Kevin Wilson looking forward – not back – at Indiana

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First year Hoosier head coach Kevin Wilson said he won’t look back at the past of Indiana football as he starts his tenure. Literally.

“I have yet to watch one snap of last year’s games,” Wilson said at the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. “If you’re a police officer trying to catch me, you’re going to have to chase me a while because I’m not looking in the rearview mirror. I’m looking forward.”

Wilson was hired in December as the 6th Indiana coach since 1995. He has spent time coaching with Northwestern, Miami (OH) and Oklahoma, where he coached Heisman trophy winner Sam Bradford. Wilson was named the 2008 Broyles Award recipient for the top assistant coach. In other words, the man knows how to win.

In an effort to pursue the mantra of looking forward, Wilson said no position is safe, even for returning starters. The sense of earning a position is most important for Wilson at quarterback.

“You have to earn the position. You have to earn the respect of your peers,” he said. “Sam Bradford, we named him 10 days before his first start….I wanted our players to battle it out. I sleep very comfortably when I watched what our kids did this spring.”

While he had ample success at Oklahoma, Indiana will undoubtedly be a different ballgame for Wilson. Since 2000, the Hoosiers have 1 winning season compared to 10 losing seasons.

“I have no issues in complaining or what should have been done or why things have happened in the past,” Wilson said. “I’ve been fortunate to be a part of programs that have turned it around…We should do well. We should do well. We expect to do well. To me the culture changes with our performance.”

Despite the apparent losing culture, Wilson believes there are enough positives at Indiana to attract top recruiting classes. This is perhaps as true as ever, as Wilson has already pulled off an incredible recruiting upset. Gunner Keil, the top quarterback in this year’s recruiting class, recently committed to Indiana.

“Again, with the resources our administration gave me, counting our weight coaches, 13 of our 15 guys have coached at a Big Ten program. I think they understand how to recruit in the Big Ten, how to compete in the Big Ten, and have a good start with commitments,” Wilson said.

“There’s a lot of water to go over the dam with guys that are committed. We’re selling a great product, a great school, a great opportunity because we’re ready to take this ship and get this thing exploded. Recruiting is off to a great start for next year as well.”

Wilson expects Indiana to be a powerhouse in the future, yes. But he also expects to start his tenure in Bloomington on a successful note. According to Wilson, the winning ways start now.

“If you talk to our three guys representing us today, we’re not trying to be good four, five, six years from now,” he said. “The expectation, I think every game is going to be exciting, competitive, challenging in the Big Ten. That’s the niche in college football these days. That’s the beauty of BCS, fighting every week in your bowl situation. We’ve done a great job of recruiting our current team.”

 

-Jamie Arkin

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