Kiel likely out, and other notes from Wilson’s press conference

For the third straight week, Indiana will be able to make its quarterback decision by simply picking the healthier option.

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said redshirt sophomore Dusty Kiel’s ankle could limit him for 2-3 weeks, which means he will most likely be starting redshirt sophomore Ed Wright-Baker while searching for action for freshman Tre Roberson.

“Dusty hurt an ankle and he’s actually got a pretty significant sprain,” Wilson said at his press conference Tuesday. “I think he’s got what would be considered a high ankle gig with a little bit of a ligament gig he was trying to play through. He indicated that to me at the end of the third quarter when he fluttered a couple of passes. … Dusty will be very limited this week, maybe for a couple, three weeks with what the trainer saw with him yesterday moving forward. Tre came in. Ed did well last week, but we kinda thought watching him run — he practiced a fair amount, as much as the other guys — but again, watching him at the end, we kinda thought we’d have to run around a little bit. We’re gonna have him going against a good rush. Protection is gonna break down. We didn’t want to put him in a vulnerable situation. He’s at 90ish, 95 percent, he coulda got hurt again and retweaked it. he looked really good yesterday as we started moving forward. If he’s not full go, he’s awfully, awfully close, so you’ll get him as we move forward this week”

Wilson said he was OK with Kiel trying to play through the injury before informing anyone of the injury.

“We want guys to battle and be tough,” Wilson said. “But at the same time, as a player, if you can’t go full go, you gotta step up. … He battled two quarters with it pretty good. Not getting a lot of run game. Not getting a lot of protection. Dusty’s got a lot of heart. Hung in there and battled. … I think after he played, it really ballooned up on him. It was probably a little bit more significant than he thought. The competitiveness in him, you’re excited, you’re loose, you’re going, you battle through it a little bit.”

Wilson said he was mostly pleased with the play he got from Roberson, who threw for 148 yards, completing 11 of 17 passes while also throwing an interception.

“I thought for a young guy, Tre handled it pretty good,” Wilson said. “Had one issue with communication on a snap that really was more on the center than him. His communication was good. I thought he played calm. … He can make a few plays running around. For a first start, or playing as much, that’s the most he’s played , Tre did well. We’ll continue with him, use he and Ed as we move forward.”

Other Notes from Tuesday’s press conference:

— Wilson addressed his injury policy as a whole. He said he does think he’s made it clear that players should still go to trainers with significant injuries, but that he’s pushed players to make sure they don’t milk minor ones.

“Typically it’s obvious (if a guy has a significant injury),” Wilson said. “I can tell real quick. We had a guy last week, an offensive lineman get rolled up. He was pretty gimpy. I said, ‘Hey, you’ve been practicing hard. You’re good. Just take it easy for half a practice.’ He came back the next day and played pretty good Saturday. To me, what you’re trying to do early is just figure out the guys that are just going through the motions and trying to get out of work. It’s a tough environment, it’s a tough game. You’ve gotta make your practices smart but tough. We go full pads. We do every day. Shoulder pads two days a week. Full pads, we’ve done that every day. It’s how I’m used to practices. It’s how I did it at Miami (Ohio), it’s how we did it at Northwestern, it’s how I did it most recently at (Oklahoma). It’s a game played in pads. You learn how to hit. You learn how to deliver a hit. You learn how to stay healthy. Good teams stay healthy. Typically the guy that is the hitter stays a little more healthy than than the hitee. You learn how to be the guy that delivers the blow and we teach that. That’s what we’re trying to do. I appreciate guys that battle through it. That’s what we want. I don’t punish guys, but if you miss significant timing, you’re not gonna be up to speed. You’re not gonna know what’s going on. But we have a couple of players right now that we’re pretty smart with in practice. We have a couple of defensive players that we practice full go, they’re full go but they never hit. They’re a little nicked up with a slight injury to an elbow or a shoulder. So we’re smart. We’re not stupid in what we’re doing. And we don’t go full-go tackle where you get guys ankles and knees and in piles. We try to go full go hitting, but it’s full go on your feet, it’s full go up. That’s how most people practice.

— Wilson said he’s generally disappointed with mistakes and said even though his team has trimmed up and lost weight this offseason, it doesn’t seem to play as fast as it should.

“Even though we’ve gotten small, we still don’t play with speed on offense,” Wilson said. “Assertiveness. … We don’t come off with speed at receiver and running back. …. I’m disappointed that we don’t play as hard as we’re capable of playing. I see things in practice that I don’t see on the field. I think we make the game bigger than it is. I don’t think we go into the arena with the confidence or knowledge to trust what we do and do what we do.”

— Wilson said senior defensive back Donnell Jones has a minor ankle injury. He said he has a chance to play and it’s not as significant as Kiel’s, but they have been using freshman Kenny Mullen and Nick Stoner as potential nickelbacks in his absence. However, Wilson said the Hoosiers likely won’t use as many nickel and dime formations because Wisconsin uses more of a pro-style offense and doesn’t use as many spread sets.

“Wisconsin will play a lot more big-guy people,” Wilson said. “Being in some of the five DB sets or six DB sets isn’t as common against these guys. … The nickel safety guys will be used but not quite as heavily.”

–Co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Kevin Johns said the quarterbacks shifts still aren’t causing major problems in cohesion for the rest of the offense.

“Those guys are rotating a little bit,” Johns said. “I’ve had some injuries. But when you go back to preseason camp when we were rotating those guys through camp anyway, so again, I think from a chemistry standpoint, I think my guys feel good about whoever goes out there and throws it to them from quarterback.”

— Freshman wide receiver Cody Latimer didn’t dress for Saturday’s game against Illinois, but Johns said he practiced Monday and should be available this week.

— Johns said the coaching staff is not mentioning last year’s 83-20 loss to Wisconsin, not even as a motivating factor.

— Co-defensive coordinator Doug Mallory said that freshman Mark Murphy is working with the safeties again after spending recent weeks with the linebacking corps, playing weakside linebacker against spread teams to give the Hoosiers better defense against the pass.

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson Part 1

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson Part 2

AUDIO: Kevin Johns Part 1

AUDIO: Kevin Johns Part 2

AUDIO: Doug Mallory

AUDIO: Max Dedmond

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