Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wilson Will Have Big Say In New IU Offense

Is three better than one?

Indiana will put that to the offensive test next football season.

In essence IU will have a tri-offensive coordinator look. Head coach Kevin Wilson will direct things, with Rod Smith and Kevin Johns providing plenty of input. Both are listed as co-coordinators.

If that sounds confusing, well, give it time to sort out. Wilson has basically just wrapped up putting together his new coaching staff, and most of their time is directed toward recruiting. The only position left to fill is running back coach and that announcement could come at any time.

Anyway, what seems like a three offensive coordinator approach is sort of duplicated with the defense having co-coordinators with Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler. That’s a lot of titles, but don’t think it implies a lack of organization. There is, Wilson said, a chain of command.

“I don’t think we’ll be dysfunctional,” he added.

The titles were done as much for resume building as for official duties.

“Some of that’s a little bit for some title,” Wilson said. “It was to get some guys here and for career opportunities. Some days when someone’s not here and we need another leader. There is some chain of command. We’re not all kind of equal.”

Wilson has had an extensive background as an offensive coordinator, highlighted by stops at Northwestern and Oklahoma. At least early on, he’ll be the main offensive coordinator as well as coach the tight ends and all the other duties associated with being the head coach.

“I’ll be a bit more involved with the offense initially just making sure of the logistics and communications,” he said. “Someone’s going to be in charge and offensively starting out it’s going to be me. We’ll delegate who’s going to be a play caller if it’s me or someone else or who’s got final say.”

Wilson enjoys calling plays. When he helped out with Oklahoma’s bowl win over Connecticut earlier this month, he didn’t call the plays and he realized how much he missed it. He’s had experience in calling plays from the sideline and the press box.

“We’ll see how it works,” he said.

No matter what happens, it will be a group coaching effort. Johns also will coach the receivers, a position he held at Northwestern. He previously was a graduate assistant under Wilson at Northwestern. Smith also will coach the quarterbacks, which is what he did at Michigan and West Virginia.

“Kevin is awfully bright,” Wilson said. “He’s a little more like me (offensively) because he’s been around me a little more. Rod has been a coordinator. They’ll both be good.”

On defense, Mallory will start out calling the plays.

“We’re going to work from the back to the front,” Wilson said.

All this sharing of titles and responsibilities could turn into a huge disaster unless all the coaches are on the same page. Wilson said that won’t be a problem.

“They’re all good people. I don’t think there’s a lot of egoes. I think everybody checks that at the door. Hopefully it’s going to be a group that works together and collectively gets better.”

Most of the assistant coaches either worked together or worked in similar systems.

“It took some time to put this together,” Wilson said, “but that was on purpose. There’s a lot of dynamics involved. I wasn’t going to force the issue. I had to wait until some guys played through the bowl scenarios.

“I like the continuity we’ll have. There’s a little Big Ten flavor. There’s some youthfulness. I’m very pleased with the way it came together.”

The staff has another couple of weeks to focus on recruiting before football signing day. In the meantime they’ve begun a new off-season program under new strength and conditioning coach Mark Hill designed to duplicate much of what is done at Oklahoma. The idea is to ratchet up the fitness and intensity to ensure the Hoosies can handle the uptempo offense and aggressive defense they’ll be using.

How will it work?

Will look at that in an upcoming blog.

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