Tuesday, March 29, 2011

IU’s Wilson ‘Revs Up’ Hoosiers; Zeller Boosting Resume

Kevin Wilson doesn’t coach soft. This is football, after all, and the meek don’t inherit the earth, they get steam rolled by some nasty son of a buck who eats the meek for breakfast.

Wilson arrives in the Memorial Stadium team room with a voice only a mother can love. Yelling isn’t easy on the vocal cords, but then, Wilson isn’t easy on his Hoosiers. He is revving them up because he knows, no matter how tough he is on them, nothing will match the toughness they’ll face when Ohio State or Wisconsin lines up against them.

Wilson has just had his guys do a lot of after-practicing running. Some of it is for conditioning, some for emphasis. You go full throttle all the time in the Wilson scheme of things or you run. And if the coaches miss it, the practice camera never does. If nothing else, these guys will be really, really fit.

Wilson is talking about what he wants from his running backs. The problem -– he doesn’t have many of them to practice. Darius Willis, Matt Perez, Xavier Whitaker and Antonio Banks are recovering from season-ending knee injuries. That leaves Nick Turner, Bloomigton walk-on David Blackwell, and converted tight end Leneil Himes.

This is not a group that will strike fear in the hearts of Big Ten defenses, although, perhaps, that will change by the fall. No matter. Wilson uses the resources available to him.

“In our offense, we’ll do what you can do. If you want to play running back, you’re going to run it. You’ve got to pass block. You’ve got to pick up blitzes. It’s nice to have a guy who’s also a valuable receiver. All of our running backs can catch. No one is great, but no one is poor. We’ll see in time what the other (injured) guys are about.”

Himes got practice as a fullback. Does that mean the fullback will get a lot of action in Wilson’s offense?

“If he’s good, he’ll play a lot,” Wilson said. “If he sucks, not much.

“That’s the great thing about tight ends and fullbacks. If you’re not good, you don’t have to play. We don’t have to play 4 wides (receivers). You play the best 11.”

Almost every coach says that, but Wilson really means it.

“Maybe we want to play two tailbacks at a time,” he said. “Right now, I don’t know. Maybe your second tight end is better than your third wide out. So you play two tight ends. Maybe the fullback is one of your best 11. So you play the fullback. Right now we’re giving them all a chance to see.”


Unless your mind has been swallowed by the drama involving Kirstie Alley and George Lopez (here’s a hint, it involves a pig reference), you know that Indiana basketball could really use a power inside presence next season.

Hoosier coaches are searching the country looking for somebody to boost the bigs and provide help to veteran Tom Pritchard and highly acclaimed incoming freshman forward Cody Zeller.

The man who knows more about Hoosier recruiting than even coach Tom Crean, Mike Pegram, has reported that Jamari Traylor was on campus. That’s 6-7, 215-pound Jamari Traylor from IMG Academy who is being recruited by Kansas, St. John’s, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, Oklahoma state, VCU and Mississippi State.

Yeah, it’s a lot of competition, but there aren’t a lot of quality big men still available, so the heat is on everybody.

Speaking of Zeller, he isn’t resting on his high school state title and mental attitude award. He quickly headed to Chicago to participate in McDonald’s All-American Game practices.

He’ll go against some of the country’s best players in his age group, which will help tremendously in his preparation for next season with the Hoosiers.


Oh, in case you’re wondering, Matt Painter is unlikely to leave Purdue for Missouri. If it was North Carolina or Kansas or Duke, that’s another story. But for a good-but-not-great Missouri program, it doesn’t make much sense.

Purdue will give Painter a raise to put him near the top of a Big Ten salary scale highlighted by Michigan State’s Tom Izzo’s $3 million a year deal. It also will boost the salaries for his assistant coaches and ensure the staff has all the necessary resources to thrive at the highest level.

Figure the situation will be resolved by Wednesday.

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