Sunday, February 6, 2011
Are IU’s Football Coaching Changes Reason To Worry?
So here was Kevin Wilson, pushing the silver-lining message about his revolving door of an assistant coaching staff. You know the drill. He hires a coach, coach stays about two weeks, then bolts for another program.
This has happened three times in the last two months.
That’s three times the norm for a brand new staff.
Is this a problem?
Yes and no.
You want to bring in quality assistant coaches. The three coaches Wilson hired -- Brent Pease, Corey Raymond and Jerry Montgomery -- all left for quality programs. Pease returned to Boise State because he got a promotion. Raymond left to go to Nebraska. Montgomery left for Michigan.
All three of those programs are among the elite of college football. Nebraska and Michigan are two of the top programs in the history of college football. So when your coaches leave for those programs, you know they are good.
They just never got a chance to prove it at Indiana.
While Wilson will never be confused with, say, Lee Corso for his funny sayings, he does have a dry sense of humor. So he offered this comment on losing the three coaches:
“We have three football coaches leaving IU with an unbeaten record, unblemished. How often has that happened?”
Okay, it doesn’t quite rank with George Carlin’s classic “Seven things you can’t say on TV” comedy bit, but that’s not the point. He wasn’t hired at $1.2 million a year to make people laugh. He needs to win football games.
The Hoosiers are looking for stability as they move on from the Bill Lynch era. Stability is just as important in the staff as it is in the head coach. Wilson understands this, but he also understands that each coach has to do what’s best for his family. He said he has no anger toward them. They got a better opportunity. Well, Indiana is a good opportunity -- at least, that’s the plan -- and other coaches will take advantage of it.
“We won’t recruit a dead-weight guy,” Wilson said. “Some of these guys are young and up-and-coming coaches. I want coaches who are good. If somebody else wants them and it’s in their best interests to move on, go for it. If it’s better for you then it’s better for me.”
So Wilson brought in a guy from Nebraska’s staff, Brett Dierson, to handle some of the defensive line duties. Brandon Shelby, a cornerbacks coach from Louisiana Monroe as well as Portland State, San Diego and Oklahoma, will coach the same position at IU. He and Wilson have a connection because Shelby was an All-Big 12 defensive back for Oklahoma while Wilson was the offensive coordinator there.
Finally, Jemel Singleton is the new running backs coach. He came from the Air Force Academy.
The good news about all this is IU has been so busy with recruiting that the staff hasn’t focused much on football, spring practice and next season’s preparations. All that starts today -- with a complete staff.
Now the players might be a little confused right now, but all that will clear up in the next few weeks. Assuming, of course, nobody else leaves.
In the meantime, Wilson insists everything is in good coaching shape.
“I’m pleased with where we are. I don’t think we’re disjointed.”
That’s good because in a league that just got a lot tougher with the addition of Nebraska, being disjointed is the last thing the Hoosiers need this offseason.