Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Midseason report: Indiana
By Brian Bennett
Record: 1-5 (0-2 Big Ten)
No one ever said Kevin Wilson's job would be easy. The first-year IU coach earned goodwill among the fan base in the preseason with his bold talk and recruiting prowess. But success on the field has been slow to follow. The Hoosiers' only victory came over FCS opponent South Carolina State, and they suffered an embarrassing loss at North Texas. The problems are what you might expect: Indiana is not strong enough in the trenches to stop or generate a rushing attack. Wilson is an innovative offensive coach, but his team has struggled to move the ball consistently while starting two different quarterbacks (sophomores Ed Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel) and working in true freshman Tre Roberson in the last game against Illinois. Every step of potential progress (a big second-half comeback against Virginia, a closer-than-expected 16-10 loss to Penn State, a 10-0 lead over Illinois) seems to be answered by another hole that needs plugging. Wilson has already played 16 true freshmen, and first- and second-year players can be found all over the depth chart. A full-scale rebuilding project is under way; nobody said it would be easy.
Offensive MVP: Quarterback Ed Wright-Baker. There's really not a lot to choose from on this offense, and Wright-Baker has had his ups and downs. But he was the quarterback during IU's lone victory, and he threw for 925 yards and four touchdowns before missing the past two games with injuries.
Defensive MVP: Linebacker Jeff Thomas. The fifth-year senior has been one true anchor for the defense. He leads the team with 48 tackles, including eight for loss. The Hoosiers need more like him.