Kevin Wilson doesn’t want to suggest that the quarterback competition is over yet, but he continues to imply that sophomore Tre Roberson is winning the job and responding to the competition in exactly the way he wants him to.
All offseason, Wilson has talked about Roberson maturing into more of a pocket passer and learning to read defenses and make better throws. That’s apparently happened mostly to his satisfaction.
“I don’t know if anything’s settled,” Wilson said. “We still have to keep performing. But the thing I do like, contrary to other guys, he is the first guy here that’s a pretty good player who has embraced the challenge of the competition, and he’s competed. … There’s very good competition at quarterback. Tre’s fighting in a great way. To be a program that needs to start playing at a better level, I keep talking about those senior D-tackles. Give us more. Don’t just be the first guy jogging on the field. Will Matte is a senior that’s giving us more. That’s great to see. Tre is really decent. He’s gotten a lot better in the passing game, but he’s really embraced the competition. In building our program, this is one of the few times I’ve said, ‘That’s what it looks like if you’re a good player and you keep fighting.’ I’d like to see some other guys keep learning to do that. We’ll see if they do.
One player he’d like to see fight more is junior tailback Stephen Houston. Though Houston had the best offensive season of any of the Hoosiers last season with 802 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, Wilson said he’s actually losing ground to sophomores D’Angelo Roberts and Isaiah Roundtree and freshman Tevin Coleman. Roundtree has missed a few days with a concussion, Wilson said, but Roberts and Coleman have been spending more time with the first team.
“Stephen Houston might be third or fourth,” Wilson said. “D’Angelo was out there first the other night, and he was out there first all week. Tevin Coleman was second. That’s good competition. But I don’t think Stephen was embracing it like Tre.”
– Senior defensive tackle Nicholas Sliger suffered an injured knee in a closed scrimmage on Friday night, but Wilson said it wasn’t as bad as the Hoosiers initially expected.
“We kinda got lucky because it kinda got rolled up,” Wilson said. “But he doesn’t have any damage as far as cartilage, ligaments, surgery, but he’s kinda got a pretty nasty little bone bruise deal. We’ll see as it goes. Is it a week, two, three. It’s going to be a motion, movement, deal and a pain tolerance deal. It’s not really surgical, and it’s not really a rehab, it did swell up on him. He might have had a little sublex of a patella, they really don’t know, because it was in place. But there’s no cartilage, no ligament, no surgery.We’ll see. Hopefully, he says a week or two. We’ll see.”
– Wilson spoke briefly about his thoughts on just about every position unit. The general theme is that he feels like he needs more from all of them — big surprise. He said he sees little separation in the defensive secondary, and is especially looking for more from junior college transfer safeties Ryan Thompson and Tregg Waters. The defensive tackles have been solid, but considering that Adam Replogle and Larry Black Jr. are two of the most experienced and talented players on the team, he believes they should be more dominant. The same goes for linebacker even though he’s generally pleased with JUCO transfers Jaccari Alexander and David Cooper and that he’s also happy he moved sophomore Forisse Hardin from safety to linebacker. On offense, he’s generally pleased with the offensive linemen, especially freshmen Jason Spriggs and Dan Feeney. On offense, he’s pleased with Ted Bolser and he believes juniors Kofi Hughes and Duwyce Wilson, sophomores Cody Latimer, Nick Stoner, and Shane Wynn and freshman Ricky Jones have separated themselves, but he still likes what he’s getting from Kevin Davis, Jamonne Chester and others.
Collectively, though, they need to get better, he said.
“We’ve had too many competitive or casual drops,” Wilson said. “The other day, we had one of the times we didn’t score, we had a wide-open pass for 7 (yards) on first-and-10 we dropped. … It’s about 80 percent of the time you punt if there’s a dropped pass. It’s not that much different than a penalty or a negative play. It’s like, ‘Hey, everything’s worked. You’ve got everybody blocked. The guy’s open, you make the right choice, but you don’t make the play.”
– Classes began Monday at Indiana, which meant the Hoosiers had to set their practice times for the semester. Instead of having afternoon practices from 3-7 as they did last season, Wilson instead instituted morning practices this time around.
“I thought 3-7 was too late,” Wilson said. “Especially when the sun starts setting. You’re leaving when it’s dark and it’s dreary and it’s dull and there’s not a good vibe. We tried to go 3-6. We tried to steal an hour in the morning. We started out by doing meetings. I don’t think those meetings were very productive, because I don’t know if we were awake. So then we said, well, let’s practice for 45 minutes in the morning, and come back in the afternoon. Well, if you’ve got a bad groin, you’ve gotta stretch twice. If you’re a quarterback, you’ve gotta get heated up twice. You’ve gotta tape twice, you’ve gotta shower twice. It was just a lot of stress. As young as we were last year, I don’t know if it mattered, because we were trying to practice and toughen up and get some young guys ready. But this year, I didn’t want to practice that way. We looked at last year, the morning routine. Never done it. Not truly a great morning person…. I didn’t want to split it this year. We’re going with the morning. I’ve seen Oregon do it a few years ago when I visited Coach (Chip) Kelly. I asked a couple of kids as soon as practice was over. ‘What do you think.’ They said, ‘I’m done. I’m done. I’ve got my classes, but I’m done.’ … I’m very grateful. By academic scheduling, we get a week to try it before game week.”
— Scouts from the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins were all present at practice on Monday.