Quick notes from Kevin Wilson on the Big Ten call

Plan on writing some of this through later with exact quotes, but some quick impressions from Kevin Wilson’s time on the Big Ten spring football teleconference.

Wilson said he’s generally pleased with the direction the quarterback competition is taking. He said Cameron Coffman is nipping at Tre Roberson’s heels, but that Roberson has made significant strides in the pass game. He continued to emphasize that Indiana needs to be better as a passing team and that an ability to effectively throw the ball will be required to win the starting job. He said there’s not a quarterback controversy (Dustin’s note: after over a year of covering Wilson, I’m pretty sure the only way he’d ever admit he had a quarterback controversy on his hands is if the QB’s in question were trying to determine the starter through fist fights) but that the competition is tough and that he expects Nate Sudfeld to add to the competition when he comes to camp in August.

Wilson also said the junior college additions have done a lot for the energy of the defense and that he’s seeing fewer missed assignments and better tackling. He specifically mentioned the performances of linebackers David Cooper and Jacarri Alexander — who seem to be the most likely JUCO players to win starting jobs — but also discussed defensive backs Ryan Thompson and Tregg Waters and defensive end Justin Rayside.

More to come.


  1. IMHO, I’m guessing he expects to plug all the JUCOs into the starting lineup with the possible exception of the QB. I don’t think he was looking for depth. We need bigger and better athletes on the field right now.

  2. Chet,
    Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’d guess the LB’s definitely start, but I don’t think Thompson or Waters are a sure thing upgrade from the Hardins or Mark Murphy at safety or Kenny Mullen in the nickel spot and from what I’ve seen they haven’t been used as true corners like Barnett and Heban. They can help IU, but I wouldn’t call them locks to start. Same thing with Justin Rayside at defensive end. Don’t know yet about Antonio Marshall at corner because he doesn’t come to camp until the fall, though I’ve heard good things. The loss of Shaine Boyle, who had some eligibility issues based on the stopping and starting of college due to some tragic events, was significant.

  3. I guess I agree with Coach Wilson as I do not know why a competition at QB should be seen as a controversy anymore than lets say one at long snapper.

  4. Mark Murphy is probably IU’s best defensive player. He starts, finally at safety his natural position! The entire defensive secondary will be much improved as the JUCO’s and freshmen join the young guys who gained so much experience last season. If Rayside does not start, then our 2 returning defensive ends are much improved. However, starting the first game and starting the final 6-7 games are totally different accomplishments, as we saw last season.

  5. I think much of the problems in the secondary last year was a lack of understanding of assignments and rotations. At least that’s the way it looked to me. Those guys just looked lost sometimes. If we are using the same scheme I would expect the returnees to show a lot of improvement.

    You have to do things automatically back there or you’re gonna get smoked. Reps, reps, reps.

  6. I’m not going to predict the Rose Bowl for IU in 2012. In fact, I’m not even going to predict they’ll have a winning record. But I do predict IU FB will be a significantly improved football team, both in the number of wins and the quality of their play (competitiveness). Everything will be better this year, but especially defense.

    My hope is that the 2012 IU football team will be successful enough to give the Hoosier Nation reason for optimism about the 2013 season and beyond. And who knows, maybe they will surprise a team or two.

  7. That’s how I feel as well. Just show that we are getting better. During the previous tenure I thought we were getting worse every year.

    In some ways CKW has a bigger task that CTC. While no one expects IU to compete for a national championship in football, as we do in basketball, at least in basketball there is a place to return to. In football consistent success is uncharted territory.

    But, as has been pointed out, great coaching made Northwestern a national power for a period. Mack Brown was winning ten games at UNC before leaving for Texas.

    It CAN be done.

  8. Chet- you are right on about blown rotations in the secondary. It was astounding how wide open enemy receivers were time after time, which is why I thought it was fair to citicize the coaching last year. A system that players can’t figure out after two games into the season needs serious adjustments, but the blown coverages were still happening in Nov.

    I hope you’re right that the players are more experienced with the coverage scheme, but if there are JUCOs starting in the secondary they are learing it for the first time. Did we schedule Notre Dame yet?

  9. The FB staff teaching their system to young players not yet up to executing it is much like Coach Crean and staff teaching his system the 1st 3 years to similar youthful resources. Strategically systems have to be installed from the start so each incoming class learns from older players and just not from the staff.

  10. Exactly. It’s one thing to bring in a new recruiting class and teach a system when three quarters of the team is already familiar with it. It’s a lot to expect an entire team to institute a new system when they couldn’t perform at a very high level in the system they already knew.

  11. That must have been one experience Wilson only wants to do once a lifetime. It was a matter of his arriving on campus and having to figure out what he could teach to this group, watch as many proved they were not interested in learning, finding a group of kids who had been high school seniors 6 weeks earlier and watching them try to absorb the bare bones of the new system against 20+ y.o. men.

    I’d have to take two sets of underwear if I were faced with that. This year CKW can, at least, point some to the laundromat.

  12. Nick Saban showed up at Alabama and all he had to work with were some of the best football players in the country. CKW came to Bloomington and found all the components of a contender for the MAC.

  13. I think the key question about IU football is this: Will the Hoosier Nation make the same effort to support the team that Wilson and staff is making to upgrade the talent and quality of play?

    The Hoosier Nation has to drop the apathy and do four things in the immediate future:
    1. Write a check once in a while (lots of small checks work just fine)
    2. Go to the home games and fill the seats instead of tailgating all day.
    3. When in the stadium, make a lot of noise in support of IU’s players.
    4. Be positive and optimistic that IU can build a competitive football program.

    We will get the football team we deserve.

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