Wilson expects up to 8 true freshmen to play Saturday #iufb

On his first radio show of the season Thursday night, Kevin Wilson said he expects six to eight true freshmen to see the field in Saturday’s season opener against Southern Illinois.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise based on this week’s first depth chart.

Wilson listed seven true freshmen on his two-deep this week, five of which are at IU’s two biggest areas of need. Receivers Leon Thornton and Nick Westbrook, along with cornerbacks Devonte Williams and Andre Brown and safety Jonathan Crawford are all featured on the IU depth chart. Left tackle Brandon Knight and defensive end Jacob Robinson are also included.

As for the eighth, or perhaps ninth player, expect it to come from the trio of safety Jameel Cook Jr., corner Tyler Green and linebacker Reakwon Jones.

“I think several of the corners and safeties — Cook and Crawford have looked good at safety,” Wilson said. “Tyler Green, Andre Brown and Devonte Williams at corner. They’ll all be possible special teams-type players. Receivers Westbrook and Thornton have looked very, very solid.”

Wilson played 13 of his 24 true freshman last season and, according to IU football site PuntJohnPunt.com, 40 of the 78 true freshmen to arrive in Bloomington since Wilson took over have played in their first season.

“It’s just a matter of if they’re going to play enough,” Wilson said. “If we need to burn the year, we will.”


  1. Brandon Knight must be something special to be 2nd to Spriggs. If he is indeed Spriggs-like IU is set very well at LT for the next 5 years, If so that would be called recruiting extraordinaire.

  2. WOW!! sound like a lot of inexperience freshman are going to learn on the job….could be very good for the future, but not at the present…..this inexperience will show or come to light in a lot of games….it will be hard to get 6 wins with this much inexperience (esp. in the secondary)….IU has three red-shirts sophomores and a true sophomore starting in the secondary…an every backup is a freshman or sophomore….i think we can expect to see a lot of wide receivers running free in IU secondary…most teams now a days throw at least 30-40 passes a game….is their anyway to put a positive spin on this situation.

  3. IU79, although you could be right I don’t see the freshmen as that big a disadvantage based on the film I have seen of them. This first game will give us a better idea how they match up. The easiest thing with a secondary is teach them not to get beat deep; it will be tougher to teach them how to play tighter coverage. I can say I was defensive coordinator on a 4A team that won the state championship with a secondary of very limited talent other than our FS. How did we do it – an offense that controlled the clock and scored points, a defensive front that was good especially at one end and MLB, and the final factor was disciplined players that did their job. I can see IU dominating on offense only needing the defense to stop the opponent two times each half. If that happens then I can see IU winning 8 games but more likely 6 games.

  4. v13, I would concur with those thoughts. Talent with little experience and non-conference games go together. There will be a noticeable improvement from this Sat. game to the 2nd game. That being the exact reason Wilson is playing them.

  5. IU79

    As I was reading I thought to myself about how not too long ago all 8 of these freshmen would have been starters and there would have been at least 3 more in the mix. Give it time my friend, this team is pointed in the right direction. the history of IU’s football futility is well documented. It is going to take time but I believe that if we stick with Wilson we will emerge as a consistent winner. He has this program on the rise. We have had plenty of bad luck and 4th quarter misfortunes during his tenure but luck will begin to break our way.

    How about that for a positive spin?

  6. Agree with these comments. 6 wins is doable despite our inexperience. Of course, we need the ball to bounce our way from time to time. We need Nate to stay healthy, receivers to avoid drops and our defense needs to play “adequately,” meaning not getting blown deep and making 3 down stops with some regularity.

  7. Look up and read the mounting troubles for Rutgers FB. The crap is really stirring. The holes in the road keep getting deeper and more numerous for Flood to make it though this season. I’ll take our alcohol incidents vs RU’s basket of snakes anytime.

  8. Just a point of emphasis, these freshman are just listed on the depth chart, not slated to start. We have a lot of experience coming back. We have some talent, but inexperience to back it up. Injuries will happen, so some of these guys will need to step in and learn.

    We’re in a much better place than since I stepped on campus in ’95.

  9. I agree with everything written above. But I noticed from last night’s games that IU’s preseason schedule will be more challenging than some may have anticipated (myself included). WKU beat Vandy (beating any SEC team is impressive) and FIU upset Central Florida. Both upsets suggest IU will have it’s hands full before conference play begins. I’m sure Wilson is pointing that out to his players today and galvanizing their focus, because it’s not the physical maturity that I’m worried about with this team, it’s mental discipline and maturity that will be necessary to win all the pre-season games. On the positive side, Michigan looked really bad in their loss to Utah last night. Utah is a not a bad team, but Michigan looked bad. Hopefully, IU can beat them before Harbaugh get’s his program up to full strength.

  10. IU79, I agree about staying with Coach Wilson as I wrote on Crimson Quarry “What coaching staff other than the one we have could convince so many 3 star and 4 star athletes to come IU; add in the transfers from big time programs and Coach Wilson’s staff is doing a great job recruiting.”

    I am stoked about this season as I do see the talent level is much better and expect the team to do well despite some inexperience. Michigan looks beatable but remember Utah’s defense is seen as one of the better ones in the country. I also think with the way IU played PSU last year IU could pull off a win in Happy Valley. This game will tell us a lot about our offense and defense but not everything we need to learn. As others have pointed out WKU and FIU will be tougher games than many thought. However both were in close games and WKU didn’t move the ball or score as many points as I thought they would against a Vandy team trying to turn around last year’s poor record. 4-0 isn’t impossible but won’t be easy. If the team comes out and plays hard like they did at the end of last year then they are more likely to enter B1G play 4-0. Bring on the game.

  11. Vandy gave it away to WKU. 1 t/o in the red zone, 2 intercepted passes in the end zone and missed a short FG. Neither team was impressive although Vandy offense stat wise kind of did what it wanted to with the Toppers. Same for the FIU and CF game not very impressive. CF was flat all game and missed a short FB to win.

  12. As long as we’re crystal balling it, 7or 8 wins for IUFB is not unthinkable. Although Meatchicken and PSU may be upset-able (to coin a word), they and OSU and MSU have to go in the loss column. As to the non-conf. schedule, if IUFB is going to be anything like we’re all hoping, the Hoosiers should (yeah, I know, “should”) run that table. Wake Forest’s Phil Steele power rating is 99 (IU = 72), and the other schools should (again, “should”) not be in IU’s class. So at this point IU is 4 – 4 facing PU (78), Mary(78), RU(60), and Iowa(57). These are all winnable – Rutgers is indeed a stinky mess and Iowa is late in the season; I just don’t get the impression that Ferentz’s teams get better as the year goes on. Yeah, IU will need to stay extraordinarily healthy, but with a few breaks IUFB could win 7 or 8. And most teams need a few breaks to win that many games.

  13. 4-8

    Sat. 9/5 vs Southern Illinois W
    Sat.9/12 vs Florida International W
    Sat.9/19 vs Western Kentucky W
    Sat.9/26 at Wake Forest L
    Sat.10/3 vs Ohio State L
    Sat.10/10 at Penn State L
    Sat.10/17 vs Rutgers W
    Sat.10/24 at Michigan State L
    Sat.11/7 vs Iowa L
    Sat.11/14 vs Michigan L
    Sat.11/21 at Maryland L
    Sat.11/28 at Purdue L

  14. Reaistically I think they will stumble a time or two and come off with 7 wins but I could see a great season if last seasons lessons are evident in the way they play this year.

    Sat. 9/5 vs Southern Illinois W
    Sat.9/12 vs Florida International W
    Sat.9/19 vs Western Kentucky W
    Sat.9/26 at Wake Forest W
    Sat.10/3 vs Ohio State L
    Sat.10/10 at Penn State L I think they could win but hard to do at Happy Valley
    Sat.10/17 vs Rutgers W
    Sat.10/24 at Michigan State L
    Sat.11/7 vs Iowa W
    Sat.11/14 vs Michigan W
    Sat.11/21 at Maryland W
    Sat.11/28 at Purdue W

  15. I realize that looks really negative, but the Big 10 games don’t set up very well…Looking ahead to OSU, PSU and MSU as 3 of your 4 first conference match-up’s puts a lot of pressure to not stumble anywhere else early.
    I just think it’s going to be a very tough season. Michigan and Iowa at home are not givens. And then finishing on the road against Maryland and the in-state rival? It may be ‘cupcake’ early, but it’s about as brutal in the conference as an IU team could nightmare over. 4-8 may be generous. No Northwestern…No Illinois…No Minnesota.. Purdue would love to play bowl spoiler in that final road game. Brutal.

    Don’t know how these divisions and schedules get decided, but getting OSU, PSU, MSU, and Michigan is exhausting to even contemplate for a Hoosier Football team that is far behind the eight ball in building depth anywhere near equivalent to perennial football programs triple deep in top talent and long in traditions(whether in the midst of some sluggish years, coaching changes, etc).

    I think Wilson is a much better coach than what the likely record will show.. It doesn’t matter a damn bit how soft the non-conference opponents when faced with that sort of BIG schedule. .Wilson getting to a any sort of bowl game with this conference set-up would be nothing short of dancing in a Final Four in a college hoops world.

  16. vesuvius13-

    4-0 down the stretch with Michigan, Iowa, and finishing @ PU for the Oaken Bucket? I lava your optimism…but I think you blew off a straight face.

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