Image courtesy of IU Athletics
IUSportCom’s Garrett Winegar has the inside scoop on coach Kevin Wilson’s Week
A win is a win, and to an Indiana football program that has enjoyed few of them over the past few years, being on the winning side of the scoreboard isn’t being taken for granted. But, for those looking to see excitement out of Kevin Wilson after finally getting off the shrine in the B1G and getting the first conference win of his head coaching career, look elsewhere.
No, there wasn’t a Crean-like embracing of the fans after the win. For Coach Wilson it was business as usual.
“It was nice to have got a win, but [there are] a lot of things we need to clean up on,” said Wilson at his press conference on Tuesday. He continued, “Offensively, one of our worst performances…only 1-for-13 on third downs, disappointing. We only had seven big plays, I didn’t think we were very physical…the offense was pretty anemic all day.”
Co-defensive coordinator Doug Mallory echoed coach Wilson’s statements for the defense, stating, “I felt like we made some strides from Michigan State to Ohio State, and from Ohio State to Navy, but didn’t necessarily play up to those standards this week from an effort stand point that we’re looking for.”
Yet, at the end of the day the Hoosiers got their first Big Ten win since 2010 without playing their best game. Assistant offensive coordinator Kevin Johns credits the direction of the team and the players for buying into the system.
“I think it’s great. I think it’s a testament to what are kids are doing. We talk a lot about just pounding the rock, about getting better every day. I know Coach Wilson has said that a million times this year and our kids are buying into it.”
Though the coaches weren’t thrilled with the performance, there were some bright spots. One positive, an area that has killed the Hoosiers throughout this season, was consistency. Though not excellent, throughout the game IU remained consistent and avoided any major letdowns. Also, the lines were impressive on both sides of the football. The defensive front recorded seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss, while the young offensive line continued their excellent season protecting the quarterback.
Looking ahead to Iowa, one word summed up the coaches description of how the Hawkeyes play football — physical. Both offensively and defensively, Iowa will look to impose their physicality through a dominant defense complimented by a strong run game.
Similar to Navy, the run game of the Hawkeyes will take its toll on the Indiana defense, while the ability of the Hoosiers to move the chains on third down and keep Iowa’s offense off the field will be key to getting a victory. In addition to that, matching the Hawkeyes’ physical play up front on third and shorts with an aggressive IU defensive-line will be essential, creating more opportunities for the potent Hoosier offense.
“Without question, that’s going to be their trademark and I know they pride themselves on that, on playing great run defense and being able to run the ball. So we’re making are kids aware of that, that it’s going to be a classic Big Ten brawl, and we are going to need our most physical game of the year on Saturday to beat this team,” noted coach Mallory.
The weather will most likely contribute to that class Big Ten brawl type of game, and in order to win consecutive games for the first time since 2007, the Hoosiers will have to deal with the elements and match the Hawkeyes physical play.