Wilson clarifies talk about veterans

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson was asked after practice on Wednesday about the play of his veterans after talking at length Tuesday that he needed more from them. Wilson said that although he wants to see more from the seniors, the group he is most concerned about is the one between the seniors and the true freshman, a class he has been mostly pleased with.

“In general, when I look at our team right now, the old guys are doing pretty good, I just think they could do more,” Wilson said. “The young guys are actually a very talented group and again, it’s not as a coach, first year, that’s not my group for the bulk of it. Those were previous recruits. That’s not the deal. Those guys were here. The disappointing group is some of the second and third year guys, the middle guys. We’re not getting much out of those guys. If you look at it, we’re playing seniors and young guys. How many juniors and sophomores do you see out there? That’s an old guy to me. You’re a third-year sophomore. You’re redshirted, you’re in your third year. What are you giving us in kickoff cover? Kickoff return? Whether you’re a backup linebacker, DB, defensive linemen, backup receiver? That’s the group as you work where sometimes there becomes some negativity. ‘Hey, I’m not playing, what’s goin’ on here.’ A lot of times you expect to get redshirted, but when some young guys that went by, that’s the group as we move forward. The seniors have not been phenomenal but they’ve not been bad. They’re good kids. It’s just I think there’s more and they need to set a more vibrant example. But the group that really needs to pick up as you go through is some of the second and third year kids have to fight through and bust through the wall and start contributing better. You’ve got some freshman lineman playing instead of some second-year guys. We’d like to see some of those guys come through. That’s a group where I’m trying to focus with development of our guys. Seniors, they’re gaining. They’ve never been negative. We’ve never had a day where I thought, ‘Hey, they’re not getting us.’ I just think they could give us stronger, better. That’s just teaching. When you’re not winning or you’re not performing well, it’s hard to be a great senior leader, so I’m just trying to encourage those guys to pick it up and they have. They always have. It will be interesting to see those second and third year cats. That’s the intriguing group to me as we move forward.”

Some other notes from Wednesday:

— Wilson said junior tailback Darius Willis did not clear his performance in this professional wrestling event Saturday evening (story by Stephanie Kudzydm of the Indiana Daily Student) Wilson has said that the injured Willis will apply for a medical hardship waiver that will keep him on scholarship but end his playing career. He said he was not certain what the event would mean for his eligibility for the hardship waiver. “I don’t know, that would be something (to ask) for compliance, which would be interesting.”

— Wilson said senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher is practicing the most of the receivers who were hurt last week, even though he didn’t travel and sophomore receivers Duwyce Wilson and Kofi Hughes did. He indicated that sophomore Jammonne Chester and senior Dre Muhammad might still start, however.

“Damarlo’s probably practiced the most,” Wilson said. “The other two, they’re just nagged up. A little ankle here, a little back issue here. They’re practicing, but there’s some limitations. that being said, some of the young guys, Jamonne’s in the mix, and some of the young guys with Dre Muhammad.  You’ll get what you got last week and hopefully a little bit more. With the way Damarlo’s practiced, he looks good. I don’t know if he’s 100 percent, but I’m sure he’s gonna be in the mix, and I think as we go through tomorrow Friday, Saturday, we’ll see where we can get Kofi and Duwyce and where they’re at.”

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson


  1. Can wrestle, but can’t play football? Hmm… Granted this was a low rent show, he could explode off the knee into the other wrestler in the video. Hmm… Wrestling and football are different animals and I understand that, but this makes me less sympathetic to Willis. IU will more than likely grant Willis the Medical Hardship Waiver. However, if it was my decision after seeing this, I would NOT grant it. It sounds to me Coach feels like that to with this statement, “I don’t know, that would be something (to ask) for compliance, which would be interesting.”, in regards to eligibility for the waiver now.

  2. That isn’t wrestling. Maybe ‘interpretive dancing’. Perhaps ‘performance art’. Call it whatever you want but, please, don’t call it wrestling. Wrestling is a sport. Perhaps the most demanding of all. Those are dancing clowns.

  3. Just exactly how committed do you think someone is to the team that they didn’t even bother to make time to catch the game?
    Watch that door on the way out…

  4. I know this is a little off topic, but has anyone else been surprised with how Gunner Kiel’s commitment has had almost no impact on recruiting ever since he committed? I mean, I didn’t expect a whole bunch of top recruits to all of the sudden flock to Bloomington, but we really haven’t gotten anything ever since he made his decision.

  5. Seriously, is anyone really surprised> This is not an ‘I told you so’ (cause I didn’t), but something always had a slight whiff of Chicken of the Seas canned tuna; Coach W? The total gentleman as he tried to deal with this.

    Chet, wrestling (the real one- the high school and college versions) is indeed a real and grueling sport, one of the most demanding in terms of fitness and technique(while in college, I worked refereeing high school and college meets…Charlie Mc Daniels days).

    Now, on the other hand, there is something so absolutely poetic about Pro Wrestling and Willis in a chicken-coop wire-fenced pro-ring. I can’t stop laughing!..the IDS should charge a value-added entertainment fee for these characters.

  6. A kid gets the news that a once-promising football career is over. He likes wrestling, has friends involved, and he decides to have some fun with it. So-called “fans” lose respect for the kid who has sacrificed and worn the jersey. Get a life.

  7. muubell, no….the ‘so-called fans’ are just fed up with the ego-fed freebie-entitlement attitudes these wonders parade with their capes, entourages, posturing based on what?… if you put two marbles inside his heart, they’d rattle together bouncing off all that empty space.

  8. muubell,

    If you’re calling me a “so-called” fan, you are barking up the wrong tree and you REALLY do not want to go there. You can ask any poster on this sight or DD if I am a so-called fan!

    I have been one of Willis biggest supporters since the first time I watched him carry a football, never missed the BHSS vs. FC games so I could watch him play. I had real sympathy for him when the news of his injury broke and that it could end his career.

    I myself have suffered a career ending knee injury, I know what that pain is to go through and the process it took me to get to 75% usage of my knee. I would have never even contemplated doing something that could foster the chance for more injury just because I “liked” something.

    Then you get into he is a scholarship athlete, he has certain rules he must obey and he did not seek clearance to appear in an event that is not sanctioned by the University and exist to turn a profit.

    You do realize that there is potential there for an NCAA violation now?

    What he done was self serving, not in the best interest of his team or the University he represents or in the best interest of his injury rehab.

    Now think about possible issues this could bring the IU football program and our new coach and ask yourself if you’re still okay with his actions?

  9. IUdrew. I don’t know that that is true at all. As coaches are not allowed to discuss high school players we only have third party sources to rely on. It’s all a matter of whether a kid wants to announce to the world before that letter of intent is signed. Let’s wait and see before we jump to conclusions. I remember a certain poster predicting the demise of our basketball program because, in his opinion, CTC could not recruit.

  10. Let me just weigh in real quick. Even if this does turn out to be an eligibility issue, it’s not going to cost the program much if anything. As far as we know, he didn’t take any money and I don’t know what this means in terms of the use of his “likeness.” Even if he did take money, it would just make Willis ineligible, and since he apparently won’t be playing any games as an ineligible player, that doesn’t affect the program. The only thing this puts at risk is his opportunity to stay on scholarship through the medical hardship. He essentially bears the weight of this alone, so this shouldn’t hurt Kevin Wilson much.
    All of that being said, criticism is clearly fair in this case, and there isn’t much defense for this action. But before speaking to Kudzydm for her story, Willis hadn’t spoken to the media for about 11 months, and for everything we’ve heard from Wilson about the injury, and for all that’s been read into for that, we don’t know much about his side of the story. As of a year ago — and Mike P will agree with me here — no one was questioning Darius Willis’s heart. Making presumptions about his sense of entitlement is a bit unfair, I think, and whatever his appearance in a pro wrestling ring suggests, he’s never had an entourage. There’s a lot that’s happened in the life of Darius Willis that I haven’t been able to reconcile with the personality he exuded in interviews in previous years. Any chance I could get you guys to wait until I have a chance to speak to him before writing him off as pampered and a symbol of everything wrong with the modern-day athlete? Appreciate it.

  11. For what it is worth, I’ve either read it or heard it reported Willis was not paid for the stunt he pulled. But still, what was he thinking? No doubt that is the final straw. Like Mike P. I always enjoyed watching Willis after the handoff. We both thought he could be special. I am not even sure about hindsight on this but maybe he should have been on a track and field scholarship. He appears to have the physical talent as athletes who compete in the decathlon.

  12. Thanks Mike W.,
    I wonder if this person is old enough or been an IU fan long enough to remember when Knight suspended Alford for a game because his picture appeared in a fundraising calendar? Alford wasn’t paid for his appearance, but his appearance violated NCAA rules.

    Willis appeared in a “professional” event. These events charge money for spectator to attend, then pays the actors for their performance. Even if Willis didn’t get paid, he is still a scholarship player on the football team and entered the event wearing an Indiana t-shirt!

  13. DD,

    I have to agree, his heart and sense of entitlement has never been in question prior to this. Having met him for the first time as a young kid in Middle School, speaking to him after High School games and again as a player for IU, I have never seen him as being entitled.

    I lost respect for him on what appears to be a total lack of thought about his responsibility to not only his health and career, but lack of understanding or respect for the rules he agreed to abide by when he accepted the scolarship to IU.

    I asked about this and possible violations on the chat. With everything that has went on at OSU, anything like this can open a can of worms and put every player under a microscope and create major distractions for a team that is already struggling. Even if everyone else is clean, it still raises questions if there is another player who might be doing something wrong.

  14. Wilson’s comment in this article convinces me that IU is going to see some true and redshirt sophomores transferring out at the end of the year. We’ve all known that Lynch struggled in recruiting those two years, recovered a bit with his last recruiting class, but I’d say Wilson just indicated that more than a few of the sophomores and redshirt sophomores are going to see the writing n the wall at season’s end.

    Question: What’s the limit of recruits a team can sign for one year. I know there is a limit on the total number of scholarship athletes any team can have, but is there a limit on the number a team can bring in for one year?

  15. Chet, I see your point but let’s be honest, how often does a kid commit to a college without anyone finding out before signing day? I just felt like – at least for the the 2012 class – there would be a couple more guys that decided to come to IU because of Gunner. But who knows, maybe Gunner will attract recruits from the class of 2013. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  16. IUdrew,

    You also have to remember kids are in season now and coaches are not allowed to contact them till after the end of November. Football recruiting in the past has usually seen early commits in the summer, then the rest coming December and January & the week before signing day.

  17. I have confidence this staff will get players they really want. It is who they are, they have undeniable cred and it is in their pedigrees. Much like Ekeler pulling Jacarri Alexander away from the likes of K-St./Pitt or the impact quickly made on players at Warren Central plus playing quality Frosh. I also am not paying much attention to all the BS about GK de-committing. It is to easy to make rumors up just to be somebody. If you’re pissed about DK not starting it probably is a topic. Time tells all.

  18. HC, I agree with your point about GK. I think the rumors are BS, just naked speculation. But only time will tell. I can’t imagine Wilson making any promises to Gunner about his brother being the starter this year of any other. I can’t imagine Wilson created the expectation that Iu was going to go to a bowl this year. I just don’t think that’s the way Wilson rolls. And so, if he did not make any promises, what’s there to be disgruntled about?

    And people have to remember, the other schools that Gunner was considering have moved on and made offers to other top rated quarterbacks. From a selfish perspective, Gunner has a much better opportunity to play sooner and longer at IU than he would at those other top FB programs. He either likes the direction IU is pointed or he does not. I see nothing that has happened since his verbal commitment that would have changed his perspective. he comes from a football family. I give Gunner and his family more credit than others may be giving him. All he has to do is look at Wilson’s history of helping develop QBs. A former Heisman winner and the guy at OK now that is a leading candidate for this year’s honor. Not a bad track record.

  19. IUdrew, another way to look at this is, quite often, the higher profile kids wait right up until signing day to announce. Who knows? Besides, if we already have 19 commits how many more could we have anyway?

  20. Wish I had optimism for tomorrow. But if I were JoPa and his crew I’d have a power game plan for the offense an aggressive D and let the lines of scrimmage determine just how physical IU can get. Hopefully Hughes, Duwyce and Belcher are hard to defend before and after the catch. PSU are brutes on defense. After 4 games Tandon Doss’s decision makes him look like a Rhodes Scholar.

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