Kevin Wilson is not a subtle football coach. By that we mean he doesn’t deliver vague messages like those found in literary novels so that you’re never exactly sure what is said or meant.
Wilson coaches like a hammer because he wants his football Hoosiers to make an instant impact in his debut season. He doesn’t want this fall to be a repeat of so many football falls at Indiana.
So Wilson and his staff coach hard and fast. Mediocrity is not an option.
And that leads to spring practice and a first scrimmage that saw IU bust off 115 snaps. It was a closed session, so perspective could not be verified. Wilson’s assessment was that the players need more work with the strength and conditioning staff.
“I told the players they were too slow and in bad shape,” he said.
As you can see, Wilson is not a touchy, feely kind of coach.
“We’re making some strides,” he said. “We had officials in so they can see how they play the game. Practice is not truly a game. You have coaches running around then. This was a good learning experience. We’ll take a good look at the tape and keep growing as an offense.”
The scrimmage was held Saturday at Memorial Stadium. It was cool and breezy. The revamped defense had the edge on the sped-up offense. There were some interceptions, and interceptions returned for touchdowns.
If you’re a defensive coach, you love that. If you’re an offensive coach, and Wilson is, that’s a problem.
“Where I came from (Oklahoma), I’m used to (defenses dominating), so I came off the field feeling good,” Wilson said. “We’ve got some work to do, but in the short term we’re making some good gains.”
Defensive tackle Adam Replogle can see the defense evolving under new coordinators Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler.
“We made mistakes, there’s always room for improvement,” Replogle said, “but we’re making strides.”
Added Belcher: “The defensive coaches have them running to the ball a lot. When you do that it limits the amount of yards you get after the catch. They looked pretty good.”
IU’s up-tempo offense remains a work in progress, which is what you’d expect while implementing a new system and approach.
“The offense will be real fast,” receiver Damarlo Belcher said. “Everything we do has be quick, even in the weight room. Coach is bringing in the (offensive) signals fast, so we have line up fast.”
Last year’s group of receivers ranked among the Big Ten’s best. Losing Tandon Doss and Terrance Turner hurt, but the potential is there with Belcher, Duwyce Wilson and Kofi Hughes, among others.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys who haven’t played much,” Belcher said, “so we’ve got to do a good job of getting them ready to play.”