Wilson pleased with first practice at IU

New football coach Kevin Wilson got his first live glimpse of his Indiana football team on the field Tuesday and generally liked what he saw.

New football coach Kevin Wilson got his first live glimpse of his Indiana football team on the field Tuesday and generally liked what he saw.

The Hoosiers opened their spring practice at Memorial Stadium Tuesday afternoon. Afterward, Wilson said he was impressed with the team's effort and attituding during conditioning and weightlifting work over the winter and that carried into the first spring practice.

"We lifted weights, maybe better than I thought we could do," Wilson said. "I'm proud of them and the staff"

"The last staff here recruited good people. The kids are eager to learn. They are character, quality good folks. I don't think our talent is that far off. I think our perception and the way we approach it is not as high.

"I felt at Oklahoma we practiced well. We were not just this talented team. We worked hard. We loved to compete. We got after it every day"

Wilson said his new players were excited to get going Tuesday. So much so, in fact, that as coaches were walking them through some things at the start of practice, they had to tell the players to slow down a bit until the faster parts of practice began.

"The kids are eager, they're anxious," Wilson said. "It was a good first day, a great first day. If we do that every day, we'll be a good football team."

The former Oklahoma offensive coordinator said his new players are buying into the direction in which he's pointing his Hoosier program. New football coach Kevin Wilson got his first live glimpse of his Indiana football team on the field Tuesday and generally liked what he saw.

The Hoosiers opened their spring practice at Memorial Stadium Tuesday afternoon. Afterward, Wilson said he was impressed with the team's effort and attituding during conditioning and weightlifting work over the winter and that carried into the first spring practice.

"We lifted weights, maybe better than I thought we could do," Wilson said. "I'm proud of them and the staff"

"The last staff here recruited good people. The kids are eager to learn. They are character, quality good folks. I don't think our talent is that far off. I think our perception and the way we approach it is not as high.

"I felt at Oklahoma we practiced well. We were not just this talented team. We worked hard. We loved to compete. We got after it every day"

Wilson said his new players were excited to get going Tuesday. So much so, in fact, that as coaches were walking them through some things at the start of practice, they had to tell the players to slow down a bit until the faster parts of practice began.

"The kids are eager, they're anixious," Wilson said. "It was a good first day, a great first day. If we do that every day, we'll be a good football team."

The former Oklahoma offensive coordinator said his new players are buying into the direction in which he's pointing his Hoosier program.

"The kids are embracing the values we're trying to build our program on – playing smart, playing hard, playing physical. That doesn't take talent," he said.

The spring practices are being structured differently than practices under IU's last coaching staff in that the team and the coaching staff are divided up into two squads. That way, it is as if two practices are being held at once with two offenses and two defenses playing at the same time.

In practices under the previous staff, one defensive and one offensive unit typically played against each other while everyone else on the team watched. Wilson said the new approach is a matter of getting more work in and learning better by physically doing, rather than watching.

"We've got 89 guys, so if we've got 22 going, it means 67 are standing around," he said. "With 44 going, we've still got half the team standing around. So it's just a matter of more guys getting reps,"

Another change at this point is that the offensive and defensive units are not divided into first, second or third teams, but are a more random mix of players. With the new coaching staff still getting to know their players, there is competition for every spot on the team.

Wilson said part of the process in spring football will be learning how much of his system his new players will be able to master.

"We're figuring out what they can do," he said. "If there's a true notebook, I'd say we have about one-eighth of it in right now . . . It'll take time, we might not have it all in until the end of next year, but hopefully we'll have enough in to max out what these kids can do."


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