” Scales said. “I’m looking at Ohio State. He’s on Ohio State, so he’s gonna be the enemy.”

Wilson, who will call plays from the Memorial Stadium press box, would probably appreciate the sentiment. Ahead of his highly-anticipated return to Bloomington, where he guided the Hoosiers to a 26-47 record during six seasons at the helm, Wilson isn’t getting nostalgic.

At least publicly, Wilson says he, too, is simply focused on football.

“It was a great place,” Wilson told Ohio State reporters in Columbus last week. “My daughters still go to school there, so they’ve started school. But at the end, it’s really been awesome being here and being part of our team. … What’s in the past, revenge or whatever, it has nothing to do with it, get-backs. Every year is different. Every game is different. The more I think about it, it’s more about (how) I have a responsibility and an obligation to be ready to do my best for these guys and this team.”

Wilson, a demanding coach who, at times, took on an abrasive approach, agreed to resign as IU coach on Dec. 1 due to what Indiana athletic director Fred Glass deemed “philosophical differences.” Allegations of player mistreatment surfaced immediately following Wilson’s departure, though Wilson landed his new job at Ohio State merely a month later.

Since then, Wilson and new IU coach Tom Allen have had cordial conversations. Wilson, after all, was the man responsible for bringing Allen to Bloomington as defensive coordinator in January 2016 and Allen remains appreciative of the opportunity to return to his home state.

Glass, too, says he still appreciates how Wilson turned the Hoosiers into a competitive team in the Big Ten East, no matter the circumstances of their divorce.

“You can disagree with someone and occasionally be disappointed with someone, but still really like them and be hopeful that they have success going forward,” Glass said. “I think Kevin will. I just hope not too much of it (is tonight).”

Wilson has already briefed his new Ohio State colleagues on the tendencies of his former players at Indiana — players he recruited and no longer teaches.

To Wilson, losing those interactions has been the hardest part about moving on.

“You know them,” Wilson said. “You hug them all. You love them. To me, it’s a tough thing because you lost relationships with kids you love, because those kids played very, very hard for us. I got a lot of respect for them. I know the way that we’ve played in years past and I got a lot of respect for Coach Allen, those defensive coaches — all those guys were there with us, to I know the way they’re coached. I know the way they’re prepared and there’s a reason they’ve been battling and been so good. We’re gonna get a tremendous challenge.”