Wilson impressed with defense so far

Sunday’s late morning/early afternoon practice gave Indiana it’s first opportunity to be at “full-go” as coach Kevin Wilson put it. The NCAA requires an acclimation period at the beginning of preseason practice — mostly to protect players from heat-related illness — and players gradually go from wearing helmets only to shoulder pads only to full pads.

In the first day of all-out scrimmaging, Wilson said, the advantage went to the defense, particularly in a situational set of scrimmage plays that Wilson called “Move the ball.”

“The defense did really, really good,” Wilson said. “Really good. The offense didn’t get a first down. If an offense gets a first down, it gets in rhythm. Defense did a nice job getting them off schedule, got them in second and third and long, got them off the field.”

Wilson said all told there were about 62 “full-go” plays of scrimmaging toward the end of practice. He said he wanted to see more video of them because, as a former offensive coordinator, he’s still conditioning himself to watch a defense as though it’s his.

“I still see the game as an offensive person, that’s my view,” Wilson said. “Once in a while I’ll watch some defensive tape with the defensive coaches to listen and see their view. I’m thinking, ‘Man, that’s a great play.’ No, it was a really bad defensive play. As a head guy, I gotta still change have views little bit. I still sense (that the defense is doing well) which is nice. I think in practice, the defense should always do well against you and always do well early. For the most part, I see good things. Now does that mean maybe our offense needs to be better? We’ll see. I think there’s some nice skill on offense. We have to play better at quarterback, more consistent. We gotta play better at the offensive line, more consistent. Our running backs need to keep coming on. Some of our skill kids are OK. But I think the defense … I’m looking forward to seeing them play in games.”

Wilson said he didn’t see any part of the defense standing out in particular, but said he was happy about the depth the team was showing.

“I don’t see one group overwhelmingly great,” Wilson said. “I don’t see one group like, ‘Wow, we’ve got problems.’ And I think we have some (second-teamers) that are really playing like they can help. I think to be a good defense, you have to play 18, 19 guys. I don’t think you play 11. ”

Wilson said at IU Media Day on Tuesday that he was hoping to pare down the quarterback battle this weekend, not to name a starter but to at least develop a more focused direction for the competition. He said he hadn’t done that yet as of Sunday afternoon, but that he would meet with the offensive coaching staff to work on that.

“We just haven’t had a group meeting to really talk about it,” he said. “I’ll see what all the other coaches think. I do think we’re getting to a point that if anyone is emerging or if two or three or four, as far as reps, we have to start appropriating the reps to the right guys.”

Wilson, to some degree, clarified his comments about freshman quarterback Tre Roberson. He wasn’t guaranteeing that a true freshman would never start at quarterback, he said, though it isn’t something he wants to do. He said he was trying to make sure the media didn’t push the idea of Roberson starting too far.

“We didn’t recruit that guy,” Wilson said. “Sometimes when there’s coaching changes, there’s always banter like, ‘There’s new coaches. Everything’s better because there’s new coaches here and it’s new players.’ That’s not the deal. The young quarterback has nice presence, nice moxie. He’s a little bit overwhelmed because it’s new language and he’s learning how to do it. But he makes a lot of nice plays. He throws it well. He can run well. I just said it because knowing you guys, not meaning to, you guys would run with it and say a freshman’s starting. I didn’t mean he’s not going to start, but at the same time I didn’t want to come across like the older guys are doing bad. That young guy’s better than those older guys want him to be. He’s a good player.”

5 comments

  1. After five practices I would be worried if the defense wasn’t ahead of the offense.

    The offense is a rudderless ship currently without any of the four inexperienced quarterbacks distancing themselves from the others. The O-line is trying to find continuity so that will hinder their performance early in preseason practice. Our backs are in a similar situation as to that of the quarterbacks, little experience, and Willis apparently nursing any injury (as is Bolser)that is keeping him out of contact drills.

    Our front line players not being able get practice reps could have a decided adverse effect on the offense come the opener. You want those guys buring as many cycles as a group so that they become familiar with each other. Coach Wilson is implementing more and more of his offense daily, and having projected starters out just puts them further behind and having to play catch up.

    There is still sufficient time left to get things worked out, I just hate seeing our front line players missing out of critical practice cycles, especially with this being new schemes to learn.

  2. Think we will get going in a good direction very soon, but this season has potential to just be terrible. The offense is a major ? and we all know about IU’s defensive inability. I think K Dub is the man for the job and am excited about the future, but there’s no glossing it over……..this season could be very bad. It wouldnt be shocking to me if we just split the non-con and then didnt win a game in the Big Ten. All and all I still think we win 4 games +/- 1. Purdue may be the only other team in the Big Ten with the # of ?s we have right now.

  3. We haven’t gone winless in the BT since ’95 and only maybe 4 since 1960. So I would find it a bit surprising if we did.

    One thing in favor of NOT having a terrible season is the schedule. We have all of our tossup type games at home (Virginia, Ill, NW, PU).

    We’ll probably get one or 2 games where we’ll hang around but have no real business doing so because the other team has injuries or just comes out flat. Remember that the BT season is long for everyone. Not every team brings it every day.

  4. The quality of play Wilson gets from the O-line and the QB will determine how many games IU wins. Defense should me moderately better (how could it get worse?), but the big question will be at QB. Can an inexperienced guy step up and be productive? Will the o-line provide enough protection and be effective enough in the running game to take pressure off the QB? If yes, IU wins six games. If not, ouch!

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