Hager needs surgery, Beckum doesn’t, and other notes from Tuesday’s press conference

Kevin Wilson came to his Tuesday press conference with good news and bad news about the statuses of the knees of offensive tackle Josh Hager and linebacker Leon Beckum.

Beckum, who led the Hoosiers in tackles for loss last season, will not need surgery, Wilson said. However, he will still have to miss several weeks and Wilson isn’t sure how long it will be yet.

“It’s a non-surgical deal he’s got,” Wilson said. “It’s just a strain or what not. We’re just gonna see if it’s gonna be 2-4-6 weeks. Some guys heal quick. … Will that pertain to him, I don’t know.”

Hager, though, will have to have surgery, and that could be of greater concern.

“We’ll wait and kind of see,” Wilson said. “But that could possibly maybe be a year thing for him. It may end his year. We’ll wait until they do the procedure. I don’t know if that’s gonna end his year or not. … It’s kinda disappointing for him.”

Wilson said Monday that senior Justin Pagan would move from right guard to right tackle to fill in for Hager and redshirt freshman Cody Evers would become the starter at right guard. Wilson also said that the injury would make it more likely that true freshmen Bernard Taylor, David Kaminski and Peyton Eckert could see more time on the line to provide more depth.

Wilson said Beckum’s injury could also force the Hoosiers to get freshmen linebackers ready, especially Mike Replogle and Zack Shaw. Junior Lee Rose is listed as the starter at Beckum’s weakside linebacker position with junior Griffen Dahlstrom as the backup.

Wilson also discussed the statuses of running back Darius Willis, wide receiver Duwyce Wilson and tight end Ted Bolser. He said Wilson and Bolser are back in action.

“They played a little bit the other night,” Kevin Wilson said. “Ted got I think one snap with the big guy sets. They just missed some practice and they’re getting up to speed. They missed a fair amount. It’s just time on task and seeing them and timing and confidence and knowledge. They both had minor pulls, but they missed, 8-10-12 days. When you’re doing two-a-days, that ends up being 12, 13, 15 practices. They’re both practicing every day. They have no issues, they’re just a little behind trying to catch up.”

Wilson said defensive end Darius Johnson is back in practice after he didn’t make the trip on Saturday but still wouldn’t discuss the reason he didn’t play.

Wilson said he had determined that Willis had served his one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team by not playing in Saturday’s game. However, he also said that what game became his suspension game might not matter because Willis might still be out for a while with injury.He played the first four games last season but missed the rest of the year after a surgery for a torn patellar tendon. He’s also suffered through a number of other injuries, including several to his ankle during his career.

“He’s got an injury that’s a little bit more significant,” Wilson said. “Has he served his suspension? Yeah. He’s kind of got an issue coming off that injury that he had before that I don’t know if his timing is going to be good. I think he’s been a little injury prone. Right now, no disrespect to him, we’re wishing him well and want him to do well, and he’s kind of done well behind the scenes … He’s got an injury that’s kind of nagging him and I don’t know right now if he’s gonna be able to play. We’re kind of working through that with him and medically and talking with the guys. he’s missed the bulk of practice. He’s tried to go. Everytime he’s tried to go, it’s been a little hiccup along the way. As we’ve gone through the season, again, right now — and it’s not his fault, it’s just where he is — he’s not in anyone’s thoughts of playing right now. We’re trying to see right now medically, can he come off that injury and be a productive player? Maybe not. We’re probably a couple, three weeks from deciding, is his body gonna be able to hold up coming off the injury.

Other notes from the press conference:

— Wilson continued to lament the lack of energy and emotion in Saturday’s game, pointing out that the Hoosiers didn’t commit a turnover and only had three penalties, but still lost.
“We were reasonably clean,” Wilson said. “We were not physical, emotional, executing perfectly. Same thing defensively. … I don’t know if we energized the emotion and passion that we needed to have. To be as lethargic, as flat, as stale or as unemotional, especially from the defensive side, especially from the O-line play, those are things we’re going to have to improve on.”

— Wilson said he was mostly happy with the play of Ed Wright-Baker but found a few incorrect decisions in video review.

“He was pretty solid,” Wilson said. “At the same time, he got us a couple of times. He didn’t get us with the huge error, but he did go the wrong way a couple of times where he had to throw it away or a couple of times where he took off scrambling. He took off scrambling because he got bluffed by coverage. The one fourth down call he got bluffed by coverage and actually threw the ball to the wrong side of the field. … You’re gonna do that some, but for the most part, he was pretty good.”

— Wilson said repeatedly that the Hoosiers don’t have to make “wholesale changes” either on offense or defense, but said there are some defensive weaks that they can make.

“We’re not gonna change our defense, but I think there’s some things that we can do and need to do as far as just some of the leverage that we’re lined up in,” Wilson said, “whether we’re getting safeties more involved or blitzes more involved, to create some edges and get some penetration and get our guys off some blocks.”

— Linebackers coach/co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler said he and co-defensive coordinator Doug Mallory returned to Bloomington and watched tape until 5 a.m. after the game and that he hasn’t slept well since.

“We take it very personal,” he said. “I look back on it and I wish I would’ve done some things differently and helped our guys better. … We got exposed in certain areas and we’ve gotta make some adjustments. We tried to in the course of that game, and it just didn’t… we didn’t execute the way we needed to. … From a structure standpoint and from a front standpoint, there were some things that we evolved to in the past fewer years when we were at Nebraska. We tried to maybe jump ahead a little bit here in installing some things. We probably should’ve started and worked our way up a little bit more, if that makes sense, in certain ways.”

— Co-offensive coordinator Rod Smith said he still considers Ed Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel both starters, but said that Wright-Baker won the job in recent weeks because he was more consistent throughout spring and Kiel was sluggish early in camp.

— Athletic director Fred Glass said season ticket sales are already ahead of last year with over 20,000 sold, and are at the highest point since 2000. He also reiterated his mantra that fans need to arrive early on Saturday to deal with bypass traffic.

The audio follows. Two notes. No. 1, the music that starts playing about one minute in to Wilson comes from my computer. I accidentally pressed play on my ITunes on a Motion City Soundtrack song when I opened my computer. I’m an idiot. You’re welcome.

Also, Glass is cut off because of battery issues with my recorder, but you can still hear about 10 minutes about promotions and traffic.

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson 1

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson 2

AUDIO: Mike Ekeler

AUDIO: Rod Smith

AUDIO: Damarlo Belcher

AUDIO: Dre Muhammad

AUDIO: Chris Adkins

AUDIO: Fred Glass

2 comments

  1. I’d be upset if Ekeler had been sleeping like a baby since Saturday’s game. But it sounded like he had not slept in a month when he said, “From a structure standpoint and from a front standpoint, there were some things that we evolved to in the past fewer years when we were at Nebraska. We tried to maybe jump ahead a little bit here in installing some things.”

    Maybe it was me, but I don’t recall seeing IU’s defense in any complicated schemes during the BSU game.

  2. Selling season tickets is great. Getting people into the stadium is even better. It should be interesting to see what the average attendance for Memorial Stadium is this year.

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