Thursday, September 29, 2011

IU Football – Clearing Up Veteran Issue; Willis As Pro Wrestler

As you probably know, IU coach Kevin Wilson isn’t happy with the leadership and effort of some of his veteran players. As a result, some of them have been benched in favor of freshmen, some of whom aren’t ready for major college football yet.

Wilson did it for motivation, to get the veterans to play to the necessary level and intensity. He wanted to clear up a few things after Wednesday’s practice. He said wasn’t talking about the seniors. Those guys are doing okay. Not great, but okay. He WAS talking about the sophomore and junior class. Some of those players haven’t stepped up.

“The old guys (seniors) are going pretty well,” Wilson said, “but I think they can do more. The young guys are a talented group, but they’re not my (recruited) group (former coach Bill Lynch and his staff recruited them).

“The disappointing group is the middle group, some of the second- and third-year guys. We’re not getting much out of those guys. If you look at it, we’re playing seniors and young guys. How many juniors and sophomores do you see out there? What are you giving us in kickoff coverage, kickoff return? What ae you giving us at back-up receiver? That’s the group that has some negativity.

“The seniors have not been phenomenal, but they’re not bad. They’re good kids. I think there’s more. They need to set a more vibrant example. They can give us stronger and better.

“The (sophomore and juniors) need to fight through, bust through the wall and start contributing better on both sides of the ball.

“When you’re not winning and performing well, it’s hard to be a great senior leader. I’m encouraging those guys to pick it up. It will be interesting to see some of those second- and third-year cats. That’s the intriguing group to me.”

That should clear everything up and lead to the obvious question -- did Wilson REALLY cally his players “cats,” a term once used during the 1950s’ beatnick era? It’s something that Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who will be in Memorial Stadium on Saturday when the Nittany Lions (3-1) take on the Hoosiers (1-3), and who has been coaching since the Egyptians built the pyramids, might be more familiar with.

What does that mean for IU? How old is Wilson really?

The answers are yes, and we don’t know.


Yes, participating in a pro wrestling match when you’re supposedly injured, as Darius Willis reportedly did last Saturday, does not do much in perception circles.

The junior tailback hasn’t played football in a year, never will again according to Wilson, yet launched himself into a flying tackle of some pro wrestler called Manix, which was sort of the name of a 1960s TV detective show (it was actually “Mannix”) starring Mike Conners, who once played basketball at UCLA and who …

Sorry. We got carried away.

Anyway, Willis tackled Manix to help his friend and pro wrestler, PJB, beat Manix in an absolutely not-staged event in Bloomington because, as we all know, nothing is truer and more realistic than pro wrestling.

Willis was healthy enough to do this while IU was losing at North Texas.

For all the details, check out the IDS story by Stephanie Kuzydym.

Wilson said Willis never got permission from anyone on the football team to participate in the pro wrestling event. Willis apparently wasn’t paid for his appearance, so it likely didn’t break any NCAA rules.

Even if it did, or even if he was paid, it doesn’t matter. Wilson said Willis’ college career, at least at Indiana, anyway, is over because Willis re-injured his surgically repaired knee. He hasn’t played in a game this season. He will try for a medical hardship scholarship which will pay for the rest of his school.

This wasn’t the smoothest public relations move, but Willis is now just a college student, and likely will be from now on, wanting to have some fun on a weekend.

And, of course, what better way to do that than in a Bloomington pro wrestling event.

So, now you know.

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