Kevin Wilson's departure from Indiana was anything but smooth, as allegations of player mistreatment led to Wilson and the university parting ways following the Hoosiers regular season.
In his first media availability since leaving Indiana, Wilson defended himself on multiple occasions as he was asked about player mistreatment and allegations that he intimidated athletic trainers while at IU.
“We wouldnt be here doing this job if those things were true," Wilson said March 9. "Anyone can have an opinion. I know the department over there looked into everything and I know this school has looked into everything. I know we are very comfortable with everything we are doing and where we are at and we are excited to move forward.”
Moving forward means getting his hands on an Ohio State offense that ranked 81st in the country in pass offense in 2016 and that features redshirt-senior quarterback J.T. Barrett. Having coached against Barrett twice while at Indiana (2014, 2016) Wilson said he has admired Barrett's abilities since he was a freshman and is looking forward to working with him and the Buckeye offense.
"The way he played as a freshman to me was uncanny," Wilson said. "Last year we played against him and again, I really just love his command and presence. Now I am here, and you see more about him, but what he does is he affects the position. He has a strong effect on Joe, a strong effect on the young guys, Dwayne and Tate, and he has a strong effect on me. He has got some great leadership skills. I haven't met his family, but he is a blessed kid and I am blessed to have a chance to coach him.”
Wilson has been in Columbus for only a few months, and is just two full practices in with Ohio State. In addition to helping the Buckeyes improve on a less than stellar offensive attack from a season ago, Wilson is tasked with meshing with an offensive staff that features a new quarterback's coach as well.
He said that one of his main focuses is to connect with the new staff and Barrett to help establish a positive relationship before dealing with the X's and O's of the offense.
"I think that was one of our strengths over there (at IU) was to get a bunch of individuals to come in together and play as a group. That is one of the thing we are most proud of of what we did over there," Wilson said. "Over here, that is going to be the challenge. There are a lot of individual players, but it is the ability offensively to collectively bring it all together. That is what we are going to work hard to do.”
In addition to meshing the new players and coaches, Wilson said he is also adjusting to taking a step back from being the head coach to an assistant. He said since arriving in Columbus, the intensity Urban Meyer brings to Ohio State everyday has stood out to him.
"Coach Meyer’s passion and energy and direction everyday is at another level. I just feel like as a coach everyday, he demands my best everyday," Wilson said. "He demands it from J.T., he demands it from everyone in the organization across the board.
"You have to take care of yourself to have the energy and the concentration whether it be in recruiting, working with your players, your staff, ultimately I am also responsible for the offense. It is an awesome obligation that he puts on you. I respect the way he does it.”
After putting together one of the best offenses in the Big Ten at Indiana, Wilson, set to move on from Bloomington, Ind., said he is proud of what he and his staff accomplished with the Hoosiers but also that he is excited about the next step in his coaching career.
"We appreciate the opportunity to coach those kids. I am very grateful for those kids and what they gave our family," Wilson said of his time at IU. "At the same time, we are excited to be coaching these cats here.”
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