So what do you do when you’re IU football coach Kevin Wilson and your team has lost five straight games, including the last three by four, three and one point?
Basically, you tell your team to work a little harder and not give in to the disappointment and a program tradition that suggests consistent victory will never come.
Will the players buy it?
Perhaps. We’ll get a better indication Saturday at Illinois, a struggling team –- its only scored 21 points in conference play -- that seems the perfect opponent to get the Hoosiers back on track and give Wilson his first Big Ten victory.
Wilson used his Monday night radio show to push the theme that a turnaround is coming.
“We just keep accentuating the positives and showing them the good plays and the things that we’re doing,” Wilson said. “We had two turnovers Saturday. We had two for the year, we had two in the game. One was a costly play. But we’re taking care of the ball. We’re improving in the kicking game. We’re playing better on the offensive line. We’re making strides defensively. We’re doing things you need to do to win games. We’re showing them that. We haven’t got the result yet.
“During the course of the game, you’ve got to just keep making plays. We’re just one or two plays from adding up from being on the right side. It doesn’t always come down to the last third down stop or the last third down or the last score. It’s in the course of the game. We’ve improved against three decent teams, three very good teams, very difficult to prepare for.”
Wilson was asked if the close loses might actually be helping recruiting. IU just got a commitment from four-star defensive end David Kenney of Indianapolis Pike. Wilson couldn’t comment on that per NCAA rules, but he did say that, “There is some interest because (recruits) see improvement. There’s interest because we’ve shown that we play young players. We have some recruitis that see us gaining on it and are maybe interested in getting in on it.”
Yes, in case you’re interested, Wilson plans on using most of the rest of his available scholarships for next season on defensive players.
It looks as if Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich is interested in starting home-and-home series with Indiana in football and basketball.
Both Eric Crawford of Louisville TV station WDRB and Jody Demling of Scout.com tweeted that Jurich said in a press conference that such a dual series would be “a no-brainer.”
That is Louisville’s perspective. IU’s might be a little different given the Cardinals have become a football power (they are 7-0 and ranked 16th in the AP poll) and the Hoosiers already passed on starting a basketball series with Louisville to replace the dropped one with Kentucky.
Yes, they elected to play Central Connecticut State instead.
Don’t get us started.
For the record, IU is 2-0 against Louisville in football, winning in 1985 and ’86. It is 10-6 against the Cardinals in basketball, but hasn’t played them since 2003.