Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Can You Keep a Secret -- Big Ten Coaches Evaluate Wilson

Okay, Kevin Wilson says the time to win is now for the Indiana Hoosiers. There’s a belief that IU has more talent than it is given credit for, that while former coach Bill Lynch didn’t win enough, he did stock the roster with winning talent.

Ball State is the first test of the Wilson era and it comes Saturday at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, one of America’s great sports facilities. We’ll get to that in a second, but first we wanted to offer, thanks to Athlon Magazine, insight into what Big Ten coaches are saying anonymously about the Hoosiers.

No, there’s no dirt or controversy or gossip, but it does provide a look at what rivals think of Wilson and his IU prospects.

Coach No. 1: “I know Kevin (Wilson) is going to change their attitude. I’m not saying there was anything bad with Billy (Lynch), but this team is going to take on the personality of Kevin Wilson. Kevin’s demanding, and he’s got a lot of passion, and he’s a great offensive mind. You’ll see that program take on that personality.”

Coach No. 2: “Kevin will find out very quickly he’s not at Oklahoma anymore. He will have his work cut out for him, but he made some great hires in (co-offensive coordinators) Rod Smith and Kevin Johns along with (co-defensive coordinators) Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler.”

Coach No. 3: “I don’t know enough about their depth defensively. They graduated quite a few guys. They were young in the secondary and had to move guys around a year ago. So it’s going to be a work in progress. But they’ve got some flexibility there. They got some junior college guys, so that gives them a chance to get good in a hurry.”

Coach No. 4: “4–0 is very possible. If so, they should get at least two wins the rest of the way and start Wilson’s rebuilding plan in the right direction.”


Ball State became a national power under Brady Hoke a couple of years ago. He left (and is now at Michigan), Stan Parrish took over and the program tanked. So Parrish got the boot and Pete Lembo took over after successful runs at Elon (which is located in North Carolina) and Lehigh.

The Cardinals, by the way, beat IU at Memorial Stadium the last time these teams played. Wilson has made it a point to mention that every time he talks about Ball State. He doesn’t want anyone in the program to forget or take the Mid-American Conference school lightly.

“In 2009 the MAC won four Big Ten games,” he said during his Tuesday press conference. “I’ve been part of MAC teams that have done well (while he was at Miami of Ohio). In fact, there’s a team (Northwestern) that won a Big Ten championship that our MAC team beat.

“The Mid-American Conference has Big Ten-level players that for whatever reason got a little under-recruited, developed late or maybe the scholarship wasn’t there …

“You see a lot of teams in the MAC that are playing well and having great records and doing awesome.”

Lembo got the Ball State job after going 79-36 at Elon and Lehigh. Wilson, who is from North Carolina, knows how impressive that record is.

“I’ve been to (Elon) and know who they compete against. The record down there speaks for itself.

“Player-wise, you watch (Ball State) last year and they were very competitive against Purdue. They let it get away from them against Iowa. But a lot of these guys who are seniors played and were recruited for Coach Hoke’s teams that were winning and winning well. I would expect them to be very much ready, very much physical, very much excited. I expect them to think they have a great opportunity to win.”

This is a Ball State home game. The Cardinals decided to move it to Lucas Oil Stadium and that’s fine with Wilson.

“It’s great for our fans. I’d think we’d have lots of fans with all of our alumni base up there …

“I think it’s neat for our kids. A lot of Indiana kids grow up in this region. Some of them have played high school games there, I’m sure. A chance to play in that arena is pretty cool. The Big Ten championship game is there for the next five years, and the Super Bowl is on that field this year. It’s an exciting venue. We’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a big deal.”


If your ability to sleep the rest of the week boils down to who will be Indiana’s starting quarterback against Ball State, take a deep breath.

Nobody is saying nothing.

Check that. IU coaches are saying that at least two, and possibly three quarterbacks will play, but it won’t be part of a scripted rotation. Coaches won’t say this guy will be in for the third series, this guy the fifth, ect. It will be more of a feel than anything else. The guy starting the game might not be the one to finish. A lot will be based on the productivity of the offense and how the guy is running the show.

The contenders are Edward Wright-Bake and Dusty Kiel, and true freshman Trey Roberson. Figure we won’t know for sure until the Hoosiers huddle up at Lucas Oil.


Ben Chappell got his NFL chance. Well, let’s qualify that. The former Indiana quarterback standout got a chance to throw a lot of practice balls for the Washington Redskins in the last month. As an undrafted free agent, did he really have a shot at sticking with the team? Probably not.

So he got cut on Tuesday and now must wait to see if a team picks him up. If not, he can hope for another shot, either later this season, or next year. Or, he can move on to the rest of his life.

Chappell is a quality person and a smart guy. If the NFL isn’t in his future, he’ll be successful in whatever career he decides.

That’s a fact.


As the Cream ‘n Crimson world knows, IU has a pair of 2013 basketball commitments in Devin Davis and Collin Hartman. Rivals.com just came out with its top 150 for that class. Davis ranked No. 93. Harman was at No. 97.

Former Purdue commitment Derek Willis (IU is now taking a look at this 6-8 Kentucky forward) was at No. 23. The highest rated state-of-Indiana player is Bryson Scott from Fort Wayne Northrop. He’s at No. 53.

Six in-state players are in the top 100 nationally, which again highlights how impressive the talent is in the state.

For the record, Texas guard Andrew Harrison is ranked No. 1 in the Class of 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Any idea when bball schedule will be out?