Wilson wants hard work from Hoosiers
By Andy Proffet Post-Tribune correspondent September 13, 2011 11:00PM
In this photo taken Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly calls a play against South Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame fell out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll after losing to South Florida. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
the big number
Darius Drummond’s average on punt returns for South Carolina State, whom the Hoosiers host on Saturday. Indiana has seven punt return yards total through two games.
Those white helmets the Hoosiers broke out against Virginia will likely return, if the players have their say.
Wilson said Tuesday that he put a vote to the players on whether they wanted to wear the white helmets or crimson — well, red, actually, the coach admitted — for the home opener.
Of the 84 players who got to vote, 76 wanted the white helmets.
“We’ll ask the kids each week (about the helmets),” Wilson said.
Updated: January 23, 2012 3:48AM
BLOOMINGTON — Indiana coach Kevin Wilson wants his team working harder, in games and in practice.
And if the Hoosiers aren’t going to practice hard, then they’ll run.
“I’m not going to sit here and accept an average practice when we haven’t won,” Wilson said Tuesday.
“We’re going to continue to lose games until we change the way we do things.”
For starters, Wilson acknowledged, Indiana has to find a way to win close games.
The Hoosiers are 0-2 under Wilson despite being outscored by only 10 points. And the program as a whole is 5-11 in games decided by eight points or less since the 2008 season.
Even the 2007 Insight Bowl team was just 1-2 in such situations, so winning close games has not been a staple of Indiana football.
The Hoosiers know that’s going to have to change if the program is to turn around.
“We’re a work in progress, a team trying to find its identity,” Wilson said. “We made some progress from (game) one to (game) two, can we do that again?”
And who will lead that progress?
While Wilson didn’t say anything about demoting quarterback Edward Wright-Baker — whose fumble in the final minute against Virginia set up the Cavaliers’ winning field goal — he did say Wright-Baker needs to show improvement.
“To me, he’s missing some things. We’ve got some gimmies we have to connect. … That’s where he can grow and be so much better,” Wilson said.
“He is managing (the game), he is communicating greatly, he’s not forcing the ball,” Wilson added. But the coach still believes Wright-Baker and the other quarterbacks could do more to prepare themselves beyond the 20 hours per week that the NCAA allows for practice, even if Wilson can’t make that extra work mandatory.
Co-offensive coordinator Kevin Johns summed it up when he said no starting spot is safe.
“Every day our kids come to work, we want them to know that their job is up for grabs,” Johns said. “The more competition we can create, the better we will be.”
That competition includes true freshmen. Running back D’Angelo Roberts didn’t have a carry in the opener against Ball State, but shared team-high honors with Wright-Baker against Virginia with 48 yards rushing.
But the Hoosiers are still last in the Big Ten in rushing offense and rushing defense — a familiar spot for Indiana.
“There’s not a lot that we like about (the running game) right now,” Wilson said.
“This is Week 3 and we’re not where we need to be.”