Kevin Wilson isn’t about to miss a chance to boost Indiana’s football recruiting. It is, in the end, the only way he’s going to get the program winning.
So this bye week, coming in mid-September, is a good thing. Why? Because it helps Wilson and his staff get an early jump on recruiting. They will be on the road seeing players and games all over the Midwest, and beyond.
“(With an early bye week) you get better recruiting,” Wilson said. “I don’t know if I want (a bye week) on Week 1 or Week 2, but Week 4 or 5 or 6 is ideal.
“We still got next week to finish Northwestern. You’re not all-hours. You’re getting more recruiting time during the day. You’re getting more time to catch up with kids and coaches. Even your young players like your 2014 recruits. You’re reaching out to their coach, Facebooking those kids or seeing how they’re doing.
"We’ll get a chance to go out two days recruiting. We’ll practice (Wednesday) morning and a lot of (assistant coaches) will leave. They will be situated so Thursday morning everyone except myself and Coach (Seth) Littrell and Coach (Doug) Mallory will be gone Wednesday afternoon, so they’ll get two full days of recruiting. Coach Littrell and Coach Mallory and myself will go out for one day Friday.
“We get 42 recruiting days, so we’ll get 17 opportunities to see kids, and that’s a big deal.”
IU has 10 commitments and might double that total by the time everything is settled in February. One game likely to get the coaches’ attention is the Friday night matchup between Indianapolis Ben Davis, which has four-star defensive back and Hoosier commit Antonio Allen, against Terre Haute South and its four-star quarterback and Purdue commit Danny Etling.
Wilson also said the bye comes at a good time to give the players rest. They’ve been pushing hard since the summer.
“We’ve worked hard so we can take a little bit off. We’re not running those kids to death.”
So if you were the head coach at Indiana, who would you start at quarterback when the Hoosiers return to the field Sept. 29 with their Big Ten opener at Northwestern?
Would you go with junior college Cam Coffman, who was solid in the first half, not so much in the second before suffering a hip pointer and leaving the game?
Or would you try true freshman Nate Sudfeld, who earned co-Big Ten freshman of the week honors with his fourth-quarter heroics that included 172 passing yards and two touchdowns?
For Wilson, it’s a non issue right now. Coffman is the starter and will stay that way unless his hip pointer forces a change.
“Right now he is,” Wilson said. “Unless, again, this thing just nags. Our thought initially was ‘Just give it a few days.’ I even told him, just because Nate got his little award and had two nice touchdowns, don’t come back before your ready and make this a three- or four-week hip deal.
“Let’s get it quiet, get it right, move forward. He’s out there (in practice) getting every play behind. He’s just not full tilt pushing off yet. We’ll see. We’ll get him checked out here later. We’ll see as we move forward. We’ll decide (today) and Thursday how much he needs to do. It will be our trainer’s call. Will it be best to take the whole week on the low key or does he need the reps?”
Practice reps are big for Sudfeld, who was looking at a redshirt season until starter Tre Roberson’s season-ending broken leg propelled him into the picture. He got a lot of work last week before the Ball State game and, with Coffman out, is getting “80 to 85 percent” of the reps now.
“Every rep that Nate gets is a positive for Nate,” Wilson said. “We’re comfortable with him right now. Cam’s done nothing to not warrant it. Nate’s getting better every day and that’s a great situation.
“They’re both very calm kids, they’re both reasonably good, and that’s why there was a competition. It wasn’t nothing against Tre because Tre is going to be OK and really good, but those other guys are good and we’re fortunate to have those guys. I thought they did well. They need to do better, but I thought they did well.”
Oh, in case you’re wondering, freshman walk-ons Corey Babb and David Nelson are in the picture for the No. 3 quarterback.