Wilson avoids specifics in addressing Belcher dismissal

Kevin Wilson addressed senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher’s dismissal at his press conference on Tuesday, but unsurprisingly, did not delve much deeper into what rule it was that Belcher violated to be suspended and then dismissed.

“I’m not going to go into great details,” Wilson said. “Other than no issue other than our seniors and I back in preseason went through the rules we wanted. The seniors actually amended and gave me some ideas of things they wanted, things they wanted to do. All the players were aware of that, signed off on that. We go through that during the year. Unfortunately with some things that happened, it got to a point.”

Wilson said he made it clear from the beginning that the best players on the team and the seniors would be held to the highest standards. It was important he maintained that. Belcher was considered the Hoosiers’ most talented player coming into the season, having led the Big Ten in receptions last year.

“We don’t have any sacred cows,” Wilson said. “No individual is above anything. It’s unfortunate that this has happened. Damarlo, I think is a good kid and potentially a good player, but at the same time just by following our guidelines, just didn’t do things that he needed to do in some situations. It’s led to his dismissal.”

Wilson was asked if Belcher’s dismissal came because of a singular egregious action or because of a series of indiscretions.

“Not being specific, but we’re not where a guy does something, unless it’s a major deal, typically you kind of work through situations,” Wilson said. “Whether it be class issues or whatever with guys and you try to get guys right. It was kind of a little bit through time. Seldom (would you dismiss a player for one offense) unless it’s a major, major major act, and most of those acts would probably lead to expulsion.”

According to a public records search, Belcher has not been charged or cited for any crime recently.

Wilson says each player gets a copy of the team rules and has to sign for it.

“The best players in the room are held to the highest standard,” Wilson said. “We still work with guys and we continue to work with them.”

Senior linebacker Leon Beckum said it was sad to see Belcher go, but that the players understand the reasoning.

“It’s pretty sad, but at the beginning of the year all of the seniors, we set a bunch of rules up, and if you broke them, we told everybody there would be consequences,” Beckum said. “It’s sad, but it is what it is.”

Sophomore tailback Stephen Houston said the move made a point that the Hoosiers already knew.

“It shows that coach means business,” Houston said. “When he says either you’re going to be with this team or you’re not, he really means it.”

Other notes from Tuesday’s press conference:

— Kevin Wilson said that sophomore wide receiver Duwyce Wilson’s knee injury would’ve ended his season no matter when it occurred. It is an ACL tear, he said, and it will keep him out of action for 4-5 months.

In other injury news, senior linebacker Jeff Thomas (shoulder) and center Will Matte (knee) were both back at practice on Monday. Wilson said he’s not yet certain whether either one of them will start, but they will both have a chance to as the week progresses.

— Wilson and coach Mike Ekeler talked at length about defensive problems after the Hoosiers surrendered 59 points for their fourth straight game of allowing 40 or more.. Wilson said that a major issue has been communication, because the Hoosiers not only have a lot of young players on the field, but a lot of young players who are moving around and switching positions.

“We’ve got a new scheme and new guys,” Wilson said. “We’re not a very loud team. We’re on the practice field, and I can hardly hear calls. I know when we put some folks in the stands. This week, we’re going to be pushing 100,000, you need to speak up. A confident man, on the field, there’s a way you talk, there’s a way you carry yourself. That being said, with a young team, with new scheme, with position changes as we go through our communication, that’s not mad at our players, but that’s something that we are constantly harping on how to improve that as we practice. … We’ve gotta be a lot better there. As a player, just because you know the call, don’t sit on it. Don’t worry about you, worry about everybody else.”

Co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler said the same, and that he’s been extremely disappointed with the breakdowns he’s seeing.

“It’s kind of like a broken record,” Ekeler said. “I feel like since the Illinois game, we’ve gone downhill. It’s extremely frustrating. I know I’m frustrated, I know the kids are frustrated. I’ll promise you it’s not due to a lack of effort. The guys are working hard. If you look back, and I will never ever make an excuse, but if you look back at the beginning of the year and through spring ball, we’ve got eight new guys out there on the field and we’ve got all these guys standing on the field that are injured. It’s not an excuse, it’s a reality of the situation. We’ve got some guys back there on the back end who aren’t as confident in the system. We’ve got true freshmen, so our communication isn’t near what it needs to be.”

Ekeler said the defense’s shortcomings are affecting him personally.

“It’s not easy,” Ekeler said. “Believe me, I go home and I don’t sleep. I’m not used to this. I don’t want to get used to it. I’m sick of it. I’m tired of it. Just like everybody else. It’s the most frustrating thing I’ve ever been apart of. But with that being said, I look at it and say, ‘How can we fix it.’ And that’s what we’re focused on is fixing this doggone thing.”

— Wilson and co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rod Smith talked at length about expanding the option game to use Tre Roberson’s skills. Wilson said they dallied with it in the spring and had zone read options as part of the game the entire time, but triple options and pitches have become much more prominent.

“We had it in spring a little bit,” Smith said. “Just tinkered with it in the spring. When we got Tre here, because he can run a little bit more, we added a little bit more because of my background from West Virginia and Michigan and working with Dennard (Robinson) and Pat White and those guys, so it’s something that fits him a little bit to eat up some more yardage in the rush department. We kind of messed with it a little bit anyway. We just kind of expanded it a little bit more. Will we do more? Maybe. We’ll wait and see.”

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson Part 1

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson Part 2

AUDIO: Mike Ekeler

AUDIO: Rod Smith

AUDIO: Leon Beckum

AUDIO: Stephen Houston

118 comments

  1. “It’s pretty sad, but at the beginning of the year all of the seniors, we set a bunch of rules up, and if you broke them, we told everybody there would be consequences,” Beckum said. “It’s sad, but it is what it is.”
    Sophomore tailback Stephen Houston said the move made a point that the Hoosiers already knew.
    “It shows that coach means business,” Houston said. “When he says either you’re going to be with this team or you’re not, he really means it.”

    That pretty much tells the story. Sounds to me as if some of the rules were made by the players as well as coach Wilson.

  2. Black, Sigler, Replogle are upperclassmen and they are the most ineffective group I can think of. Say what you will, but D starts up the middle and they get no push, let alone resistance against blocking. Need to be recruiting D-line number one and improving quality of D recruits overall.

    If you want a chance at competitive for IU football, job 1 is improving the historically swiss-cheese D.

  3. Agree D-BONE, but doesn’t it seem like Black, Sliger, and Replogle were all more effective last year? The whole group now can’t get off a block or get any penetration? Defense should be a main priority for the 2013 new coach search committee….

  4. It all starts with studs on the line. Thank goodness a lot of the kids we have that are getting pushed around are freshmen. Maybe they can still be beefed up while we wait for reinforcements.

  5. I suspect 17 hi-energy Frosh, injuries to QB’s, performance of the dual threat QB and his own personal injuries combined w/ the coaching philosophy made DB a disruptive ingredient instead of a positive role model for Kevin Johns receiver corp. This probably has been revving up since the 2nd or 3rd game. There will be many 4 year players with an available 5th that will not be back next year. This team needs a larger influx of talent than I originally believed. Remember the coach brought in from Fort Scott CC, Jeff Simms(I believe he was a pipeline to the Huskers for JUCOs) to head up the recruiting at IU? Lots of JUCOs soon will be relocating to Bloomington to further their educations. Quite a change in operations, no wholesale redshirt program and lots of JUCOs.

  6. Of all the valuable insights learned on this blog, there is none I value more than the beautifully simplistic, rustic formula of “Bad First Season = Bad Coach”.

    I used to think that the success of a program was determined my a multitude of complex factors, including coaching past and present, player talent, administrative support, injuries, conference strength, historical forces.

    Now thanks to some bloggers here it is all reduced to one easy-to-remember formula. I haven’t heard such foolproof, straight forward explanation for earthly phenomena since “It’s in the Bible”. Thank you.

  7. Surfin…you have it absolutely right, though many here do understand that complexity, way too many are just waiting for Moses to part the waters. Hard to believe but it tells you another factor in the complexity you mention: the absence of the most minimal analytical concept in a significant part of the fan population. If nothing else, we count on their frustration to help them take their babble elsewhere.

  8. The reason Wilson does not give more specifics is because if he did he would violate rights of Belcher relative to privacy laws.

  9. I’m amazed at the number of simpletons still posting on this site that continue to imply that IU should have retained Lynch and suggesting (or stating outright) that he was a better coach than Wilson is. And it’s disturbing that most of them make reference to the difference in the two coaches’ compensation. They forget that had IU kept Lynch, he would most likely have been given a significant increase in salary along with a new multi-year contract.

    2011 is turning out to be a terrible year for IU football, but nothing will be worse than what we endured last year watching IU play Wisconsin, or those two Lynch years when our arch-rivals at Purdue humiliated IU on national television. Given the number of freshman and the new QBs, at least I can justify this year’s bad losses.

    For those that harp about Wilson’s salary, keep in mind, that in spite of his 7-digit salary, he is near the bottom of Big Ten head football coaches in annual compensation. I think his salary is currently the 10th or 11th in the Big Ten. And are those same people complaining about Crean’s salary, which I believe is almost twice Wilson’s compensation? You can bet that when Wilson coaches IU to it’s next bowl game, his compensation package is going to be increased significantly or IU will have to start this process all over again.

    If you want to rage about IU athletics, focus your disdain on the former IU administrators and trustees that allowed a once proud athletic program to slouch toward the abyss.

  10. We’ll never know, of course, but if we continued down the same path it could actually have been even worse with BL at the helm. For all we know KW is working miracles with the players BL left him.

  11. Good point, Chet. But the miracles will be in convincing a lot of Big Ten caliber players to play for IU. Should be interesting to see what the class of 2012 looks like.

  12. Yeah. He’s got a big job ahead of him. It cracks me up when people make posts thinking we should be a good team right now. Nick Saban couldn’t take this team to a bowl game. Of course, Nick Saban wouldn’t take over a team that wasn’t full of talent to begin with. It’s a bit easier to be successful when you are taking jobs like Alabama or LSU than it is when you’re taking over one of the historically worst BCS programs in the country. If we win five games next season you’re looking at the coach of the year. BL was a decent man but he wasn’t far behind Kelvin Sampson in terms of decimating a program.

  13. Chet, before the season began I was guilty of thinking IU could win five games this year, but that was excitement displacing rational thought, and before I knew how empty the cupboards were. You’re right, if Wilson wins five next year, that’s a major accomplishment. To do it, he’s going to have to recruit a lot of JC defensive talent. No matter how good 18 and 19 year old freshman are, they won’t improve the defense enough to produce five wins.

    To be fair to BL, he was never intended to be a head coach at this level. I think he would have been happy to be IU Offensive Coordinator until he retired. Who could have anticipated TH going down in such a tragic manner. The mistake was IU’s administration electing BL to make BL the head coach after IU last bowl game.

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