Of interest from Kevin Wilson’s radio show

— Stephen Houston, at least, is confident about this game. The player guest on Wilson’s radio show didn’t quite guarantee a win over Ohio State on Saturday, but he came close.

“I feel that our guys are going to out-effort theirs,” Houston said. “We’re going to come away with the victory and give Ohio State their first loss. We play better when our backs are against the wall. I feel that this week of practice is going to be a high level at the offense, defense and special teams level.”

Houston played some of his high school football in Ohio. He said he played against Braxton Miller at some point in high school.

“He’s just another guy like us,” Houston said. “He puts his pants on one leg at a time just like we do. He’s not Superman.”

— Wilson made most of the same points about the offense and defense as he did on Saturday and in Monday’s press conference, pointing out as far as the defense was concerned that nine plays made up for 420 of the 676 yards of total offense. 

“If you take the explosion plays out, there’s a lot of good football by the defense,” Wilson said. “But the explosion plays killed us. And the same thing offensively, we didn’t have any explosion plays and we had no running game. In the games we have struggled and we don’t have the outcomes we want… when we have run the ball, the offense has been extremely dynamic and we’ve scored a bunch of points. When we have not run the ball, we have struggled.”

— Wilson was asked by a caller if the Hoosiers could use more linebacker motion and shifting to confuse offenses. On some level, Wilson granted that it might work, but his explanation for why the Hoosiers haven’t tried was telling for how the staff views the defense at this point.

“What you’re saying is the more you can move around on defense, you can create some confusion, create an advantage for yourself,” Wilson said. “But at the same time, with our youthfulness, sometimes we created confusion for ourselves. Sometimes, we want to make sure we know what we’re doing, but by doing so, we get a little too basic, we’re a little too sound and structured and we get worked because we’re not as strong or as talented as we want to be. If we do as you say, and I agree with what you’re saying, I don’t know if we’re as experienced to be as far along where we can move around as much and still be sound, because the few times we’ve done those things, we’ve gotten burned as well. So we’re gonna continue to address short term these next few weeks to help our defense, and long-term, we’re going to look at player-development and everything we’re going to do in the offseason.. As head coach, I take responsibility for our whole team. … We’ve gotta keep bringing our defense along, and we’re gonna look at everything we can do this offseason, because that’s my responsibility. We’re not playing as well as we need to there and I put that solely on me.”

— Wilson explained in more detail the delay of game penalty that cost the Hoosiers a shot at a touchdown from 3rd-and-1.

“We had Nate Sudfeld in the game, Tre (Roberson) gives us a little bit more of a run threat, so we substituted Tre on to the field,” Wilson said. “Anytime there’s a substitution, the referee stands over the ball and gives the defense time to match. So we lose 10 or 12 seconds of the clock because we subbed to put our running quarterback in there. Then our first play was a no-play call to see where they were aligned. Now, let’s get the right play call. We saw what we wanted. It’s very very loud in their student end, so then Tre starts telling everyone what the play is. He had to say it six times. With five seconds to go as I saw the clock, he ‘s told the last one. I think he’s going to get the play off because I’m ready to run and take the time out. He went back and thought he had time and lost track of time. He’s a second or two late. Cost us five. We actually would’ve went for it on fourth down if we were short on that one. … Error on me, error on our coaching point. Error on execution there.”

14 comments

  1. I’m sure this won’t be panacea to some, but I thought CKW’s comments here are refreshing. Instead of coach-speak, I really think he gave insight into the limitations they are working with and why. Also, there is a tasty nugget in there that might be a shot across the bow of their defense staff as he says that long-term, they need to address how they are approaching player development.

    Again, I must add, that scheme is widely overrated. Shifting and masking blitzes, etc are not going to help if our defensive linemen continue to spring high, get blasted off the ball and our linebackers are two steps slow hitting the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage. I probably need to shut the hell up about this, but we’re still a fundamentally poor team and CKW has acknowledged that they have to review the player development side of the equation. I think we have the personnel out there to at least be league average eventually.

    BTW, I love Stephen Houston’s comments. A little swagger is needed to beat OSU. Of course the reality is that we’re in big trouble next week, but this shows they’ve shaken off a bad game vs Wisc and are focused on trying to do the impossible this week. Go Hoosiers.

  2. We’re more than likely going to lose this game on Saturday. But I wouldn’t be shocked at all if we gave the buckeyes a game. It’s the perfect storm. OSU is pissed off about the whole BCS nonsense, i.e. their minds are elsewhere with that AND the michigan game looming. IU is at a point where they’ve got nothing to lose, i.e. shouldn’t be nervous about just coming out and playing. Look for this one to go into the 4th quarter still in doubt.

  3. I agree, trying to confuse the offense will lead us to getting burned every time. Heck, we get burned like crazy when we don’t do because we have no idea what we are doing. They had 9 plays for 420 yards???? That’s inexcusable there. Why is it, that we consistently have players out of position to give us these big plays? Our best athletes who should be on the field, just not smart enough? Our smarter guys just not athletic enough? I mean look at the Illinois game – we won by 17, but how many plays did they have a wide open guy about 15 yards behind all of our defenders? Even the bad teams out there do not have it happen as much as the Hoosiers….

  4. I think IU can score on OSU. Their defense is not all that solid. So, the outcome will largely depend on how our defense performs.

  5. If you did not know about it or have the opportunity to view it there is a 5 part(in depth)interview by Rick Bozich with AD Fred Glass. Glass proclaims managing by priorities and he clearly states achievement and goals attained in the past 5 years by sticking to that style. Find it at WDRB.com. It is exceptional.

  6. Good post, Double Down. I just never again want to hear Wilson talk about his team playing “solid” defense after giving up 600 yards and getting beat by 48 points.

    He’s got to know that keeping this Defensive coaching staff threatens to prevent him from reaching his goals and will eventually become a threat to his job security. He may not be a “defense guy,” but he’s got eyes, he watches film, and is smart enough to compare his defense to others in the Big Ten.

  7. Double Down and Podunker: I suspect very strongly that Coach Mallory will be dismissed immediately following the Purdue game. I think AD Glass and Coach Wilson are way past the point of having any confidence in Coach Malllory’s ability to develop credible defensive players at this level. I’m sure he is a fine man and we wish him every success in his future career but IU has not worked out for him.

    The challenge and it is a daunting one is to find and attract a coach who is up to this task! I suspect AD Glass is head long into that search. Unfortunately IU is not an attractive opportunity for an up and comer so it will be interesting to see who wants to sign up.

  8. Podunker,

    Well, I am certainly cutting Wilson some slack here. There is really nothing to be gained by going to the press and throwing these kids under the bus. I’m sure that morale on the defensive side of the ball has to be as low as it can possibly get. He really has to find a way to keep their heads straight as getting steamrolled for 500 – 600 yds per game is enough humiliation. Most of these kids will be coming back next year, so he has to balance the tough love with the ability that he has confidence that they’ll get better and that he’ll do whatever he can to make sure they are put into a position to succeed.

  9. Great comments guys. All facts, all great points and no doom and gloom. I love it. CKW addressed the elephant in the room when he discussed development on the defensive side. I’m in total agreement with iufan23’s assessment about the DC change following the Oaken Bucket. I’ll go a step further and recommend no more co- titles. There has to be a hierarchy in coaching, and two guys with the same title has the potential to unnecessarily complicate things.
    The fact is our offense is built with the same grade of players (if you give any credence the star rating system)as the defense, yet they are clearly more advanced. We have good athletes on the defense. Clyde Newton III gets sideline to sideline in a hurry, but you can’t rely on raw athleticism at this level. If you’re an average athlete, you’re in a deeper hole without development and therefore nearly guaranteed to be out of position.
    Stephen Houston’s spot on. OSU’s players breathe air, fatigue and make mental mistakes just like our guys. Why not be confident going in there. For all of the frustration this team’s had this season, I love that he BELIEVES. I Believe. Go Hoosiers.

  10. iufan23- certainly hope your suspicions are correct.

    KW is certainly worthy of the benefit of the doubt he’s being given. I won’t jinx us v. PU by saying that we’ll have five wins this year, but we have more wins than last year and a big plus is that the running game has come on strong. If Keith is accurate that our defensive squad is as talented as the offense “stars-wise,” then clearly the problem is coaching- and unless Wilson is capable of showing Mallory how to “do defense better,” then the answer is obvious.

  11. Double Down.

    Two great post. I agree with you on almost every aspect of your first post and all of your second.

  12. Just my opinion but what I think happened here is that Coach Wilson, faced with a huge rebuilding effort, focused on the aspects that he personally knows best…offense! He hired someone who he believed could manage a significant part of the rebuilding effort…defense. Retrospectively, he probably made a bad hire. I suspect many of us have been down that road. I know I have.

    I don’t want to engage in any form of character assassination of Coach Mallory who I suspect is a fine and dedicated man. It just appears that what needs to be done to build our defense is not in his wheel house. I’m confident Coach Mallory will go on to do great things in other environments.

    As I said previously, the real challenge going forward is to find the right person to lead the defense building effort but the good news is that Coach Wilson is a very bright guy and probably has a far better understanding of the attributes he needs in a DC. So, we all need to continue to be patient and let Coach Wilson do his job!

  13. I’m cutting Wilson slack too, at least for now. But if he does not fire Mallory after the Purdue game, his fan support will evaporate rapidly, and people like me will drape the blame around Wilson’s neck. There is no legitimate justification for keeping Mallory.

    As for finding a replacement for Mallory, I don’t think the task will be as daunting as some believe. There are probably over 200 coaches being paid to coach college football defenses. Most of them do not get paid the salary that Mallory is making. Most of them do not live in a town as nice as Bloomington, or work at a University anywhere near as impressive as IU, or enjoy the facilities like IU’s new, upgraded football compound. The key is to find a young guy who sees the IU job as a major step up in his career and financial well being and who recognizes that there is no place for this defense to go but up. I’d rather take a crappy program and build it up as compared to taking over a top program and face the pressure of trying to maintain it. Or, Wilson could hire a more experienced coach who gets terminated from a solid program after the season due to a shake-up in a program’s coaching staff. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and there is a lot of turnover in college coaching every year. Personally, I’d prioritize a young up and coming coach with a couple of years experience as a DC. There have to be a lot of them to be found in mid-major programs, DII programs, or some that are disgruntled in their current major-conference FBS programs. For what Mallory gets paid, it will not be difficult to attract a man who sees the job as a major step up in compensation. And with IU’s offense, it won’t be too difficult to produce a defense that allows IU to go to a bowl game once in a while. There are more positives than negatives for a new coach.

    IU is a great college environment. As fans, we need to realize that their are few campuses in the country that can match it’s appeal. And again, there is no reason why a bright, ambitious young man can’t enjoy great success coaching in Bloomington. They’re out there, Glass and Wilson just need to find them and lock them in about in about 12 days.

  14. PO- you are right on about IU’s prospects of landing a good DC (young or otherwise)- especially the part about the high turnover in the profession. But, respectfully, I think you give too much weight to the charm of Bloomington in your formula. My sister worked some years in the area of executive recruitment at fairly high levels, and it was her experience that “quality of life” enticements (in her case a PAC 12 college town in the bosom of the great outdoors) usually rank pretty low in recruitees’ considerations. Given the hours that FBS coaches put into their jobs both in season and on the road when recruiting, our new DC (how’s that for a foregone conclusion?) is not likely to be swayed much by the opportunity to hang out at Kirkwood Square in his down time.

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