After the third practice of spring football, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson likes the attitude and effort he's seeing, but says the Hoosiers have a long way to go.
"(We've) got a lot of work to do," he said. "Again, I just think competing, practicing hard, doing it every day, not having excuses, coming to work, busting tail. Just learn how to be competitive."
A reporter asked Wilson if his voice was as hoarse after practice at his previous job at Oklahoma as he has been so far after practices at IU.
"I yell a lot. It's positive encouragement," Wilson responded.
In the first spring practice in pads with hitting, Wilson saw some good and some bad.
"We're learning," he said. "You've got to be smart. Yeah, you've got to learn how to strike, how to hit, but you're not trying to beat your team up. We're really trying to stay off the ground. We're trying to get a lot of work in, but if you're rolling into ankles, rolling into knees, you get injuries.
"You've got to learn how to practice. You've got to learn how to practice hard, how to practice fast. You've got to learn how to practice physical, but you've got to be smart. Not taking a cheap shot at a guy because the quarterback is late with a throw. Not diving to make a block because you're going to roll into somebody's ankles.
"Just learning how to play physical, how to play with effort, but it's also learning how to be an intelligent practice player so there's a little give and take as we learn to do that. Three practices in we've got a lot of work to do, but I think it's going good."
The first-year Hoosier coach said he can't yet make judgments on how sound his players are fundamentally because the proper fundamentals can depend on what the team is doing offensively and defensively, and that changes with a new coaching staff.
"Fundamentals are relative to what you're trying to do," he said. "I didn't study a lot of last year's tape, so certain blocking fundamentals are different for different schemes, maybe,
"I think you can train speed because you need to run. I think you can train physicallness because you need to hit. And it's a physical game and a fast game and you train for that. So first day in pads, we're trying to train people without beating ourselves up how to hit and how to be a physical team."
Wilson said the players are doing well at picking up what the staff is teaching.
"I think we've got smart kids here and we've got a good staff," he said.
During last week's spring break, Wilson got his first break from work since the 2010 football season preparation started last August. He said the staff took the week off so the coaches could spend time with their families and get a break from the intense work they've been doing together.
"I did nothing and I was mad when I had to come back," he said of spring break. "Sometimes getting away from work is good."
Some good, some bad on IU's first day in pads
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