Wilson discusses those in his class, out of his class, in his coaching staff, out of his coaching staff

Kevin Wilson’s recently finished press conference to announces his 2011 recruiting class veered into a lot of different territories. Beyond announcing the class itself, the new Indiana coach also announced that he has lost two assistant coaches but already hired two more. Defensive tackles coach Jerry Montgomery is leaving for Michigan and cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond for Nebraska. Brett Dierson, who was listed as a football intern at Nebraska, has been hired to replace Montgomery as the defensive tackles coach. Jemal Singleton, who has been at Air Force for eight years, has been hired as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator.

Wilson said he’s hired someone to replace Raymond as cornerbacks coach and hopes to be able to announce that at the beginning of next week. Still going through background checks to finish that one.

Anyway, here were some of the other high points of the press conference, which may or may not have been fully understandable in our Twitter feed.

— The class includes 12 players on defense, nine on offense. It includes six in-state players. Wilson said he reached out to other players in the state who were committed elsewhere, but that didn’t work out. “Some of those guys didn’t want to go,” Wilson said. “We tried to build relationship with the coaches in-state. We wanted the in-state coaches and those kids to give us a chance in the years to come to actively recruit those kids. … We felt a little bit like we showed up at the dance when they were playing the last song and all of the dates were already taken.”

— Wilson said he didn’t really start recruiting players beyond those that were already committed until mid-January. Those were cornerback Michael Hunter, offensive linemen David Kaminski and Gregory Lewis, defensive linemen Adarius Rayner and Bobby Richardson and wide receiver Shane Wynn. “I don’t know that we got some guys late that I’d call finished, polished products,” Wilson said. “But they’re a nice piece of clay. They’ve got the skill level, the frame, the size. They appear to be all character quality kids. We like them as students, think they fit the mold and brand of our school.”

— Wilson discussed each player and the info on each is interesting, but there were a few descriptions that stood out. Wilson said wide receiver Cody Latimer is “probably one of the more physically impressive bodies and athletes in the class.” Wilson said he “has flexibility to play many spots, offensively or defensively.” Wilson also said that at this point he sees Tre Roberson, the Lawrence Central star and Mr. Football, as a quarterback, his high school position. “You guys will say he’s an athlete, but he acts like a quarterback, talks like a quarterback,” Wilson said. “He seems to have natural leadership skills. I know he can run well, but I think he throws the ball very well. I’m excited about his future as a Q.”

— Adarius Raynor and Jake Reed, who were listed on recruiting sites as a defensive tackle and tight end respectively, will both be looked at first as defensive ends.

— Wilson was asked about redshirting, and he is apparently going to take an entirely different tact than Bill Lynch did. Lynch thought it was important to redshirt anyone who wasn’t going to have a chance to start. Wilson will leave it more wide open. “We’re not guaranteeing anyone’s going to play,” Wilson said. “But my goal is every freshman plays until he shows he can’t. That increases competition.”

— Wilson was asked about his philosophy on what he wants from linemen. Four players, two offensive linemen and two defensive linemen, were verbally committed but did not sign with Indiana because of Wilson’s evaluation of them. Three of those players said they had their scholarships pulled, Wilson said it was less concrete, but regardless, he said they were players he would not have recruited. He filled those spots with three offensive linemen and two defensive linemen. Wilson was asked why these players fit the bill and the others didn’t.

His response: “You’re looking for a body type. We’re probably going to be more of a four-man front than a three-man front defensively. I think last year as the year played out, the previous staff was looking at more of a three-man front with nose guards and D-Tackles. We’re looking at more D-Tackles and wider ends, so you’re looking at an end that’s more in space or a D-Tackle that’s a different body over a guard as far as size. To some degree, maybe size defensively. More speed on the edge than size. Offensively, we can make a lot about height, but height is overrated. It’s how big your bone and your girth is to carry weight, to be a 290-, 300-, 315-pound kid. And with that, can you bend, can you show quickness and athleticism, and can you play hard. … To me, you’re looking at a guy who will block somebody.”

— On Shane Wynn, slot receiver who committed on Wednesday, Wilson said co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler sold Wynn on the commitment. “The kid has some explosiveness, he’s a smaller guy, but he’s got some charm and charisma. He’s going to be a guy around this program you guys are going to like. He’s got a look in his eye, he’s got some gleam, you guys are going to like talking to him in the years to come. We’re very lucky. He kind of really fit what we needed. It’s kind of a two-way street. I think our system is a good fit for him, and in my world, he was a good fit for something we needed.”

— Wilson was asked about the three players who said their scholarship was pulled. “We asked all of them, ‘Hey, I’m looking at your junior tape, send me some senior tape. Send me a highlight tape’ — a couple did, a couple did not — ‘to allow us to complete our evaluation.’ It was said to everyone, ‘We make mistakes in evaluation. Maybe what I’m seeing isn’t right. It’s not a science. It’s my opinion.’ What I’m seeing on tape, I didn’t think some of those guys from the start were guys that I would’ve recruited, I would’ve offered. I said that to them, but we did have a scholarship. The scholarship was there, and potentially starts as the oversign, which again, in my opinion is not a greyshirt, but they all had a chance to sign if they wanted. When I expressed my opinion that, ‘I don’t think you’re going to be successful in our system,’ I think they looked at other choices. I think they’ve all landed. We’re trying to reach them all again this week to make sure if they didn’t have anything, we still had a space. The space is, ‘We don’t know if this is a perfect fit both ways, but we’re going to stand by what the school had committed to you, you had committed to them. That’s what I’m saying. As of today, those spaces are still there. … We still have the spaces today that we could actually give.”

Wilson was asked where there was a communication breakdown that allowed the players to believe they’d had their scholarship pulled, he continued: “I said ‘Based on your junior tape, I would not have offered you. So if you want me to offer you, give me some tape, give me more tape, because we’ve offered, we’ve honored the scholarship, I don’t want to bring you here and have you fail. That hurts our APR, our graduation rate.’ Because if I bring in guys and they don’t last, they leave. All of the sudden, you guys will be writing about how our graduation rate’s poor or our APR’s poor. Well it’s poor because you bring a guy in and he’s not successful and he leaves your program. My comment was, ‘They’ve honored your scholarship. Can you help me do my job? Give me more tape, let’s pursue this. I didn’t pull it for somebody else. I just made my evaluation public of where I thought they stood. Hopefully they’re all good players and good kids. I hope they’ve landed in good places. I was told they were and I think they have.”

They did. Defensive tackle Donte Phillips committed to Texas Tech. Defensive tackle Shafer Johnson is going to Central Michigan. Offensive linemen Jalen Schlachter and Kirk Harris are going to Ball State and Northern Iowa respectively.

— As for the departures of Raymond and Montgomery, Wilson said that he knew that was coming for several weeks. Much like in the case of Brent Pease, who returned to his previous employer Boise State to be the offensive coordinator, Wilson said he had no hard feelings and encouraged the coaches to take the jobs if they were better for their families.

“Some of these guys are young up and coming guys,” Wilson said. “I’m still in my mind thinking as an assistant. If it’s better for a guy to be somewhere else. If it’s better for his family. If it’s better for his career. It’s better for him to be there than be here.”

18 comments

  1. As far as the question about the four O linemen, I am rather satisfied with the Coach’s explanation. I believe he laid all the cards on the table before them, explaining it as a 50/50 give and take for both sides. He may not yet be done recruiting for 2011 as he indicated he is not shy to use the oversign option. I am also damn satisfied this coach knows how to evaluate coaching talent for his programs staff.

  2. The more KW talks the more I like it. This is like a breath of fresh air. It is certainly a good feeling to have that when IU plays we’re not going to lose because we were outcoached. This is a good solid recruiting class and I predict will be the lowest rated class in KW’s time at IU. When you combine the facilities, academics and finally a real coach there is no reason that IU will not be successful in football.

  3. Wilson is the man! Good that he tells it like it is! At least he was honest with some of those Lynch recruits! Plus, I’m ecstatic to hear the talent means playing time now, NOT seniority!!!!! Looking forward to the season!

  4. What’s with Wilson hiring coaches and then them leaving for other programs within a month or two? How much more money can they be getting paid at Nebraska and Michigan? Or is it another issue? Looks like IU still has a long way to go financially before it can compete with the big boys in collegte football.

    Wilson needs to do a better due diligence on his coaching hires. This coaching turnover is destructive and embarrassing.

  5. “How much more money can they be getting paid at Nebraska and Michigan?”
    Uh…a lot.
    “Or is it another issue?”
    Seriously? They are Nebraska and Michigan and we are Indiana. They are two of the most successful programs in the history of college football. We went to the Rose Bowl in 1967. Wish them luck and move on. Coach Wilson isn’t dwelling on it.

  6. Dunker.

    As in your probing suggests it clearly is another issue and that issue is how the parents in our society today in general raise children to give no credence to a handshake, promise, word, vow, bond, commitment, their personal integrity or for that matter a signature on a legal contract. It all gets the checkmark of approval if the phrase “for the betterment of his family” is postured. Much the way the race issue is conveniently and forever used to proposition either negative or positive. From that action the children of said family become conditioned to believe it is never in the wrong to break your word. My wife and I are not above any blame or criticism except for this very issue. We have 3 sons and we proudly know none of them would ever have their integrity put in question had they been in the shoes of Montgomery and Raymond, no matter what the carrot was. Coach Wilson damn sure knows FB talent and to add to his credit is a much more benevolent man than I.

  7. Coach Wilson on 1070 this morning discussing the coaching said something to the effect that he was going to get coaches that want to be here, want to win and he isn’t going to waste his time with anymore dead weight.

    His energy when talking about the coaching staff and the incoming recruits and outgoing recruits was a welcome sound. He was talking about going after recruits that the previous staff didn’t target and that him and his staff will build those relationships and not lose those kids in the future.

    I might be wrong, but I don’t think you will hear Wilson talk about getting beat by a “really good football team”.

  8. That interview this AM on 1070 continued to reveal how determined Coach Wilson is. He is confident about the future of IU FB because he knows how to create success on the field. As more media, fans, students, parents, future recruits and players hear him project his confidence for high achievement in the program, the more driving will be the image of IU FB to be the destination for quality talent. It is not poker but I am “all in”.

  9. Chet; it was a rhetorical question. Sorry I didn’t make that more obvious. I know Michigan and Nebraska are rich in both revenue and football tradition. I know they can afford to pay their coaches more money than IU can, but my point in asking that rhetorical question was really “how much does it take to get a man to do a u-turn on a recent committment, damage relationships and tarnish his reputation? And second part of the question was, “was it they money or was it working for Wilson?”

    As Rich-Rod recently discovered, big coaching jobs come with big expectations. And the pressure to win at places like Nebraska and Michigan is super-intense. Just ask Mallory about his departure from LSU a year or so after the team he helped coach won the BCS National championship!

    These coaches that defected from IU may pay a price for their decision, especially if they’re not extremely successful at their new positions. People notice this type of behavior and they file it away for future reference. It becomes part of their character profile. So they had better be successful or they’re going to discover down the road that what goes around comes around.

    I admit that I’m a bit frustrated with Wilson regarding this matter. He seems to have demonstrated serious naivete’ in hiring three assistants that left within weeks of signing their IU contracts. Those coaches were in contact with IU’s recruits and maybe some of the current players. wislon should have aggressively probed for this possibility during the interview process. While there is no absolute protection against dishonorable behavior, Wilson could have simply looked each man in the eye and asked, “what would it take for you to leave IU for another assistant coaching job?” If the person on the receiving end of that question has any integrity at all they’re likely to give some indication that their committment is not totally solid. Then Wilson could have assessed the risk of making the men an offer or moving to another candidate. If he did probe for this possibility, and they gave him an indication that jumping was a possibility, then Wilson deserves criticism for hiring these guys in the first place. It was disruption that could have been avoided.

    I think Wilson is adjusting to life outside a powerhouse BCS team (OK. he did spend a lot of years coaching at Oklahoma. I hope he is is quickly realizing that things he took for granted at Oklahoma are not necessarily the case when you’re coaching at a traditionally weak BCS football school like IU. Let’s hope Wilson is angry, all the more motivated by these defections, and determined to prove these low character guys made a mistake. GO HOOSIERS!

  10. a little puzzling your recruiting coordinator is from a military school. I can’t really blame coaches for taking better jobs at more football schools, most people would leave where they work for a better job.

  11. I don’t see this as a reflection on Coach Wilson at all. The thing to remember is that we are assuming that their jobs, and job philosophies, are the same as ours. Most of us posting are probably in a stable employment position, or at least that’s what we know. I was in my last job for 12 years before changing recently, myself. I’m not a part of their world but from reading the small print in the back of the sports page I simply don’t see anything out of place here. I see assistant coaches hopping around like popcorn. I just think they work in a situation that is unfamiliar to us. If it doesn’t bend Coach Wilson out of shape there is no reason for me to think it’s grossly inappropriate.

  12. I rather like the idea of the recruiting coordinator having military academy experience. If I understand the RC duties at an academy correctly Singleton was totally personally responsible for the number and quality of recruits every year. He had nothing(scholarships)to offer because when a student is accepted to an academy the tuition is free. So he is working with a different kind of animal with a different set of dynamics. He had to select students with brains and good character(lots of forward research nation wide)who are also quality football players to approach, appeal to, and sell as to why they should go to the USAFA instead of showcasing their wares at say a B10 venue. He may recruit more effectively working a smaller geographical area and being personally responsible for only delivering 4-5 recruits each year while making a larger impact identifying needs, evaluating, coordinating and communicating that effort with his fellow coaches in Bloomington. Besides his experience in a different recruiting dimension his results coaching RB’s is top notch. I think this is Coach Wilson’s best hire yet.

  13. Clarion: I agree with you about IU’s new recruiting coordinator. His year’s at USAFA had to have galvanized his skills as a recruiter.
    Chet; of course people are free to pursue better jobs for the good of their families. But when you accept an offer, sign a contract, and then begin interacting with members of the team and potential recruits on behalf of your new employer, I think it’s inappropriate to then jump ship at the next offer that comes your way. There’s a different level of responsibility and trust involved when dealing with young people. Like I said, either Wilson was naive’ and didn’t probe for this scenario or these three guys were simply low character opportunists. Either way, it was not a good thing for IU. And how do you know that it didn’t “bend Wilson out of shape?” Wilson’s comments in the press conference notwithstanding, if he has any ego at all, I’ll bet he was plenty bent out of shape about these defections. He’s had to wipe significant amounts of egg off his face and repeat his hiring process for three important coaching positions during the most crucial recruiting period of the year. I admire the way he handled it with the press, but I guarantee you, Wilson was embarrassed and angry. I just hope he learned from the experience and channels that anger in a positive way for the good of his new football team.

  14. Clarion that is a good point/angle. The guy had to get quality young men to actualy put thier lives on the line. The guy probably does know how to sell, so to speak.
    I like how Wilson tries to move on. Podunker, your right, Wilson will have to adjust from being at OU.

  15. I believe more so IU will be having to do the adjusting because of Coach Wilson’s experiencing past successes at OU and his determination and confidence is contagious. Here is the second intangible he has mastered; how quickly he adapts, transitions, neutralizes and turns such dubious situations from negative to positive. He no doubt can address the real perceived strengths of a player and will put them in positions to achieve. I suspect his in-game ability to adjust performance is outstanding also. He just seems hard to knock off his feet. The fee Chuck Nienas was paid by IU to give AD Glass vision for selecting a HC was money well spent.

  16. It seems IU is trying to change, or is willing(facilities, salaries), thank goodness. I think McRobbie and Glass try to do the right things, and understand the importance of the Football program. There is some good potential brewing. Heres to moving forward, and good fortunes on the recruiting trail.

Comments are closed.