Tuesday, April 5, 2011
IU Football Coach Sugar Coats Nothing; N.C. State Coaching Conspiracy
Kevin Wilson arrives as a man with things to do, deadlines to meet and interviews to shorten.
He’s spent at extra half hour at spring practice and it’s not because he enjoys making long days longer. His Indiana football Hoosiers struggle to meet his demands, and that’s not good enough. He seeks enough good men to turn this perennial losing program around.
You wonder, as he bites off words as if they were gristle, if he’ll find it with this group.
“We mentally are weak,” he says. “We’re not a mentally tough team.”
If true, and we don’t know because practices are closed, it would not bode well for next season. Wilson is determined to start winning now and given that the roster lacks physical supermen, mental toughness and attention to detail are critical.
“I think physically we can go out there and run,” he says, “but I think we get tired a little too quick when we practice. It’s just playing through it, learning through it, growing through it. It’s repetition day after day.”
Football is a macho sport played and coached by men who don’t shy from hard knocks. Wilson has no time for playing nice through diplomatic double-speak. He knows what he wants and what the program needs, and if players don’t give it to him, they’ll hear about it -– from him directly and through the media.
Wilson talks about wanting to play freshmen right away. He speaks after an apparent dismal practice leaves him using the verbal needle as a sledgehammer. This is motivation as suggestion, if not threat, that reduced –- or even no –- playing time is coming for veterans who can’t keep up.
“Our plan is to play as many freshmen as we can,” Wilson says. “From watching some of our guys, I would hope some of our freshmen are better than the guys we have on our team.”
What, you were expecting a profession of love?
Wilson wants a team of his guys. He can get them through recruiting or by molding returning players into his vision of what winners should be, which likely is showcased at Oklahoma, his former school.
“I’ve seen seniors get beat out by freshmen,” he says. “I would think here there are some seniors that can get beat out by guys coming in. I hope.
“We need to develop our team. I see it as development by competition, not development by waiting. We’ve been waiting 40-some years to go to the Rose Bowl again. It’s not about waiting, it’s about increasing the competition, increasing the energy level.”
So you challenge guys. The true players, the ones you win with, respond. The others cave.
Does Wilson have a roster full of responders or cavers? That’s up to the players. In that, at least, he will have to wait.
So how did your NCAA tourney bracket work out? If you’re like most of America, not well. ESPN.com’s tournament challenge produced a record 5.9 million brackets. Of those, only 881 picked Butler to play Connecticut in the title game.
However, 279,308 brackets had the Huskies winning it all. They were the fifth most popular pick behind the four No. 1 seeds.
In case you’re wondering, President Barack Obama finished No. 746,086 with his bracket.
Don’t you love drama?
North Carolina State athletic director Debbie Yow has suggested that Maryland coach Gary Williams tried to sabotage N.C. State’s search for a new basketball coach.
Why would Williams do that? Well, Yow used to be the athletic director at Maryland and the two apparently didn’t get along.
So when a reporter, during the press conference announcing that Mark Gottfried was the new N.C. State, asked Yow if she had a reputation of being difficult to work with, Yow reportedly said, according to the Associated Press, that she had a “reputation of not getting along with Gary Williams, who has tried to sabotage the search. Come on, we all know that.”
Williams later released a statement to the Baltimore Sun saying he hadn’t talked to anyone connected to the N.C. State search and anyone who said he did, “isn’t being truthful.”
Rumors had popped up that Pat Knight, the son of Bob and the fired coach of Texas Tech, might come to Purdue as an assistant coach under good friend Matt Painter.
Lamar has hired Pat Knight as its head coach. The younger Knight went 50-61 in three full seasons at Texas Tech.
Lamar, if you’re interested, is located in Beaumont, Texas.