Wilson pleased with response so far

Through three days of practice, at least, Kevin Wilson is pleased.

The Indiana football coach wanted a better attitude that he saw in Saturday’s game. Much more fire than an atmosphere he said “felt like a golf match.”

So far in practice, he’s had it, but time will tell if that translates to Saturday’s 7 p.m. home game against Virginia.

“It will be interesting to see if we’ve got some fiber, if we’ve got some pride, if we’ll stand up and answer the call,” Wilson said. “We’ll see. … It looks really good, but again, practice, going against scout team guys, different than the game. Do you trust in the game? Are you ready to cut it loose against better players? We do inside drill, we had a boatload of plays, half-line where it’s good-on-good. We’re working at it. We’re not allowing them to pout and mope around. We’re encouraging and challenging and pepping it up. It’s been a decent couple of days. … The process of work has been positive. We’ll see if that translates into play.”

The Hoosiers are going to need a better attitude and more on Saturday, Wilson said, because the Hoosiers have to find a way to slow Virginia’s impressive running game. The Cavaliers rushed for 240 yards in a 40-3 opening game win over William & Mary, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

“They’re awfully big in the line,” Wilson said. “Their running backs look like they ran well. They do a nice job with motions and shifts to try to get you thinking get you slowed down to do a lot of plays they repeat. For them it’s simple, but for you they try to confuse you.”

The defense, Wilson said is just as much of a concern. The Cavaliers switched over from a 3-4 to a 4-3 when coach Mike London took over for Al Groh before the 2010 season. They gave up more yards per rush than any other team in the ACC last year, but it was evident on Saturday that there have been improvements. They allowed just 169 yards of total offense, just 48 on the ground. Defensive end Cam Johnson gives them an All-ACC pick and cornerback Chase Minnifield is a reigning first-team All-ACC cornerback.

“I was very impressed with those guys,” Wilson said. “The real key for the defense is their defensive front. As those guys go, it makes the secondary that much easier. Your quarterback doesn’t have time. The receivers don’t have time to work their routes. You don’t get the running game going, you get one-dimensional. I was very impressed with the size of their defensive line. They’re very active. One of their defensive ends is a very nice pass rusher. He’s a very impactful player.”

Wilson has already said that the Hoosiers will be going after them without linebacker Leon Beckum and offensive tackle Josh Hager. He said the Hoosiers could find out early next week exactly how long Beckum will be back. There is no tear in his knee, but Wilson said he isn’t sure if Beckum will be our for around two weeks or closer to four or six. Wilson however, said Hager probably is done for the year.

“I think we’re waiting about a week for swelling to go down,” Wilson said. “Going in, it’s probably going to be the end of his season. It looks like an ACL deal. … They’ll go in for a scope deal, but if they have to cut it, it’s gonna be his year.”

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson

25 comments

  1. “Felt like a golf match.” Whose fault is that Coach? You couldn’t see that your own team was playing uninspired and flat? The combined income of everyone I was watching the game with is less than what you make as a trained, well paid, college football coach, yet we could all see it. Please, please, please don’t tell me that all the faith I placed in believing that he was the correct hire can’t tell the difference between a motivated or an unmotivated team.

    I’m not expecting a win this weekend, but will be happy if the team shows more emotion. UVA is the type of team I fear, big and physical across the front line and able to pound the ball. If we cannot stop them from gaining 4 yards per run we are doomed. It’s a rather simple concept. Run the ball. Control the clock. Keep the opponents defense on the field and the ball out of the offenses hands.

    If we start out 0-2 I don’t know if this team has the mental fortitude to keep from going into a complete downward spiral. It’s hard for players to keep buying into what a new coach has been saying if the results are no better than what was achieved with the old one.

    Come on boys, prove me wrong!

  2. Our football program has suffered chronic underinvestment in every single component of a winning program including facilities, personnel, coaching, marketing (Good Lord, we couldn’t even figure out what the school colors should be!), game day activities…this list goes on an on. To think that we are going to turn this around in a year or two or even five is not realistic.

    This is a slow process. I think we have made some solid investment in facilities which are now somewhat more competitive. We’ve made an investment in coaching which I think will ultimately pay off. I think our talent is slowly but surely being upgraded. Our marketing is a little sophmoric but at least we are doing some, so that’s good.

    But all this said, we need to be cognizant that our competition continues to make improvements to their programs. UVA is a prime example. So, we are now catching up to where our competition WAS, not is. We need to continue this process and redouble our efforts and investment and if we do, I think we will one day be competitive, but that won’t be today and it won’t be this season. Realistic expectations are 1-2 games. If we win more, that’s great…winning fewer means we are not as far along as we think and that is a real possibility.

  3. I have reflected a lot on what Po said yesterday about the schools out west and first year was awful and then best season in years. I get that but that is what people have said through Cameron, Dinardo, Hep, and Lynch. I am tired of waiting to win…in fact I am done with it! GOD knows I was patient for a long time, really! I am tired of getting beat, especially by smaller schools! It is time to put up or shut up! If Lynch can almost win 6 with the group last year…new QB, defense and whatever…Wilson can manage 6 this year. Just the way I feel!!!

  4. It’s tough for me to say because I generally have faith in “the process” and how long it’s supposed to take, but I’m with J Pat here. IU won five games last year, and they were probably two or three plays away from winning seven. Yes, we miss Ben Chappell and Tandon Doss, but there are a lot of familiar faces on this team. So, with mostly the same team and a new, more intense attitude from the entire staff, why should’t we expect to win 6 this year?

    I’m hoping the game in Indy was a massive wake-up call and these guys will come out hard Saturday night. Here’s to a Hoosier victory!

  5. I know how you feel J Pat! We should not be losing to a school like Ball State… but that’s neither here nor there and it’s in the past. We need to win NOW and not let there be anymore excuses as to why we aren’t. You have to start winning some time with the players you have. Let’s hope we have a better showing this weekend and play competitively and maybe even get a ‘W’!

    Win With Wilson!

    Go Hoosiers

  6. J Pat, I understand not to mention sharing your frustration. But, we need to be realistic. IU has come from a state, not long ago, of being ritually beaten up by lower division MAC teams and we almost lost to a Louisiana state school whose facilities had been knocked out by a hurricane and didn’t even have a full compliment of equipment when they played us! You gotta think, that’s pretty far down the pecking order.

    We’ve taken some steps forward in the last few years. Last week, we took a step back which is unfortunate but not unusual in these situations. I’d like to think we are still on a positive trajectory, but this year will probably not reflect that.

  7. I think we all feel that IU should, for all intents and purposes, never lose to a MAC school. Something to remember if we are talking about being patient with Coach Wilson vs. Coach Lynch. BL had a long, primarily dismal, record at the D1 level. We had a history to look at. There was no reason to think he was going to become a good D1 coach given another year or two.
    Coach Wilson seems to have a good football mind. He’s not a finished product as a head coach. We’ve all talked, ad nauseum, about first, second, third year coaches whose career suddenly took off and had long term success. I certainly hope Coach Wilson will become a better head coach with each game. I didn’t expect a finished product when he took the job, just competence. We’ll see what happens. But I don’t think it is reasonable to compare being patient with a coach with a long history of failure with being patient with a first year head coach.

  8. J Pat: I share your impatience and your frustration with the loss to BSU. I’m tired of waiting too, but what choice do we have? I can no more stop being a Hoosier fan than I could stop being an American. I told my wife the other day that I hope I live long enough to see IU have a competitive football program and go to another Rose Bowl. I think I was nine the last time they went to Pasadena.

    Look, this all goes back to a variable that no one at IU could control; the loss of Hep. i really believe that if Hep had lived, IU football would have much stronger today than it is. Now we have a coach that we believe has the pedigree to transform IU football into a consistently competitive program. I don’t think any of us really believe that we can displace OSU at the top of the Big Ten each year, but once in a decade or so would be nice. But Wilson and his staff are all new. The did not come in with a magic wand. There is no magic. It takes a ton of hard work and time, with a little bit of luck tossed in.

    I have no choice. I am a Hoosier. I fell in love with IU football in the fall of 1967 and January 1968. Win or lose, I will die loving Indiana University and all their sports. All I can do now is support the school and the teams as much as possible( a couple of checks each year, attending games, cheering my throat out, and keeping pressure on the administrators). That, and of course, continue to believe that IU football can be changed for the better.

  9. ‘Ritually beaten?’ What is that?

    Correct me. Hasn’t IU only lost football games twice to MAC schools in its history?

    We should not lose to Ball State. Especially when it is in as much transition and turmoil as we are.

    Excuse me, not ‘lose’, ‘get beat by.’ Because make no mistake about it, it was not a fluke. We got BEAT across the board.

  10. J Pat, We all want to win now, but what if we don’t? Would you have Wilson fired after one season? Would you consign us to a state of continual rebuilding under a steady stream of new coaches? I know that’s not what you want anymore than you want the losing. I think that you and I want to find a coach, stick with him and be rewarded with a winning program.

  11. Kevin K, we lost to BSU and Central Michigan in ’08. I know we had won twenty in a row over the MAC before then, but I don’t think we were undefeated all-time. In fact, I’m sure of it…I remember seeing a stat that we were like 40-something and 5 against the MAC. If somebody has a media guide it might be in there.

  12. Dave…of course I would not fire him after one season, no way! He gets at least 3-4 years depending on what happens on the field to a certain degree. I just am so sick of walking back to my car feeling low and listening to traveling fans talk crap to me. It has happened for years more often than not, way more often and I am done with it. All tools are in place now for once and it is time!!!

  13. After some horrendous years,(1-9, 0-10…) New Mexico was able to have some better seasons including 2-3 wins over Arizona and, then, Arizona returned to winning. Eventually, they stopped playing each other.

    The point, is that many of us who do not think the sky is falling, are hoping that KW places Indiana in a position where it can be competitive with anyone in the league, consistently play top-four in the Big Ten (what do you call the league now?) football standings, make the ‘final’ show routinely and travel to one of the more desirable bowls with some frequency.

    Again, first we have to learn ‘how to win’, then prepare to win; and, with patience, make it happen. I know one thing with absolute certainty…, the attitude that ‘here we go again’ or the expectation that it would happen overnight simply because we changed coaches and can not accept that any team in Division 1 can beat us when we are not prepared- emotionally, mentally and/or physically- simply underlines that losing has become a part of our character. It’s hard to believe, after reading many of the comments about ‘losing to Ball State’, that success can come from moaning, crying or self-flagellation.

    There’s a story about Pericles, the Athenian general who refused to allow slaves to be the teachers of the children of Athens (as had been the custom before he became leader). “A slave can not teach a child to be free,” he reasoned, ” only a free man can teach a child to be free” The same can be said about winners.

    If you are moaning and crying because you are tired of losing, please… don’t cry around our football players.

  14. Tsao, don’t feel like I am moaning and crying but if you take it that way I am sorry. Also, I have not thrown in the towel by any stretch. I am no longer involved with any players in the program so don’t worry there. I have said it, I admit I care too much. I see so many parents live through their kids playing sports…I live through IU football and basketball. I don’t think it is a fault but maybe it is. I am being honest here, really! The poster I put up at work with Wilson on it and the schedule says “Win Today”…not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, not next year, not 3 years from now…”WIN TODAY”!

  15. JPat,
    I feel your pain man, I too have been the subject of verbal abuse from opposing fans. It’s humiliating making that long walk through the parking lot after your team just layed another massive egg. I went into this year not expecting too much, heck I’m not even sure what to expect next year either. I figured we would start out slow with a new coaching staff, but steadily improve as the season moves along. We will play a lot better as the teachings and philosiphies of the new staff start to sink in, and the players are playing instead of thinking. It’s just going to take time, and believe me, I know we’ve been waiting a while. I try to live with the losses of today thinking about the wins of tomorrow. Gunner will be here next year, and it looks like we’ve got some good talent to go with him. I’m really looking forward to 2013, Gunner will be in his second year, Wilson in his third. All these true Freshman we’re playing will be Juniors, and we have 8, yes 8 home games that year. For some reason I keep thinking it’s going to be a very, very special year for us. Until then, all we can do is cheer our hearts out and remember that any given Saturday, anyone can beat anyone.

  16. Mattsi4, I think your analysis is spot on. This year is a learning year with a brand new staff, philosophy etc coupled with so-so talent. Next year may be somewhat better particularly if Kiel actually enrolls (remember he is just a verbal at this point). 2013 should be the litmus test. By then, we should see significant progress and certainly a bowl game.

  17. Like JPat I am sick of losing.

    Last year the team had more fire power but less coaching, this year it sems the other way around. People knock on Chappell all the time, but you have to remember with Chap at the helm and Doss on the field, the Hoosiers led the Big Ten in passing yardage last year, and was 2nd to only OSU in TD passes thrown. Now we are with a new coaching staff, lost our #1 receiver and the captain of the ship.

    The defense continues to look weak and out matched, there isn’t much that the staff can do today, they have to recruit better defensive players for the future, and hopefully look at the JV ranks for some.

  18. JPat, I don’t think you are anything but a huge IU fan and open and honest about expressing your feelings and opinion. In no way did the crying and moaning refer to you…but it did refer to many who were ready to have a garage sale of their Hoosier gear as soon as the BSU game was over. I do agree with Mattsi4…it takes time but I do expect we will play with our jaws tight and with pride every time. And, I think that’s what I like about KW…he expects the same.

    One last thing JPat….Bob Knight used to say that if you stopped the first 10 people walking down the street and asked them “Do you want to win?”, all ten would answer yes and, probably, mean it. The point is “do you want to prepare to win?…that’s the hard part where 7 of the ten disappear on you. Winning is about doing all the little things….take that back, each of the little things, to perfection that it takes to win…and that’s 100% character, inner strength and mental discipline.

    The question is do we have the strength and the will to win…it’s going to take a lot of work and preparation from the fans, the coaches, to the ball boy and to the players.

    (And, it’s going to have to happen whether a Gunner Kiel enrolls or not. I worry about those who think if he changes his mind- not even the slightest reason to think he would do that…that’s what makes him who he is…the strength of his character- it’s game over. What IU (including us) need to do needs to happen with or without him. Only then will we be ‘winners’). Hang on JPat…I don’t know where the h*** we’re going with KW, but it’s going to be a lot of fun getting there!)

  19. Mattis, great post, thanks…I needed that. Tsao, best post you have written, enjoyed it..really! Mike P, maybe I see you in the stands. Car is packed and I hope for an all around great day. GO IU!!!

  20. New coach, first game jitters, give it a chance boys. I think Wilson will right the ship as the season goes on.
    IU lineman pop off and block & tackle!!! Stun those smug sports “experts.”

  21. JPat,
    No problem buddy. Trust me, as an IUFB and a Cubs fan, I’ve had to be talked down off the fence a few times myself. I feel like I’m always waiting for next year lol. But I think that’s what keeps me coming back, I know one of these years will be the year I’ve been waiting oh so long for.

  22. mattsi4; same with me. Life long Cubs fan and life long Hoosier fan. It’s tough.

    My Dad was a huge Bulls fan. Not sure how he became one. I think he met one of the players at some charity function decades ago and just got drawn into the team.. Anyway, when Jordon and Pippen were at their peak and the Bulls were on top of the NBA, I believe it extended my Dad’s life. He was one happy man and could not wait until the NBA season began.

    Talk about being talked down off the ledge, I arranged to be in downtown Chicago after Cubs won the first two games against San Diego in the National League playoffs. Expecting the biggest party in history when the Cubs won just one of three in San Diego, I was in a major funk when they lost all three games.

    Hey, if the Red Sox can do it, some day the Cubs will too. I just hope I’m alive to see it.

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