by Kent Sterling
I keep waiting for Indiana football coach Kevin Wilson to react rather than build, but he never does. And I no longer believe he will.
Every Monday, whether the Hoosiers win or lose, Wilson shows up and gives a very even tempered performance at his weekly press conference. He talks about correcting the long term systemic issues while also dealing with the short term correctable errors that crop up each week.
Wilson understands that overworking to the point of fatigue isn’t the answer – that programs are built with one eye on execution and another on the fitness and health of his players.
He may act differently with the team, and I’ve always thought that he likely did, but doubt has crept into my mind. In fact, I’m relatively certain that he’s a very effective leader, and there aren’t many of those around.
Wilson extols the virtues of his players and coaches while demanding more of them. He has a goal, communicates it effectively, and seems to have a solid handle on the amount of effort he’s getting out of each player on the roster.
Coaching the current roster the season is about effort and execution – getting the most and best out of the guys who sweat and sacrifice. The Indiana program is only going to get better, and win more often by attracting very talented players to Bloomington. In both areas, Indiana has shown improvement during each of Wilson’s three years.
The toughest part of the gig is finding a way to win the games they should, and right now that means the remainder of the home schedule against Minnesota, Illinois, and Purdue. This week’s opponent is Michigan, who according to Wilson are undefeated at the Big House during Brady Hoke’s tenure as coach.
A win would be a bonus, but it’s likely that a loss to Indiana on their home field would be an enormous disappointment for Michigan. The oddsmakers have installed Michigan as a 10 1/2 point favorite, which should give Hoosier fans reason for hope. If the tide is turning, that’s a reasonably good indication. I don’t know the last time an Indiana team has been a less than two TD dog, but I’ll bet (no pun intended) it’s been a long time.
The game will be played, and Wilson believes he will get great effort from his team.
Here is some video of today’s press conference where Wilson talks about the challenges that Saturday in Ann Arbor will bring.