While there was some staff turnover for IU this year (most notably new defensive coordinator Brian Knorr), this article is going to focus on head coach Kevin Wilson, because I couldn't identify most of the rest of staff by sight (or really by name), and the mark of a good assistant coach in my opinion is one whose name you need never learn, because it usually means he isn't screwing up.
Therefore, let's get right to it. Kevin Wilson is entering his 4th year as Indiana's head coach, and the first three years have not been the prettiest in program history, though progress has been made. Indiana is bringing in some 4 star talent for the first time in what feels like forever, and a good portion of that success can be attributed to Wilson's no-nonsense, hard-working attitude. Rather than accepting that winning at Indiana can't happen, Wilson is challenging the status quo, and that hasn't made him popular with everyone. Then again, our previous coach was friendly and personable with everyone, and had trouble getting to 5 wins every year. And it's not like Indiana sports haven't seen success with somewhat abrasive coaches (one Robert Montgomery Knight comes to mind).
Wilson's first year at the helm was a struggle, a year where Indiana's only win came against FCS South Carolina State. Many of Indiana's losses were close affairs, but every good team on their schedule blew them out of the water. The less said about 2011, the better.
His second year as head coach produced a few more wins, and a glimmer of hope at appearing in the Big Ten Championship game (the rest of you recall this as the year where our division sent 3rd place Wisconsin to Indianapolis after they ROFL-stomped us in Memorial Stadium). Losing Tre Roberson for the year in a walkover against UMass should have been the sign that this just wasn't our year. Included in this season was a game stolen by Ball State (seriously, that receiver was out of bounds and everyone but the refs knew it), back to back games where we put the fear of God into the hearts of Michigan State and Ohio State fans (don't lie, you know it happened) despite losing both, and wins against Illinois and Iowa that seriously kindled hope of making it to Indianapolis as the Leaders Division champion before Wisconsin crushed that hope.
Last year, Wilson got the hurry-up offense fully implemented, which resulted in an explosion of points for Indiana. Unfortunately, defense was still a major struggle, so opposing offenses also saw an explosion in points (except for Bowling Green). This was Wilson's best season so far as head coach, as he brought the Hoosiers to within a couple plays of being bowl eligible for the first time since the 2007 season. Indiana finally beat Penn State, handily defeated Purdue to regain the Old Oaken Bucket, and nearly set a school record for points against Indiana State. However, there were still plenty of roadblocks, chief among them traveling to Columbus, Madison, Ann Arbor, and East Lansing, though Tevin Coleman not holding onto the ball at a crucial time near the end of the Minnesota game didn't help matters either.
Wilson's most notable off-the-field activities include bringing in the talented Darius Latham (among others), pissing off a former Illinois quarterback who took some shots at IU before the 2011 season (and Trudeau deserved it), and having issues with an RA (and really, why they had him living in a dorm in the first place boggles my mind). Mostly though, he's been trying to get people excited about supporting Indiana football, being a part of the team, and coming out to see games. Though Wilson is not in the safest of coaching situations, as long as the team doesn't regress terribly this year, his seat won't warm up until next season at the earliest. If he can continue showing progression as he has every year so far, Wilson can count on being Indiana's coach for the foreseeable future.
Monday: Cocktail Party Preview
Tuesday: Smartest Guy in the Room (you are here)
Wednesday: Potluck Part One
Thursday: Potluck Part Two/Smoking Room
Friday: Keeping the Enemy Close